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Organic Confluences Summit for 2019 on climate change has been set

Mar 20, 2019

Focusing on Climate Change


This year’s Confluences Conference will take place in tandem with the Natural Foods Expo East on September 10th 2019, in Baltimore.


The Organic Confluences Summit brings together farmers, scientists, extension agents, industry members and key policy influencers to address large-scale challenges that the organic sector is facing. This day and a half conference, organized by The Organic Center, will be held in conjunction with Natural Food Expo East in Baltimore.

This year’s Organic Confluences conference will explore how organic can both adapt to our changing climate and be a force for climate change mitigation.

The food system is in a dangerous predicament—it’s a significant contributor to one of its own biggest threats—climate change. Climate change jeopardizes our food, water, and economic security, and delayed action could have catastrophic, and potentially irreversible consequences for our weather, sea levels, agricultural yields, and public health.

Fortunately, just as poor land-management practices are contributors to climate change, use of good on-farm practices can actually lead to climate change mitigation. Organic farming is poised to be part of the climate change solution, because organic farmers do not rely on fossil-fuel intensive synthetic inputs to manage pests or increase soil fertility, and they also use farming techniques that sequester carbon in the soil.

Farmers and food industry members are deeply vulnerable to the disasters brought on by climate change, but the level to which they implement or encourage climate-friendly practices is dependent on multiple competing factors, many of which will differ in importance based on the size of the company or farm, its geographic location, the commodities being produced, and current policies and government incentives.

This year’s Organic Confluences conference will directly address the current impacts of climate change and best practices within the organic sector for mitigation and adaptation, while examining methods for encouraging the adoption of strategies for fighting climate change.

The Summit will challenge the current thinking on climate mitigation with the understanding that multiple sectors and food system pathways must come together to make headway on this global issue. We will hear from stakeholders with diverse food system experience, from scientists to farmers to industry members, to provoke a better understanding of how large-scale, inter-disciplinary collaborations are needed address climate change and its impact on our food security.  We will include cutting-edge innovations from the organic industry, which has been focusing its resources on climate mitigation and adaptation, to understand how these experiences and lessons can be used as a learning tool to advance climate-friendly techniques across sectors.

Past Confluences information:

2018 Organic Confluences Conference Agenda

Click here for slides from the 2018 Organic Confluences panels and lightning talks.

May 21, 2018

8:00am Registration, Coffee, and Breakfast
9:00am Welcome, Opening Remarks and Introductions
9:15am – 10:30am Extension: Past, Present and Future

  • Moderator: Dr. Jessica Shade, The Organic Center
  • Kathleen Delate – Professor and Extension Specialist, Iowa State University
  • Laura Driscoll –  Research Fellow, Berkeley Food Institute
  • Stephen Brown – District Agriculture Agent, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Alice Formiga – eOrganic
10:30am – 10:45am Break
10:45am – 11:15am Clicker Questions
11:15am- 12:15pm Public-Private Partnerships

  • Kevin Mahalko – Grassworks, River Country RC&D, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, & Organic Valley
  • Chris Schreiner – Oregon Tilth
  • Matt Dillon – Clif Bar
12:15pm – 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm – 2:15pm Importance of Communication Among Diverse Stakeholders

  • Alex Racelis – Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley
  • Javier Zamora – Owner and farmer, JSM Organics
  • Michael Wall – Director of Farmer Services, Georgia Organics
2:15pm – 3:30pm Assessing the Effectiveness of Extension Requirements in Organic Agriculture Research Funding

  • Mat Ngouajio – National Program Leader, Division of Plant Systems – Production, USDA NIFA
  • Vernon GrubingerExtension Professor, University of Vermont and Coordinator for USDA’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE)
  • Erin Silva – University of Wisconsin, Madison
3:30pm – 3:45pm Break
3:45pm – 5:00pm Information Transfer to Transitioning and Split Operations

  • Thea O’Carroll – YieldOrganic
  • Anders Gurda – Pipeline foods
  • Tucker Gretebeck – Farmer, Organic Valley
5:00pm Conference adjourns


May 22, 2018

8:00am – 9:00am Coffee and Breakfast
9:00am – 9:15am Day 1 Recap and Day 2 Introduction
9:15am – 10:30am Innovation in Information Transfer: Lightning Session

  • Mike Menes: True Organics
  • Maureen Moutoux: Moutoux Orchard, Chesapeake Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT)
  • Suzanne Pender: USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Organic Communications
  • Lindsay Haines: USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Organic Champions Program
  • Steven Mirsky: USDA Agricultural Research Service, Development of Decision Support Tools for Farmers
  • Erin Silva: University of Wisconsin, Madison, OGRAIN (Organic Grain Resource and Information Network)
  • Chris Schreiner: Oregon Tilth
  • Nate Powell-Palm: Farmer and Montana Organic Producers Co-op
  • Brise Tencer: Organic Farming Research Foundation      
10:30am – 10:45am Break
10:45am – 12:15pm Break-out Discussions
12:15pm – 1:00pm Synthesis Discussion and Development of Recommendations
1:00pm Conference Adjourns for the day


Make the most of your time in Washington, D.C.!


Organic Confluences Summit is a day and a half conference organized by The Organic Center. It is held in conjunction with Organic Week in Washington, D.C which includes the Organic Trade Association’s Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days, a Capitol Hill Reception, and more.

Don’t miss a minute of this exciting policy-shaping week in Washington D.C. You can register for both conferences at once when you choose the Organic Week Package.

Thank you to our 2018 Sponsors!

Sponsorship opportunities are still available.


2017 Organic Confluences: Making Research Count

View presentations from Day 1 of the 2017 summit >>

View presentations from Day 2 of the 2017 summit >>

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