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Cultivating Care—and Policy Change: 7 Conference Workshops You Don’t Want to Miss

February is quickly approaching and our policy team is preparing for another action-packed OEFFA Conference!

We’ve put together a series of great workshop offerings focusing on a variety of policy-based topics. If you want to see how policy can bring real change in our food and farming system, you’re going to want to make time for these seven workshops at the 45th annual OEFFA conference, Cultivating Care.

Online registration closes on February 1, so be sure to secure your three days of learning, sharing, connecting, and shopping today!

Policy-Focused Workshops at the 2024 OEFFA Conference

Understanding and Overcoming the Rural-Urban Divide: Opportunities for the Local Foods Movement to Lead the Way—Anthony Flaccavento of the Rural Urban Bridge Initiative

Friday, February 16 | Workshop Session I: 9:15-10:30 a.m.

Local food markets have helped revitalize downtowns and reconnect producers with consumers in many communities, yet the divide between city and country, between “Red” and “Blue,” has expanded and intensified. The Rural Urban Bridge Initiative (RUBI) works to understand the divide and create opportunities to reverse it. Explore how farmers and food system advocates can use their experience to help meet this challenge.

Beginning Farmer Tax Credit—Lauren Hirtle of OEFFA and Sarah Huffman of the Ohio Department of Agriculture

Friday, February 16 | Workshop Session II: 10:45 a.m.-Noon

The new Ohio Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program is an exciting opportunity to encourage farmland transfers to beginning farmers. Explore how it works, how it can benefit your farm business, and how it connects beginning farmers with more affordable land. Also, learn about the grassroots efforts that led to the passing of the bill to create the program in Ohio.

Leveling the Playing Field through Crop Insurance Reform—Billy Hackett of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Friday, February 16 | Workshop Session III: 1:30-2:45 p.m.

Dig into crop insurance—this “farm safety net” program—and how it has become a primary driver of industrial agriculture. Then, discuss structural reform opportunities to shift the concentration of resources in the farm bill.

Read how crop insurance has been a pillar of OEFFA’s federal policy work over the past year.

A New Farm Bill: Where We’re At and Where We’re Going—Jesse Womack of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Friday, February 16 | Workshop Session IV: 3-4:15 p.m.

Congress has been working to reauthorize the farm bill, the single largest piece of agricultural legislation in the U.S. Get an up-to-date breakdown of what’s in the current bill, where it is on its path to passage, what you can do to help shape it, and how to prepare for the changes it brings to USDA programs.

Bridging Perspectives—Nicole Wolcott of OEFFA

Saturday, February 17 | Workshop Session V: 10:45 a.m.-Noon

Through group discussions and activities, learn how we can bridge perspectives and backgrounds to build movements. OEFFA’s narrative is our goal—to have a sustainable and resilient food system. By practicing positive conversations and working across differences, we can help folks see the value in working together to achieve that goal.

A Seat at OEFFA’s Table: Policy Agenda for Urban and BIPOC Communities—Amanda Hernandez, Leonard Hubert of L Hubert and Associates, Bill Miller of Ohio Farmers Union, and Celeste Treece of AgNoire Urban Farming Association

Saturday, February 17 | Workshop Session VI: 1:30-2:45 p.m.

Can predominantly white organizations genuinely support and advocate for issues in an industry that has historically discriminated against farmers of color? How can organizations like OEFFA improve their engagement with farmers of color? What are the benefits to urban farmers and food producers of color? This will be an open and frank discussion on coalition building, racial equity, and inclusion in public policy advocacy.

Shifting the Narrative: How to Apply OEFFA’s Policy Narrative and Cultivate Community – Lauren Hirtle and Milo Petruziello of OEFFA

Saturday, February 17 | Workshop Session VII: 3-4:15 p.m.

OEFFA’s policy narrative, a series of statements of belief, drives our advocacy work. Dive into these narrative shifts and learn the tools to best utilize them in the OEFFA narrative. Along with your own stories, shift the dominant narrative around agriculture and cultivate community through compassionate and deep discussions around food and farm policy.

Read OEFFA’s Narrative and Statements of Belief.

See Us at the Exhibit Hall!

The OEFFA conference exhibit hall offers endless opportunities for shopping and networking. Be sure to check out the Policy Program booth! Chat with a policy staffer, pick up an informational flyer, or sign up for future programming and advocacy activities. Looking forward to seeing you in February!