For Immediate Release MEDIA RELEASE

New Shades of Green

NL sends participants to Eastern Canada’s largest Organic Conference

St. John’s, NL, Canada – March, 17, 2010 – Four delegates from Newfoundland and Labrador’s organic industry participated in the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network’s (ACORN) 10th Anniversary Conference and Trade Show held last week in Charlottetown, PEI, an event that drew about 450 participants.

Entitled “Celebrating a Decade of Growth,” the much-anticipated 3-day event included the first ever Organic Berry Symposium in addition to a packed conference program with veterans and innovators from the North American organic community including keynote speaker Marty Mesh (of the Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers).

For the Newfoundland and Labrador participants, the conference and trade show presented a tremendous opportunity to meet with growers, retailers, suppliers, certification bodies and others in the organic industry; to be exposed to new production research and practices; and learn new techniques in everything from seed and cultivar selection to value-added production and marketing.

Owner of the Rocks to Riches organic farm in St. Philips, Don Bragg says that it was important for him to attend. “We’re currently expanding our vegetable/fruit production and want to gain a better understanding of the organic practices and equipment used for farming a larger acreage.”

Greg Wood, of Hillside Organics in Deer Lake, attended last year’s conference and was eager to participate again. “Finally, organic farming is being seen as a viable sector of agriculture,” he says. “The positive energy from the young and old at the conference was all around. A show of hands indicated that over 25 percent of people at the event were under 40 years of age – a great sign for the future of organic farming.”

“This conference successfully brings together not only farmers and other members of the certified organic food chain but incubates ideas that improve the access to local and organic (healthy) food in a real sense,” said Mark Wilson, an organic farmer who intends to break ground on his own farm in Portugal Cove this year. “The conference allowed me to make research linkages that will help me directly on the farm move towards truly environmentally sustainable farming techniques.”

Alison Dyer, a freelance environmental writer, farm assistant with the Lien Family Farm in Portugal Cove, and NL representative on the ACORN board of directors says she is inspired by the dedication of the organic sector and the collective knowledge of best practices and innovative techniques. “The conference provided a wealth in information and linkages that can be directly applied to building capacity in the Newfoundland and Labrador organic sector.”

The participation of conference delegates was made possible by funding from the federal-provincial Growing Forward Program. Provincially, the Department of Natural Resources’ supports the goals of the ACORN-NL, the provincial chapter. DNR’s commitment includes the assignment of crop specialist Jane White, whose portfolio includes that of organic specialist.

For more information, visit ACORN website: http://www.acornorganic.org or ACORN-NL blog: https://acornnl.wordpress.com.

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For more information, or to set up interviews with organic farmers, contact:

Alison Dyer

ACORN-NL

t. 709.576.1312 e. acorn-nl@acornorganic.org

https://acornnl.wordpress.com

Beth McMahon Executive Director,

ACORN 1-866-322-2676

admin@acornorganic.org

www.acornorganic.org

Backgrounder:

About ACORN: The Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network is a not-for-profit organization established in 2000. It aims to enhance the viability and growth of the Atlantic Canadian organic agricultural community through a unified regional network.

About ACORN-NL: Since its formation in April 2008, the organization (which includes experienced and aspiring farmers, retailers, consumers, and researchers among others), works to promote organic agriculture in the province. To date its activities have included organic workshops, organic farm visits/talks, completion of an organic producers’ survey and input directory, establishing research links, creation of an information/networking blog and participation in various conferences and events.

List of NL Participants at the ACORN 2010 Conference: Greg Wood, Hillside Organics (Deer Lake)

Don Bragg, Rocks to Riches (St. Philips)

Mark Wilson, NL Organics (St. John’s & Portugal Cove)

Alison Dyer, Farm assistant (St. John’s)

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