CORNWALL -- It was another successful Eco Farm Day at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall with 200-plus guests attending the event and a full slate of 40 vendors on Sat., Feb. 25. The theme for this event was "The 3 R's of Organic Agriculture: Restorative, Responsible, Resilient."
Mark Shepard was the keynote speaker who spoke on "Working Together Toward Restorative Agriculture." Shepard runs a 106-acre perennial agricultural forest, is CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises and is the author of Restoration Agriculture.
During the presentation, Shepard spoke on living in harmony with nature, imitating nature in farming practices as well as future food and water issues during the presentation. Alley cropping and agroforestry were presented as possible methods of increasing soil fertility and use of arable land. Shepard mentioned solutions to the problems associated with climate change, increased population and reduced soil fertility must be solved to ensure adequate food production. He continued on how farmers have the tools necessary to deal with these difficult situations and feels that partnering with nature is a viable solution.
Throughout the day, there were 12 information sessions on topics ranging from cover crops, switchgrass, parasite management, record keeping, transitioning to organic farming and innovations in beekeeping. Mark Shepard led a session on Water Management, which included information on various strategies including the Key Line Plan which was developed to quickly develop and renew soil. Anne Weill, an Agronomist, Ph.D with CETAB+ in Quebec, spoke on controlling sow thistle, coltsfoot and Canada thistle and the results of on-farms on their control were presented.
Eco Farm Day continued Saturday evening with the screening of "The Organic Life" and on the 26th two all-day sessions were held at the Ramada Inn. Delia Elkin, organic inspector and farmer, led a full day workshop on the process to become certified organic and transitioning to organic production while Mark Shepard expanded on the information provided in his keynote speech on Saturday.