Ward Middleton talks about his organic farm operation at the Organic Alberta Conference on Friday in Red Deer. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

WATCH: Organic Alberta brings conference, a growing industry to Red Deer

A fast-growing industry, organic farmers gathered in Red Deer for their annual conference.

The two day event, held by Organic Alberta, at the Westerner brought in farmers from across Alberta to learn more about organic farming.

Becky Lipton, Organic Alberta executive director, said Alberta has the strongest organics industry in the country and it is growing.

“It’s growing very fast, both in terms of consumer demand and production,” said Lipton. “Alberta has the highest number of consumers who buy organic on weekly basis, it’s 74 per cent.

“In terms of production, we’re seeing very strong growth. It was stable from 2010 to 2015 and in the last couple of years we’ve seen good growth.”

The member-driven organization helps to support and grow the organic sector in the province. Its membership includes organic farmers, companies that provide products or services in the organic sector and producers with an interest in organics.

Their 2018 conference continues on Saturday until 5 p.m.

“Some are in transition, some never will be organic, but they are interested in organic techniques,” said Lipton. “We take a very open approach. Anyone who has an interest, we’d love to share.”

Speakers at the event included: the market for organic beef, benefits of season extension technology, integrating compost teas into a farm, seed saving, organic management of herd and flock health and local food strategies.

“Our main goal is to represent, support and grow the sector,” said Lipton. “It’s really about giving people the tools for if they want to go organic in some form.”

There was also a trade show to connect organic producers with products and services relating to the organic industry.

“Our greatest hope is farmers will leave here with a handful of new practices they’re going to try on their farm,” said Lipton.

“It’s not just for organic farmers. We really try to make it open to everybody.”


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