ACORN Conference Program

All Workshops

Funding the Sector: Saving the Standards - Staking the Research - Supporting the Network

Tuesday, November 28, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM   

Check-offs and contributions, lobbyists, or fees - what are the financial realities, large and small, that the organic sector is facing both nationally and in the Atlantic region, and how should they be funded? From the $1M required to cover the cost of the Canadian Organic Standards revision, to increasing conference fees, this is your opportunity to hear about some current strategies and to offer your ideas and suggestions.

All Levels
Nova Scotia Room

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Effective On-farm Research for Organic Field Crop Producers

Tuesday, November 28, 10:00 AM - 11:00 PM   

This workshop will cover effective and practical "how to" for farmers doing (or wanting to do) good on-farm research. From pre-season planning to final harvest, this session will cover the importance of on-farm research in the organic context; how to design your research project to meet your specific needs; best practices for research design, methodologies, observation, and final evaluation. Drawing on case studies of alternative cover crop research in Iowa, this session will illustrate the impact of good on-farm research for organic field crop producers.

Intermediate
MacLeod Room

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Keep Your Flowers Blooming With Succession Planning and Season Extension

Tuesday, November 28, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

Plan your season with ongoing blooms and you won't find yourself wishing you had more. Know which ones are cut and come again, cut and done, and choose flowers that will be the "work horses" of your farm. Extending your season with gorgeous early blooms until past the frost date will keep your customers happy, your florists screaming with joy, and your arms always filled with flowers!

Intermediate 
MacDonald Room

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How to Have Custom Machinery Built for Your Farm

Tuesday, November 28, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

With a healthy use of technology, machinery can ease the transition to organic agriculture. Using a current case study of designing a compost spreader for Broadfork Farm of River Hebert, Nova Scotia, we'll outline all the steps from how to find design ideas, to prioritizing which features are most valuable, and how to make sure your ideas are communicated to ensure you're happy with the results. Workshop participants will also have an opportunity to ask questions related to their specific projects.

Intermediate - Advanced
Ballroom C

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Introduction to Permaculture and Farm Ecosystem Services - Part I

Tuesday, November 28, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

This two-part workshop will cover key concepts from Zach’s book The Permaculture Market Garden. This first part will start with a crash course in natural science, then build an understanding of ecosystem services, and proceed to techniques for mapping and designing your farm to fit within a property’s environmental reality.

Beginner
Nova Scotia Room

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Whole Farm Mapping and Holistic Planning - Part II

Tuesday, November 28, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM   

This is the second in a two-part workshop that will cover key concepts from Zach’s book The Permaculture Market Garden. We continue in this session with holistic planning to balance your business and we delve into routine improvement of your soil through brown brain investment.

Intermediate
Nova Scotia Room

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Considerations for Starting Greenhouse Vegetable Production

Tuesday, November 28, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM   

Feeling adventurous? Feeling like it’s time to consider a greenhouse for your business?  With a little planning, keeping things simple, and paying close attention to experts in their fields, you can start making plans for your first greenhouse vegetable production and more with a few useful tips. This workshop will provide insight on what Mark and Fran have learned during their greenhouse site: preparation, building, orientation, and other critical elements, as well as market considerations.

Beginner - Intermediate
Ballroom C

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Cover Cropping Options for Weed Control, Soil Building, and Protection

Tuesday, November 28, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM   

Through his work with Vernon Rodd at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Harrington Research Farm in PEI the last 5 years, Roger has experimented with many single and multi-species cover crop combinations. He will share his on-farm observations and discoveries related to the uniqueness of the PEI climate and welcome conversation from audience members to share their successes and challenges with specific cover crops and combinations throughout the region.

Intermediate
MacLeod Room

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Quality Blooms Start the Moment You Harvest

Tuesday, November 28, 11:30 AM - 12:30 AM   

After months of planning and selecting your varieties, don't get caught feeling lost with questions in the field. When should I cut? Would pinching benefit? Would cutting the "mothers" benefit? What temperature should I set my cooler? How long will they last? Get all these questions and more answered by knowing proper harvest stages and post-harvest care.

Intermediate
MacDonald Room

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Organic Value Chain Roundtable – Evaluation of Opportunities and Risks for the Organic Sector

Tuesday, November 28, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM   

The Organic Value Chain Roundtable (OVCRT) is a collaborative platform between the federal government and the organic industry. It brings stakeholders together to share information, increase Canadian organic capacity, support development of markets, and help guide research and innovation.

The OVCRT is currently undergoing an evaluation of the Canadian policy environment, markets and other external factors that could influence our sector in the next 5 years. The evaluation will be a pivotal document that will nurture reflexion on ongoing priorities for the roundtable.

Please join members of the OVCRT for an in-depth conversation about opportunities and risks that might impact the future competitiveness of Canada’s organic sector.

MacDonald Room

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Slow Tools - Appropriate Technology for the Small Farm

Tuesday, November 28, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM   

In this special lunchtime session, several new tools will be presented that have been recently developed as a direct result of collaboration with the Slow Tools Group. Discussion will include their back story, how they came to be, and how they optimize efficiency for the small-scale or beginning farmer. There will be a projected presentation as well as several physical examples of innovative new tools present to see and touch.

MacDonald Room

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Root Cellar Design and Development - Part I

Tuesday, November 28, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

Root cellars help us extend the garden season by putting away ‘living foods’ during the cold months. After over a decade of commercial root cellaring we exam the best design tips to make a great cellar for any situation. Rife with photos and plans from different cellars, this two-part workshop dives into how to design a cellar from scratch: siting, construction details, and layout. This workshop examines all stages of cellar development from start to finish from the perspective of designing for smooth cellar construction and best cellar outcome.

Beginner
Ballroom C

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New Genetic Engineering Techniques: New and Different? Or Same and Risky?

Tuesday, November 28, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

The biotechnology industry is excited about new genome editing techniques that promise to produce new genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) seeds, pesticides and animals faster, and more efficiently - a promise of targeted precision and new designs. But are these technologies actually more reliable and predictable? Will they resolve the global controversies over GM foods? What products are being developed and what are the risks? The pressure is on for organics to accept the products of new genetic engineering technologies – but where will these technologies take us?

All Levels
MacDonald Room

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Grain Cleaning and Drying / NEEOGrain Update

Tuesday, November 28, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

In the spirit of virtual/regional collaboration, Ellen Mallory will provide updates for the new NEEOGRAIN Network including the interregional listserve, potential training opportunities and new ideas for collaboration moving forward. NEEOGRAIN Farmers will also provide short presentations on their systems for cleaning, drying, storing, and ventilating organic grains to maintain high quality grains and seed. Content in whole or part presented remotely.

Intermediate
MacLeod Room

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Perennial Edibles for a Food Forest Garden

Tuesday, November 28, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

This workshop will cover perennial edibles available in the Maritimes including nuts, berries, roots, and herbs. Estelle will draw on her homesteading experience to deliver information on propagation requirements, harvesting needs, and edible and medicinal uses. Estelle will also cover the design principles needed to grow an ecologically diverse and resilient perennial landscape. By focusing on the seven layers of a forest you can grow an edible landscape that works with nature and reduces maintenance and input needs.

All Levels
Nova Scotia Room

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Root Cellar Design and Development - Part II

Tuesday, November 28, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

The second part of this workshop continues with an overview of the stages of root cellar construction and development. Make sure to bring your questions and specific considerations for your farm.

Intermediate
Ballroom C

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How to talk intelligently about GMOs

Tuesday, November 28, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

Everyone’s talking about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But is anyone making sense? Your customers are asking you about GM foods, what can you tell them? Your neighbours insist they know what’s happening, are they right? The biotechnology industry wants us all to feel like only scientists can discuss this technology – that’s fake news! This interactive session will provide some information, updates, and analytical tools for critical thinking on GMOs so you can sort the wheat from the chaff.

All Levels
MacDonald Room

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A Regenerative Agro-Ecological System

Tuesday, November 28, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

André Leu’s farm is what he refers to as a “regenerative agro-ecological system”. This system is designed to minimize inputs and labour and maximize productivity, nutrient recycling, and biodiversity. Leu believes that we can reverse climate change through this type of organic farming if we achieve a sufficient increase in the amount of carbon stored in soils. Not only does a regenerative agro-ecological system encourage soil carbon accumulation, but it is also increases farm resilience and adaptability to climate change by increasing the ability to capture and store water, as well as resist heavy rains and droughts. In this workshop, Leu will introduce this idea of a regenerative agro-ecological system and share tips and techniques from his own organic farm.

All Levels
Nova Scotia Room

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Farm to Enterprise: Developing Partnerships and Adding Value to Level Up

Tuesday, November 28, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

From the farmer, to the miller, to the baker, Oechsner Farms is an organic grain farm that works as part of a fully integrated grain enterprise. The workshop will cover why and how they developed (and maintain) these partnerships, and what it means for the farm and wider community. The session will also touch on their work with local micro-breweries and distilleries which further diversifies farm income and partnerships, and adds value to their organic grain.

Workshop content will be presented remotely. 

Advanced
MacLeod Room

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Program at a Glance