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ACORN Conference Schedule 2024

On February 18, we'll meet at the Truro Farmers' Market to discuss hot topics; this will be a great opportunity to share ideas and experiences with others in the organic and ecological farming community complete with pot luck supper, seed swap and "movie night" featuring farmers you may know!

February 19 is brought to you in collaboration with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. We'll meet at Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus (Cox Institute) for panel presentations featuring faculty and farmers; a promising mix of perspectives on the why and how of sustainable farms and food systems with the option of hands-on activities in the soil lab! This day includes an organic lunch and mini Trade Show. 

Sunday, February 18, Truro Farmers' Market
1:00—2:00 PM

Conference Kick-off

Welcome and brief updates from ACORN, PEI Certified Organic Producers Cooperative and Organic Nova Scotia

Kick-off presentation by Av Singh: A Decolonial Perspective for a Reemergent Organic Agriculture

2:00—3:15 PM

Hot Topics Round One

Facilitated Group Discussions on:

Water management; Farm inputs; Organic certification; Land access


3:15—4:30 PM

Hot Topics Round Two

Facilitated Group Discussions on:

Greenhouse design; Small-scale grain production; Community Supported Agriculture; Farmworker rights (creating a safe and happy workplace); Maintaining your intention and ethics while gaining financial abundance (Adored Beast Apothocary)


4:30-5:45 PM

Hot Topics Round Three

Facilitated Group Discussions on:

Closing the loop on-farm; Building impactful organizations (like incubator farms); Farm-life balance; Seed production 


6:00 PM

Potluck Supper

Good food in good company!

6:45 PM - 9:00 PM

News from Canadian Organic Growers

Presentation of Gerrit Loo Award

Screening NFU Depth of Field: Films about Farming

9:00PM - 10:00PM

Pool Party for those staying at the Inn on Prince!

Monday, February 19, 2024

Brought to you in collaboration with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada.

Monday, February 19, Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, Cox Institute
8:30 - 9:00 AM (Rm 157)

Trade Show Open

9:00 - 10:00 AM (Rm 153)

Organic as Part of the Solution to Our Grand Challenges

Our food and farming systems are facing challenges on many fronts - environment, climate, biodiversity, energy, food security, and financial security. In this session, we’ll explore how the principles and practices of organic agriculture can be part of the solution to our grand challenges globally, locally and for the future.


9:00 - 10:00 AM (Rm 134)

Meet the Life in Your Soil

Soil is brimming with life! In this session you’ll meet some of the myriad organisms that live underground among plant roots. You’ll learn about their jobs, their homes and communities, and what you can do to keep them happy and healthy.


10:00 - 10:30 AM (Rm 157)

Coffee Break and Trade Show

Drop-in hands-on microscope session; viewing the life in your soil. (Rm 255) Details

10:30—12:00 PM (Rm 153)

Adaptation and Resilience in a Changing Climate

Farmers are facing more variable weather patterns along with more extreme weather events. In this session, we’ll hear about strategies and practices to build resilient farms including ways to support soil health, biodiversity, on-farm nutrient cycling and farmer well-being.


10:30 - 12:00 PM (Rm 134)

Food System Solutions

How can we build better local food systems? In this session, we’ll explore the interconnectivity of our food systems and what we can do in our communities to bring about greater food sovereignty and sustainability.


12:00—1:15 PM

Organic Lunch and Trade Show

12:45—1:15 PM

Tours of Dalhousie Agricultural Campus Facilities

Take a Walking Tour (Atlantic Canada Regional Seed Bank, Centre for Sustainable Soil Management, Greenhouse Header House, Controlled Environment Chambers)


Drop-in hands-on microscope session; viewing the life in your soil. (Rm 255) Details

1:15 - 2:45 PM (Rm 153)

Weeds, Insects and Diseases in an Agro-ecosystem

Weeds, insects, and diseases are part of the functional biodiversity of agro-ecosystems, however, if the system gets out of balance, crop productivity can suffer. In this session, we’ll explore how soil biology can be harnessed to counteract pests and diseases followed by an interactive session on management strategies from a seasoned vegetable farmer. What was your biggest pest or disease challenge last year?


1:15 - 2:45 PM (Rm 134)

Pathways to Market

How you market your products depends on your goals and preferences. Do you enjoy interacting with customers or would you rather focus on growing food? In this session, we’ll explore various pathways to market from food hubs and institutional procurement to selling through retailers and direct marketing.


2:45 - 3:15 PM

Coffee Break and Trade Show

3:15 - 4:45 PM (Rm 153)

Marketing "Value"

What influences consumers' food purchasing decisions? We’ll explore value perceptions and how food producers can most effectively market Value.


3:15 - 4:45 PM (Rm 134)

Integrating Livestock on an Organic Farm

In this session, we’ll explore the benefits and challenges of integrating livestock on organic farms along with requirements for organic certification and practical tips on livestock selection, care and pasture management.


3:15 - 4:45 PM (Rm 184)

Deep Dive Soil Lab Intensive

Learn about the methods, challenges, and opportunities of tracking soil carbon and soil health in organic farming. Seminar and lab tour with demonstrations. Limited to 15 people. (Select Lab Intensive with your ticket purchase).


4:45 - 5:00 PM (Rm 153)