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About Us

Shaping the future of farming together

The Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to nurture safe, healthy, just, and ecologically sustainable farms, food systems, and communities by bringing people together for education, alliance building, advocacy, and celebration. 

Founded in 1981 when the first EcoFarm Conference was held, EcoFarm has facilitated the inception and continued development of an ecological and just food and farming system. EcoFarm has grown into a broad network of grassroots leadership and has facilitated an exchange of knowledge for over 60,000 people. The public is engaged in an ever growing conversation about where our food comes from, who grows it, and who has access to it, and it's EcoFarm's goal to translate the commitment for solutions into action.

 

In Solidarity With Black Lives Matter

EcoFarm stands in solidarity with Black communities in grieving and protesting the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbaury and so many other African Americans at the hands of systemic racism and police brutality. 

To some, this may seem outside of EcoFarm’s mission. We disagree. We believe that racism and capitalism are intertwined. The racism that allows the police to brutalize and harass the Black community is part and parcel of the economic system that leads to the destruction of ecosystems and exploitation of workers in the food system.

EcoFarm continues to be a white-led organization. Racism, white power and privilege are a white person’s problem to solve. We must learn how racism and white supremacy are embedded in our consciousness, our organizations, and our work. We must call it out, challenge it, learn to feel more empathy, and overcome it at all levels. 

Our work as staff goes far beyond issuing statements of support. We are committed to doing three things:

  • Examining and changing our policies and practices to break down institutionalized white supremacy in our organizational practices, culture, and programs;
  • Creating space and building capacity for learning and dialogue about racism and racial justice in agriculture and the food system among our community;
  • Amplifying the voices of our black, indigenous and people of color allies in the food system.

EcoFarm is known for bringing people together for education, alliance building, advocacy, and celebration. We thank you for your participation in EcoFarm’s events over the years. It is not only our place, but our responsibility to take a public stance against racism and all forms of injustice in our country. 

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter to stamp out white supremacy wherever it may be found, particularly in our corner of the food system and our organization. We urge all members of the EcoFarm community to stand with us. 

 

EcoFarm Sustie and Justie Awards

The Burroughs Family receives Sustie Award at EcoFarm 2020. Photo by Trav Williams of Broken Banjo Photography

The Sustie Award honors those who have been actively and critically involved in ecologically-sustainable agriculture and have demonstrated their long term, significant contributions to the well-being of agriculture and the planet.

The Justie Award honors those who has been active advocates for social justice as a critical aspect of ecologically-sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Click here for our past awardees

 

EcoFarm Conference Art 

Click here to view the art and themes from past EcoFarm Conferences.

 

Historical snapshot

1970s: There were few organic farms with no forum for organic farmers to get together and share information.

1981: The first Ecological Farming Conference was held at the Firehouse in Winters, California and 45 people attended.

First EcoFarm Conference Poster, 1981

 

Amigo Bob Cantisano, an EcoFarm founder and advisor.

 

Dru Rivers of Full Belly Farm, EcoFarm founder, advisor, and board member.

 

Regional farmer-led EcoFarm workshops were organized throughout California.

 

Volunteer Rob Feldman (on right) recording the EcoFarm Conference workshops back in the early 80's when the conference was still held in La Honda, California. Rob continues to provide AV support at EcoFarm each year.

 

EcoFarm reps with Brian Leahy who helped pioneer California organic agriculture, Agriculture Secretary Ann M.Veneman, who in 2002 launched the implementation of USDA's national organic standards for agriculturual products, and Mark Mulcahy, organic produce devotee.

 

EcoFarmers unite each year at Full Belly Farm for the Hoes Down Harvest Festival.

 

Steve Pavich, founder of Pavich Family Farms, now the largest producer of certified organic table grapes in the world, making a mockery of chemical pesticides at the annual EcoFarm Conference.

 

1990s: The EcoFarm Conference continued to grow and moved to Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California.

 

Panel of EcoFarm speakers and representatives of the Asilomar Declaration for Sustainable Agriculture.

 

The Committee for Sustainable Agriculture (later renamed the Ecological Farming Association) brought harvest baskets to California state capitol legislators as a statement and gift representing the importance of local farm-fresh produce.

 

Robert Rodale of the Rodale Institute receiving the Sustie Award at the 1990 EcoFarm Conference.

 

Masanobu Fukuoaka, Japan's Great Grandfather of Natural Farming visiting farms in California with Zea Sonnabend of EcoFarm.

 

Cafe Mam coffee producers from Chiapas, Mexico attending EcoFarm with founder Dahinda Meda and Spanish/English interpreter, Adele Negro.

 

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) at the Hoes Down Harvest Festival.

 

An aspiring farmer at the Hoes Down Harvest Festival.

 

Wheelbarrow race at the Hoes Down Harvest Festival emceed by Wavy Gravy, American entertainer and activist for peace.

 

Vandana Shiva, Indian scholar, environmental activist, and anti-globalization author receives a Sustie Award at EcoFarm.

 

Michael Ableman and Alice Waters receiving Sustie Awards at EcoFarm.

 

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EcoFarm Tour of Van Dyke Ranch, renowned fifth generation California family farm who pioneered organic stone fruit.

 

Kristin Rosenow, former and longtime EcoFarm Executive Director.

 

Ken Dickerson - former EcoFarm Executive Director, activist and volunteer in EcoFarm Dirt First attire.

 

2010: 30th anniversary of the EcoFarm Conference

 

2014 - EcoFarm Conference grows to nearly 1900 attendees

 

Bob Scowcroft with former Congressman Sam Farr at EcoFarm

 

Seed Exchange opening circle - an EcoFarm Conference tradition.

 

EcoFarm continues to work on ways to increase the diversity of the conference with guidance from our Diversity Advisory Group (DAG).

 

EcoFarm is more than a conference. It’s a gathering for inspiration, renewal, and celebration.

 

2018 - Winona LaDuke receives a Justie Award

 

Agriculture and the organic industry as we know it continues to grow and change. Join EcoFarm to help shape its future.

Learn about EcoFarm events here.