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Covid

January 5, 2022

EcoFarm In-Person Conference Called Off due to Covid Surge

 
Dear EcoFarm Conference participants,
 
Due to the public health situation with the latest Omicron surge, EcoFarm will not be able to hold the annual EcoFarm Conference in person as originally planned. We will be pivoting to a virtual conference at a future date to be determined.
 
This decision was made to protect your health - our attendees, our community, and the public at large. Once it became clear that the conference would be taking place in the midst of an unprecedented surge of Covid-19 with overflowing hospitals, we felt that we could not responsibly continue as planned. We are trying to do the right thing, in spite of our disappointment and the potential financial distress we will incur by not being able to hold an in-person conference for two years running. We invite you to remain rooted and resilient together with us as we pivot to a virtual event where we can come together, safely. 
 
For many of you, EcoFarm has been part of your lives, work, and farms for years, decades in some cases. We have been there for you, and you have been there for us. We are in community together, even if you’re new to the conference. I ask for your continued support, patience, and generosity of spirit with us.

Virtual Conference

We are now applying our collective brainpower and imagination into formulating an alternative virtual event. We don’t yet know when it will be (not January!), or what form it will take. But we know it will be awesome and have much if not all of the originally scheduled conference content. We expect to communicate with you within two to three weeks about those plans. 

Got questions?

We will be in communication with you over the course of January about our next steps. We ask you to have patience with our strained staff as we transition from one plan to another. You can always contact me directly at andy@eco-farm.org if you have any questions or comments.

Registration Fees 

You may have paid registration fees to us for the event, meals or in a few cases, lodging. You will have the opportunity to transfer your registration to our virtual event, to donate your fees in whole or partially to EcoFarm (to help us cover the losses incurred from canceling), or receive a full refund. It will be your choice.
 
We will begin processing requests by January 24th. Stay tuned for how you can make your request.

Lodging 

You may have booked your sleeping room through Asilomar. Asilomar has agreed to cancel all reservations made for the conference. No charges have yet been processed and there is no need to contact them directly.  

Pre-Conference & Special Events 

All Pre-Conference events including the Bay Area Urban Ag Bus Tour, Central Coast Farms & Ranches Bus Tour, Honoring Ancestral Foodways, as well as the Wine & Cider Tasting, are all canceled. 
 
Best,
 
Andy Fisher 
Executive Director

 

Covid Safety Policy

December 3, 2021
 
We are strengthening our precautions to make the 2022 EcoFarm Conference as welcoming and safe as possible. Your health is foremost in our minds as we move forward with an in-person conference. Here are some things we're doing:
  • Requiring conference attendees to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
  • Requiring that attendees wear masks while indoors, except while eating or drinking.
  • Establishing physical distancing in meeting rooms, buses, and at meals.
  • Providing rapid tests on site for those who feel ill.
  • Replacing the Friday night indoor dance with a musical parade and other entertainment, outdoors.
  • Setting up an open-air dining area and gathering space with large tents.
  • Hiring a covid coordinator who is overseeing our activities, coordinating responses and connecting to Monterey County public health resources.
  • Providing ribbons that you can adhere to your name badges to communicate your comfort level with physical proximity and interaction.
We are looking forward to holding EcoFarm Conference in person, and appreciate your contribution to making our space as safe as possible. All registrants must agree to comply with EcoFarm’s Covid Policy and state and county regulations as they develop and show proof of vaccination.

Will I need to present proof of vaccination?

EcoFarm is working closely with CrowdPass, an industry leader in HIPAA compliant Covid-19 event clearance. The CrowdPass platform will allow you to upload proof of vaccination. Once your upload is confirmed and approved, you will receive a QR code by email from CrowdPass, and we will receive notification that you have complied with our health requirements. Please do not bring proof of vaccination or test results to registration. We are unable to verify on-site. Upload your vaccine verification here by January 12, 2022.

Will all attendees need to be vaccinated? 

Yes, we are requiring all attendees, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and contractors to be fully vaccinated by the time of the conference. 

Are there exemptions to the vaccine mandate?

Yes, in accordance with the law, you may apply for an exemption for religious or medical reasons. To do so, you must submit a letter attesting to why you need an exemption. Please submit it to EcoFarmCovidInfo@planitnow.com by no later than January 3, 2022. We will make every effort to process exemption requests within 72 hours of being received. Please request your exemption before beginning your registration. 

Where can I get vaccinated?

Text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find vaccine locations near you in the United States.

Will I have to wear a mask at the conference?

Yes. All attendees must wear a mask in indoor spaces while on Asilomar grounds, except while eating or in their sleeping rooms. Outdoors, masks are optional. We will provide masks free of charge at onsite registration. We will work with presenters to determine whether they will be asked to wear masks while speaking during workshops. 

What about masks on bus tours and field trips?

All registrants must be vaccinated and masks are required while riding the bus.

Can I get an exemption from wearing a mask?

We will process mask exemption requests on a case-by-case basis, and require a letter from your medical provider. We may ask you to provide a daily negative Covid test if you request such an exemption.

Will I need to be tested?

We are currently examining state law and public health guidance whether we will require attendees to be tested prior to coming to Asilomar. The requirements will be communicated through CrowdPass.

How will meals be different than in previous years?

To facilitate social distancing during meals we will reduce the number of chairs at each table inside the dining hall, have two separate seatings at dinner, offer outdoor seating, and provide to-go boxes.

Can I bring my child to the conference?

Vaccinated children are welcome at the EcoFarm Conference. Please use CrowdPass to verify their vaccination status. We cannot accommodate unvaccinated children this year in order to protect their health as well as the health of all our attendees.

Will there be childcare at the conference?

No. Since childcare is typically provided for young children who would not be able to be vaccinated, we are not providing childcare this year. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and hope to provide childcare in the future, once it feels safe. 

What other measures will you be implementing at the conference to reduce the spread of Covid-19?

Asilomar will be deep cleaning meeting rooms at night and hand sanitizer will be available in all meeting spaces. We will be offering anti-viral teas to help build attendees’ immunity.

What is your refund policy in case I become ill with Covid-19?

If you become ill with Covid-19 after January 1st, we will fully refund your conference registration minus a $55 processing fee. Please email ecofarm@planitnow.com with a doctor’s note or proof of a positive test.

Can I get a refund on lodging if I become ill with Covid-19?

Asilomar handles all lodging refund requests. Their policy states that they will not provide refunds after January 3. Visit Asilomar’s Lodging site for EcoFarm 2022 for more information. 

Why has EcoFarm made this decision? 

We have made this decision to protect the health of all our attendees, to reduce the possibility that the conference will spread serious illness, and to do our part to end the pandemic. 

Will you be holding a virtual conference?

Yes, we intend to hold a mini virtual EcoFarm Conference in February 2022, with recordings from the Asilomar-based event. More details will be coming soon.

What happens if Covid cases rise in California? Will you have to go online? Conversely, what happens if the pandemic eases up in California? Will you release your restrictions?

We will continue to monitor the pandemic, state and county law, and communicate with public health officials about the appropriate measures. Any changes will be communicated to our community and registered attendees as soon as possible.

How do I best protect myself while at the conference?

Maintain a healthy distance when possible. Wear your mask except while eating or drinking or in your sleeping room. Get tested to make sure you’re not spreading the virus to others. If everyone does so, we will protect each other. Be diligent with your hygiene. Please wash your hands with soap and water and use hand sanitizer frequently. 

What should I do if I feel sick?

If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Please stay home and follow the steps here to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

To learn more

Read the Letter from the EcoFarm Board of Directors about our Covid Policy.
 

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Thank you to our EcoFarm 2022 sponsors!