Pre-Conference Events

Get the party started early by attending one of six amazing pre-conference events, from bus tours to a butchery skills seminar!

Tuesday, January 22

  1. Urgenci International CSA Conference: Full Day Farm Bus Tour 

    Join Urgenci and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) for the first day of their pre-conference for community supported agriculture farmers, organizations, and consumers.  Tuesday features a day of farm tours that will include stops at four CSA farms in the area. A diversity of farms will be visited which will include vegetable and fruit production along with animal products. Buses will pick-up near the Asilomar main gate (exact location to be announced) at 8:00am and will drop off at the same location at 5:00pm. Registration includes lunch.

    An evening session is being planned in Pacific Grove — details TBA.

    Price for Bus Tour: $50

    See below for the second day of the Urgency International CSA Conference.

    For more detailed program information, please visit:

    1. EcoFarm Butchery Skills Seminar, 9:00am – 5:00pm* 

      For the Farmer, Rancher, Foodie, and Entrepreneur: Learn How to make Your Best Cut!

      at the Cannery Row Brewing Company, 95 Prescott Avenue, Monterey, CA.

      *Course runs until 5:00pm, happy hour and dinner run until 7:30pm.

      Join master butchers Rian Rinn of Wyeth Acres in Healdsburg, CA and Loren Ozaki of Flea Street Café/CoolEatz in Menlo Park, CA on Tuesday, January 22 as they demonstrate and instruct you in the step by step process of butchery for organic hog, lamb, and chicken. You will learn how to safely and efficiently break down each animal from carcass into the best and most valuable cuts.

      Price: $200 (includes lunch, happy hour, and dinner)

      Seminar Includes:

      • Orientation on carcass handling, safety, and butchering station details
      • Knife selections and skills
      • Butchery demonstration for organic hog, lamb,and chicken
      • In-depth Q&A with experienced butchers on getting the most value from your animal,marketing and pricing, and tricks of the trade
      • Best practices for wrapping and storage
      • Take-home booklet on butchery techniques
      • Networking with growers, producers and others interested in developing skills and opportunities in the emerging local, humane, ecological, and organic meat business

      Registration also includes:

      • Lunch at the Cannery Row Brewing Company
      • Happy Hour with complimentary appetizers and a beer
      • Organic three course dinner created by Chef Carlos Canada of Flea Street Café/CoolEatz,featuring cuts described in the seminar

      Space is limited, reserve yours today!

      Limited number of discounts available for eligible farmer/ranchers.  Email for more information.

      EcoFarm Butchery Skills Seminar made possible by the generous sponsorships of Paicines Ranch, TomKat Education Foundation, and Flea Street Café/CoolEatz Restaurants and Catering.  Proceeds from this event will fund the Ecological Farming Association’s Animal Agriculture Program.



Wednesday, January 23

    1. EcoFarm Bus Tour, 8:00am – 3:30pm 

      Organic & Sustainable Farming on the Central Coast

      The EcoFarm Bus Tour promises a diverse and informative farm tour to help you kick off the EcoFarm Conference! This all-day field trip on Wednesday, January 23 will visit four organic and sustainable farms near the town of Pescadero in San Mateo County. Long known for the production of high-quality, cool-season crops, this region right next to the Pacific Ocean is an area of cool, foggy summers, sunny springs and falls, and mild wet winters. Pescadero and the surrounding area feature a great range of crops suited to the climate and fertile coastal soils.

      Price for Conference Attendees: $60
      Price for Non-Conference Attendees: $70
      Tour leaves from Pescadero.  Click here for a list of Tuesday night accommodations.

      Tour stops will include:

      • Leftcoast Grassfed/Tomkat Ranch are producers of Black Baldy cattle using rotational grazing on 1,800 acres of ranchland sustainably certified by the Food Alliance, American Grassfed, and Animal Welfare Approved. Educational Director Kathy Webster and Ranch Director Wendy Millet will lead the tour.
      • Fifth Crow Farm, where partners Mike Irving, Teresa Kurtak, and John Vars will show us their 20-acre CCOF certified production of mixed vegetables, flowers, apples, and 700 pasture-raised heirloom egg chickens.
      • Dee Harley of Harley Farms Goat Dairy will show us her 12-acre pasture based farm and dairy, supporting 200 Alpine goats. Their milk is used to make many types of award- winning cheeses, some of which we will sample and/or purchase.
      • Larry Jacobs and Sandra Belin will guide us through the home ranch of Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo where they are producing culinary herbs, edible flowers, fruits, and vegetables on 292 acres, all certified organic since 1980. We will learn about the history of the Del Cabo project as well.

      Amigo Bob Cantisano of Organic Ag Advisors, Sam Earnshaw of Hedgerows Unlimited, and Richard Smith of UC Cooperative Extension will lead the tour. Lunch will be served at the Jacobs Farm farmstand barn and feature a hearty natural foods meal prepared by noted chef Jim Denevan of Outstanding In The Field in Santa Cruz, with many ingredients donated by the bus tour hosts. Morning coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided.

      Don’t wait – This event always sells out early. All aboard!

      Please note that this year the bus tour does NOT depart from Asilomar. At 8:00am, we will be loading buses in Pescadero which is nearly a two hour drive from Asilomar. There are rooms available for those needing accommodations at Asilomar on the night before the tour, Tuesday, January 22. Click here for a list of other motels in Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay.

    2. CCOF Annual Meeting & Anniversary Celebration, 9:00am – 6:00pm 

      Join CCOF as we celebrate 40 years of organic certification, education, and advocacy! 40th anniversary activities will begin with an annual meeting, including a review of the past year’s accomplishments and an open microphone for member comment.

      A commemorative bus tour will depart from the Asilomar Conference Grounds to visit farms and highlight CCOF’s innovative role in organic agriculture. Following the tour, participants are invited to join a celebratory reception and video viewing prior to a dinner, which will feature organic ingredients certified by CCOF.

      CCOF was founded at a kitchen table on the Central Coast by a few visionary organic farmers. The bus tour and other activities will provide participants with the opportunity to hear the real story from those who were there, and learn more about where organic is headed in the future. We will also recount stories told in Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History of Organic Farming and Sustainable Agriculture on California’s Central Coast. Copies of the book may be purchased with your registration.

      Bus Tour Price for CCOF and Oregon Tilth Members: $60
      Bus Tour Price for Non-Members: $70
      (price includes an all-organic lunch)
      Wednesday dinner ticket: $30
      (a dinner ticket is included in the price of your accommodation if you spend Wednesday night at Asilomar.)

      Additional $19.95 to purchase a copy of Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History of Organic Farming and Sustainable Agriculture on California’s Central Coast, edited by Sarah Rabkin, Irene Reti, and Ellen Farmer (2012)

      40th Anniversary Bus Tour Stops

      • Phil Foster Ranch-Pinnacle Brand – Phil Foster, Owner/Farmer
      • Fuentes Berry Farms and USDA-ARS Organic Research Station – Roy Fuentes, Owner/
        Farmer; Eric Brennan, Research Horticulturist, USDA-ARS
      • Serendipity Farms – Jamie Collins, Owner/Farmer

      Additional Speakers:

      • Mark Lipson, Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Policy Advisor, USDA – invited
      • David Katz, Farm Doctor/Land Specialist, David Katz & Associates
      • Wendy Krupnick, Instructor, organic farming and gardening
      • Irene Reti and Sarah Rabkin, Co-editors of Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History of Organic Farming and Sustainable Agriculture on California’s Central Coast
      • Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA), Co-chair, Congressional Organic Caucus – confirmed, pending congressional schedule
      • Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Co-chair, Congressional Organic Caucus – invited
      • David Lively, VP of Sales & Marketing, Organically Grown Company
      • Melody Meyer, VP of Policy and Industry Relations, UNFI

      For more detailed program information, please visit:

    3. Urgenci International CSA Conference 

      Join Urgenci and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) for the second day of the Urgency International CSA Conference.  Below is a tentative agenda of workshops and plenaries.  Registration includes lunch.

      Price for CSA Conference: $75

      A. Beginning CSA Track

      • Challenges of starting a CSA and making it sustainable
      • CSA production – planning, crop selection, pricing, distribution
      • Member involvement and core group support
      • Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-farm CSA

      B. Advanced CSA Track

      • Farmer to Farmer Café – Problem solving with experienced CSA farmers
      • Learning from one-another across national and ethnic boundaries
      • Practical biodiversity
      • CSAs and Social Justice: Diversifying Membership

      C. Solidarity Economics Track

      • CSAs, permanent easements, and land trusts
      • Who’s watching the hen house? CSA and agricultural policy.
      • Sharing the Risk: Pricing and member commitment
      • Participatory Guarantee Systems meet CSA

      D. Special Sessions for Networks – Launching the CA CSA Network

      These workshops will bring together networks from around the world to exchange experiences, and brainstorm ideas for launching the California CSA network.

      Closing Panel

      For more detailed program information, please visit:

  1. The Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Short Course 

    This groundbreaking day-long course is designed to train farmers, farm educators, conservationists, and other agricultural professionals in the latest science-based pollinator methods. The Xerces Pollinator Conservation Short Course has already been offered in dozens of other states, and has been attended by thousands of people. For the first time ever, the course is being offered in California, at EcoFarm!

    Introductory topics include the principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, basic native bee identification, and conducting pollinator habitat assessments. Advanced modules cover land management practices for pollinator protection, habitat restoration methodology, selection of plants for pollinator habitat restoration, and how to access additional financial and technical resources. Throughout the course these concepts are illustrated by case studies of pollinator conservation efforts from across the country.

    Registrants receive The Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Toolkit which includes the book, Attracting Native Pollinators; Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies, a habitat assessment workbook, information on USDA financial support for pollinator conservation, and much more. Register early, space is limited.

    Skills and Objectives

    • Learn to increase pollinator diversity and abundance on working lands
    • Design land-management practices that minimize impacts on pollinators
    • Gain basic skills in native bee identification
    • Understand the current economics of insect-pollinated crop production
    • Access financial and technical support through USDA conservation programs
    • Assess pollinator habitat and to identify habitat deficiencies
    • Design and implement habitat improvements, such as hedgerows, field borders,cover-cropping, native plant restoration and nest site enhancements
    • Learn to incorporate pollinators into land-management or policy decisions

    Course Instructors

    Eric Mader
    Assistant Pollinator Program Director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Assistant Extension Professor, University of Minnesota Department of Entomology.

    Jessa Guisse
    California Pollinator Habitat Specialist, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


    For more detailed program information, please visit The Xerces Society website.