I am proud to serve on the board of the Illinois Organic Growers Association (http://illinoisorganicgrowers.org)
The mission of the Illinois Organic Growers Association is to
- Support networking and farmer-to-farmer exchange among farmers interested in organic and sustainable production methods
- Promote and develop new and improved production methods that are state- and region-specific
- Help growers support expanded markets for organic agricultural products
To accomplish our mission, IOGA carries out the following activities:
- Organize workshops and presentations for the organic track of the annual Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic conference each January.
- Organize field days to demonstrate practices and technologies to support organic agricultural production
- Provide information on news and activities related to organic agriculture, especially in Illinois but also nationwide, via a web site and email newsletter
Discussions about the need for and feasibility of creating an association to support organic agriculture in Illinois took place at the 2010 and 2011 Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conferences. Participating in discussions were organic growers and staff who support organic agriculture through their work at Illinois universities, Extension, and nonprofits. The University of Illinois partnered with UI Extension and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance to obtain a grant from the Illinois Department of Agriculture to support development of the association. In 2011, an agreement was made for the Illinois Organic Growers Association to exist under the fiscal sponsorship of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.
The Illinois Organic Growers Association is a member-driven organization governed by a Steering Committee elected by members each year at the Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference. Anyone who supports organic agriculture can become a member; organic certification is not required. See here for more information about how IOGA organizes its work.
Current efforts that you can join include:
- Recommend content and presenters for the annual Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference
- Help plan field days and other educational activities. (See the work area for the Education Committee.)
- Help educate producers and the public on how to combat spray drift. (See the work area for the Spray Drift Committee.)
- Connect university students interested in organic and sustainable agriculture and local food production throughout Illinois. (See the work area for the Student Committee.)
We are always open to new ideas. If you have a new idea for supporting organic agriculture in Illinois, chances are good that it can be added to the mix. So contact us with your ideas!