“Less Chemistry and More Biology” and “Data Dive Into Organic Produce Sales” Ed Sessions Announced for Organic Grower Summit

(MONTEREY, CA) A pair of recently announced educational sessions will explore the growing importance of biologicals as a tool of organic crop production and offer a look at the growth of organic fresh produce sales at grocery stores across the nation this year as the final parts of the 2022 Organic Grower Summit (OGS) presented by Western Growers and OPN educational program.

The first session, “Less Chemistry and More Biology,” will explore the various tools that organic growing operations have at their disposal in the production of specialty crops, how growers choose new biological products, and their impact on the cost of doing business and the environment. Moderated by Dennis Donohue, director of the Center for Innovation and Technology at Western Growers, the session will include panelists Pam Marrone, CEO and Founder, Chestnut Bio Advisors; Don Cameron, Vice President/General Manager, Terranova Ranch; and Denise Manker, outreach and engagement, biologics, Bayer Crop Science.

“Biological advances continue to evolve for organic growers, providing a wide array of new tools designed for greater efficiency in the production of crops. This session will highlight some of the newest biological tools available for growers and how they can best be utilized in the ever-changing landscape of organic fresh produce production,” said Donohue.

The second announced session, Data Dive into Organic Sales,” will feature an in-depth look at organic fresh produce sales at retail in 2022 and offer insight into how inflation and a possible recession will impact sales. The session will feature an analysis of sales by Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners, as well as Lonnie Gillespie, Chief Organic Officer of Farm Fresh Direct offering insight on how consumers view organic fresh produce and how the changing economy is altering consumer buying behavior.

“For the past two years, sales of organic fresh produce have flourished as consumers look for healthy, nutritious products to feed their families. While that growth has slowed slightly in light of inflation, the prospect for organic sales continues to be bright. The session will explore the growth of organic produce this past year and what the future may look like for consumers,” said Barnes.

OGS 2022 will be held November 30–December 1 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa in Monterey, CA. The fifth annual Organic Grower Summit (OGS) is designed to provide information vital to organic growers and producers, including an overview of the opportunities and challenges in the production of organic fresh food. 

As part of this year’s event, OGS will honor long-time organic grower Jeff Huckaby as the recipient of the fifth annual Grower of the Year award. The Grower of the Year award, sponsored by AGCO, will be presented to Huckaby, President and CEO of Grimmway Farms, based on his ongoing commitment and dedication to excellence in organic production, organic industry leadership, and innovation.

In addition to the annual Grower of the Year award, the other keynote presentation at OGS 2022 will be “Grower Roundtable: The State of Organic Growing,” moderated by Dave Puglia, President and CEO of Western Growers. Panelists for the keynote roundtable include Brie Reiter Smith, VP of Product Leadership for Driscoll’s; Michael DuPuis, Quality Assurance and Public Relations Coordinator for Divine Flavor; and Tom Nunes V, President of The Nunes Company. Featuring candid commentary, the thought-provoking keynote presentation will explore how these three leaders in organic production are dealing with hot-button topics, including supply chain issues, inflation, labor, new innovations, and technologies.

Other educational sessions slated for OGS 2022 include:

  • The Future of Ag Tech—Expanding On-Farm Profitability
  • Regenerative Organic Marketing and Certification—What Lies Ahead?
  • The Growth, Opportunities, and Future of CEA Production
  • Get Ahead of the Curve and Avoid Regulatory Speedbumps
  • Exploring Organic Research: A Discussion of Organic Grower Challenges and Solutions

The sold-out OGS trade show floor will feature soil amendment, ag tech, food safety, packaging, and equipment exhibitors who will have the opportunity to connect with organic field production staff, supply chain managers, pest management advisors, and food safety experts.

“In partnership with Western Growers, this year’s OGS will provide up-to-date resources and information to support the continued success of organic producers, with an emphasis on the changing organic production landscape as well as the role of ag technology,” said Matt Seeley, co-founder and CEO of Organic Produce Network. “From seed to soil to harvest, our goal is to present the most relevant and timely information on the most important subjects and issues facing organic production.”

About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts, including nearly half of America’s fresh organic produce. Some members also farm throughout the US and in other countries, so people have year-round access to nutritious food. For generations, we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.

About Organic Produce Network:

OPN is a marketing organization serving as the go-to resource for the organic fresh produce industry. The company’s mission is to inform and educate through a strong digital presence with an emphasis on original content and complemented by engaging live events that bring together various components of the organic food community. The OPN audience includes organic producers, handlers, distributors, processors, wholesalers, foodservice operators, and retailers.