The 28th Annual Spring Conference — for farmers, gardeners, home-growers, and sustainability seekers — is hosted by Organic Growers School (OGS), an Asheville-based non-profit organization.

OGS is excited to offer the Spring Conference on a virtual platform for the first time this year, making it accessible from anywhere. Run in three segments, the virtual conference takes place over the week of March 13, 2021, starting with a Live Kick-Off Event on March 13, followed by the release of themed Track Sessions March 14-19, and ending with live Q&A Speaker Panels on March 20-21. Attendees will be able to access the content for three months after the event.

The Spring Conference offers practical workshops on farming, gardening, permaculture, urban growing, and rural living and includes a virtual trade show, keynote speakers, and special entertainment features. This isn’t the first time OGS has hosted a virtual conference; the Virtual Harvest Conference held in September has proven that OGS’s commitment to accessibility, affordability, and quality has been carried over to their digital spaces.

“As a public programs manager and interpretive trainer, I appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into the execution of [this event]. [So much] thoughtful planning and an understanding of what makes a good experience — especially on virtual programs ... I am genuinely impressed,” said one attendee of the September workshops.

The 11 themed tracks available this year are:

  • Cherokee Foods
  • Cooking
  • Farming
  • Livestock & Poultry
  • Mushrooms
  • Permaculture
  • Food Systems
  • Gardening
  • Herbs
  • Soils
  • Sustainable Living

This one-of-a-kind event brings people of all walks of life together for opportunities of learning, inspiration, and networking and features a host of local and regional experts. The mission of the Spring Conference is to provide down-to-earth advice on growing and sustainable living while remaining affordable and accessible. The Spring Conference is the largest locally-run sustainability conference in the Southeast and is proudly focused on growing methods applicable for home-growers and farmers alike.

This year, the Live Kick-Off Event, which will be highlighting Keynote Speakers and other educational offerings, is available for only $20. Our 2021 Keynote Speakers are Eric Holt-Giménez, Rashid Nuri, and Samantha Foxx. The Kick-Off Event will also include a special performance by award-winning poet Ross Gay.

The event will also feature a virtual Exhibit Hall that showcases a wide array of exhibitors from farms, gardening suppliers, and cottage industries that specialize in organic products and resources. From the vendors, attendees can enjoy live demos, promotional opportunities, networking, and Q&A sessions. The cost for the full week of eleven tracks plus the live event is $175. Individual Tracks can also be purchased separately.

For 28 years, the OGS Spring Conference has reinforced Western NC’s role as a regional leader in sustainable food and farming. Conference attendees have described the event as the kick-start to their growing season. The event has grown exponentially—from a small gathering of 100 growing enthusiasts in 1993 to a regionally recognized conference drawing over 2,500 attendees, exhibitors and speakers. This year, with the new virtual programming, the conference will draw in more attendees from across the nation, offering an exciting opportunity to learn from and connect with fellow growers and teachers.

“We are so very lucky to have a wealth of wisdom from speakers from all over the country,” said OGS Director of Programs and Systems Design, Sera Deva. “The virtual platform will allow us to reach a broader audience than ever, and we’re excited to showcase our event as an affordable, accessible option for practical education for growers around the nation. We love when our passion, knowledge, inspiration, and sharing can come together in one place.”

For more information, visit the website at https://organicgrowersschool.org/conferences/spring/.