Published on 01/31/13

Extension faculty to demonstrate sustainable farming know how at Georgia Organics Conference

By Merritt Melancon

Sustainable agriculture experts and Extension specialists from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will be offering several workshops and classes at the 2013 Georgia Organics Conference.

Conference goers can expect to learn a great deal about farm management and produce marketing, as well the basics of organic plant disease management, sustainable grazing, vegetable cultivation and the outlook for crops needed to fill niche markets in the Southeast.

Among the UGA faculty and staff presenting at the conference are:

Elizabeth Little, assistant professor of plant pathology and Extension specialist, will present a holistic approach to plant health management. With over 16 years at the UGA, she has developed a program of practices that will help growers manage plant diseases organically.

Robert Tate, manager of UGA’s Organic Demonstration Farm, will discuss the markets for ginger and winter lettuces in the Southeastern produce market. The U.S. imports 25,000 tons of ginger each year, but it can be grown in Georgia. Tate, who coordinates UGA’s Certificate in Organic Agriculture, will outline the production methods for ginger and summer lettuces.

Menia Chester, Fulton County Extension coordinator and Fulton Fresh director, will present on a panel discussing strategies for feeding people living in urban food deserts. She will highlight successes in getting fresh produce into communities without access to fresh foods.

David Berle, professor of horticulture and faculty advisor for UGA’s UGarden, will put his teaching chops to use during a workshop on organic vegetable production for beginning gardeners.

Gerard Krewer, professor emeritus and Extension specialist, will help lead an in-depth workshop on planting and caring for a backyard orchard. Krewer is a blueberry expert and will lead the portion of the workshop on organic blueberry and blackberry production.

Julia Gaskin, Sustainable Agriculture coordinator at the CAES, will lead a workshop discussion on the marketing and production benefits that smaller farmers can realize by forming or joining food hubs.

Will Getz, an Extension Specialist and professor at Fort Valley University, will help lead a workshop on goat husbandry. The workshop will focus on the basics of raising goats and sheep and the different marketing possibilities for goats and sheep.

For more information or to register for the conference visit

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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