OAK Conference 2025: Call for Session Proposals

14th Annual OAK Conference – Grounded in Organics: From Soil to Market
Kentucky State University’s Harold R. Benson Research and Demonstration Farm
Frankfort, Kentucky - January 23-25, 2025

 

Conference Overview

The Organic Association of Kentucky (OAK) seeks innovative and engaging conference sessions relevant to Kentucky's thriving organic and regenerative agriculture community. OAK’s annual conference, now in its 14th year, includes a growing audience of hundreds of Kentuckians and neighbors active in the region’s food systems: farmers, researchers, nonprofit professionals, federal and state agency partners, allied service providers and conscious consumers working collectively to build a resilient local food system for all. Collaboration among these diverse voices, grounded in the connection to Kentucky farms, soil and communities, provides a rich foundation for learning and growth. We invite you to be a part of it!

 

In 2025, OAK’s conference program will feature three days of inspiration from local and regional speakers, a useful trade show and abundant networking opportunities to empower and support farmers and food system innovators. The conference theme for #OAK2025 is Grounded in Organics: From Soil to Market. The primary focus of the OAK conference agenda is on-farm production systems, techniques and practices, with the interwoven threads of community, conservation and collective action inseparable from the sustainable agriculture movement. 

 

Please read through the following information before submitting a proposal via the button below.

 

 

Proposal Selection Process

OAK collaborates with organic farmers, partner organizations, scientists, academics and members of OAK’s Board of Directors in a Conference Planning Committee to craft a diverse and science-driven agenda and event. The Committee will review and consider all proposal submissions. Sessions are chosen based on alignment with the conference theme, mission-driven priorities, a balance of topics and speakers with the goal of diversity, and past conference agendas.

 

Preferred sessions are those demonstrating:

  • relevance to organic and regenerative agriculture;
  • immediate, practical application of knowledge or techniques on or off the farm to support the success of farmers and food system allies;
  • best practices or successes and challenges from experience;
  • opportunities for growth and resilience in Kentucky’s agricultural communities; and/or
  • innovative strategies for audience engagement to facilitate deeper learning (small group discussions, interactive learning, networking components or hands-on activities). Highly encouraged!

Preferred presenters are those who have:

  • a demonstrated ability to facilitate engaging and impactful sessions;
  • knowledge of innovative, applicable production-oriented best practices and/or research; and
  • familiarity with adult learners’ needs for relevant and practical skills and content.

 

Important Dates:

  • July 19, 2024 - Last day to submit a session proposal

  • August 23, 2024 - Notification of proposal status

  • September 27, 2024 - Last day to finalize session title, description and speaker information

 

 

Speaker Benefits 

 

OAK is pleased to offer speakers complimentary registration on the day of their session or workshop, which includes a locally-sourced lunch. This complimentary one-day registration is valued at approximately $130.

 

Conference registration on Friday, January 24, or Saturday, January 25, is discounted by 50% for speakers on their non-speaking days*. Registration for workshops on Thursday, January 23, is full-price for non-workshop speakers. 

 

Speakers may request additional support with their session proposal; please be specific (e.g. mileage reimbursement, speaking stipend amount, etc.). Limited funding is available to cover requests beyond those defined above, and any additional support is determined by grant and sponsor funding that will be confirmed in the fall of 2024. If awarded additional funding support, OAK will prioritize farmer-speakers when awarding scholarships for additional days of complimentary registration.

 

Please keep in mind that OAK is a nonprofit organization and that we will prioritize assistance to speakers who need support in order to participate in the conference. OAK may not be able to consider requests made after a proposal is selected.

 

 

Conference Program

The benefits of farm-based learning on a working demonstration farm are essential aspects of the Conference Planning Committee’s decision to return in 2025 to Kentucky State University’s Harold R. Benson Research and Demonstration Farm in Frankfort, KY. Presenters are encouraged to consider on-farm learning opportunities (feasible in January) when designing session and workshop proposals.

 

Session or workshop topics could include the following topics:

  • Advanced Farmers

  • Agroforestry

  • Business Planning and Management 

  • Climate Resiliency

  • Conservation Practices

  • Community and Equity

  • Farmer Skill-Shares

  • Forage and Livestock

  • Local Markets and Food Systems

  • Organic Production and Recordkeeping

  • Row Crops, Beans and Small Grains

  • Soil Health and Nutrient Budgeting

  • Storage Crop Production
  • Specialty Crops

 

Session Formats

Sessions and workshops may have up to four speakers, and OAK prefers speaker lineups with at least one farmer. The conference schedule will include multiple session lengths, including: 

  • Half-day workshop (3 hours; Thursday, 1/23)

    • Two or more speakers preferred

    • Hands-on/experiential component and participant engagement required

    • Immersive program providing working knowledge and/or skill-building

    • Includes 15-minute break and 30 minutes for Q&A

    • Agenda/outline required with a workshop proposal

  • 60-minute session (Friday, 1/24, or Saturday, 1/25)  

    • One speaker preferred (two maximum)
    • 15 minutes for Q&A

  • 75-minute session (Friday, 1/24, or Saturday, 1/25)  

    • Two speakers preferred (three maximum)

    • 20 minutes for Q&A

 

If you would like feedback on your ideas or proposal, please contact Shannon at [email protected] before July 19, 2024. 

 

 

Please complete the form below to propose a session or workshop for the 14th Annual OAK Conference on January 23-25, 2025. The final day for submissions is July 19, 2024. 

 

 
Submit Your Session Proposal

 

Thank you for your interest in helping us build a more regenerative regional food system.

 

Don’t want to submit a proposal but have an idea for a session? We want to hear from you! Let us know who you’d like to see present and/or what content you want to learn about at #OAK2025. Email Shannon at [email protected].