Organic and natural tradeshows draw huge crowds
Natural Products Expo West, BIOFACH, and MOSES Organic Farming Conference draw nearly 140,000 people as interest in organic food and farming continues to grow worldwide.
Interest in organic and natural foods continues to grow significantly as evidenced by the large crowds attending industry tradeshows and conferences.
Natural Products Expo West, held in Anaheim, California in March drew a record crowd of more than 85,000 attendees along with 3,500 exhibitors including 600 new exhibitors. The show featured the opening of the expanded North Halls of the Anaheim Convention Center, which held more than 800 company exhibits.
Expo West featured a robust education program including keynote presentations by award-winning actress, social advocate and mom of three, Jennifer Garner and organic industry pioneer John Foraker, co-founders of Once Upon a Farm; and national bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on food systems, Anna Lappé. The new Esca Bona Story Stage featured keynote speaker Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia Inc. and Patagonia Works.
“There’s a lot of exciting news that came out of the show this year, from progress in regenerative agriculture to the social impact goals Once Upon a Farm announced. This is the work that proves what kind of impact the food industry, both big and small, has on the world,” said John Foraker, Co-Founder and CEO, Once Upon a Farm.
BIOFACH 2018, which is the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, drew 50,200 visitors from 134 countries. The show, which is combined with the natural and personal cosmetics tradeshow VIVANESS, featured 3,238 exhibitors presenting a wide range of organic products from 93 countries. The main themes of BIOFACH were “Next Generation” focusing on the future of organics and “Organic right from the start,” which focused on organic plant breeding.
The national honorary sponsor of BIOFACH, Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (German Federation of Organic Food Producers, BÖLW) summed up the event in overwhelmingly positive terms.
“The positive atmosphere at BIOFACH 2018 was palpable,” said Dr. Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, chairman of BÖLW. “Not only was the exhibition stimulated by the gratifying financial results, but the positive mood in the organic sector is also linked to the fact that ‘organic’ is becoming more and more accepted in society.”
BIOFACH’s host country Germany sees strong organic growth with more than 10 billion euros in sales and one in every 10 farms growing organically.
The MOSES Organic Farming Conference, held in LaCrosse, Wisconsin at the end of February is the largest organic farming conference in the U.S. This year’s event attracted 3,100 attendees.
The conference kicked off with an award ceremony for the 2018 MOSES Organic Farmers of the Year: the Rosmann family of Harlan, Iowa. “This has been the highlight of our lives,” Ron and Marie said about being recognized for the good work they’ve been doing on the farm and out in the world.
A keynote presentation by John Mesko, executive director of MOSES, encouraged the audience by charting a bright future for organic and sustainable farming, noting the widening use of cover crops and focus on soil health—both with roots in organic production.
“MOSES is not only a way for me to gather information for making farm decisions, it’s also a critical time every year for me to check-in with the trends, controversies, successes and direction of organic in the Midwest, the country, and the world,” said Jordan Scheibel of Grinnell, Iowa.