Farming Organically - Is it a Sustainable Business Model?

7:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
Thursday, October 28, 2021 – Thursday, October 28, 2021

Visiting Guest - Ryan Meztler

The ever-growing consumer demand for organic foods has led many farmers to shift to organic methods of farming, which have disrupted traditional methods. Adding to the complexity of an already-complex business, farmers must now find new ways to control pests, fertilize crops, avoid spoilage, and time their harvests. They must also document applications meticulously and arrange and pay for organic certification. Each of these changes adds layers of cost to the process. 

In this talk, Ryan Metzler, owner-operator of Fruita del Sol, a 200-acre organic fruit farm in central California, will consider the long-term sustainability of organic farming, especially as consumer demand continues to blossom. Ryan will explore the tradeoff decisions farmers must make to abide by the regulations on the one hand and produce a high-quality, profitable crop on the other. As he considers sustainability from both environmental and business angles, he will also contrast the realities of organic farming with the mythologies typically held by consumers.

Visiting Alumna - Olivia Shoemaker

Olivia Shoemaker graduated from Indiana University in 2020, having earned a B.A. in International Studies, a minor in German, and the Liberal Arts & Management honors certificate. She has experience working with various nodes of sustainable food systems both locally and abroad in Berlin, Germany and Mindo, Ecuador. Environmental and societal wellbeing guide her professional interests.  

At the Sustainable Food Systems Science group at IU, Olivia works as a research assistant to Dr. Julia Valliant for a multi-year study that aims to support value chains for Indiana-grown tree crops. Guided by a social science lens, their team has learned from over 80 stakeholders including growers, consumers and buyers, industry experts, and organizational leaders. This information will lead to statewide conversations about building Indiana’s nut production, aggregation, and processing capacity. 

The talk is intended to be interactive, with ample time for audience questions and discussion. Please join us!​ RSVP here.