What is the Spring Conference and where is it held?

The Spring Conference is a one-of-a-kind event that offers regionally specific workshops on organic growing and sustainable living. Our mission is to provide down-to-earth, practical advice while remaining affordable and accessible to anyone who wants to participate. For 25 years, the Spring Conference has brought together environmentally minded folks from 17 states and Canada.

The OGS Spring Conference will be at a NEW venue in 2019! We’re thrilled to be moving to Mars Hill University in Mars Hill, NC.  Mars Hill University is just 20 minutes north of downtown Asheville, with easy access off of Exit 11 from 26.

Why are you moving locations this year?

The OGS Spring Conference will be at a NEW venue in 2019! We’re thrilled to be moving to Mars Hill University (in Mars Hill, NC) for our 26th Annual Spring Conference! Mars Hill University is just 20 minutes north of downtown Asheville, with easy access off of Exit 11 from 26. Benefits of this campus include:
  • FREE and easy parking
  • Larger classroom sizes
  • More centralized indoor location for exhibitors and registration
  • More food vendor options
  • And best of all, MORE AFFORDABLE (which as a non-profit really helps keep our expenses down and registration costs low.)

We look forward to see you all at Mars Hill University next year.

How do I find Mars Hill University and where do I park when I arrive?

Google Maps

An MHU map will be added soon with parking specifics.


From Asheville:

  • Take Highway 19-23 (Future Interstate 26) north approximately 18 miles to Mars Hill.
  • Take Exit 11 and turn left off the on-ramp onto NC Hwy 213/Carl Eller Road.
  • Travel approximately 1 mile onto the campus of Mars Hill University.


From Johnson City:

  • Take Interstate 26 south approximately 42 miles to Mars Hill. (At the North Carolina line, Interstate 26 becomes Hwy 19-23/Future I-26).
  • Take Exit 11 and turn left off the on-ramp onto NC Hwy 213/Carl Eller Road.
  • Travel approximately 1 mile onto the campus of Mars Hill University.



Approaching Mars Hill on I-26:

Take I-26 West from Asheville or I-26 East from Tennessee to Exit 11, Mars Hill. This takes about twenty minutes from downtown Asheville. Turn left at the end of either ramp onto Hwy 213 West (Carl Eller Blvd). Go approximately one mile to the traffic light in the downtown/campus area at Main Street and locate parking as described below.

Parking at MHU and the town of Mars Hill. MHU has many parking areas which are spread out around the campus and include on-street options. Give yourself some extra time to navigate parking and walking to Ferguson Math & Sciences building for check-in. Attendees may park anywhere in the immediate campus area except in lots otherwise marked as Reserved.

OGS staff and volunteers will be on site to help direct you to available parking in an easy, efficient way.  There are a number of (FREE!!) parking options on campus, but they are spread out, so we’re asking folks to be patient and leave time to navigate parking and walking to Ferguson Math & Science building for registration.  Attendees may park anywhere in the immediate campus area except in lots otherwise marked as Private or for Conference Reserved spaces. There is on-street parking in downtown Mars Hill on Main Street, College Street, Athletic Street, and Bailey Street. Along with Hwy 213, these streets form the perimeter of the campus. (There is no on-street parking on Hwy 213.)

At the traffic light at Main Street and Hwy 213, you may turn right for on-street parking on Main Street or on to Bailey Street which is a left turn off of Main Street behind Day Hall. In addition to on-street parking on Bailey Street, there is access to dormitory parking lots which may be used.

Or, you can continue through the light at Main Street and look for spots to the left behind the Wells Fargo building or the lot adjacent to Moore Auditorium. You can also turn right onto College Street (across from Wells Fargo) for on-street parking on College. Following College Street will take you back around to Main Street right in front of Day Hall.

Continuing further on Hwy 213 after you pass College Street, there are lots to the left in a couple of more places. You can also turn right onto Athletic Street just past Ferguson Hall for more on-street parking. Athletic Street takes you back to Bailey Street from the opposite direction.

Approaching Mars Hill from Marshall:

Take Hwy 213 East off the US Hwy 25/70 Bypass in Marshall. Go eight miles to Mars Hill. Hwy 213 brings you into the campus area from the opposite direction as from I-26. Simply reverse the instructions described above.

Can I register at the event?

Yes! Walk-in, on-site, day-of registration is available all day Saturday and Sunday at Mars Hill University. However, there is NO walk-in registration for Friday Pre-conference Workshops. You may also register online for both pre-conference and weekend events. Online registration closes as of 11:59PM on Wednesday, March 7, 2018.

I'm having a hard time registering online. Can I register another way?

Yes! You may download and mail our printable registration form. You may also register by phone. Please contact our office at 828-214-7833 or Conference Coordinator at registration@organicgrowersschool.org.

Where can I view a full schedule?

Check out our schedule for Saturday and Sunday and our class descriptions. Don’t forget about our exciting line-up of all-day, on-farm pre-conference workshops.

Can you help me understand the class schedule?

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS take place on the Friday before the Conference Weekend and are in-depth, all-day classes that you can register for separately or with regular conference registration.

TRACKS are educational categories of classes (e.g., the Farmers: Beginning track will feature classes specifically for those who are new to farming).

SESSIONS are class times within tracks. There are 4 sessions per track on both Saturday and Sunday.

  • SESSION 1: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
  • SESSION 2: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
  • SESSION 3: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
  • SESSION 4: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

You can attend up to four classes in one day. You do not have to attend all your classes in a single track. You are free to switch around from track to track throughout the day. Please note that the Farmers: Experienced Track is in the form of extended round-table sessions, that each run for 3 hours and span two ‘sessions’. There are four total classes offered in this track over the weekend. No pre-registration is required for any of these workshops.

Many classes are repeated on both days to give you a better chance of getting to all the awesome classes you want to see.

HALF DAY WORKSHOPS have two time slots per day with a 30-minute break in the middle of each class. These workshops require pre-registration, and cost an additional $10 in materials fees.

  • MORNING WORKSHOPS: 9:00AM to 12:30PM

What do classes cost?

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION PRICES (through January 31, 2019)

  • $59 for Saturday
  • $49 for Sunday
  • $99 for both Saturday and Sunday


REGULAR REGISTRATION PRICES (starting February 1, 2019)

  • $74 for Saturday
  • $64 for Sunday
  • $129 for Saturday and Sunday



Registration for Saturday and/or Sunday gets you access to all 90-minute workshops, and the Farmers: Advanced Roundtable sessions. Seating is first come, first served. If a class is full, go to your second choice. There is no additional sign up for these classes, and they do not require entry or materials fees.



Half Day Workshops require additional registration and materials fees of $10 per workshop ON TOP OF regular conference registration. These fees will be collected at time of registration.



Pre-Conference Workshops require additional registration and fees; they take place on Friday before the conference weekend (for 2019, Friday, March 8th). If you register for Saturday and/or Sunday, a Pre-conference Workshop registration will cost $55 per workshop. You may purchase a Pre-conference Workshop without also purchasing a conference registration. In this case, the cost per workshop is $70.

What about lunch?

Sweet Monkey Cafe & Bakery and Gypsy Queen Cuisine are offering pre-order lunch boxes that can purchased with your conference registration. Two food trucks and a few local (Mars Hill) restaurants will also be available for lunch.
Pre-Order Lunches (available through the registration form) are as follows:
Sweet Monkey
House Roasted Turkey breast on Homemade Rye with Baby Kale, Tomatoes, Housemade Cranberry Apricot Chutney and Mayo with the Roasted Potato Salad in a Lemon Creole Mustard dressing.  Water and Snickerdoodle cookie.
‘BKT’ Sandwich with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Tomatoes,  Baby Kale and Mayonnaise on Housemade Wheat Bread with the Roasted Potato Salad in a Lemon Creole mustard dressing.  Water and Snickerdoodle cookie.
Gypsy Queen – All options are Vegan
Spinach Hand Pie with cauliflower tabouli salad. LaCroix sparkling water and a tangerine.gluten free upon request.
Goddess Bowl: Wild Rice medley, tofu, roasted brussels sprouts & cauliflower, mixed greens, goddess dressing. LaCroix sparkling water and a tangerine.
Two food trucks and local restaurant options will be available for on-site purchase. Gluten Free lunch options are available at Gypsy Queen Cuisine food truck.

What are Half Day Workshops and when do they happen?

Half-Day Workshops cover topics that warrant a more in-depth look, and are often ‘maker’ workshops where you get to take something home. These classes are 3 hours with a 30-minute break (in contrast to our 90-minute classes) and occur at the same time as the classes. They cost an extra $10 on top of your conference registration because they are hands-on in nature and require a materials fee. These workshops are some of the most popular offerings at the event, so make sure to register early to reserve your spot!

Can I register for just a class or two, and not the whole day?

Because we try to keep things both affordable and simple, we regret that we cannot offer partial registrations.

You may register for our Pre-conference Workshops without purchasing a weekend ticket.

Is there a Kid's Program this year?

We’re excited to partner with Asheville Farmstead School  to provide childcare for the OGS Spring Conference. Children should be dressed to go outside and be comfortable for outdoor play activities. Snacks and water bottles should be brought each day, as well. We will break for lunch from 12:45-1:45 for children to eat with their parents. You can read more details at our Kid’s Program page, and you can add Kid’s Program to your conference registration.

Something’s come up. Can I get a refund?

Registration fees for all Organic Growers School events are non-refundable. The Spring Conference will be held rain, snow, or sun.

The only exception is if you 1) register for a half-day workshop, 2) are notified that the workshop or class is full, and 3) choose not to attend as a result.

If you are unable to attend, you are welcome to pass your registration on to the person of your choice. Please let us know so we can change it in our system. We can also send you documentation so that your registration fee can be recorded as a tax-deductible contribution to the on-going work of Organic Growers School.

I'm a member of the press. Where can I get a press release and press pass?


A press release for the 2019 Spring Conference is Coming SOON! For high-resolution images, visit the Organic Growers School Flickr page where each photo has a variety of sizes available for download. Or contact Communications Director, Elliot Rhodes, at communications@organicgrowersschool.org.


We make a limited number of Spring Conference press passes available. For more information, please contact Conference Coordinator Kiera Bulan at conference@organicgrowersschool.org.