2023 IOIA Annual Membership Meeting –
January 23

nathan slabaugh, videographerDocuments relating to this AGM

Draft Agenda

Keynote Speaker Bio - Keynote speaker Nathan Slabaugh, film maker and photographer based in Spokane, Washington, seen at right. Nathan will keynote about "Telling our Story" - the story of organic inspectors - as he drove thousands of miles and gathered hours of footage. He created short videos with IOIA to be used in recruiting new inspectors and raising awareness about the work we do.

Board Candidate Bios

Proxy Form

2022 Annual Report

Draft minutes from 2022 AGM

Royal Street, New OrleansIOIA's first in-person Annual Meeting since 2020.

IOIA is partnering with the Accredited Certifiers Association on collaborative training in New Orleans, Louisiana USA, in conjunction with our AGM.



January 23, morning - IOIA member activity – Group Walking Tour in New Orleans.

In lieu of a field trip to organic operations, IOIA has arranged a private historic walking tour of the French quarter, with a professional tour guide, from 9 to 11 a.m. on Jan 23. We will gather at the front entrance of the Hyatt Centric Hotel, the venue for the ACA/IOIA/NOP events. The group will end up back at the hotel in time to freshen up for the IOIA lunch and annual meeting. A maximum of 28 persons are allowed. IOIA is paying part of the cost for the tour. Suggested donation to IOIA is $25 for each person participating to help offset remaining costs. 

The tour will focus on New Orleans history, culture, food, with a little bit on ghosts. The French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in NOLA. There will be one restroom/refreshment break. Each person is expected to pay for their own refreshments. 

Based on the preference of the group, our stop will be a coffee shop or Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar (the oldest bar in the US!) for an alcoholic beverage. Tour Guide Scott suggests Cafe Du Monde New Orleans – French Market Coffee Stand for a coffee and a beignet (the preferred local pastry of fried bread dough in powder sugar). No need to decide in advance. 

Check the weather! Scott says it is unlikely that sun hats are required. He recommends a raincoat of some type and an umbrella. The tour will go on rain or shine; rain is not acceptable as a reason for cancelling. Scott has been assured that a group of inspectors will not need guidance on what to wear or bring. Scott is a professional chef who also specializes in evening ghost walks. If you are interested in one of those, please check out New Orleans Ghost Adventures Tours to join one of the public tours. 

To ensure you have a space reserved, https://forms.gle/PMAQMm2TWHFQSiKS7


January 23 - IOIA AGM, afternoon, following lunch, provided by IOIA. Every effort will be made to incorporate online members. Board election will be conducted online, as it has been for the past 2 years. IOIA is facilitating no-host dinner groups at restaurants (see below) to celebrate local food and beverage following the AGM.

Register for the AGM here if you are NOT attending the Advanced Training (on January 27)


Dinner out in groups!

We have compiled a short list of restaurant options so that we can facilitate members joining together for no-host dinner groups. Many restaurants in the French quarter are small and not suited for large groups. Advance reservations are recommended for most restaurants, especially the higher end. If we wait until January 23 at 6:30 p.m. after the AGM, our options will likely be limited. Here is the link to register your preferences. Please give it a look!  We will connect you as groups of 3-6 assemble in the Google form. https://forms.gle/nCZrKXV2QhwkcNh2A


January 24 (Tuesday) - The NOP annual certifier training is open to all inspectors at no charge. Advance registration is required through ACA.

Hyatt French Quarter


January 25-26 (Wednesday and Thursday) – collaborative training with ACA/IOIA Training in-person. Other sessions will be online only and scheduled in advance of the New Orleans event. There is no plan for live-streaming at this time. For those not registered before November 30, the cost is $300.00 (IOIA or ACA member) or $350 for non-members, for the full conference plus online options. The online-only training is available for a registration fee at the same rates: Advance registration is required through ACA.


January 26   - An Organic Parade! New Orleans is famous for birthday parades – what better way to celebrate IOIA’s 30th anniversary and IFOAM’s 50th than with this local tradition? Begins on Canal Street outside the hotel at 4:15 p.m.


January 27 (Friday) - IOIA Advanced trainingAgenda   Speaker Bios   Register Here

Austin, 2019

About the IOIA training on January 27: 
The morning will focus on Organic Integrity and the use of Residue Sampling as a tool, moderated by Dr. Brian Baker, Oregon. He will also address issues around high nitrogen liquid fertilizers, updates to the National List in process, and Sampling. All manufacturers of nitrogen materials greater than 3% nitrogen must be inspected onsite (since 2009). 
  • The Alliance for Organic Integrity will open with an update on What does the Organic Observatory mean for inspectors? How can it find and deter fraud?
  • Nathaniel Powell-Palm, IOIA Trainer and current Chair of the NOSB, will speak on Residue Sampling – Top Ten Things Inspectors need to know. 
  • George Lewko, PAg, and Instructor - Forensic Agrology at Saskatchewan Institute of agrologists in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan will speak on Forensic Agrology – when is Sampling helpful? Mr. Lewko was a popular speaker at a recent advanced training in Saskatoon and has agreed to work with our group via Zoom, with live Q&A.
  • Inspecting Input Manufacturers - what inspectors need to know about this work opportunity. Heather Hawthorne, Inspection Manager.

The afternoon will cover 3 topics that can help inspectors diversify their portfolios and bring additional work opportunities. 

  • Mentorship – Lessons Learned – 2 models – work opportunity for experienced inspectors!
    • Apprenticeship Intensives – Top 10 learnings - Garth Kahl and Nathaniel Powell-Palm, IOIA Trainers who led IOIA's NOP-funded apprenticeship intensives in 2022. 
    • One on one – adapting the model - Janine Gibson, IOIA Trainer and current BOD Chair
    • How to become recognized as a Mentor and get paid - Margaret Scoles, IOIA Executive Director
  • Fish Bowl! Moderated by David Gould, Portland, Oregon. This promises to be a dynamic and lively discussion, as there will be several Peer Evaluators in the room and many more who have been evaluated. 
    • What are we Learning from Field Evaluations/Witness Inspections – as witnesses and as inspectors being witnessed?
    • What to Expect when you are being witnessed as an Inspector.
    • How to perform witness inspections
    • Becoming an IOIA Peer Evaluator
  • Elizabeth Whitlow, Executive Director, Regenerative Organic Alliance, California, USA, will finish out the day with Regenerative Organic Certified® – an “organic plus” certification – what potential auditors need to know.
Acceptance Criteria: Participants in IOIA Advanced Inspector Training courses must meet course acceptance criteria, including prior completion of two inspector training courses and 2 years inspection experience with at least 20 inspections or 1 year of inspection experience with at least 30 inspections. Requests for exceptions to the requirements should be addressed to the IOIA Executive Director. Advanced Inspector Training Certificates of Completion are given to those who attend all sessions and meet acceptance criteria. Participants who do not meet these criteria are welcome to audit and will receive Certificates of Completion for Organic Inspection Workshop.

Annual Meeting Venue

Hyatt room example

Room reservations are no longer available via room block.

Hyatt Centric Booking

Lodging cost will be about $180 + tax per room. 

About the location

cajun seafood

New Orleans is located on the Mississippi River in Louisiana. Founded in 1718 by French colonists, New Orleans is a major port and considered the economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast Region. It is world renowned for its distinctive music, Creole cuisine, unique dialect, and its annual celebrations and festivals, especially Mardi Gras. The French Quarter is the historic heart of the city, known for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and the nightlife along Bourbon Street.

mardi gras masksAbout the date

The date of the Annual Meeting was based on a desire to collaborate with ACA and a survey of the membership. This event was postponed for 2 years due to the pandemic. January 23 afternoon was the overwhelming favorite. This means it falls in the Mardi Gras season. Mardi Gras 2023 is on the 21st February 2023, with the main celebrations happening in the two weeks leading up to the date itself. Mardi Gras itself, always falls on a Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday falls annually on the day before Ash Wednesday (start of Lent). The word "Mardi Gras" means "Fat Tuesday" in the French language. Celebrations include festivals, parades, dancing and feasting before the fasting starting on Ash Wednesday. The Mardi Gras season falls between early January until Fat Tuesday and is also called Carnival. Mardi Gras has been celebrated in the southeast since early 1700’s. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the best known but not the oldest celebration. The official colors of the Carnival season in New Orleans and most other places are gold, purple and green. Gold for power, purple for justice and green for faith.