Gardeners can also understand the science behind various agricultural practices employed for soil health. Learn the hows and whys of creating healthy, dynamic soil. Alan Baker: Master Gardener, AAS Agronomy, BS Agriculture.
This workshop will begin with the ancient use of biochar in the Amazon, current efforts to restore degraded Amazonian soils in indigenous communities in Peru, and how biochar can help us in New England to fight drought, increase soil fertility and combat climate change. Deborah Cook: Environmental activist and conservationist.
Have you been hearing about Sunn Hemp as a new, legume cover crop with forage and fiber potential? This workshop introduces the crop and what we’ve learned about growing it in Massachusetts after 3 years of field tests. We’ll share questions that we still have, and how growers can help answer them. Sam Corcoran: UMass Amherst graduate student studying cover crops and sustainable agriculture.
Discover the importance of supporting the predatory insects that prey on crop pests. Conservation biological control is a science-based pest management strategy that integrates beneficial insects back into the cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing or eliminating needs for insecticides. Jarrod Fowler: Pollinator and Conservation Biocontrol Specialist New England and Northeast Region.
In order to launch your farm operation, there are decisions that need to be made and questions that need to be answered. This presentation explores some of those decisions and questions, using strategic sequencing of events and decision trees among other concepts. Leonard Pollara: Offering world wide consulting to all of the agriculture community.
Explore soap ingredients, including carrier oils and essential oils, along with safety guidelines for working with lye. Discuss the value of using natural ingredients, in contrast to the chemical additives found in commercial soap products. We will start a fresh batch of soap using the traditional cold process method. Melissa Probst: NOFA enthusiast and soapmaker, Sweet Suds.
We’ll cover design considerations for a small-but-scalable, cost effective drip irrigation system: powered by the sun, fed by rain barrels, controlled by a micro-controller, programmed by you. If you are interested in the basics of off-the-shelf irrigation systems, small battery-tied solar kits, Arduino micro-controllers, and can cut and paste on a computer, join us! David Schmidt: Gardener with over a decade of energy and sustainability experience.
Let’s talk and walk pigs! Come learn about the intricacies of raising pigs on pasture. We’ve been looking at rotational grazing, carcass quality, pasture disturbance, plant regrowth, and nutrient levels in several different paddocks. You’ll have a chance to see our pigs and our experiment set up. Pete Solis: Livestock and Pasture Manager at Hampshire College.
Geared towards the curious, we will explore the honeybee: the complex microbial culture of their guts, their genetics, and curiosities of how the honeybee intersects our human culture…and educates us all. Dean Stiglitz: Beekeeper, science enthusiast, co-author of ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping’.
Industrial agriculture food is of poor quality and pesticide ridden. Today’s pesticides are not only on our food but in our food as well. They cannot be washed off and are found in most processed foods. Learn about this chemical assault and how to avoid purchasing foods with high pesticide levels. Ed Stockman: Biologist, 4th generation farmer, co-founder of Regeneration Massachusetts.
There are many levels of engagement in Farm to School: teaching students where food comes from, growing food with students, and helping schools source locally. We will discuss the realities of Farm to School, identify opportunities for involvement from farmers, gardeners, and food lovers, and explore the conversation around overlap and mismatches between farms and schools. Meghan Stratton: FoodCorps alumna and the School Programs Manager at Backyard Growers.
Explore how an investment in regenerative farming and soil restoration will help mitigate climate change. Sally Dodge: Northeast Community Development Manager & Director of Farmer Relations, Iroquois Valley Farms. Dale Guldbrandsen: Investor Relations & Northeast Community Development Manager, Iroquois Valley Farms.
Learn how to set up your very own grow room and start transforming local waste from your community into food, medicine, compost, and a means to cleaning up environmental pollution. Transform a basement, barn, or other area into a space to grow oyster, shitake and lionsmane mushrooms. Start growing mushrooms today! Alex Dorr: Mycologist and fun guy; has taught fungi workshops across the world.
Trees and a small forest provide a wide range of benefits and products on our farms. Drawing on 45 years of experience, I will discuss forest succession, low-tech management, and utilizing local lumber and other products. Focus will be on native species and their uses. Bill Duesing: Has taken great pleasure in working with trees, wood and NOFA.
We will identify the common pests and diseases we see in our work in the greater Boston area, and discuss standard and creative management strategies! We’ll focus on concerns specific to urban and suburban areas, such as maintaining plant health in small spaces and containers, animal pests, and safer management options for education gardens. Laura Feddersen: Director of Horticulture at Green City Growers.
As one of the oldest and largest farms at a liberal-arts college, the Hampshire College Farm is a leader in the campus farm movement. We’ll tour the fields and facilities of our 200-member vegetable CSA and pasture-raised livestock program, including our recent sustainable energy initiatives such as electric tractors, new vegetable storage and solar panels. Nancy Hanson: The Hampshire College CSA Manager. Pete Solis: The Hampshire College Livestock and Pasture Manager.
How are food co-ops partnering with anti-hunger organizations to better meet the needs of all community members by increasing access to healthy, local food and member-ownership? Learn about how food co-ops are leveraging community ownership of their grocery stores to make healthy, local food more accessible. Bonnie Hudspeth: Membership & Outreach Manager, Neighboring Food Co-op Association. Dorian Gregory : Loan & Outreach Officer, Cooperative Fund of New England.
Until a few centuries ago, we held and managed the vast majority of resources in common: defined groups of people formed evolving agreements about how to share and manage specific resources. Privatization of commons laid the basis for capitalist industrial society–and continues today, to our detriment. How might commoning improve today’s food and agriculture? Dave Jacke: Ecological designer, author of Edible Forest Gardens, student of the commons. David Bollier: Director, Reinventing the Commons Program, Schumacher Society; author of eight books on commoning; independent scholar.
Fertility inputs need not be from a bag! We’ll reduce your reliance on purchased fertilizers by exploring other sources: cover crops – using and managing with or without machinery; natural mulches in and out of season; simple composting; and home sources of some minerals. Soil tests 8 years apart will illustrate results of several fertility schemes. Al Johnson: Agricultural Educator and long time organic inspector who has farmed or gardened organically for decades.
Participants will learn options for managing sheep organically including information on breeds and housing, practices for parasite control, handling, feeding and health care. The presentation provides an overview of the basics of organic certification for livestock including general requirements, where to go for help, and management requirements. Kimberly Mastrianni: B.S. in Animal Science, raising sheep organically since 2008.
This year we are celebrating 40 years of making compost at Earth Care Farm! My father began making compost with a pitchfork in 1977, and today we make mountains of it. We will revisit the history of ECF, looking at how the family farm has changed and where we are headed in our next generation. Jayne Merner Senecal: Grew up making compost at Earth Care Farm.
Join in making a fresh batch of soap, using the traditional cold process method. We will build upon what we explored in Part 1, learning about blending, pouring, cutting and curing soap. Everyone will be invited to take some soap, to be cut and cured at home. Melissa Probst: NOFA enthusiast and soapmaker, Sweet Suds.
Learn how to assess your forages and match them to your livestock needs, which tools to use, how to plan your paddocks, and sharpen your recordkeeping. This workshop will give farmers guidelines for writing or updating their own grazing plan with tips for adjusting to the changing needs of their operation. Lee Rinehart: Works for NCAT’s ATTRA Project, focusing on agronomy and livestock.
Rice is a worldwide staple of our diet but very few of us in the Northeast understand the how it is grown or the beauty it can provide. We will explore what varieties and what techniques you can use to grow rice on a small scale in the Northeast. Nick Storrs: Manages a one acre urban farm and education on Randall’s Island, NYC.
Fruit tree diseases, unchecked by holistic understanding, can wreak havoc in the orchard. We’ll take an in-depth look at how the organic grower can keep apple scab, rusts and rots from developing on the fruit to a reasonable minimum.
The indiscriminate use of glyphosate and GMO crops are precipitating a major chronic health and environmental crisis. Rather than the way to feed the world, current genetic engineering is a disaster in the making and is not a sustainable strategy!
A region’s ability to adapt genetically resilient crops to it’s environment is critical to food security. Across the 13,000 year history of agriculture, that has been the solemn vocation of farmers. In the past 100 years, farmers have lost control of their seed to the massive centralization of global seed systems. The organic farming movement has provided the safest haven for seed diversity in American agriculture, often favoring workhorse open pollinated varieties, over modern hybrids. Our climate is changing, however, and those varieties need careful stewardship and improvement to continue to serve our needs and remain productive in our diversified organic farming systems. This workshop will cover essential seed biology, on-farm considerations for producing seed crops suitable for New England, and introduce the concepts necessary for robust varietal maintenance and development. Introductory on-farm variety trialing and participatory plant breeding will also be discussed.