Adult Workshops (2016)

2016 Workshops
2Tour: Let’s Go PYO!

The extensive Pick-Your-Own at Brookfield Farm includes berries, beans, herbs, cherry and paste tomatoes, flowers, garlic, peas, pumpkins and more. Tour the farm and learn about how we structure our diversified PYO operation, including choosing PYO crops, how to determine how much a share is, and how to successfully communicate with members.

Zoe Abram, Assistant Manager at Brookfield Farm.

Making & Using Your Own Herbal Honeys

Preserving your herbs in honey has many benefits! Honey is a delicious, locally available resource with an endless shelf life, and it effectively extracts a wide range of medicinal constituents. This workshop will share techniques for preserving both fresh and dried herbs, medicinal uses, and favorite recipes.

Jade Alicandro Mace, Community Herbalist at Milk & Honey Herbs.

Wild Medicinals Plant Walk

This walk will explore the wild edges of the UMass Amherst campus in search of medicinal herbs, trees, and shrubs commonly found in the northeast. Learn plant ID and botany, herbal ecology, harvest guidelines, medicinal uses, edibility, and medicine-making tips, and leave with a profound respect for the healing power of plants!

Jade Alicandro Mace, Community Herbalist at Milk & Honey Herbs.

Organic No-Till Vegetable Production

Four Winds Farm has been no-till since 1995, utilizing permanent beds and system of weed control with generous applications of compost. This workshop will discuss our switch to no-till, how our compost is made and applied, and will take participants on a season-long journey of the production of different crops in a no-till environment.

Jay Armour, Farming at Four Winds Farm since 1988.

Commercial Organic Seedling Production

In 1998, Four Winds Farm started selling seedlings to gardeners. This workshop will cover our seedling production process, including heating the greenhouse with compost, producing potting mix with that compost, and growing and selling seedlings.

Jay Armour, Farming at Four Winds Farm since 1988.

Mentoring Next Generation Farmers: Intergenerational & Cross-Cultural Communication  

MESA’s online learning network has resources to enrich hands-on farm training. This workshop will help experienced and beginning farmers gain access to new tools supporting knowledge exchanges and create a space where both can talk about their needs and experiences.

Leah Atwood Director of Programs and Development for the Multicultural Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA).

Natalia Pinzón, Director of Education for the Multicultural Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA).

Tour: Mechanical Cultivation at Simple Gifts Farm

This tour will include a basic tour of Simple Gifts Farm, with a focus on the systems we use to control weeds and to cut down on hand work in the fields

Jeremy Barker Plotkin, Vegetable grower on a mid-sized, organic farm.

Getting to the Root: White Privilege in the Food System

In this workshop we’ll look at food system inequities, analyze our own power, privilege, and competencies as makers of change, and discuss possible solutions white culture can implement for a more just and equitable food system.

Jonathan Bates, Regenerative land and life coach; farmer with Nuestras Raices; author of Paradise Lot; runs FoodForestFarm.com.

Excel Spreadsheets for Small Scale Farms

Improve your farm planning, workflow, and record keeping systems with functional and presentable excel documents. We will work together to create a sample budget and crop planning worksheet from scratch, and in doing so cover basic calculations, formatting, drop downs, lookup tables, if/then statements, and graphs/charts. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop!

Nick Berini, Engineer-turned-farmer, currently assistant manager at Quail Hill Farm.

Wild Mushrooms of Massachusetts

Many people are excited to learn about edible wild mushrooms; there are so many delicious varieties! This workshop will help provide the background you need for understanding this fascinating subject. Our slideshow of all-local photography will show participants some amazing local species, and will focus especially on those that are safe for beginners.

Ryan T. Bouchard, Co-president of Southern New England Mushroom Hunting, author of Gourmet Mushrooms of RI.

Emily Schmidt, Co-president of Southern New England Mushroom Hunting.

Tour: UMass Student Farming Enterprise

Tour the UMass Student Farm, which manages 9 acres of certified organic land on the campus of UMass Amherst. The farm produces over 40 vegetable crops as well as a 200 broiler hens using certified organic practices and on-farm slaughtering, and is run by students enrolled in the Sustainable Food and Farming program.

Amanda Brown M.Ed., Co-founder of the UMass Student Farming Enterprise, faculty member of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.

Farming With Volunteers

Community Harvest Project is a non-profit farm that relies heavily on volunteer groups. We’ve developed many processes for managing new people every day, to ensure a beneficial experience for all. Join us to learn group management techniques, farm hacks to make tasks easier with many hands, and lessons to incorporate into your activities.

Tori Buerschaper, Education and Outreach Coordinator at Community Harvest Project.

Alicia Cianciola, Program Manager focusing on education and impact at Community Harvest Project.

Compost Analysis & Interpretation

There are many agricultural, environmental, and regulatory reasons to get a compost analysis and interpret results for plant available nutrient content. How is it done? Come to this workshop to learn how to submit a compost sample for analysis and learn how to calculate the plant available nutrient content of your compost!

Katie Campbell-Nelson, Vegetable Specialist for UMass Extension; conducts research and education for vegetable farmers in MA.

Medicinal Mushrooms

This workshop will go over different varieties of medicinal mushrooms, their historical use, and what grows native to New England. We will go over identification and methods of preparation. This is a good workshop for people who already have a background with fungi and foraging for edibles!

Jon Carver, Head mycologist at North Spore Mushroom Co. and holds a masters degree in Mycology.

Matt McInnis, Co-owner of North Spore Mushroom Co., avid forager, and makes medicinal mushroom tinctures and teas.

Hybrid Seeds: Are They Worth the Cost?

What are hybrids and why do they cost so much? This workshop will explain what hybrid crops are, how they are developed, and the potential advantages they bring to your farm. We will discuss how the seed is produced, and whether the additional costs of production are worth the advantages that growing hybrid crops brings.

Dr. Jason Cavatorta, Plant breeder and owner of EarthWork Seeds.

Tour: Harvest Efficiency & Wash Station Flow

This tour will detail the improvements that Simple Gifts Farm has made to its washroom infrastructure and workflow over the past year. The newly designed wash station accommodates the farm’s need for increased efficiency as it scales up production for an increased market capacity through their planned on-site farm store!

Abigail Clarke, Harvest Manager at Simple Gifts Farm.

Tour: Gardening With Mushrooms

Learn how to bring mushrooms into your home and garden! Find out easy cultivation techniques for growing mushrooms in woodchips, logs, and straw.

Willie Crosby, Owner of Fungi Ally, has been growing mushrooms for 4 years.

Tour: Starting a Small Scale Mushroom Farm

Explore the opportunities in small-scale mushroom cultivation. We will discuss several different methods for indoor and outdoor cultivation, and investigate which method meets your goals as a potential mushroom grower.

Willie Crosby, Owner of Fungi Ally, has been growing mushrooms for 4 years.

Practical Crop Storage for Winter Sales

Offering a range of produce all winter long has many advantages - retaining customers, consistent cash flow, and feeding the community year-round. This workshop will cover the environments required by storage crops, as well as ways to achieve these conditions on different budgets. We will also touch on harvesting, washing, and physiology of storage crops.

Chuck Currie, Runs Freedom Food Farm, a year-round diversified livestock and produce farm.

Season Extension Strategies

Row cover, low tunnels, high tunnels, caterpillar tunnels, and greenhouses have all been employed successfully for extending the harvest season. Learn about the costs, construction, advantages, and disadvantages of these different structures, and which ones might be right for your operation. We will also cover recommended crops, planting dates, and management strategies.

Chuck Currie, Runs Freedom Food Farm, a year-round diversified livestock and produce farm.

Preserving the Harvest: Fermentation 102

Learn how to preserve fresh produce in order to reduce food waste, save money, and eat local throughout the year using the time-honored tradition of fermentation. We’ll also discuss the healing properties and nutritional importance of fermented foods. Handouts with instructions and recipes will be provided so you feel comfortable fermenting at home!

Angela Davis, Founder of Fermentation Matters, co-founder of NYC Ferments, and Food Education Manager of Just Food.

Meet Your Microbes: Building & Maintaining a Healthy Microbiome      

Bacteria are everywhere – including inside us! Our interior microbial world is called the “human microbiome”. There has been much recent research about the human microbiome and its importance to our physical and emotional health. Come learn what the human microbiome is, how it affects our health, and how to build and maintain a healthy one.

Angela Davis, Founder of Fermentation Matters, co-founder of NYC Ferments, and Food Education Manager of Just Food.

Creating a Permaculture Farm

Learn how to design your farm using the insights and techniques of permaculture. In this workshop we will explore options for fruits, nuts and berries; wildlife corridors; gravity fed rainwater; silvopasture and orchards; natural buildings for animals, interns, and guests; off grid energy approaches for farms.

Andrew Faust, Permaculture teacher and designer with over 20 years of experience.

A Sick Sheep is NOT a Dead Sheep!    

In this workshop we will bust open various common myths about shepherding. Come learn current models of shepherding using traditional methods. We will also introduce basic homeopathic principals and grass-based management.

Mary Ellen Finger, 20 years small animal vet in NYC, 20 years homeopathic vet in the Hudson Valley.

Tour: Horse Powered CSA Part 2

In the first part of this two-part tour of Natural Roots Farm, we’ll demonstrate how we run our CSA, relying exclusively on horsepower. We’ll use live horsepower demonstrations, on a variety of traditional and innovative implements to illustrate our vegetable production systems. There will be opportunity for lots of discussion!

David Fischer, Runs 200 member horse-powered CSA at Natural Roots Farm. Farming for 19 years.

Tour: Horse Powered CSA Part 3

In the second part of this two-part tour of Natural Roots Farm, which begins Sunday at 8:00 AM, we will continue to demonstrate traditional and innovative horse drawn equipment in our produce operation. We will also continue to discuss all aspects of running our farm with horsepower.

David Fischer, Runs 200 member horse-powered CSA at Natural Roots Farm. Farming for 19 years.

Compost & the Living Soil: A Cooperative Effort

Let’s explore composting as a holistic approach to waste diversion and soil fertility. We will look at how to capture the available resources of organic matter within our communities as well as encouraging diverse biological activity though compost feedstocks, all with a focus on technologies appropriate to large and medium-scale farms. Come prepared with questions!

Sam Fox, Farmer and compost operator at Earth Care Farm.

Reclaiming Your Pantry

A well-stocked pantry provides the comfort that we truly understand the source of what we eat, and empowers us to cook holistically. We will explore the idea of “the pantry”, looking at new locations where the pantry can live in your home, and how to keep it well-stocked through all the seasons.

Rosa Galeno, Food educator, chef, pending author, and dietary restriction consultant.

Preserving the Past & Tasting the Present

Taste the harvest long after the season has passed! Using peppers and tomatoes as examples, we will dive into food preservation fundamentals beyond water-bath canning.

Rosa Galeno, Food educator, chef, pending author, and dietary restriction consultant.

Whatever Happened to “Organic”?

Organic agriculture is key to avoiding climate chaos, but less than 1% of US farmland is organic. Activists often believe that “organic” has lost its meaning after being “taken over” by USDA. This discussion is based on Grace’s new memoir, Organic Revolutionary: A Memoir of the Movement for Real Food, Planetary Healing, & Human Liberation.

Grace Gershuny, Author of Organic Revolutionary.

Beginning Small Scale Pastured Poultry- Brooder to Bag

This workshop will provide a detailed overview of the proven basics of brooding, raising, and processing poultry, with an emphasis on pasturing techniques.

Ken Gies, Hatchery owner and pastured poultry grower for over 20 years.

Beginners Garlic Growing

Starting by looking at a simple bulb of garlic, beginners will gain a framework for successful garlic growing by looking at the different stages of planting, harvesting, processing and selling.

Ken Gies, Small scale garlic grower for over a decade.

Singing for Freedom & a Livable Future

Come for a respite from the intense intellectual engagement of the conference! Together, we’ll sing for climate and food justice, and we’ll generate inspiration for living out values of solidarity and ecology. Songs will be taught aurally. Bring voices, harmonies, and ideas for integrating singing within today’s food movement.

Ben Grosscup, Director of People’s Music Network

Growing Health: 10 Herbs for Backyard Medicine       

Feel empowered to grow and make herbal medicine from the garden! Learn Maria’s top 10 easy-to-grow medicinal herbs for the New England garden and how to use them to keep your family healthy and well. We will discuss growing tips, remedy making, safety, and how to address specific health concerns.

Maria Noel Groves RH (AHG), Registered clinical herbalist, runs Wintergreen Botanicals, LLC.

Telling Your Story

Shoppers are hungry for more than your food – they want stories, too! This workshop will help identify the details of your life and work that catch readers on social media, blogs, labels, and other marketing materials. You’ll leave with words on paper, and a sense of direction for marketing your farm and food enterprises.

Amy Halloran, Teaches food justice, cooking and writing; author of The New Bread Basket.

Farming, Teaching & Feeding a College Campus

College food can be great! We grow 25% of our food on campus, & 50% is sourced locally or sustainably. We will share tips about growing, processing, and cooking college food; integrating curriculum and work; maintaining effective communication and management systems; and our commitment to innovation and constant re-evaluation of campus food systems.

Gwyneth Harris, Farm Manager at Sterling College.

Simeon Bittman, Executive Chef at Sterling College.

Tour: UMass Cover Crop Research Plot

Learn about several cover-cropping research projects occurring at UMass Amherst, with visual context. Projects include no-till with mixed cover crops in sweet corn, cover crops for grazing season extension and nematode management, and legumes contributing to the nitrogen needs of brewing barley. We will also introduce new cover crops, such as fava beans and sunhemp.

Masoud Hashemi, UMass Extension Faculty, Sustainable Food and Farming

CSA Around the World: The International CSA Conference in Beijing      

CSA farmers/organizers from all continents gathered in China at the 6th International CSA Conference to exchange experiences and plan further expansion of family farm-scale agro-ecological projects that connect directly with people who want food they can trust. In this workshop we will explore what we can learn from CSAs and solidarity economics in other countries.

Elizabeth Henderson, Part of the team at Peacework Organic CSA, wrote Sharing the Harvest.

Plant Propagation: The Asexual Gift That Keeps Giving.      

This workshop will offer a broad overview on many different types of vegetative propagation: crown division, root cuttings, scaling, tip layering, softwood and hardwood cuttings. We will discuss which techniques work best for different species and genera. Participants will practice some of these techniques and take home plants!

Jacob Holzberg-Pill, Environmental science, sustainable agriculture, and nature awareness educator.

Make the Most of Your Urban & Suburban Garden

Urban and suburban gardens have unique challenges and opportunities. Come learn how to evaluate your space and make the most of the environment you have. We will look at assessing growing conditions (light, soil, water) as well as tips for maximizing yield, building soil, and how permaculture principles can help guide garden design and output.

Allison Houghton, Urban and suburban farmer, gardener, and teacher within the Boston Area.

Structural Pruning of Shade Trees & Ornamentals

A detailed, informative and entertaining intensive on training our largest landscape plants for proper form and sustainable growth.

Tom Ingersoll, Massachusetts Certified Arborist, ISA Certified Arborist, CT Licensed Supervising Arborist, NOFA AOLCP.

Pruning Fruit Trees for Health & Longevity

Attendees will learn organic fruit tree care from an arborist’s perspective.

Tom Ingersoll, Massachusetts Certified Arborist, ISA Certified Arborist, CT Licensed Supervising Arborist, NOFA AOLCP.

Microbes: Friend or Foe?

Digestion and health is dynamic and ever changing modulated by literally trillions of hundreds of different types of microorganisms. We will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the human digestive system, the diverse population of microbes, and how diet, drugs, and environmental factors shape the microbial diversity and our health.

Beth Ingham, Whole Health Educator, Nutritionist, Spacial Dynamics Associate, Science teacher.

Protecting Your Working Body: Self Care & Ergonomics for Farmers!  

This upbeat and active workshop teaches how to care for your most important tool... your body! Learn anatomy, body mechanics and injury prevention related to farm work’s physical challenges. We will cover frequent problems and ways to prepare, maintain and restore. Take care of your body so it can keep taking care of business!

Lydia Irons, Licensed Massage Therapist, The Flexible Farmer founder & MA Rep. NE Center for Ag Health.

Low Intervention Organic Fruit Production

We will discuss apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, blueberries and red raspberries (and some minor fruit) and what we do for them from March – November. Our focus will be on fertility, pruning, integrative cropping and products. We don’t practice pest and disease intervention management and have 35 years of experience with certified fruit.

Julie Rawson, Wild about fruit.

Jack Kittredge, Fruit enthusiast.

Making Medicinal Ghee: An Ayurvedic Perspective

In Ayurvedic Medicine, ghee is used to prevent and treat ailments that affect digestion, memory, inflammation, joints and immunity. In New England, we have access to high quality local butter to make ghee. Learn to make ghee, then go a step further by adding herbs to make medicinal ghee. Handouts with recipes and taste tests included.

Hannah Jacobson-Hardy, Community herbalist at Sweet Birch Herbals, wellness coach and owner of Full Moon Ghee.

Who’s Afraid of Animal Fats?    

New research is proving that natural animal fats do not cause heart disease or other chronic conditions. Find out why old-fashioned animal fats like pastured lard, tallow and chicken fat actually prevent heart disease, supply valuable fat-soluble vitamins not found in plant fats, and belong in a healthy diet.

Brigitta Jansen, Completing Masters degree in Human Nutrition while working as a health coach.

Financial Planning & Management for Diversified Farms

We will review budgeting, profit and loss statements, balance sheet analysis, and borrowing for capitalization for the small, diversified farm.

Dan Kaplan, Farm Manager, Brookfield Farm, since 1994.

Cover Crops for the Small Vegetable Farm

Cover cropping is an indispensable tool for maintaining and building healthy soil. We strive to keep the soil covered as much of the year as possible, while maintaining high yields of tasty, profitable veggies. Learn how to select and establish the right cover crop(s), as well as timing, intercropping, cover crop cocktails, tillage and reduced tillage, weed control and more.

Noah Kellerman, Grew up on Alprilla Farm where he raises vegetables, grains and cattle.

Soil Fertility & Optimal Growing Conditions on the Farm or Garden     

A crash course in how healthy agricultural soils can be built and managed for great growing results. Explore a step-by-step approach to building an excellent biological soil, tips for avoiding mistakes, and dealing with problems effectively on the farm or in the garden.

John Kenny, Educator and farmer (15 years organic farming). Background in biology, chem, soils.

Soils Part 1: What’s Going on Down There

What is the relationship between plants and their soil? What is soil structure? What is the biological soil activity actually doing? In this workshop we will dive into gaining a beyond basics understanding of what goes on underneath our feet at our farms and gardens.

Dan Kittredge, Eclectic, farmer, NGO Director, focused on systemic solutions.

Soils Part 2: How Do We Unlock Soil Potential?

Having covered the basics and beyond of soils in Part 1, in Part 2 we will look at the intricacies and nuances of bringing your soil and fertility performance to the best it can be. This workshop will be most beneficial if participants attend Part 1.

Dan Kittredge, Eclectic, farmer, NGO Director, focused on systemic solutions.

Carbon Farming: To Profit the Farm & the Earth

Emerging science demonstrates the power of biology to draw carbon into soils from the atmosphere, maximize water retention in the soil, boost crop yields and nutrition, mitigate weather extremes, and enhance the overall resilience of the landscape. Explore soil carbon building tools and methods that are working for NE organic vegetable farmers.

Jack Kittredge, Homesteader, organic farmer of 28 years, and author of soil carbon building study.

Julie Rawson, Certified organic farmer of 28 years, carbon farmer, and NOFA/Mass Executive Director.

East West Self-Healing & Health Maintance Using Traditional Foods        

Learn to assess your health using a combination of modern biology and Oriental medicine’s use of visual bodily cues to reveal the health of your organs, glands and metabolism. Learn how to choose specific traditional foods to correct imbalances that are seen through Integrative Diagnosis, a system developed by John.

John Kozinski MEA, Natural health teacher, counselor, researcher, author, shiatsu practitioner and qigong teacher since 1976.

Is My Beef Finished?

Discuss ways a farmer can identify when their beef is finished, to produce consistent, quality grass fed beef.

Matthew Koziol, New grass and cattle farmer driving top quality MA beef.

Small Scale Beekeeping for Fruit, Veggies, Honey & Fun!   

Increase vegetable and fruit yields, protect pollinators, improve local food security and potentially receive a honey bonus. Learn about honeybees’ life cycle, favorite food plants, how to site apiaries, install package bees, collect honeybee swarms, harvest honey and render beeswax. Resources will include nectar plants, equipment needs and potential suppliers.

Sanne Kure-Jensen, Experienced beekeeper, organic grower, agricultural writer and manager of NOFA/RI workshops and outreach.

How to Be a Healthy Vegan

If you’re a new vegan, happily vegan, or vegan-curious, learn everything you need to be sure you’re healthy as well. Explore tips and strategies to help you overcome any obstacle, achieve maximum vegan nutrition and address common concerns about where to get protein, calcium and iron.

Mary Lawrence, Owner of Ahimsa Health & Harmony vegan wellness center and Well on Wheels vegan personal chef service.

“From Seed to Sauce”, the Art of Tomato Growing

Learn to find great heirloom tomato varieties, grow a great crop, and use your bounty creatively. We’ll explore seed sources, growing methods, trouble-shooting, harvesting and preserving tips. And best of all, tasting and recipes!

Amy LeBlanc, Owner/grower at Whitehill Farm, tomato and garlic specialist and avid cook.

Essential Wild Foods for Your Winter Larder

Enhance your winter pantry with wild condiments and preserves. Learn the brilliance and simplicity of incorporating wild foods in your winter diet using traditional recipes and preservation techniques. We will taste and discuss a variety of easy and effective ways to preserve summer’s wild bounty, prioritizing nutrient preservation and flavor.

Carly Leusner, Wild food enthusiast, cook, and educator; Acorn Kitchen’s mother.

How to Start a School Garden

Are you interested in starting or improving an educational edible garden at your school? Learn step-by-step strategies in creating and sustaining a bountiful plot for students. Topics include identifying goals for the garden, site selection and soil health testing, creating a support network, and linking the garden to the curriculum to encourage long-term use.

Jamie Levato, Education Director of Poughkeepsie Farm Project and certified teacher.

Ellie Limpert, Education Manager at Poughkeepsie Farm Project and Nutritionist.

The State of Organic Ag at the Massachusetts State House

The formal 2015-2016 Massachusetts legislative session has just ended. Let’s talk about what happened, what’s next, and what’s important to YOU, including issues like GMO labeling, protecting pollinators, valuing farms, raw milk and more…

Amie Lindenboim, Policy Organizer for NOFA/Mass, attorney, and vegetable gardener in Brookline, MA.   Martin Dagoberto

Rotational Grazing & Soil Health

Learn about rotational grazing techniques, how to understand what your pasture land is capable of producing, and how these tools and thoughtful management relate to soil health and increased productivity.

Dave Llewellyn, 15 years of sustainable agriculture experience with focus on vegetable production, soils and planning.

Ben Crockett, 10 years experience in variety of farm operations with a focus on ruminants and pasture based farming.

Farmer in the Classroom

Learn about the successful Farmer in the Classroom program and how to establish it in your own schools. Gain tips on locating educators, finding relevant information, how to approach school administrators, funding and teaching styles. This workshop relates to the Chef in the Classroom workshop presented by Sandy McKelvey. Participants can attend either or both workshops.

Carolyn Llewellyn, Farm and nature educator, and former CSA farmer.

Nut Trees for the Northeast

Northeast nut trees provide food, forage, lumber and a host of other goodies. This tour will discuss the juglans group (English and black walnut, butternut, heartnut), hickories, oaks, pinenuts, chestnuts (American & Oriental) and hazel/filberts. Growing and site conditions will be discussed in some detail.

Bill MacKentley, Farmer and horticulturalist.

The Other Sweet Trees

We all know that sugar maples are the source of maple syrup, but how many know that all other species of maple and members of the juglans and the betula families also yield quality syrup? Learn about overall yields, time of tapping, percent brix, volume of sap throughout the season, quality of syrup, and prices for each.

Bill MacKentley, Farmer and horticulturalist.

Creating an Holistic Farm Family Goal

Learn the three components of a holistic farm family goal. A great opportunity for those who have not yet set a goal or are unsure of which direction to take, leave the class with a draft of a completed goal that can be used in a business plan or simply to gain clarification to better guide your business.

Elizabeth Marks, Biologist with the USDA NRCS in NY and Holistic Management certified educator.

Sarah Wiliford, Manages East Brook Farm and coordinates HMI’s Beginning Women Farmer Program in NY.

Building a Net-Zero Green Home: One Person’s Experience

Building “green” in today’s world is easier and more cost effective than ever before. Elizabeth will talk about how she built a net-zero 2,375 square foot home (90% or more of the energy to heat and power the home comes from renewable energy). She’ll discuss techniques she used and compare the costs to traditional building.

Elizabeth Marks, Owner of Making the Turn Farm and built a net-zero home.

Work Horses 101

For those with limited experience and lots of interest, get hands on time, up close and personal with these amazing animals. Learn handling, care, keeping and the basics of how they think, how to work safely around them, and how they can benefit your farming operation.

Kimberly Mastrianni, Works with people and horses, ideally, to both their benefit.

Dale Perkins, Works with people and horses on a small family farm.

Keeping Sheep Organically

Learn options for managing sheep organically, including breeds and housing, practices for parasite control, handling, feeding and health care. Get an overview of the basics of organic certification for livestock including general requirements, where to go for help, and management requirements. Explore how sheep might fit into your small, diversified farm or larger commercial operation.

Kimberly Mastrianni, B.S. in Animal Science, raising sheep organically for 11 years.

Growing a Holistic, Homestead, Heirloom Apple Orchard

A practical presentation and interactive discussion on site selection, planting, pruning, grafting and holistically nurturing heirloom and disease resistant apple varieties. Particular attention will be paid to practices that encourage lower maintenance and easy orchard management. The focus will be on the homestead scale orchard, not commercial, although many of the same principles will still apply.

Jack Mastrianni, Started 10 tree homestead apple orchard 15 years ago, now at 60 trees.

Walking the Labyrinth’s Path: Ecological Art in Action

Learn about ancient labyrinths and today’s “earth art” movement as we weave willow fencing and create a labyrinth to walk. We’ll discuss practical tips/considerations, materials, techniques, siting, and a variety of applications, including therapeutic uses in health care settings and as agritourism and organic land care.

Melinda McCreven, Horticultural arts therapist; utilizes plants in creating nature art sculpture & installations.

Improving Your Land With Multi-Species Grazing

Raising multiple species of livestock on pasture is truly an asset to a farm, from renovating and rotovating land to building organic matter and soil biology. Learn, discuss and share the many different ways various animal groups can graze together as you strive for healthy soils and productive pastures.

Lisa McCrory, Organic Farmer, Reiki Practitioner, Dowser, Grazing Consultant, Holistic Management.

Dowsing & Agriculture

Dowsing has been used for thousands of years in many cultures around the world. Learn how to dowse and how you can employ this skill on your farm. We’ll coverhow dowsing can be used in garden layout and design, picking out seeds, and livestock health. Hands-on learning, and a handout will be provided.

Lisa McCrory, Organic Farmer, Reiki Practitioner, Dowser, Grazing Consultant, Holistic Management.

Farm to School: Getting Kids Excited About Eating Vegetables

Learn creative ways to integrate locally-grown farm produce and nutrition education into elementary school curriculum through hands-on cooking lessons in the classroom and agricultural education in the school garden. Educators will receive curriculum resources that meet State Standards.

Sandy  McKelvey, Founded Hudson Valley Farm to School to teach kids about ag and where their food comes from.

The Role of Biochar in Organic Farming

Biochar has beneficial effects when properly integrated into an organic farming system. It is a permanent soil amendment that improves the performance of the soil-crop system in multiple ways, especially moisture management and soil microbiology health. Learn its properties, options for making or buying it, and methods for integrating biochar into a variety of organic growing systems.

Hugh McLaughlin PhD, PE, Expert on the production, properties and applications of biochar, author, and CTO of NextChar, LLC.

Veal: No Longer the Ugly Meat

With proponents of sustainable agriculture working to distinguish between sustainable and conventional livestock, one facet of farming has yet to break out of the vilified reputation – veal. Yet there is a demand for humanely raised veal. This workshop is targeted toward a variety of audiences: dairy, beef, new and beginning, senior and women farmers.

Sandra Kay Miller, Raising livestock for 30 years; owner and operator of Painted Hand Farm.

Finding, Assessing & Securing Farmland

A comprehensive overview of strategies, considerations, and resources for achieving secure access to farmland. Learn ways to find farm properties and assess their suitability for your farm plan. We’ll consider traditional and creative land access options and how to achieve the most appropriate tenure for each unique situation.

Rachel Murray, Connecticut Field Agent, Land For Good.

Kathy Ruhf, Senior Program Director, Land For Good.

Your Daily Dose of Herbs

Herbs can be a simple and powerful addition to your daily life, supporting holistic wellness and emotional and physical balance. Learn how simple and sustainable herbal protocols can help you feel great and bring a sense of deep empowerment and confidence to your everyday life.

Brittany Nickerson, Practicing Herbalist, health educator, author and teacher; owner of Thyme Herbal.

Dehydrating Your Harvest for Fun & Health

Learn how easy it is to dehydrate food and create fun projects. Carrie will show the dehydrator and tools she uses, present samples of projects and explain various dehydrating methods you can use.

Carrie Novak, Avid gardener and owner of 3 acre homestead in North Central Massachusetts.

No-Till Intensive Vegetable Production Pt 1 & 2

Learn methods for intensively growing vegetable crops without disturbing the soil through tillage or cultivation. Bryan will present the techniques he uses: multi-cropping, mowing, solarizing, weed-free composting, mulching, broadcast seeding, and weed control. This system has been commercially utilized at his Tobacco Road Farm for more than 5 years.

Bryan O’Hara, Owner of Tobacco Road Farm in Lebanon CT presents ‘mountains of details’ in a concise, practical and cohesive manner.

Feud on the Farm: Resolving Conflict Through Mediation

Through a new grant from the USDA and MOPC, the Mediation and Training Collaborative (TMTC) offers education and mediation services to farmers. Find out what mediation services are available and how this confidential and flexible form of dispute resolution can serve you and your farm.

Lea Occhialini, Attorney/mediator with The Mediation and Training Collaborative (TMTC) of Greenfield, MA.

Creating a Learning Plan for Your Development as a Farm

Brittany will review the skills and competencies that farmers need to succeed, and will help you draft your own farm’s learning plan. Farming successfully requires an incredibly diverse skill set. New farmers benefit greatly from learning what skills they should develop and by creating a plan to acquire those skills.

Brittany Overshiner, NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Coordinator and Vegetable Farmer.

Growing Unusual Perennial Vegetables

Learn how to select and nurture high-quality veggies that return year after year: Sunchokes, Babbington Leeks, Daubenton’s Kale, Egyptian Walking Onions, Sea Kale, Groundnut, Jin Zhen Cai, and more.

David Palnick, Vegetable gardener for 40+ years.

Getting the Farm Transfer/Transition Process Started

Robert will address the challenges that families face when initiating the farm transition process of passing on management and ownership and show how to plan for one family gradually easing out while the other eases in, while meeting the needs of each generation. He will introduce the challenges of identifying a successor, communication, retirement planning, estate planning, and taxes.

Robert Parsons, Extension Professor at UVM, specializing in farm transfer workshops across the US.

Urban Agriculture Composting

Rich will walk you through how urban growers can compost on various scales. At City Farm, a ¾ acre urban farm, Rich and his helpers handle over 12 tons of compost/year.

Richard Pederson, Manager of Southside Community Land Trust’s City Farm in Providence, RI.

Starting Out with Organic Pastured Pigs

Just getting into pigs? Thinking about expanding from just a couple pigs to a couple dozen? This workshop will provide an overview of how to effectively and economically house, fence, and feed a happy pig. Happy pigs taste better!

Alice Percy, Coordinator of the Organic Growers Supply division at Fedco Seeds with 10 years experience raising certified organic pastured hogs at Treble Ridge Farm in Waterville, ME.

Non-NPK Organic Soil Amendments in Spinach

Learn about short-term effects of azomite, biochar, humates, basalt dust, and zeolites on yield and Brix in spinach and potatoes. Recently, Fedco engaged with four Maine farms in a SARE-funded trial and Alice will present interim results and discuss the implications of the findings.

Alice Percy, Coordinator of the Organic Growers Supply division at Fedco Seeds with 10 years experience raising certified organic pastured hogs at Treble Ridge Farm in Waterville, ME.

Work Horses 102: Beyond the Basics

Understand what horses can do for your farm with a hands on learning experience where you will have the opportunity to harness and drive a single or a team of horses. You will also learn harness varieties, proper fit, hitching, other equipment, and safety concerns.

Dale Perkins, Creator of the Dale Perkins Horse Show based out of Mesa Farm, a small diversified farm in Rutland, MA.

Kim Mastrianni, Works with people and horses on a small family farm.

How to Make Homemade Cheese

Explore making chèvre, que fresco, feta, yogurt, and an aged cheese like camembert. Learn the equipment needed, how to source cultures, types of cultures, the different stages each cheese goes through, molds and yeasts and some of the science behind cheese making.

Diana Phillips, Raises goats and makes an assortment of simple to sophisticated cheeses.

Tour: No-Till Compost/Biochar Farm Tour

Visit Astarte Farm, a certified organic market Garden in Hadley MA, for a farm tour of their operation using inoculated compost/Biochar blends to accomplish long term fertility goals. There will be a demonstration of their self-loading compost spreader and they will share the results of their No-Till, Biochar/compost system to enhance the soil food web.

Dan Pratt, Former owner at Astarte Farm is now consultant to the farm.

Organic Farming in Cuba Today

Howard will share a detailed pictorial and descriptive tour of Cuba’s agroecological farms. Cuba, by necessity, has emerged as a leading practioner of organic methods on a very low input model that incorporate worm farming, hard work and making do without outside inputs. Howard traveled twice to Cuba in 2015 representing NOFA VT.

Howard Prussack, Organic farmer since 1971, Vermont’s first Certified organic farmer 1978

Intensive Silvopastoral Systems for the Northeast

Intensive silvopastures use densely-planted woody fodder shrubs in combination with pasture and full-sized trees to increase productivity and biodiversity. Get an overview of intensive silvopastures research, done mostly in the tropics, and hear proposed ways to adapt it to the cold Northeast.

Eli Roberts, Master of Forestry Candidate Yale University.

Herbs for Childbearing: Having a Healthy Pregnancy Without Pills 

Learn about the herbs that nourish, take care of common problems and prepare our bodies for birth.  There are plenty of herbs that are safe to use throughout pregnancy and in this workshop you will learn to prepare your own teas and tinctures to support your healthy pregnancy.

Rachel Ross, Botanist, Community Herbalist and Midwife.

Active Listening - Tending to Your Relationships

Understand how communication is at the heart of every single relationship in your professional and personal life. The success of a business relies on the health and well-being of your relationships. Tend to your listening skills in this interactive workshop and see how these relationships can flourish and thrive as a result.

Melissa Rudder, Owner of Between the Lines Consulting, Masters of Science in Applied Conflict Studies from Champlain College

Farming Is Risky Business

Farmers will receive education on a variety of risk management tools to help evaluate risk on your farm. You will be guided through a SWOT(strength, weakness, opportunity, threats) analysis exercise on a Massachusetts farm.

Paul Russell, Works with UMass Extension Risk Management Education.

Thomas Smiarowski, works with UMass Extension Risk Management Education.

Organic Fertilizers Demystified

Paul will guide you through a comprehensive look at organic fertilizer ingredients such as Azomite, Alfalfa, the various “meals” and other products available to help you understand these ingredients as well as the conditions that affect plant response.

Paul Sachs, Founder/Owner North Country Organics

Climate Emergency, Climate Promise

Over the past two or three years global warming has begun to accelerate markedly and climate scientists have underestimated the scope of anthropogenic climate change. How did that happen? Given that emissions reductions alone are seriously insufficient to address climate, Adam will explore agriculture’s positive contributions and the potential of the new climate paradigm.

Adam Sacks, Executive Director of Biodiversity for a Livable Climate.

Cultivating the Soil & Soul: Integrating Farming with Personal Growth, Community Building and Spirituality    

How do we use farming as a way of teaching and learning the fundamentals of ecology, religion and spirituality and how can weeding, harvesting and pickling provide the backdrop for personal growth and community building? In this workshop Shamu will share some of the powerful synthesis that happens when these elements are integrated.

Shamu Sadeh, Professor, Environmental Studies, Judaic Studies; having taught at Portland State University, Berkshire Community College, and Wild Rockies Field Institute.

Tour: UMass Franklin Permaculture Garden Tour

Enjoy a tour of the Franklin Permaculture Garden. In 2010, the Franklin Permaculture Garden was transformed from a grass lawn into an edible, educational, biodiverse growing space. Xochiquetzal will provide a history of the project, explanations of design elements, exploration of permaculture principles at work in the garden, and introductions to lesser known perennial plants, including plant tastings.

Xochiquetzal Salazar, Certified Permaculture Designer and manager of the UMass Permaculture gardens.

Integrated Pest Management in Cucurbits

Cuke beetles, and squash bugs, and mildews, oh my! Cucurbits are susceptible to many many insects and diseases. This session will cover the biology of key insect pests and diseases and discuss management systems that utilize and integrate cultural, biological, and chemical control strategies to effectively manage pests over the long-term.

Susan Scheufele, Extension Educator with UMass Extension’s Vegetable Program and holds an MS in Plant Pathology from Cornell University.

Farm-Based Education: Telling the Story of Food, Land & Farmers    

Your whole farm is ripe with opportunities for experiential learning! Learn about the many tools you already possess for engaging people of all ages in farm-based learning. Hear examples, and discover how your work with row crops, pastures, washing stations and more are more than enough for you to start your farm based education program.

Vera Simon-Nobes, Coordinator at Farm Based Education Network at Shelburne Farms, VT.

FarmOS: Open Source Farm Management & Record Keeping

Learn the core features of farmOS, how to get started, where to find help, and how to contribute back to the project. FarmOS is a web-based software application for farm planning, management, and recordkeeping, is developed by a community of volunteers and the code is available for free.

Michael Stenta, Founder and lead developer of farmOS, an open-source farm planning and recordkeeping software application.

GMO Secrets: What Monsanto Doesn’t Want You to Know.         

Discuss the hidden secrets that are seldom disclosed but are part of the research, development, production and marketing of GMO crops and food. Until recently, GMOs and agrochemical residues in and on our food supply have been a well-kept secret. Monsanto’s business plan depends on secrecy, and wishes it was still hush-hush.

Ed Stockman, Cofounder of MA Right To Know GMOs is also a biologist and organic farmer.

Herbal Approaches to Lyme Disease

Informed by the new edition of Stephen Harrod Buhner’s, Healing Lyme, as well as his Herbal Antibiotics and Herbal Antivirals, we will explore the benefits of plant medicine in fighting bacterial and viral illness and building our bodies’ resistance. Great promise lies in plant medicines as antibiotics become less effective.

Sarah Stockwell-Arthen, Remedy-maker at Hilltown Herbals in Cummington, MA

Sustainable Hop Production for Home & Market

Learn how to grow hops for home use or to sell to the burgeoning craft brewer market in the Northeastern United States where hops have not been grown commercial for 100 years.

Laura Ten Eyck, Co-author of The Hop Growers Handbook: The Essential Guide for Sustainable Small Scale Production for Home and Market Dietrich          Gehring

Dietrich Gehring, Co-author of The Hop Growers Handbook: The Essential Guide for Sustainable Small Scale Production for Home and Market

Farm Business: Selling Wholesale, Branding & Marketing Your Products  

Sharing insight and advice from a team of chefs and farmers, this session will outline how producers can adopt technology on their farms, boats, and at their workshops to help sell product before harvest, cultivation, or even a seed is planted. You will gain an understanding of marketing, advertising and branding to position yourself in the wholesale market.

Matt Tortora, 10 year-US Navy Combat War Veteran with a passion for the Culinary Arts.

Max Hence, 9 year Army Veteran and organic farmer/forester with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur.

Seed Sovereignty is Food Sovereignty

Seed is the fundamental unit of our food system. In order to have resilient local food systems, we must have strong local seed systems. You will learn about pollination biology and planning ahead for seed saving for a variety of crops. Basic plant breeding for on-farm regional crop adaptation will be covered. There will also be hands-on seed saving activities.

Hannah Traggis, Educator at Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

Building a Hoophouse Pasture Coop

David and Pam will share their planning and construction of their new pasture coop for 80 birds. They will detail how and why they chose certain aspects of designing a versatile pasture coop and will have handouts that include plans.

David   Turner & Pam Raymond, Raise pastured broilers, layers, pastured pigs and grass-fed beef.

Cooking Grass Fed Meats for Flavor & Nutrition

Joan will discuss what makes grass fed beef different and why it requires different cooking techniques. Highlighting the nutritional AND structural differences, she will share cooking techniques and recipes to make your experience with grass fed meat a delicious one. If you are investing in grass fed meats, make the most of that investment in money, time and flavor.

Joan Walker, Raises Animal Welfare Approved, Certified grass fed cattle at Walker Farm in New Braintree, Massachusetts.

Small Batch Vegetable Fermentation & Recipe Development

Learn key concepts necessary for making delicious lacto-fermented vegetables at home. Heather will cover vegetable selection, salt concentration and ideal fermentation temperatures, and discuss an easy approach to developing small batch kraut recipes. There will be a kraut making demonstration and the opportunity to taste a few unique small batch ferments.

Heather Wernimont, Fermentation Educator and Vegetable Manager at Real Pickles

Farmer Co-ops for More Efficient Marketing

Learn how co-operative enterprise is a powerful tool for farmers seeking more efficient marketing and a more sustainable food system. We will explore examples from our region, steps to establishing a co-op, advice for effective governance and collaboration, and opportunities to access grant resources to support your ideas.

Roger  Noonan, President, New England Farmers Union (NEFU)

Erbin   Crowell, Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association; Vice President, NEFU

Real Pickles: The Story of a Co-operative Conversion

Learn how Real Pickles made the decision to convert from a sole proprietorship to a worker co-op and explore the process that led to the conversion, including a successful community investment campaign.

Kristin               Howard, Founding Member, Real Pickles Co-op

Co-operative Enterprise & Sustainability: Why Go Co-op? 

Why go co-op? How do co-ops strengthen our regional food system and economy? Co-ops are an effective model for business succession, retaining jobs, and rooting businesses in communities. Learn about the process of start-up, conversion and operation, and share your ideas for a co-op in your community.

Adam Trott, Staff, Valley Alliance of Worker Co-operatives

Erbin Crowell, Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association

Community Ownership: How Co-ops Help Make Healthy, Local Food More Accessible        

What is the co-op model and how can it help make local food systems work for people with limited food budgets? Hear from co-op support organizations about how food co-ops are leveraging community ownership of their grocery stores to make nutritious food more accessible to families with limited food budgets.

Bonnie Hudspeth, Membership and Outreach Manager, Neighboring Food Co-op Association.

Dorian Greggory, Loan & Outreach Officer, Cooperative Fund of New England.

New Technologies & Unique Set-Ups

Urban farming is taking off in some of the most densely populated places around Greater Boston in interesting, unexpected ways. Learn about the ever-changing landscape of growing technologies that is making this possible and how to apply these techniques at home or in your community.

Jessie Banhazl, CEO and Founder of Green City Growers, a Somerville-based urban farming company.

Pruning Fruit Trees for Health and Longevity

Learn organic fruit tree care from an arborist’s perspective.

Tom Ingersoll, Massachusetts Certified Arborist, ISA Certified Arborist, CT Licensed Supervising Arborist, NOFA AOLCP

Impact Investment for Farmer Land Access and Organic, Regenerative Farming        

By investing in land acquisition, people who care about their food, and the impact agricultural practices have on the health of people and planet, can contribute in a way that has not been available to them before. Explore the synergies between investors and farmers, and their combined contributions to organic, regenerative farming.

Sally Dodge, Northeast Community Development Manager, and a board member, at Iroquois Valley Farms.

Dale Guldbrandsen, Vice President of Corporate Investor Relations, and Northeast Community Development Manager at Iroquois Valley Farms.

Leadership in Community Gardens

An integral part of a thriving community garden is strong leadership.  Join Southside Community Land Trust, Community Growers Director, Rob Booz, as he discusses and answers questions about lessons learned in SCLT’s 35 years of running gardens and farms.

Rob Booz, Community Growers Director at Southside Community Land Trust in Providence, Rhode Island.