2017 Saturday Workshops Sessions

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Saturday workshops


From the Ground Up: Abandoned Lots to Productive Gardens

What does it actually take to start an urban farm or community garden? What are the hurdles and considerations that need to be accounted for, from soil to water to air to human involvement? Learn from Gardening The Community, a food justice organization engaged in youth development, urban agriculture, and sustainable living in Springfield, MA. Ibrahim Ali: Co-Director of Gardening the Community.

Mobile Markets: Driving Down Barriers to Food Justice

Mobile markets are a relatively new concept in the urban food sector. Find out the whats and hows of operating a mobile market and how the REC’s Mobile Market is breaking down barriers to food justice in the culturally and financially-diverse city of Worcester, MA. Then take a tour of the van! Noel Allen: REC Farmers Market Coordinator and is passionate about local agriculture!

Tour: Growing Shiitakes on Logs & Indoors

This workshop will review the basics of log cultivation for shiitake and tour Fungi Ally mushroom farm to see how we grow shiitakes indoors. We will discuss the results of an ongoing SARE grant looking at yields of different shiitake strains. Willie Crosby: Owner of Fungi Ally, growing mushrooms commercially for four years.

Co-ops & Economic Democracy: Why Go Co-op?

Co-ops are an effective model of economic democracy, spreading ownership, retaining jobs, and rooting businesses in our communities. How do co-ops strengthen our regional food system and economy? Learn about the process of start-up, conversion and operation, and share your ideas for a co-op in your community. Erbin Crowell: Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association. Adam Trott: Executive Director, Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops.

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.

Ayurvedic Health Benefits of Ghee

Ghee (clarified butter) is a high heat, lactose-free cooking oil used for centuries in India to relieve digestive disorders, calm the nervous system, and promote overall vitality. After we transform butter into ghee, we’ll take it one step further by infusing it with herbs and spices to make medicinal ghee. Handouts and taste tests provided! Hannah Jacobson-Hardy: Founder, Full Moon Ghee; Community Herbalist at Sweet Birch Herbals. Jordan Grinstein:

Traditional Japanese Foodways in the Age of Nuclear Disasters

You will learn the art of Japanese food preparation and preservation techniques, including some family recipes. A discussion will also ensue on the ongoing radiation contamination in Japan since the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster of March 2011 and its effects on the traditional foodways and human health. Chiho Kaneko: Grew up in Iwate, Japan; Agronomy degree from Hokkaido University.

Urban Ecosystem Justice: A Science of Cities for the People

What would it mean to merge urban ecology with social justice analysis? Can we construct an ethic of ‘urban bio-cultural diversity’, where mutually symbiotic relationships are created between human and non-human city elements? Are we capable of meeting material needs while regenerating urban socio-ecological health? Using theoretical possibilities and real-world examples, let’s explore these questions. Scott Kellogg: Educational Director of the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center in Albany, NY.

Soil Fertility & Management

Explore how the four Aristotelian Elements of Soil (Earth, Air, Water and Fire) work together to make a healthy soil. This workshop outlines the managing of the four elements in detail and points out pitfalls to avoid. We will also discuss methods to optimize soil fertility. John Kenny: Owner, Big Train Farm; background in soil science.

Sequestering Carbon, Improving Soil, & Increasing Crop Yields with Microrhyzal Fungi

This workshop will focus on mycorrhizal fungi and their ability to dramatically improve carbon sequestration and soil fertility in all forms of agriculture. We will have a detailed explanation on the construction of a Johnson-Su digester to produce fungally-dominated compost within a much shorter timespan than accomplished by traditional methods. Bill MacKentley: Farmer and horticulturalist.

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. Kim Mastrianni: Works with people and horses to improve communication and understanding. Dale Perkins: Works with people and horses on a small family farm.

Keeping Soil Covered to Enhance Biodiversity, Fertility & Food Quality

At Many Hands Organic Farm (30 years certified) we are experimenting with growing mulches in place and using found/at hand natural resources when that system is more effective or practical. Julie will share the adventure of these experiments and discuss best practices for raising high quality food with maximum soil carbon sequestration through microbial friendly practices. Julie Rawson: Lifelong farmer who thrives on pushing the envelope.

Fearless Pruning of Fruit Trees

Correct and timely pruning is the key to keeping apples, peaches, and other trees healthy, productive, and bearing the tastiest fruits. Learn the how and the why of pruning these plants in their young, developing stages and as they mature and bear fruits. Lee Reich: Writer and consultant with an experimental and teaching farmden.

Cover Crop Basics

New to cover cropping? Want to know about other cover crops besides cereal rye? This workshop will discuss: 1) the suite of cover crops that are suitable for growing in the Northeast, 2) best practices for successful establishment, and 3) soil health improvements with cover cropping. Brandon Smith: Northeast Team Leader and Soil Health Specialist, USDA-NRCS.

Planning a Compact Farm

This workshop lays out all of the components of a comprehensive plan for a compact, productive and successful farm. Based on Josh’s decades of personal experience and the farms he’s visited and researched around world, we’ll go through the elements every small farm needs to address to make their farm sustainable economically, environmentally and equitably. Josh Volk: Slow Hand Farm production, consulting and teaching; author, “Compact Farms”.

Basic Gardening for Enhanced Productivity Part 2

What happens in gardens is both mystery and science, compelling gardeners to forever reexamine the basics. Topics include: the basics of: garden organization, seedling care, transplanting, fertility, season extension, crop selection and crop sequencing. In 2016, our garden yielded 8652 pounds of produce on one-eleventh of an acre. Steve Walach: Teaches organic gardening in middle schools and to master gardeners.

Protecting the Integrity of the USDA Organic Program

Learn about how the organic community structured the USDA National Organic Program at its inception to reflect the values of transparency and public participation. We’ll talk about some key issues that impact consumer and farmer trust in the organic label and efforts to communicate with the new administration about the value of organic agriculture. Abby Youngblood: Executive director at the National Organic Coalition.

Tour: Weedwifery Plant Walk

Weeds are fierce, tenacious and resilient, defying the controls of humans at every turn. They are also powerfully medicinal! This plant walk will discuss plant ID and botany, harvesting guidelines, medicinal preparations, and medicinal uses of many of our beloved northeast weeds. Jade Alicandro: Community herbalist at Milk & Honey Herbs in Shutesbury, MA.

Knotweed? Not Here.

Presentation highlights courses of action open to landowners, farmers, and growers wishing to improve habitat, property values, soil conditions, and biodiversity. Non-toxic treatment methods allow land stewards to control Japanese knotweed while feeding the vegetative material into the local economy, the art scene, and even the food system. Michael Bald: Founder and Owner, Got Weeds? Fan of healthy soils, happy people.

But I Don’t Have Time for Social Media…

Be social, build an audience and engage an existing one. We’ll discuss where to start, which platform to pick, what to say/share and how to use staff and volunteers to create content. Social media should be simple and honest. You can tell your story better than anyone else! Rachel Borgatti: Executive Director of Friends of Fort Point Channel.

The Art, Science, & Craft of Profitable Onion Production

Amazing alliums, unsung farm hero, nutrient rich onions are capable of grossing $40,000+ per acre. We’ll review production steps and techniques to ensure a successful harvest. From start to finish: variety selection, propagation, transplanting efficiency, beneficial insects, nutrient management, pest and disease management, cultivation, harvest and post harvest systems. Derek Christianson: Farmer and community educator at Brix Bounty Farm.

First Aid Homeopathy & Rescue Remedy

Homeopathic remedies are safe, low costing, non-toxic without side effects. They help relieve pain, strengthen the immune system and speed the healing of sunburns, garden strains, summer colds, bug bites, skin rashes and more. We will learn the many applications for homeopathy and rescue remedy for you and your family. Jeanne Deignan-Kosmides: Yoga/meditation teacher and therapist, homeopath, bach flower practitioner, beekeeper.

Conversations Across Differences: Connecting Youth Through Food & Farming

How can food and farming serve as a platform for youth to respectfully bridge differences, find common ground, and move forward to productively working together? Presenters will start by introducing programs and tools they have used in their work with youth and then will guide group brainstorming on making an impact in participants’ communities. Mike Evans: Co-founder, Real Food Rising in SLC & Urban Roots in Austin. John Wang: Regional Director of The Food Project North Shore.

Home Garden No-till & Cover Crops for Carbon Sequestration

Power point and discussion covering the interrelationship between soil health, carbon sequestration, cover cropping, and no-till growing of nutritions food in one’s garden. Easy to use cover crop and no-till techniques will be presented. Sharon Gensler: Homesteader. Educator. Gardening with no-till methods for over 35 years.

Singing for Freedom & a Livable Future

We’ll sing for climate and food justice, and we’ll generate inspiration for living out values of solidarity and ecology. I’ll teach aurally songs with rousing choruses or full stanzas in which short lines get substituted each time through – aka “zipper songs”. Bring voices, harmonies, and ideas for integrating singing within today’s food movement. Ben Grosscup: Performs songs of struggle and social critique. Director, People’s Music Network.

New Static-Aerated Composting System Demonstration

Join Professor Hashemi outside for an introduction to a new static-aerated composting system. After a short introductory lecture he will show, step by step, how to assemble the two composting systems. Attendees can take photos and ask any questions they might have during the assembly. Masoud Hashemi: Extension professor focusing research on sustainable farming and cover crops.

Soils in the City: Urban Anthropedology & Citizen-Activist Bioremediation

City soils today are largely non-existent, degraded or contaminated, and many urban residents are disconnected from the role that soils play in ecosystem health and environmental justice. We’ll examine the “critical zone” of soils in cities and highlight actions for citizens and opportunities for partnerships with biological allies to regenerate the health of urban soils. Scott Kellogg: Educational Director of the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center in Albany, NY.

“In the Spirit of Co-operation”: Video & Discussion with Producer

Join Visionaries Producer Bill Mosher and Erbin Crowell of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association for a screening and discussion of the Visionaries PBS Documentary “In the Spirit of Co-operation,” celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the National Co-operative Business Association and featuring Massachusetts’ own Real Pickles Co-op. Pickles will be served! Bill Mosher: Executive Producer, Visionaries Public Television Series. Erbin Crowell: Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association.

Work Horses 102

Beyond the basics. Understand what horses can do for your farm. Learn harness varieties, proper fit, other equipment, hitching and safety concerns. Participants will have an opportunity to harness and drive a single or a team of horses. Directions: Meet by the registration area. Dale Perkins: Works with people and horses on a small family farm. Kim Mastrianni: Works with people and horses to improve communication and understanding.

Uncommon Fruits for the Backyard Garden & Small Farm

Juneberry and cornelian cherry are just two of a dozen or so uncommon fruits that have delectable flavors and are easy to grow. Some are borne on ornamental plants, perfect for “luscious landscaping.” Their good flavor and natural pest resistance makes them appealing for organic and ethnic markets. Lee Reich: Writer and consultant with an experimental and teaching farmden.

Long-Term Sustainability of High Tunnel Soils

The Cornell Vegetable Program and NOFA NY have partnered to examine long-term sustainability of high tunnel soils by collecting data from over 20 farms across New York State. Learn about common nutrient trends in high tunnel soils, their impact on plant health and how to implement Best Management Practices for long-term sustainability. Judson Reid: Researches high tunnel soil nutrients, crop health and farm profitability. Cordelia Machanoff: Collects and analyses soil and foliar nutrient samples from New York farms.

Cover Crop 2.0: Beyond Basics

Ready to learn more about cover crops? This workshop will highlight innovative cover cropping techniques, including 1) up and coming cover crops, 2) multi-species selection, 3) using cover crops to reduce tillage, and 4) living mulches. Brandon Smith: Northeast Team Leader and Soil Health Specialist, USDA-NRCS.

Climate Adaptation: Preparing Farms, Communities, & Bioregions for Climate Change

By observing and mimicking ecosystem processes, our farms and landscapes can be designed to be resilient to climatic changes. This interactive workshop will explore ecological design principles and solutions for climate adaptation in the Northeast US, including on-farm water management, crop and landscape biodiversity, productive buffers and corridors, and trialing new warmer-climate crops for the region. Connor Stedman: Ecological designer, farm planner, and educator based in the Hudson River Valley, NY.
Connor Stedman

farmOS: Open Source Farm Management & Record Keeping

farmOS is a web-based software application for farm planning, management, and record keeping developed and maintained by a community of volunteers. This workshop will cover the basic features, using live demos of real farms. Participants will learn how to get started using farmOS to keep better records of their farm activities. Michael Stenta: Founder and lead developer of farmOS.

Preparing Your Fiber for Use

We will cover washing, picking, and carding fiber. Participants will get a chance to spin or felt fiber from our alpacas. Directions: Meet by the registration area. Keith Tetreault: Farmer of 44 alpacas, selling fiber products in our gift shop. Debbie Tetreault: Makes and sells craft items with fiber.

Organizing for Racial Justice in Food & Farming

Discover how farmers all across the country are responding to the unique challenges and opportunities of their communities to dismantle racism in agriculture and the food system. From uncovering the hidden stories of our farmland to coordinating social justice working groups, there are many tools you can use in your own community. Michelle Hughes: Director, Investments and Partnerships for the National Young Farmers Coalition. Tess Brown-Lavoie: First-generation farmer at Sidewalk Ends Farm.

How Can We Achieve Food Sovereignty If Small Farms Can’t Survive?

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: why aren’t more small farms thriving without off-farm income? If US workers don’t want to work on farms and the flow from abroad is slowing, who will do farm work? How can we balance the needs of farmers, farmworkers and low-income eaters? Elizabeth Henderson: Organic farmer, on boards of NOFA-NY and Agricultural Justice Project. Jessica Culley: CATA General Coordinator, 17 years organizing for farm workers.


Grassroots Awakening! The Importance of Citizen Advocacy in 2017 4 – 5:30pm Location: FPH Faculty Lounge With the political world in turmoil, policy advocacy for an agriculture that is good for farmers, eaters and the environment is more important than ever. This interactive workshop will examine Interstate NOFA’s policy agenda, cover pointers for effective citizen activism and gather member input on NOFA’s policy direction and initiatives. Steve Gilman, Steve is the longtime Policy Coordinator for the NOFA Interstate Council. Liana Hoodes, Liana is a 20 year ag policy veteran and former National Organic Coalition Executive Director.

A Permaculture Approach to Mushroom Cultivation

We will explore ways to incorporate mushroom cultivation into our unique New England biome by thinking of ways to synergize mushroom growing with orcharding, vegetable gardening, and woodlot management. Hands-on demos may include creating a lion’s mane totem pole and using cardboard to propagate mushrooms. Dan Bensonoff: Mycological explorer, urban homesteader, and farm policy advocate.

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.

Intensive Silvopasture for New England

Intensive Silvopasture (ISP) – integrating livestock, trees, pasture, and woody browse in sustainable ecosystems – shows exciting success in Latin America, with 3-5 times higher meat and milk production, greater animal health, and up to 35 times higher carbon sequestration rates than organic agriculture. Come explore the potential for ISP in New England. Susanne Hale: Owns Tending the Wild Climate Agroforestry, UMass graduate student studying ISP.

No-Till Vegetables Using Chickens

Three seasons of experience using mobile chickens in rotation with vegetables have produced interesting results. Fall chicken applications control spring weeds, provide fertility and allow no-till methods for spring/summer crops. Learn about the impact on soil health and fertility, vegetable production and rotation while using a layer flock of varying sizes. John Kenny: Owner, Big Train Farm; background in soil science.

Principles of Biological Systems & Implications

This workshop will be an overview of what conditions plants need to flourish and how to create those conditions. We will look at practices and strategies to maintain air, water, life, minerals and food in the soil all year long, and also talk about the broader implications of these practices. Dan Kittredge: Founder, Executive Director, Bionutrient Food Association.

Garden Planning for Seed Saving

Growing a garden with the intention to save select seed crops involves planning for: isolation, space for flowering and seed set, as well as infrastructure for select crops. We will explore how to plan your garden for effective seed saving focusing on these three criteria. Lisa Millette: Lisa heads the seed gardens at Turtle Tree Biodynamic Seed Initiative.

Food Safety Rules for Small Producers & Co-ops

Compliance with FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) food safety regulations presents a new challenge for small-scale and exempt farmers, value added producers and farmer co-ops involved in aggregation and distribution. Learn how to comply with the federal rules and where to find the resources, education and training to minimize cost to your business. Roger Noonan: President, New England Farmers Union, and organic farmer. Vicki Smith: Food Safety Specialist, New England Farmers Union (NEFU).

The Power of Story: Reclaiming My Roots in Agriculture

Hear the story of my journey from ambivalent consumer to grower of food, community and power, interwoven with an open conversation space about black people, food, and land. Liz O’Gilvie: Board member, Gardening the Community and Springfield Food Policy Council.

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, OGS division, Fedco Seeds.10 years experience raising organic hogs.

Increase Your Hive Numbers Without Buying Bees

Learn how to sustainably increase the size of your apiary using your own bees. Jorik Phillips: Beekeeper of 17 years, co-owns Hudson Valley Bee Supply. Megan Denver: Co-owns Hudson Valley Bee Supply.

Changing the System: Food Policy Advocacy

To bring about long-term, systemic change to the food system, farmers, eaters, and advocates need to understand the laws and regulations that affect everything from farming to land use to marketing, and how to get engaged to change them when needed. Come learn how to get involved in food policy advocacy! Winton Pitcoff: Director of the MA Food System Collaborative.

Herbs for Childbirth

This is an introduction to the bioregional herbs- native and naturalized plants of New England – used to manage the last month of pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum. We will explore traditional as well as evidence based uses, from Native American birth management to contemporary applications. Rachel Ross: Botanist, community herbalist, midwife. Owns and manages Hillside Herbals Apothecary.

Carbon Farming: Regenerative Agriculture for Climate Stabilization

We will discuss the current state of climate and carbon sequestration science, and explore the role agriculture can play in the climate change solution through a range of tree-based and soil-based carbon farming techniques. With careful ecological and economic planning, carbon farming can grow profitable, resilient farm businesses while helping to slow climate change. Connor Stedman: Ecological designer, farm planner, and educator based in the Hudson River Valley, NY.
Connor Stedman

Herbal Approaches to Lyme Disease

I will explore the benefits of plant medicines in preventing and fighting Lyme Disease and building our bodies’ resistance. Great promise lies in these plants as antibiotics become less effective because bacteria are adapting to them. Sarah Stockwell-Arthen: Herbalist for 25 years, growing and preparing plant medicines at Hilltown Herbals.

Planting for the Bees’ Needs

Wild bees are powerful pollinators, and there are over 400 species of wild bees in New England. I will discuss the life cycles of wild bees and their needs for nesting sites and flowers offering nutritious pollen and nectar, with an emphasis on using native plants to feed our (mostly) native bees. Kimberly Stoner: Entomologist researching bees, pollination, and pesticides.

Basic Gardening for Enhanced Productivity Part 1

What happens in gardens is both mystery and science, compelling gardeners to forever reexamine the basics. Topics include: the basics of: garden organization, seedling care, transplanting, fertility, season extension, crop selection and crop sequencing. In 2016, our garden yielded 8652 pounds of produce on one-eleventh of an acre. Steve Walach: Teaches organic gardening in middle schools and to master gardeners.