2018 Saturday Workshop Sessions

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Click here to download the workshop schedule. (pdf)

8-9:30am
10-11:30am
1-2:30pm

Exploring Medicinal Mushrooms: Common Types & Uses

Introduce several of the common medicinal mushrooms used in supplements and health products now, including their history, active compounds, and potential effects. Explore the different kinds of medicinal products offered and the benefits and drawbacks of each. Willie Crosby: Owner of Fungi Ally. Student of the Fungi.

Intro to Saving Seed from Biennials

We’ll look at selection criteria for several biennials, including hands-on practice, and discuss practical challenges and possible solutions in growing biennials for seed such as winter storage and vernalization. This workshop is appropriate for CSA and market growers who want to add seed saving to their farms, and intermediate seed savers. Lia Babitch: Trained in biodynamic vegetable, flower, herb and seed growing, works at Turtle Tree Seed. Ian Robb: Has worked in biodynamic agriculture for the last 45 years, works at Turtle Tree Seed.

Soil Health Through Biology

Come learn about managing healthy soils using the latest scientific research. In the last decade, scientists have been delving deep into our understanding of soil as a living substance. We’ll review soil health fundamentals and discuss practical techniques to use soil ecology and biology to maximize fertility for crop production. Julie Fine: MS in Plant Biology. Researches soil health, cover crops and sustainable vegetable production.

Organic Under Attack: Where Do We Go From Here?

Major issues impacting organic integrity include inadequate standards enforcement; hydroponics promotion; Standards Board takeover threats and withdrawing the animal welfare rule — along with major rollbacks of our social justice, health and environmental protections. Active opposition is called for. Your input is needed — help NOFA Policy shape the way forward! Steve Gilman: NOFA Interstate Policy Coordinator. Liana Hoodes: Policy Specialist for NOFA-NY and a longtime organic activist.

The Unique Role of Art, Culture & Ethnic Crops in Urban Neighborhoods

Immigrants in the urban settings are growing and selling culturally appropriate ethnic fresh locally grown vegetables. They also bring the arts of cooking and cultural practices to building stronger community connection, trust and neighborhood vitality. We all have to eat. The food the eyes see, the stomach gets and what the stomach gets have consequences. Julius Kolawole:

Complete Sheep Butchering

Learn how to dress and butcher hoofed animals! We’ll take apart a local (pre-slaughtered) sheep, covering butchering, charcuterie and anatomy. All parts will be used, including organ meats, bones and blood. We will learn to use hides, sinew, and hooves as well. Folks will be welcome to roll their sleeves. No experience necessary. Felix Lufkin: Works with public fruit tree planting initiatives in the Valley, and offers butchering instruction.

Get Connected: Learn to Graft Melons & Tomatoes

Warm season crops such as melons and tomatoes are prone to many soil-borne diseases and environmental stress that reduces yields. Vegetative grafting can increase plant vigor and reduce problems with soil-borne diseases such as Fusarium spp. This hands-on workshop will have you grafting your own seedlings, and creating a simple healing chamber. Janel Martin: Life-long gardener, B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, M.S. in Agricultural Science.

Getting Started on a Homestead Apple Orchard

Learn how to site, prep, plant and nourish apple trees using holistic organic methods. My bias is on low maintenance techniques and heirloom varieties. Also, will cover how to convert inherited trees back to a healthier state. Learn the basics about varieties, tree sources, rootstocks and basic pruning and grafting techniques. Jack Mastrianni: Card carrying member of AAA (Apple Addicts Anonymous). Homestead orchardman following holistic, organic principles.

Update on 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 an organic farmer. VickieSmith: Food Safety Specialist, NEFU.

Pathways to Carbon Farming: Taking Action on Climate Through Agriculture

Carbon farming systems can store significant atmospheric carbon in soil and perennial plants and help to mitigate climate change. We will overview current climate change and carbon farming science, explore the roots of carbon farming in global traditional agriculture, and detail avenues for carbon farming implementation by producers, consumers, researchers, and funders. Connor Stedman: Ecological design and farm planner specializing in carbon farming, climate adaptation, and farm viability.

Set Your Records Straight: Online Record Keeping with farmOS

farmOS is a web-based software application for farm planning, management, and recordkeeping. It is developed by a community of volunteers and the code is available for free. This workshop will cover the core features of farmOS, how to get started, where to find help, and how to contribute back to the project. Michael Stenta: Founder and lead developer of farmOS.

Gardening Basics for Optimal Productivity Part 1

Optimal productivity requires a solid understanding of the basics. Topics covered include: garden organization, seedling care, transplanting, fertility, season extension, crop selection and crop sequencing. In 2016 thru 2017 our garden yielded 15623 pounds of produce on a 30 ft x 130 ft plot. Steve Walach teaches organic gardening to middle schoolers and master gardeners. Steve Walach: Has been improving the productivity of large school gardens for more than 18 years.

Silvopasture in Practice

Silvopasture is a system that combines trees and forage design with livestock management. Such a system not only offers the promise of ecological regeneration of the land, but also an economical livelihood and one of the most promising forms of agriculture for fighting climate change. Steve Gabriel: Farmer, educator, ecologist and author focused on agroforestry and mushroom production.

Four Dimensional Design Thinking on the Farm

Time is the fourth dimension, and we use it to our advantage on our 13 acre mixed-use farm in New Zealand. This workshop covers the concept of 4-dimensional design and provides examples of its application. Nelson Lebo: Has farmed in New Hampshire and New Zealand for two decades.

Fruits for Small Spaces

Gardens are smaller these days, but a small garden is no impediment to fruit growing. Lowbush blueberries, currants, gooseberries, and super dwarf apples are among the fruits that visually and proportionally fit well into small gardens. Learn the fruits and growing techniques needed to reap delectable rewards from small spaces. Lee Reich: Farmdener, writer, consultant, and scientist.

Motherless Meat: From Petri Dish to Plate

Would you eat meat cultured in a lab if it was guaranteed safe? Lab-grown meat is the new kid on the block when it comes to engineered food. We’ll consider the pros and cons, the concerns and claims, the hopeful and the factual. Darryl Benjamin: An author and professor of Sustainable Food Systems.

Cultivating a New Crop: Hemp

An open and honest discussion of the cultivation of hemp in New England and barriers to entry in this new economy. Joel Bedard: Founder and CEO of The Vermont Hemp Company.

Feud on the Farm: Tools for Addressing Disagreements

Disagreements are bound to arise on the farm. Resolving conflicts is essential to maintaining a balanced workplace so you can get back farm responsibilities. In this workshop we will explore different approaches to addressing conflict collaboratively and share where you can find extra support when all else fails. Courtney Breese: Program Manager and mediator for the Massachusetts Agricultural Mediation Program.

Adding Livestock to your Vegetable Operation

This workshop will cover livestock options for integrating into your vegetable operation, and the pros and cons of each type. We will also discuss the strategies we use at Freedom Food Farm to manage each type of livestock in symbiosis with the rest of the farm organism. Chuck Currie: Runs Freedom Food Farm, a 90 acre diversified farm in Raynham, MA.

Creating Permaculture Farms and Communities

Learn how to design your land with the insights and techniques of permaculture. Integrating fruits, nuts, fuel wood, medicinal crops and berries into wildlife corridors. Gravity fed rain water; silvopasture; orchards; natural buildings for animals, interns, and guests; and off grid energy approaches for farms. Andrew Faust: Premier permaculture teacher/designer with over two decades of experience in farming and building.

A Brief History of Organic

With the rise in visibility, some argue that organic has “lost its soul”. We’ll discuss the evolution of organic farming as an alternative to the agri-industrial model, focusing on NOFA’s role in the rise of the modern organic movement and the development of the organic industry, leading to the establishment of USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). Grace Gershuny: NOFA pioneer who developed its first organic certification program, author, activist and educator. Brian Tokar: Activist, author, teaches at UVM, board member of 350VT and the Institute for Social Ecology.

Making Fruit Kvass, Beet Kvass, Fermented Mayonnaise & Ketchup

Our ancestors ate fermented foods every day so our gut biome is used to these foods. Come and learn how to make some simple and quick ferments that provide us with probiotics and digestive enzymes and protect our health. Tasty and fun. Samples provided. Celeste Longacre: Author, “Celeste’s Garden Delights”, blogger, Old Farmer’s Almanac, Mother Earth News.

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.

Transformative Food Justice

To build awareness AND a movement to end mass incarceration. By analyzing general principles and specific projects at the intersection of transformative justice and food justice, we’ll discuss ways of intervening to break the prison pipeline at the before, during, and after points of incarceration, within food justice work. Jalal Sabur: Co-founded the Freedom Food Alliance and Victory Bus Project to support prisoners and their families. Douglass DeCandia: Grows food for our community with youth and adults who are currently incarcerated.

Lyme Prevention Unpacked: Best Practices & Buhner’s “Healing Lyme” Protocol

Everyone wants to avoid Lyme while living life outdoors! Learn best practices that really work. We’ll demo how to make an immune-supportive Astragalus tincture at home and discuss Buhner-researched tick repellent, religious body checks, how to use a tick remover, Buhner’s topical tick bite treatment, and options for what to do if you get sick. Sarah Stockwell-Arthen

Economic Democracy: Building Co-operative Power

Hear stories from Building Co-operative Power of the history and concept of worker co-operation. Past and present stories of worker co-operatives, co-op collaboration in and across sectors, conversions, education and development in the Connecticut River Valley. NFCA with the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops. Adam Trott: Works at the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-operatives and Shared Capital Cooperative. Suzette Snow-Cobb: Sourcing Coordinator for the Neighboring Food Co-op Association and is a stakeholder director for VAWC.

Gardening Basics for Optimal Productivity Part 2

Optimal productivity requires a solid understanding of the basics. Topics covered include: garden organization, seedling care, transplanting, fertility, season extension, crop selection and crop sequencing. In 2016 thru 2017 our garden yielded 15623 pounds of produce on a 30 ft x 130 ft plot. Steve Walach teaches organic gardening to middle schoolers and master gardeners. Steve Walach: Has been improving the productivity of large school gardens for more than 18 years.

Urban Farm Design & Permitting

Farming in the city takes more than good growing conditions and techniques. Urban farms are subject to regulatory and community pressures that require a higher level of design and planning than their rural counterparts. With examples from around the Northeast, this workshop will provide an overview of urban farm design and permitting. Keith Zaltzberg: Founding principal of Regenerative Design Group and a perennial plant fanatic.

Digging Deeper: Nutrient Balancing of the Soil Food Web

This presentation will discuss basic processes that effect nutrient availability, such as nitrogen and phosphorus cycling. Learn about ideal nutrient ratios to improve plant uptake, the concept of the most limiting nutrient, and leave with best management practices to increase nutrient availability and steps to take to create a more robust soil food web. Janel Martin: Life-long gardener, B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, M.S. in Agricultural Science.

An Ancient Diet for Modern Times

Food is our most powerful medicine. The Tetzkatlipoka Tradition in Mexico has analyzed the effects of nutrition on individuals and communities for the past 9,000 years. They developed a practical system of daily nutrition for optimum health that includes specific proportions of seeds, roots, vegetables, mushrooms, fruit, and animal products. Michelle Tlatzolkalli Babione Has studied the Tetzkatlipoka indigenous medicine system in Mexico for 15 years.

A New Label For the Organic Movement

As the National Organic Program sinks into a mire of weak enforcement and standards, organic farmers have begun an effort to create a new organic label. We will look into the failures of the USDA program, and the possibilities of a label to represent Real Organic. Dave Chapman: Vermont farmer who has been active in efforts to protect organic.

Seed Stories

Behind every seed there lies a story. Some stories lie buried like the seed in the earth. Others come to light like the plant that emerges from the germinated seed. This workshop will explore the miracle and wonder of seed and their stories. Lia Babitch: Trained in biodynamic vegetable, flower, herb and seed growing, works at Turtle Tree Seed. Ian Robb: Has worked in biodynamic agriculture for the last 45 years, works at Turtle Tree Seed.

Seed & Grow NOFA’s Social Justice Committee

Help build the shared society we design based on agroecological principles. Bring your vital voice to form a food justice presence in our state chapters & locally, aligning our social justice values with NOFA coalition partners like the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Domestic Fair Trade Association, & the Agricultural Justice Project Delight in Diversity! Louis Battalen: Homesteads in western MA and is the northeast organizer for the Agricultural Justice Project.

Working Two Jobs: Cover Crops For Animal Feed

Many backyard gardeners and large-scale farmers alike manage soil, crops, and animals. This workshop will show you how to manage your cover crop for use as feed for chickens to beef and everything in between. Management for both small and large growers will be addressed. Sam Corcoran: UMass graduate student studying cover crops, nutrient management in dairy systems, and sustainable agriculture.

Feeding People Year-Round: Season Extension at Freedom Food Farm

This workshop will cover the different strategies we employ at Freedom Food Farm to keep feeding people all year round. We will discuss the equipment, infrastructure, and regulations involved in offering root crops, greens, grains, beans, and canned and fermented foods after the summer’s abundance is over. Chuck Currie: Runs Freedom Food Farm, a 90 acre diversified farm in Raynham, MA.

A Legacy of Food Security: History of Food Co-ops in the Northeast

Join us for a conversation of how food co-ops foster and support farmers and food security. Hear stories of how food co-ops in the Northeast have used economic organizing for a lasting impact on our food system and economy, laying the groundwork for the organic, natural foods, and local movements. Bonnie Hudspeth: Membership Programs Manager, Neighboring Food Co-op Association. Suzette Snow-Cobb: Sourcing Coordinator, Neighboring Food Co-op Association.

Grain Production on a Diversified Vegetable Farm

Learn how small scale grain production at Alprilla Farm contributes to our crop rotation, soil health, annual work-flow, cash flow and marketing. We will discuss the agronomy of small grains, corn and beans, as well as equipment appropriate to various scales and marketing strategies for these niche local products. Noah Kellerman: Raises vegetables, grain and grass-fed beef at Alprilla Farm with his partner Sophie.

Kaitiakitanga: The Maori Concept of ‘Guardianship’ in Regenerative Agriculture

Kaitiaki Farm is an exemplar permaculture farm outside Whanganui, New Zealand. The worn out former horse property prone to erosion and slips is being transformed into a resilient, productive organic farm offering high quality food to the local community and world-class education programs. The work is guided by the Maori concept of ‘guardianship’ – Kaitiakitanga. Nelson Lebo: Organic farmer, eco-design consultant, educator and surfer. Dani Lebo: Keen educator, mum and budding cheese maker.

The 4th Phase of Water

Come get the low down on the most important scientific breakthrough of the last 200 years. I will discuss how the fourth phase of water was discovered and show how it may be enhanced, yielding better growth of animal and vegetable crops. This is truly the most exciting and important workshop I’ve ever done! Bill Mackentley

Reparations Toward Collective Liberation

Reparations are a practice of healing; a movement in solidarity to build a more just and beautiful world. Using the “Reparations Map for Black-Indigenous Farmers” (Soul Fire Farm), participants will map their assets and create action plans to respond to the direct needs/asks of individuals and communities most impacted by systemic racism in the food system. Ashley Monk: Activist farmer and social justice organizer, currently working for Urban Growers Collective. Douglass DeCandia: Grows food with, and for, people facing food insecurity in Westchester County, NY.

The Heritage Pig Breeding Program at the Hampshire College Farm

We will go out to the Hampshire Farm to view our breeding herd of Gloucestershire Old Spots. We’ll talk about my student project to develop this program, my nutritional research on breeding swine, swine husbandry, marketing your pigs, our rotational grazing system, pig breeding and the educational benefit of breeding animals on college farms. April Nugent: Sustainable agriculture/livestock management DIV 3 (senior) student at Hampshire College breeding heritage pigs.

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

No-Till Vegetable Soil Prep & In Season/Post Season Management

With the goal of keeping soil covered as much as possible while raising the highest quality produce, we will look at vegetable families and discuss what we do at MHOF with mulches, single and cocktail intersown cover crops, bed pathway management and animals off season – a year of management strategies. Julie Rawson: Lifelong farmer compelled to try new stuff around fertility – Many Hands Organic Farm.

The Science, Art, Fun and Tasty Fruit of Espalier

Espaliers provide high yields of high quality fruit while making a decorative and edible covering for a fence or a wall — even creating the fence itself! Learn which fruit plants work best, and the theory and practice of training and maintaining espaliers for maximum beauty and high-quality fruit production. Lee Reich: Farmdener, writer, consultant, and scientist.

Designing Whole Systems Farm & Food Programs at Jails

Explore the design of an integrative program—Jail-to-Farm-to-College and Employment at the Franklin County Jail—as a food justice/prison justice case study. Learn about leveraging institutional partnerships and building community support for new and existing programs. Participants will consider how to adapt this model for correctional facilities in their home communities. Angela Roell: Teaches at the Franklin County House of Corrections and University of Massachusetts, owns Yard Birds Farm. Abrah Dresdale: Culture shift consultant and educator in food justice and social permaculture.

Analyzing Your Farming Operation – Introduction to SWOT Analysis

Attendees will learn how to conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis on their existing or a potentially new farming operation. Attendees will also see what types of governmental and non-governmental programs are available to address weaknesses and threats to their operations. Tom Smiarowski: Agricultural Risk Consultant with UMass Extension Crop Insurance/Risk Management Education Program. Paul Russell: Agricultural Risk Consultant with UMass Extension Crop Insurance/Risk Management Education Program.

Design for Disruption: On-Farm Climate Change Adaptation Strategies

By regenerating ecosystem processes, farms and landscapes can be designed for resilience in the face of climate change. We will explore ecological design principles and solutions for climate adaptation on Northeast farms, including water management, productive buffers and corridors, trialing new climate-adapted crops, and increasing crop and landscape biodiversity. Connor Stedman: Ecological design and farm planner specializing in carbon farming, climate adaptation, and farm viability.

Planting For Honeybees & Other Pollinators in New England

Presentation about plants that provide nectar and pollen to honeybees and pollinators. Emphasis is on plants that provide quality food for bees and honey production, and on providing a diverse selection of plants through the year. Many original photographs of bees on flowers taken primarily on the presenters’ property. Ed Szymanski: Homesteader and beekeeper, President of Norfolk County Beekeepers Association, amateur bee and flower photographer. Marian Szymanski: Homesteader, beekeeper, avid gardener.

So You Think You Want to Become a Beekeeper

Everything the prospective beekeeper needs to know about the process of becoming a beekeeper through an honest discussion of the state of beekeeping today. In the face of perils such as pesticide use, habitat and disease there is also the true joy of keeping bees, observing their actions, and reaping the products of the hive. Ed Szymanski: Homesteader and beekeeper, President of Norfolk County Beekeepers Association, amateur bee and flower photographer.

Transition to No-Till

Thinking about taking the leap into no-till farming? In this class we will cover the tools, management strategies and systems we have put in place during our transition into no-till. Doug Wolcik: 6 years managing at Gaining Ground Farm in Concord, MA.