2019 Learning Tracks

Learning Tracks

This year we have organized select sessions within our workshop offerings into specialized learning tracks.  Follow these tracks and attend each session to deepen your knowledge about the larger subject and identify areas of interest to pursue and take action.

Glyphosate and 'Cides

Sponsor: Stonyfield Organic

Learn about the toxic chemicals used in conventional agriculture and how they affect all of us.

Saturday August 10 8-9:30AM

Beyond Pesticides: Local Action for Organic Landcare

Franklin Patterson 102 | WKSP # | 5

Find out how Beyond Pesticide supports local organizing for municipal pesticides ordinances and about funding available to start an organic landcare program in your city/town.

Jay Feldman, Executive Director/Co-Founder of Beyond Pesticides, former NOSB Board Member.


Saturday August 10 1-2:30PM

Hidden Dangers of Glyphosate

Franklin Patterson 107 | WKSP # | 44

Glyphosate is now used on almost all crops, not just GMOs. This workshop details how glyphosate disrupts gut flora, immune and neurological function; and why and how it contributes to a host of chronic disease. Find out how to avoid exposure and heal from glyphosate toxicity.

Brigitta Jansen, MS CN practices functional medicine nutrition in Connecticut.


Sunday August 11 8-9:30AM

Glyphosate Secrets: What Monsanto (Bayer) Doesn't Want You to Know

Franklin Patterson 107 | WKSP # | 67

Glyphosate, the weed killing ingredient in Roundup, is in the news. More and more organizations (NOFA/Mass included) and countries are working to ban it. Why? This workshop will discuss the many glyphosate secrets hidden from consumers and how you can help remove it from agriculture and store shelves.

Ed Stockman, Organic farmer (46 yrs.), biologist, 4th generation farmer, cofounder Regeneration Massachusetts.


Sunday August 11 10-11:30AM


Managing Invasive Plant Species without Synthetic Pesticides: A Path to Success for Landowners

Franklin Patterson 105 | WKSP # | 69

We hear that synthetic pesticides are the way to go for managing landscapes.That our safety concerns are unfounded, that no other options exist, that the science is complete, that impacts are minimal, and high effectiveness comes with low costs. This is not true at all; come find out Why.

Michael Bald, Owner and Founder of “Got Weeds?” Rehabilitating landscapes across New England since 2011.

Seed Saving

Sponsor: High Mowing Organic Seeds

Learn about the different techniques to save seeds and why you might like to try it.

Saturday 8-9:30AM

Look, Smell, Touch, Taste: Cucurbits Old & New in the Northeast

Outside: Lawn | WKSP # | 3

Let's explore the history of cucurbits with all our senses! Come taste the diversity of cantaloupes we can grow in our short seasons while building your skills with hands-on squash pollination demonstrations. See how we restore forgotten varieties and develop new ones. Learn how you can play a role as we grow the future together!

Heron Breen, Farmer, seed saver, seed grower, plant breeder, employee of Fedco Seeds co-op.

Petra Page-Mann, Life-long seed saver, author & storyteller, co-founder of Fruition Seeds.


Saturday August 10 10-11:30AM

Seed Saving From Annual Flowers & Herbs

Franklin Patterson Faculty Lounge | WKSP # | 17

An introduction to seed saving from annual flowers and herbs, especially those that support diverse pollinators.

Lia Babitch, Works at Turtle Tree, has been seed saving for over 12 years.

Ian Robb, Works at Turtle Tree and has been gardening for over 45 wonder-filled years.


Saturday August 10 1-2:30PM

Seed Saving From Biennials

Franklin Patterson Faculty Lounge | WKSP # | 36

We will discuss saving seeds from biennials, some of the challenges and pitfalls, including storage, selection and spacing.

Lia Babitch, Works at Turtle Tree, has been seed saving for over 12 years.

Ian Robb, Works at Turtle Tree and has been gardening for over 45 wonder-filled years.


Sunday August 11 8-9:30AM

Localizing Seeds: Maintaining Regional Heirlooms and Breeding New Varieties

Franklin Patterson West Lecture | WKSP # | 66

Farmers and gardeners can reclaim our role as seed stewards. Why leave something so fundamental in the hands of the multinationals? A bit of philosophy, some science, a peek behind the seed industry's curtain, and a lot of practicality about fitting seed work into a commercial diversified market farm.

Tevis Robertson-Goldberg, Farmer, Seed Saver for 20 years, Plant Breeder.


Sunday August 11 1-2:30PM

Getting Started With Small-Scale Grain Growing

Franklin Patterson Main Lecture | WKSP # | 90

To get you started growing small grains, we’ll walk you through a typical year of growing on a small scale, addressing the basic steps and issues along the way, from variety selection and planting to harvest and storage. We’ll look at wheat (including spelt and emmer), barley, rye, and oats.

Sylvia Davatz, Has been saving seeds for 20 years and is passionate about growing grains.

Ruth Fleishman, Lives in Hartford, VT and has been saving seed and growing grains since 2009.

Food Justice

Sponsor: Franklin Community Co-op

Learn about the many ways that communities and organizations are working towards a fair and accessible food system.


Saturday August 10 8-9:30AM

Building the Solidarity Economy - CSA Around the World

Franklin Patterson 106 | WKSP # | 7

CSAs are part of the international peasant/small holder movement for food sovereignty and economic solidarity, with networks in countries around the world. Hear a report from the Urgenci 7th International CSA Symposium, Greece, November, 2018. The focus of this workshop will be what we in the US can learn from outstanding examples in other countries.

Elizabeth Henderson, Managed a CSA for 29 years, author of Sharing the Harvest, honorary president of Urgenci.


Saturday August 10 10-11:30AM

Into the Weeds: Food and Farming Justice in Bronx Schools

Franklin Patterson 103 | WKSP # | 20

Weeds are regarded as invasive species, but they can teach us about resilience and healing. By focusing on medicinal plants and weeds, participants will learn about community buy-in of school-based work. Community Food Action fosters connections between people, nature and food. Like weeds, marginalized communities are adaptive, as schools and food programs must be.

Maria Caicedo, Bilingual educator and community worker who coordinates school-based work and leads Farmers Markets for Kids.

Taisy Conk, Program Director of Community Food Action.


Sunday August 11 8-9:30AM


Climate Justice: Youth Perspectives, the Food System, & Racial Equity

Franklin Patterson 105 | WKSP # | 52

Teen employees of the Green Team program will present an interactive workshop on how climate justice relates to the issues they care about most, including the food system and agriculture. Climate change is deeply connected to food production and security, racial health equity, and community relationships to each other and the land.

Rae Axner, Youth Employment Program Manager at Groundwork Somerville and supervises the Green Team.

Green Team Member(s),


Sunday August 11 1-2:30PM

Milk with Dignity: Program Bringing a New Day to Farmworkers Across Vermont

Franklin Patterson 106 | WKSP # | 101

Ben and Jerrys' became the first company to sign onto Migrant Justice's ground breaking Milk with Dignity Program in 2017. Join us for an update on the implementation of Milk with Dignity, challenges and successes, as well as what's next for the future of the farmworker-defined Milk with Dignity Program.

Madeline Sharrow, Volunteer with Migrant Justice for many years, recently joined the staff team as Ally Coordinator.

Abel Luna, Works with Migrant Justice in the field organizing team and coordinating Milk with Dignity.


Sunday August 11 1-2:30PM

School Food Justice

Dakin Kitchen/Living Room | WKSP # | 87

School Food must be centered in the push for a just food system. Young people of color in Hartford have a campaign to make it happen. We will discuss the Ten Slices of Justice Campaign and have participants work through scenarios to implement them.

Sarana Beik, Youth worker, permaculturist, herbalist and mother of 3 from Hartford, CT.

Zakia Beik, High school student in Hartford. She has been with Grow Hartford for a year.


Sunday August 11 3-4:30PM


Sustainable Diets & Food Justice

Franklin Patterson 103 | WKSP # | 109

How can food consumption support food justice? It is not easy. Participants will break into small groups to discuss: key priorities best addressed via food consumption; certification and fair trade labels; balancing these against other concerns – e.g.; environment, food security. Teams will prepare 5+ recommendations. We will review them all and make available via NOFA’s DFTC.

Hugh Joseph, Faculty at Tufts University. Research focuses on sustainable diets which includes food and environmental justice.

Soil Health

Sponsor: Dr. Bronner's

Learn why the health of your soil is important and how to increase it.


Saturday August 10 10-11:30AM

Building Soil Carbon: for Your Garden/Farm, Your Health, & Our Climate

Franklin Patterson East Lecture | WKSP # | 23

What exactly is behind the growing interest in no-till, cover crops, and crop rotation? What do these practices have to do with returning atmospheric carbon to the soil? Come learn what Farmers, Gardeners and Homeowners can do to sequester carbon, improve plant and soil health, and increase food quality and quantity all at once.

Julie Rawson, Farmer at the diverse Many Hands Organic Farm where carbon sequestering practices are ever evolving.

Jack Kittredge, Editor of The Natural Farmer and author of Carbon Restoration: Can Biology Do the Job?


Saturday August 10 10-11:30AM


The Unseen World in the Soil: Microbes, & Soil Health

Franklin Patterson 104 | WKSP # | 29

In this workshop, I will describe the various forms of microscopic organisms, their interrelationships and their beneficial roles in nutrient cycling, soil structure and plant health. Recent advances in the science of soil microbiology and ecology and the potential effects of climate change will also be offered.

Jack Nelson, PhD Microbiologist and organic gardener.


Sunday August 11 10-11:30AM

The Link Between Soils & Nutrition

Franklin Patterson West Lecture | WKSP # | 79

The growing environment is primary in determining the quality of a crop. In this workshop, we will examine the many disturbances and imbalances present in our modern growing environment which have so clearly led to the rampant ill-health of the human population. Methods for growers to overcome environmental imbalance and establish healthful soils, crops, and humans will be presented.

Bryan O'Hara, Has been growing vegetables for a livelihood on his CT farm, Tobacco Road Farm, for 30 years.


Sunday August 11 10-11:30AM


Building & Maintaining Healthy Urban Farm Soils

Franklin Patterson 106 | WKSP # | 80

City Farm is a bio-intensive production farm on 3/4 of an acre. We will cover step by step what we do during the course of the season to ensure that our high yielding farm continues to "build healthy soil, to grow healthy plants to feed a healthy community" while demonstrating good land steward practices.

Richard Pederson, This bio-intensive farmer has been building City Farm soils since 2001. 

Alejandra Mayorga, Passionate composter, soil steward and artist.


Sunday August 11 10-11:30AM


Homestead Soil Building: Starting from Stones

Franklin Patterson East Lecture | WKSP # | 81

Starting a homestead on a limited budget often means working with “less desirable land.” We’ll show the ways we transformed our degraded land into a healthy, diverse thriving ecosystem which includes garden, orchard, and pasture. We’ll explore how we co-created healthy living soil using simple techniques and time.

Sharon Gensler, Homesteading for over 40 years "learning and living the good life".  NOFA/Mass soil carbon educator.

Pru Smith, Homesteader 40+ years, fruit grower, yoga instructor and wellness coach.


Sunday August 11 3-4:30PM


Improving Soil Fertility in the No-Till Market Garden

Franklin Patterson East Lecture | WKSP # | 116

In this workshop we will dive deeper into how we our managing and improving our soil fertility, at the same time growing healthier plants and more food. We will discuss: nitrogen sources, compost, cover crops, how to address deficiencies. New to the workshop this year: how we look at our soil's microbiology, through microscopes.

Doug Wolcik, 7 years managing at Gaining Ground Farm in Concord.