2021 Adult Workshops

2021 Workshops

Supporting Farm Mentors as Educators and Farmers

Do you mentor new farmers on your farm? Build your capacity as an educator.

Jennifer Hashley is the director of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, a beginning farmer training program that assists diverse individuals to begin farming in Massachusetts. Jennifer is also a vegetable and pasture-based livestock farmer and serves on the Boards of The Carrot Project and the Urban Farming Institute of Boston. She is a farm business planning instructor for Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and is advisor to several regional food systems initiatives.   She served as an agricultural Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras and holds a Master’s in Agricultural Policy from Tufts University and a BS in Environmental Science from Indiana University. 

Feeling the Chill-Stretching the Organic Garden Into the Fall

Many crops thrive in cool autumn weather and can provide fresh produce into the new year.  This workshop will inspire and teach you to grow these fall crops without growing devices such as cold frames.  We will cover appropriate crops and varieties, planting dates, rotations, fertility and simple storage techniques.  Concentration will be on crops planted after the summer solstice.

Al Johnson has been growing organically for over 45 years, including 12 as a farmer.  His current garden, managed entirely by hand tools, provides most of his family’s produce. Something is harvest 12 months of the year and he uses no growing devices.   He has also been an inspector of organic farms since 1990.

Adventures in Micro-farming: How to set up your own small-scale indoor worm farm and micro green system!          "You don't need fields to farm!

When worms are your livestock and microgreens your harvest, you can grow nutritious food anyplace year round... even indoors with limited space! Join Ben Goldberg and Julia Latady as they walk you through the steps to get started on your indoor micro-farming journey. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of how to manage a worm bin, choose your first microgreen varieties, and get started building a DIY micro-farm system. This class is a practical introduction to indoor micro-farming and will mainly focus on getting started at the hobby level but is open to anyone interested no matter your experience level or background!

Julia Latady, An invertebrate enthusiast, Julia worked as an environmental educator for Mass Audubon before building an all-ages education program at a family farm outside of Boston. She has now moved to Ware where she is currently working to build soil and grow good food with help from a workforce of worms, composting cockroaches, an aquatic axolotl, chickens, and a rabbit. Her goal is to someday develop a farm-stay and education program to connect people (especially kids!) to the outdoors and to where our food comes from.

Introduction to Honeybees: The honeybee Book

"Talk will be overview about Honeybees, and there importance to our food chain and how we can help contribute to there survival which has major impact on our food chain."   

Mel Gadd, For over 16 years, Mel has been involved with the Essex County Beekeepers Association (ECBA) and keeping bees in Cambridge, MA. He was the Chair of the ECBA Bee School in 2015. Mel oversees a major beekeeping program at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as teaching about bees in numerous programs including, Bee School, a five-week introduction to beekeeping. Mel has been involved with using non-traditional types of hives (top bar, Warre hives, Slovinian & Valkyrie Horizontal hives) as well as the traditional Langstroth hive. As part of his work at Drumlin Farm, Mel has been conducting experiments with natural approaches to dealing with the problems of the bees. Mel was named the “Beekeeper of the Year” in 2017 by the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association."

Ethical Foraging and Wildcrafting for Connection to Place

In this workshop we will learn how to ethically forage herbs, mushrooms, and wild edibles. Deepen your connection to the landscape by building relationships to the plants that are growing along with us. Plant ID, Materia medica, recipes, and handouts provided.

Hannah Jacobson-Hardy is a community herbalist and wellness coach of Sweet Birch Herbals in Ashfield, MA. Hannah offers herbal consultations, apprenticeships, custom made formulas and teas, workshops, and a wide variety of products for sale, including Full Moon Ghee. Learn more about Hannah at www.sweetbirchherbals.com or contact sweetbirchherbals@gmail.com

The Fourth Phase of Water

"School children learn that water has three phases: solid, liquid and vapor. But we have recently uncovered a fourth phase. This phase occurs next to water-loving (hydrophilic) surfaces. It is surprisingly extensive, projecting out from the surface by up to millions of molecular layers. And, its properties differ markedly from those of bulk water.

The talk will present evidence for the existence of this phase of water — how come nobody’s seen it before? It will also consider the potentially broad implications of this phase for health.

Gerald Pollack received his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. He then joined the University of Washington faculty and is now professor of Bioengineering. He is also Founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal, WATER, convener of the Annual Conference on the Physics, Chemistry and Biology of Water, and Executive Director of the Institute for Venture Science.

Stand-Alone Solar-Powered Automated Drip Irrigation System

We'll cover design considerations for a small-but-scalable, cost effective drip irrigation system powered by the sun, fed by rain barrels, controlled by a micro-controller, and programmed by you. If you are interested in the basics of off-the-shelf irrigation systems, small battery-tied solar kits, Arduino micro-controllers, and can cut and paste on a computer, join us!

Dave Schmidt, Gardner turned hobby farmer turned actual farmer (part-time), with 15 years experience in energy and sustainability.

The Ecotype Project - Ecotypes | Ecoregions | Ecological Restoration

Join the Seed Huntress as she takes you on a seed conservation safari of how seed banks function on an international, national and local scale. Together we will explore the importance of amplifying truly local native seeds and pollinator habitats in our ""living seed banks"" by putting the right plants in the right place!

As stewards of the land we all understand the importance of protecting, conserving + restoring our natural ecosystems. How can we, as seed producers, support fortifying our shared ecological corridors with truly local ecotype native seeds?

What is an ecotype and how are ecoregions defined? What role does amplifying these place-based genetic resources play in providing the plant materials that are in such high demand and such short supply in the field of ecological restoration?

How as a seed producer can I establish “Founders Plots” on my farm to amplify an ecotype seed crop to meet conservation needs? What do I need to know and consider when working with these native perennials? How do I grow/ harvest/ clean and stratify this seed? What is the market I can sell this specialty crop to?

Join us for this workshop as we explain how to get started with this specialty seed crop and why it is so vital to safeguarding our ecosystems health and shared ecological corridors.

Sefra Alexandra is currently leading CT NOFA’s (Northeast Organic Farming Associations) pollinator health initiative- The Ecotype Project- to amplify the amount of truly local native seed available for ecological restoration. Sefra is a fellow of the Crop Trust, has worked with agrarian leaders on island nations after natural disasters to safeguard their community seedbanks + has been reviving the local allium heirloom the Southport Globe Onion in her home state of Connecticut. Sefra holds her M.A.T. in agroecological education from Cornell University, is a WINGS WorldQuest expedition flag carrier + member of the Explorers Club.

Using Tarps for No-Till Organic Vegetable Production

No-till farming has allowed farmers to produce crops without disturbing the extremely complex and beneficial ecosystems found within our soils. However, without the aid of plowing, harrowing, or rototilling, many farms must adapt their production methods. Astarte Farm, a 3-acre market garden in Hadley, has been experimenting with these alternative methods for six seasons. This workshop will give you a broad overview of the benefits of no-till and the different techniques used at Astarte Farm, with a focus on the practical aspects of using black and clear plastic tarps to replace tillage. This workshop is for anyone, from home gardner to production farmer!

Amelia Mead first became interested in sustainable agriculture while traveling in Central America and working on several different permaculture farms. She has since returned to her home town to help run Astarte Farm alongside Co-Manager Ellen Drews. The two are in their second season at Astarte and are building off many years of knowledge passed down from previous management. Amelia loves the great outdoors, and couldn't be happier to have a job working in the dirt and preserving the integrity of local land.

Success With Blueberries

We'll start at the beginning, with the kinds and varieties of blueberries to order, and where to order them. We'll then move on to all-important soil preparation and ongoing soil care, planting, pruning, and harvest. A foray into bird issues ensures that you get to reap your harvest. The end result may be an overabundance, so we'll conclude with ways in which this problem is easily and happily contended with. You'll leave this lecture with everything you need to know to be picking an abundance of blueberries within just a few years.

Lee Reich, PhD is a scientist, an avid farmdener (more than a gardener, less than a farmer), and writer. After work in agricultural research for the USDA and Cornell University, he turned to free-lance writing and lecturing. In addition to authoring a number of gardening books, he has written a biweekly gardening column for Associated Press for the past 30 years. His farmden provides a testing ground for innovative techniques in soil care, pruning, and growing fruits and vegetables, and helps satisfy his self-imposed educational mandate with workshops and training.

The Regenerative Grower's Guide to Garden Amendments

Home made mineral and biological amendments are easy to make, low cost, shelf stable, sustainable, Eco friendly, ethical, regenerative and they really work! These ideas will be discussed and we will make some in class. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers.

Nigel Palmer, Author of “The Regenerative Growers Guide to Garden Amendments”, Nigel is a lifelong gardener relying on the amazing complexity of nature to inspire his gardening practices. We are all experimental gardeners given a new canvas each year. He develops curriculum for and instructs the Sustainable Regenerative Garden Program at The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition. TIOSN.com

Vegetable Seed Saving 101 and more

Explore the joy of basic seed saving, from the very easiest crops to some that need some special attention.  There are fabulous heirloom varieties out there, each with its own history, favorites that are hard to find, and all are very satisfying to save.  We'll explore how it works, from the simplest clones to some that need creativity to save well.  Learn about the basics of processing, saving, drying and curing, and effective storage techniques.  We'll take the mystique out of the process so you succeed right away.  I'll include information about excellent resources to guide you along the way.

Amy Frances Leblanc, Whitehill Farm is a small Certified Organic veggie and herb operation in Western Maine.  We grow seedlings for area gardeners and farmers in the spring and participate in our local Farmers Market year round.  Amy is a lifetime MOFGA member, long-time volunteer at the Common Ground Fair, NOFA Mass member, Master Gardener, traveler, and an enthusiastic and adventurous cook!

Nutrient Cycling in Cropping Systems: Impacts of the Soil Food Web on Nutrient Availability

This workshop will identify the major players in the soil food web and their effects on nutrient cycling in the soil. Major topics include:  the influence of crops on the soil food web, the effects of soil disturbance on soil microbial communities, how nutrients can become “immobilized” in the soil (making them unavailable to growing crops), the role of cover crops in recycling nutrients on farms, and how crop C:N ratios impact decomposition and nutrient cycling.     

Alexa Smychkovich is a PhD candidate in the Plant and Soil Sciences Program at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Her research is focused on enhancing soil health and increasing the yield and quality of vegetable crops using cover crops and AM fungi.

The Sustainable Development Goals and Organic Agriculture

In much of the rest of the world, there is a lot of talk about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and whether the world is getting closer to them or not.  Covid has brought many more people to hunger and starvation. I would like to introduce NOFA people to this area of world concern through a panel discussion on what organic has done and what our role could be in making the SDGs a reality.  I would like to invite Louise Luttiholt, ED of IFOAM to speak, the new president of IFOAM NA(don't know who that is yet) and a Saulo Araujo, Program Director of World Hunger Year to share their current work, discuss possible future directions and answer questions.

Elizabeth Henderson farmed at Peacework Farm in Wayne County, New York, producing organically grown vegetables for the fresh market for over 30 years. She served for many years on the Board of Directors of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY), co-chairs the Policy Committee, and represents the NOFA Interstate Council on the Board of the Agricultural Justice Project. She serves as Honorary President of Urgenci, the International CSA Network.  For 20 years, from 1993 – 2013, she chaired the Agricultural Development Board in Wayne County and took an active role in creating the Farming and Farmland Protection Plan for the county. In 2001, the organic industry honored her with one of the first “Spirit of Organic awards, in 2007, Abundance Co-op honored her with the “Cooperating for Communities” award and in 2009 NOFA-NY honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award, a Golden Carrot in 2013 and then with a scholarship for social justice work in her name to the NOFA-NY Winter Conference.  In 2014 Eco-Farm presented her with their “Advocate of Social Justice Award, the Justie.” Her writings on organic agriculture appear in The Natural Farmer and other publications, and she is the lead author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (Chelsea Green, 2007), with a Spanish language e-book edition in 2017. She also wrote A Food Book for a Sustainable Harvest for the members of Peacework Organic Community Supported Agriculture (aka GVOCSA) which is in its 32st year in 2020.  She blogs at - https://thepryingmantis.wordpress.com

Organic as a Solution to the Climate Crisis

With climate back on the national agenda, organic is being crowded out of the carbon sequestration/agricultural resilience debate by market-oriented greenwashing schemes designed to protect polluters and agribusiness-as-usual. Workshop participants will discuss what we can do locally and regionally to promote effective grassroots-up policy initiatives and strategies along with digging into other burning issues including USDA’s allowance of hydroponics.

Steve Gilman farmed organically for 30-some years in the Saratoga NY region. Since then he works as the policy coordinator for the seven Chapters on the Interstate Policy Committee.

Feasibility of Growing Saffron to Enhance Farm Profitability and Sustainability

In this workshop saffron will be introduced as a new specialty crop. Cultivation, maintenance, harvest and processing of saffron will be presented. The unique growth stages of saffron provides a great opportunity to integrate this crop into current vegetable crop production to enhance overall farm profitability. The primary results of the field and greenhouse experiments at UMass will be discussed.

Dr. Masoud Hashemi is an extension Professor in Stockbridge School of Agriculture, UMass. His research activity is mainly focused on sustainability of farming systems through diversifying cropping systems. He is specifically interested in integrating cover crops into farming systems to enhance soil health and natural soil fertility. His other research projects include grazing systems and strategies to extend grazing season.

Understanding Asparagus

Fall is a perfect time to prepare beds for a spring planting of asparagus. Knowing the life cycle, soil preferences and nutritional needs of the asparagus plant enables gardeners to establish a planting that will produce for decades. This lecture will teach proper bed preparation, variety selection, planting, cultivation and harvest, along with disease and insect control for this very valuable crop.

Christie Higginbottom coordinated the horticulture program at Old Sturbridge Village for over twenty years, researching, planning and planting kitchen gardens, ornamental gardens and the Village's Herb Garden collection. Now retired from full-time work, she continues to teach home gardening classes and to consult on historic gardens.

Carbon Capture with Cattle

How it works. Large herbivores are essential for rapid carbon drawdown by the soil. Many agricultural methods like cocktail cover crops and compost accomplish a lot, but the addition of cattle to the mix speeds the process. Grazing herbivores on talk grass is the "low hanging fruit" of carcon capture. The system is time tested (photosynthesis) and easy to operate with some knowledge. Delve into how it works in depth.

Ridge Shinn, is the founder and CEO of a new 100% grass-fed beef company, Big Picture Beef, which markets beef raised in the Northeast on pasture only – no grain, ever. Shinn was credited for putting grass-fed beef on the gourmet map when his filet won top honors in a 2003 Wine Spectator competition over entries from well-known purveyors of grain-fed beef.  More recently chef Dan Barber declared Shinn’s grass-fed beef, “Among the best I’ve ever had.” An experienced cattleman, Shinn has consulted all over the US, and in New Zealand, Uruguay, and Argentina on beef production and ecosystem restoration through grazing. His work has been recognized in Time Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Wine Spectator, and Smithsonian.

Know Your Family — Your Plant Family

Families matter, in the garden, for plant health, plant identification, and more. This presentation details how plant families came about, and why knowing something about the families is good for every gardener and farmer to know.

Lee Reich, PhD, who has worked in agricultural research with the USDA and Cornell University, is a writer and a farmdener (more than a gardener, less than a farmer). In addition to providing a year 'round harvest of fruits and vegetables, his farmden provides a testing ground for innovative techniques in soil care, pruning, and growing fruits and vegetables. For more about his online and live workshops, his books, and other work, see www.leereich.com

Healthy Food For All

With food insecurity and hunger on the rise intensified by the pandemic, how can we work together to ensure healthy, local food is accessible to our whole community?  Join us to explore the Neighboring Food Co-op Association’s work with our 40 member food co-ops across New England and New York to address how we can make healthy, local food more available to all and better serve our communities, despite the current political, social, and economic divisions that exist today. We’ll share specific initiatives from our co-ops to broaden healthy food access and support local farmers and producers, and also empower people to build more inclusive, healthy, and just food systems.

Alexis Alexander supports peer collaboration efforts and provides technical assistance for the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), a co-operative federation of more than 45 food co-ops and start-up initiatives with a combined membership of more than 150,000 people across New England and New York. Prior to joining the NFCA, she served as GreenStar Food Co-op’s Membership Manager for over 11 years, helping to increase member engagement through enhanced programming and events, and improved membership systems, tracking, and reporting processes.   Alexis also led the FLOWER healthy food access program which has benefited over 2,000 individuals and families facing financial hardship since its inception in 2010. She played an integral role in GreenStar’s multifaceted approach to diversity, equity and inclusion, which successfully increased the diversity of both GreenStar staff and membership. Before working with food co-operatives, Alexis gained experience in business and retail management, training and development, and consumer marketing research, working predominately in the supermarket and consumer packaged goods industries. Alexis holds a BS in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Coop Considerations - Assessing the Design Elements of Poultry Housing

We will run through the many designs we have had (good & bad) for housing our poultry on the farm. Our designs have ranged in size, scale, and usefulness over the past ten years. We will walk through all the considerations we've made for predators, health, cleaning, and mobility in our designs. Questions about materials? Are you wondering what size you need? Does that thing you saw on You Tube actually work?  We will get into the nitty gritty of that too.  Our presentation will cover stationary housing, mobile housing, temporary housing, runs and free range areas. Get ready to delve deep into the world of design with us.

Kirby Lecy is owner of J&K's Good Thyme Farm in Ashburnham MA which produces vegetables, herbs, eggs, poultry, pork, and plants. She has been working on farms, wrangling chickens, and advocating for rural communities for 15+ years. Kirby has a passion for connecting humans with their food system and loves talking about her journey from eating only local food in 2003 for a college project to starting her own small farm in 2016. She's active in a number of local and regional farm organizations and loves learning from her peers. 

Por Que Es Importante Germinar

Dia 1.  Que y porque es importante germinar            

En este taller aprenderan: Que es germinar

Beneficios nutricionales que nos aportan las semillas germinadas

Cuales semillas podemos germinar

Tecnicas de como germinarlas

Dia 2. Que podemos hacer con los germinados? En esta clase exploraremos tecnica de como utilizar los germinados en una manera nutritiva, atrativa y deliciosa para aprovechar al maximo sus beneficios nutricionales. Haremos: 1. ""Veggie loaf"" a base de semillas geminadas, 2. Tabbouleh a base de germinados y 3. Hummus de garbanzos germinados

Maria A. Rodriguez nacio en Barahona, Republica Dominicana. Se mudo a Puerto Rico en 1979 para continuar con su  pasion en educacion en la Universidad Adventista de Las Antillas. Es una maestra graduada en Educacion Bilingue y en arte culinario y economia dometisca. Es la propietaria de GERMINEMOS y esta certificada en Proteccion Alimentaria (in Food Protection Management). Desde nina la pasion de Maria fue ser maestra y chef en arte culinario. a traves de los anos Maria ha perfeccionado sus destrezas en arte culinario y en el Arte de germinar. Ella disfruta al poder combinar a pasiones en la ensenanza y el arte culinario. Por esta razon por mas de 40 anos ha compartido sus conocimientos con su comunidad, familialiares y amistades.

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 organic farmer.

Farmer and Farmworker Justice in the Northeast

At this summer’s Free Open Meeting, held on-line in conjunction with the annual NOFA Summer Conference scheduled for that week, we, the NOFA Domestic Fair Trade Committee, invite activists from the Northeast Region who are engaged in projects and organizing efforts that contribute to justice for farmers and farmworkers come together to share our work and ideas and to discuss possible collaboration for the immediate future.

Who should come?

We welcome farm workers, farmers, food system workers, processors, manufacturers, worker organizers, farmer organizers, cooperative organizers, visionaries, and allies across the food chain. Consider attending if your work (paid or volunteer) involves the rights of labor; living wages; fair prices; ethical trading; family scale farming; redressing historical inequities, & making the food system environmentally, economically, and socially just; sustainable; and humane.

Our mix of attendees assures a strong update of the current state of the landscape in our region: who is working with whom; who should we be inviting to join us in our work and what may be the most promising areas for collaboration moving forward.

The Spanish/English meeting is free;

To Present Extended Special Report on your own current Northeast work, please contact elizabethhenderson13@gmail.com at this time.

Elizabeth Henderson farmed at Peacework Farm in Wayne County, New York, for over 30 years. She co-chairs the Policy Committee of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, and represents the NOFA Interstate Council on the Board of the Agricultural Justice Project. She is the lead author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (Chelsea Green, 2007).

50 Years of NOFA History and Annual Membership Meeting

A short Annual Membership Meeting of the NOFA Interstate Council will be followed by a presentation on FIFTY YEARS OF NOFA HISTORY.

Laura Davis, President of the NOFA Interstate Council, President of NOFA/Mass, Organic Farmer, Inspector and Technical Advisor.

Thrilling Tales of Yesteryear

Thanks to serendipitous gatherings of Back to the Landers in the late 1960's a group of embryonic organic farmers, gardeners, organizers and eaters ended up forming the "Natural Organic Farmers Association" -- which morphed into the Northeast Organic Farming Association as more state Chapters joined ranks with the NH and VT startups. As you might expect there were numerous trials and tribulations -- and wild times! Join in on a live and lively virtual exchange evoking the spirit of the time with some of the originators who laid the groundwork for NOFA's 1st 50 years.

Steve Gilman, Thanks to the early peer education days of NOFA, Steve Gilman became an organic vegetable farmer for 30 some years in the Saratoga NY area, followed by serving as policy coordinator for the NOFA Interstate Council

Making Mozzarella

Learn how to make fresh, melty, stretchy mozzarella cheese at home. If you’ve ever tried to make mozzarella before, but ended up with a gritty, flaky mess, this workshop will help you overcome your fear of trying again. Making fresh mozzarella can be tricky if you don’t know the proper ingredient measurements or progression of steps. But with a few simple guidelines, cheesemaking can be easy and fun. Be the hero of pizza night. Treat yourself and your family to the best homemade cheese, from the best local milk, you’ve ever tasted. Ingredients and kitchen equipment required.

Christy Bassett is a homesteader from Barre, MA with a focus on dairy animals. She hand milks a small herd of Mini Saanen dairy goats and their family milk cow, Shine, each day. Christy has worked as a cheesemaker at various farmstead creameries in central, MA and takes pride in providing locally sourced, homemade food for her family.