Workshops Sessions


Feud on the Farm:

Through a new grant from the USDA and MOPC, the Mediation and Training Collaborative (TMTC) offers education and mediation services to farmers.

Introduction to Organic Certification

Getting certified is easier and simpler than you think!

Mentoring Next Generation Farmers:

MESA’s online learning network has resources to enrich hands-on farm training.

Leadership in Community Gardens

An integral part of a thriving community garden is strong leadership.

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.

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.

Structural Pruning of Shade Trees & Ornamentals

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

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.

A Sick Sheep is NOT a Dead Sheep!

In this workshop we will bust open various common myths about shepherding.

Plant Propagation: The Asexual Gift That Keeps Giving.

This workshop will offer a broad overview on many different types of vegetative propagation

Preserving the Past & Tasting the Present

Taste the harvest long after the season has passed!

The Role of Biochar in Organic Farming

Biochar has beneficial effects when properly integrated into an organic farming system.

Organic Fertilizers Demystified

Paul will guide you through a comprehensive look at organic fertilizer ingredients

Seed Sovereignty is Food Sovereignty

Seed is the fundamental unit of our food system.

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.

Tour: 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.

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.

Make the Most of Your Urban & Suburban Garden

Urban and suburban gardens have unique challenges and opportunities.

CSA Around the World:

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.

Community Ownership:

What is the co-op model and how can it help make local food systems work for people with limited food budgets?

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

Singing for Freedom & a Livable Future

Come for a respite from the intense intellectual engagement of the conference!

“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.

Keeping Sheep Organically

Learn options for managing sheep organically, including breeds and housing, practices for parasite control, handling, feeding and health care.

Pruning Fruit Trees for Health & Longevity

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

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.

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.

Integrated Pest Management in Cucurbits

Cuke beetles, and squash bugs, and mildews, oh my! Cucurbits are susceptible to many many insects and diseases.

Cooking Grass Fed Meats for Flavor & Nutrition

Joan will discuss what makes grass fed beef different and why it requires different cooking techniques.

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.

Tour: Gardening With Mushrooms

Learn how to bring mushrooms into your home and garden!

The State of Organic Ag at the Massachusetts State House

The formal 2015-2016 Massachusetts legislative session has just ended.

Digestive Wellness: A Gut Feeling

Maintain your gut microbiome for optimal health With Beth Colon, M.S., owner of Holistic Nutrition Services LLC in Westborough, MA. Research is beginning to show a link between the brain and gut microbiology. How do your food choices affect your gut? Do your choices promote healthy brain development and behavior? This informative session will help...
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Beth Colon

The Nourishing Homestead

Explore numerous aspects of homesteading.
Ben Hewitt

High Tunnels:

High tunnels can be a great way to grow your farm from a seasonal enterprise to a year round one, to cope with climate change, and to get significantly more sales dollars per acre. However, successful long term management requires different practices than outdoor growing and the high tunnel environment isn’t necessarily as forgiving to...
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Andy Fellenz

Regenerative Agriculture

With Andre Leu, farmer and President of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), based in Australia.
Andre Leu

The Art and Science of Grazing

Learn basic principles of good grazing management systems, from the perspective of the plants and the livestock. Using examples of real farm grazing systems, we will cover fencing, water systems, lanes, paddock sizing and acreage requirements. Understand how to use different stocking densities, pre and post grazing heights, length of rest periods, different plant species...
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Sarah Flack

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.

Tour: Wild Browse Farm & Sustainability Center

See the change from forest to a productive homestead: gardens, orchards, pastured poultry, solar systems, greenhouse and much more.

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.

How to Make Homemade Cheese

Explore making chèvre, que fresco, feta, yogurt, and an aged cheese like camembert.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Creating an Holistic Farm Family Goal

Learn the three components of a holistic farm family goal.

Tour: Starting a Small Scale Mushroom Farm

Explore the opportunities in small-scale mushroom cultivation.

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.

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.

World Crops Project

Groundwork Somerville is piloting the growing of crops that might be considered new to the Boston region, but which are familiar to many immigrants living there.

Getting Started in Beekeeping

Learn the basics of the rewarding hobby of keeping honeybees, which pollinate one third of the food we eat.

Moving the Needle: Food Access, Food Justice or Food Sovereignty

Partnerships can assist with addressing issues of race, class, food inequality, and food insecurity.

Soil Health Demonstration – Rainfall Simulator, Soil Aggregation, Infiltration

When the rain comes, will your soil be ready? You’ve learned a lot about soil health already, but have you seen it in action? Join us outside for a variety of soil health demonstrations, including NRCS’ eye-opening rainfall simulator and slake test. Learn how your soil and crop management (tillage, residue, cover crops, crop rotation)...
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Preserving the Harvest: Fermentation 101

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.


In this interactive workshop, participants and a panel of Interstate NOFA Policy Committee members will dig into today’s policy landscape.

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.

Farming Is Risky Business

Farmers will receive education on a variety of risk management tools to help evaluate risk on your farm.

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.

Is My Beef Finished?

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

Building a Net-Zero Green Home:

Building “green” in today’s world is easier and more cost effective than ever before.

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.

Goat Farming

From choosing breeds and creating housing, to breeding, kid rearing and milking.

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening

This workshop will focus on growing a steady supply of greens from soil-sprouts.

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...
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Excel Spreadsheets for Small Scale Farms

Improve your farm planning, workflow, and record keeping systems with functional and presentable excel documents.

Organic Pest & Disease Management for Urban Farms

We will identify the common pests and diseases we see in our work in the greater Boston area, and discuss both standard and more creative management strategies!

Medicinal Mushrooms

This workshop will go over different varieties of medicinal mushrooms, their historical use, and what grows native to New England.

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.

Season Extension Strategies

Row cover, low tunnels, high tunnels, caterpillar tunnels, and greenhouses have all been employed successfully for extending the harvest season.

Soils Part 1: What’s Going on Down There

What is the relationship between plants and their soil?

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.

Farmer in the Classroom

Learn about the successful Farmer in the Classroom program and how to establish it in your own schools.

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.

Growing Health: 10 Herbs for Backyard Medicine

Feel empowered to grow and make herbal medicine from the garden!

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.

Dehydrating Your Harvest for Fun & Health

Learn how easy it is to dehydrate food and create fun projects.

Creating a Permaculture Farm

Learn how to design your farm using the insights and techniques of permaculture.

Dowsing & Agriculture

Dowsing has been used for thousands of years in many cultures around the world.

Small Scale Beekeeping

Increase vegetable and fruit yields, protect pollinators, improve local food security and potentially receive a honey bonus.

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.

Work Horses 101

For those with limited experience and lots of interest, get hands on time, up close and personal with these amazing animals.

Starting Out with Organic Pastured Pigs

Just getting into pigs? Thinking about expanding from just a couple pigs to a couple dozen?

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

Why go co-op? How do co-ops strengthen our regional food system and economy?

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.

Tour: UMass Cover Crop Research Plot

Learn about several cover-cropping research projects occurring at UMass Amherst, with visual context.

Social & Racial Justice Panel Discussion

Join local food justice leaders for a “roll up our sleeves” conversation about taking the food movement to the next level.

TOUR: Hampshire College Farm

Take a tour of the Farm Center at Hampshire College.

Active Listening – Tending to Your Relationships

Understand how communication is at the heart of every single relationship in your professional and personal life.