Saturday Workshops

Business & Marketing

Saturday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Determining your Costs of Production
Presenter: Richard Wiswall (Cate Farm)
Ever wonder how much it costs to produce a dozen eggs? A feeder pig? Hoophouse greens? Are you making a profit with them given your current sales prices? Longtime organic farmer Richard Wiswall will demystify production costs for various farm ventures and show which ones are making money or not.  This group working session will simplify and enlighten the process of determining profitability for any of your farm endeavors. Beginning and seasoned farmers alike will benefit, and share in some eye opening results.

Best Practices for Opening Your Farm to Visitors
Presenters: Lisa Chase (UVM Extension, VT Tourism Research Center), Judith Irving and Calley Hastings (Fat Toad Farm), Stephanie Smith (VT Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets)

From farmstands and u-pick to special events, tours, and classes, farms of all sizes are opening their doors (and barns and fields) to visitors. As agritourism has grown rapidly in recent years, providing high quality, authentic experiences and products can be a challenge for many working farms. Join Lisa Chase from UVM Extension and VT Tourism Research Center, along with Judith Irving and Calley Hastings from Fat Toad Farm, and Stephanie Smith from the VT Agency of Agriculture as they share experiences and resources for ensuring that agritourism meets zoning regulations and is safe, educational, and profitable.

Saturday, Workshop Session 2 - 2:15 P.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Expanding Your Brand 101
Presenters: Lara Dickson (Deep Dish Creative), Serena Fox (Serena Fox Design Company)
This workshop focuses on the critical value of marketing and design in business profitability and success. Encouraging a dialog with Vermont farmers and producers, we will discuss brand recognition and loyalty—with  emphasis on visually and editorially reaching a target audience through packaging, social media and web. Topics include creating and/or refreshing current identity, establishing web presence, developing compelling newsletters or social media outreach and working with Google Analytics. We’ll discuss the importance of bridging your brand identity and print identity with online channels to maximize profitability.
Payroll & Tax Clinic for Farmer-Employers
Presenter: Roy Henshaw (Kneeland P.C. CPA)
Participants will learn how to set up a basic, accurate payroll system by reviewing all required payroll forms and filing requirements including calculating federal and state withholding, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and end-of-the year summary forms. Understand the tax implications, legality and classification of subcontractors, interns and employees and the appropriate hiring paperwork required. Even if don’t yet do payroll, or hire it out, learn the basics so you can plan for the future, make proper hiring decisions and follow your bookkeeper’s or accountant’s work.

Saturday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.

Food Traceability / Lot Tracking Solutions for Value-Added Processors (Specialty Food Makers)
Presenter: Stan Ward (FoodAg Tech)
This workshop is for value-added producers looking to learn about food traceability systems to (a) get prepared for increasing regulatory food traceability requirements, (b) sell to large buyers who require good traceability systems and labeling, and/or (c) ease the organic processor certification process by using a digital system. This session will present two solutions: a paper-based solution and a powerful and affordable web-based lot tracking solution called DEAR Inventory. Stan Ward from FoodAg Tech will teach you about food traceability, demonstrate the solutions, and review case studies of Vermont businesses using the solutions.
Farmers' Market Display and Merchandising
Presenter: Bruce Baker (B Baker Inc)
Join Bruce Baker from B Baker Inc as he explains current trends in market displays and merchandising and how to make them work for you. He will be addressing easy and successful systems for designing a farmers' market display, effective signage and branding, and dynamic sales and customer service techniques. Your stand is an important asset to your sales success. Learn to make every inch of your space count, without spending a fortune. Tips and tricks to get your customers to buy more and become repeat and loyal buyers is the focus of this workshop.

Commercial Crops

Saturday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Heat from Composting - Latest developments and how to match options to your site
Presenters: Gaelan Brown (Agrilab Technologies), Brian Jerose (Agrilab Technologies)
This workshop is intended for livestock farmers, greenhouse growers and other producers/users of compost. In this workshop, learn about the latest developments from implemented projects at Vermont Compost Company, Jasper Hill Farm and the UNH Organic Research Dairy Farm with Brian Jerose and Gaelan Brown from Agrilab Technologies.  Discussion will include how to assess both the type and volume of compost feedstocks to implement a viable system, and how to best use the hot water and other thermal outputs for greenhouse, barn, shop or other building heating, and other applications. Technical level is intermediate to advanced. Presentation will include slides and video clips of implemented sites, and include an exercise of calculating annual and seasonal volumes of compost materials.
Aquaponics in Cold Climates
Presenter: Buzz Fervor (Perfect Circle Farm)
This workshop will be an overview of the design and two year operation of a typical aquaponics system in Buzz Fervor's greenhouse on Perfect Circle Farm in Worcester, VT. You will review the origins and concepts of aquaponics, the basics of component construction and how it integrates into the greenhouse/homestead/farming environment. The yields and benefits, along with the difficulties and challenges will be discussed. Photos and online resources will be included in this presentation.
Saturday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
CSAs and Community Engagement
Presenters: Andy Jones (Intervale Community Farm), Danielle Allen (Your Farm), Suzanne Long (Luna Bleu Farm)
Join CSA farmers Danielle Allen (Your Farm, Fairlee, VT), Andy Jones (Intervale Community Farm, Burlington, VT), and Suzanne Long (Luna Bleu Farm, S. Royalton, VT) as they share how they organize their farms for successful community engagement of CSA members.
Why Do Good Vegetables Go Bad? Characteristics of storage crops, how they differ and what we can do about it?
Presenter: Chris Callahan (UVM)
In this workshop, Chris Callahan from UVM Extension will explore the biological characteristics of fruits and vegetables particularly in the post-harvest periods of processing, packing, storage and distribution. We will cover fundamentals such as respiratory metabolism, sources of mechanical damage, and pathogens and their vectors. We will also explore handling, culling, processing and storage systems and practices that help preserve product quality in the post-harvest value chain. People with interest in this session should also consider the related session on systems and controls.
Farm Mechanization and Efficiencies
Presenter: Richard Wiswall (Cate Farm)
Learn the tools of the trade for greater farming efficiency with Richard Wiswall from Cate Farm. Cultivation tools to maximize weed control, harvest tools to speed the harvest, and packhouse tools for quicker and easier processing will all be covered. Cost/benefit analysis will show how long it will take for a new tool to pay for itself.  Greenhouse innovations are highlighted as well.
Saturday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Growing mushrooms on the farm and forest
Presenter: Glenn Coville (Wild Branch Mushrooms)
Glenn Coville from Wild Branch Mushrooms will teach all the steps of growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms on sawdust, straw, and logs with a prominent focus will be on sawdust. Varieties covered include: tree oyster, lions mane, bears head tooth, garden oyster, reishi, and turkey tail. You will learn the process and necessary equipment for every stage of cultivation. From lab set-up and culture technique, to grow-area set-up and best harvesting practices. These low-tech and simple methods will be applicable to growers at all levels.
Farmers and Their Soil Health Practices
Presenter: Vern Grubinger (UVM)
Vegetable farmers use different approaches to measure and manage nutrients, maintain organic matter, reduce tillage, and rotate cash crops and cover crops. In this workshop, Vern Grubinger, from UVM Extension, will show slides of diverse practices that organic farmers in the region are using to address the topics above, identify some key questions, and then invite participants to share their own experiences and knowledge in a facilitated discussion. 
Weed Management in the Horse-Powered Market Garden
Presenter: Stephen Leslie (Cedar Mountain Farm)
Stephen Leslie, from Cedar Mountain Farm and author of The New Horse-Powered Farm, will discuss weed management strategies (tools and systems) using draft horse power on contemporary market gardens. Stephen will cover old and new implements for row-marking and horse-drawn cultivation for row crops, as well as bio-extensive cover crop/bare fallow rotations, and drip and mulch systems, as part of a broader weed management strategy. This information will be relevant to all produce growers but will be of particular interest to new farmers or existing farms considering a transition to draft animals. Participants will gain a full understanding of how horse-drawn implements are utilized for effective weed control on contemporary produce farms.

Food Systems

Saturday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Milk with Dignity
Presenters: Enrique "Kike" Balcazar, Abel Luna (Migrant Justice)
Hear first hand from farmworkers about what's life like for those who put milk and cheese on the table. In today’s highly consolidated food industry, multi-billion dollar brands leverage their volume purchasing power and benefit from lower milk prices. These lower prices come at the expense of human rights, livable wages and sustainable livelihoods for both farmworkers and farmers. Join Abe Luna, Enrique Balcazar and The Milk with Dignity campaign to build alliances between farmworkers, farmers, and consumers to invite dairy businesses to support dairy worker defined human rights standards and provide fair milk prices for participating farmers.

CANCELLED - "Sustainable Seafood" - Compared to What? It's All Relative - CANCELLED
Presenter: Peter Moore (Seafood Producers Cooperative)

 

USDA National Organic Program
Presenters: Nicole Dehne (NOFA-VT), Miles McEvoy (Deputy Administrator USDA NOP), Jean Richardson (National Organic Standards Board)
This session will cover the future of organic certification, organic hydroponics, sound and sensible certification, the National Organic Standards Board, and the revised sunset process. This workshop will be led by Miles McEvoy, the Deputy Administrator for the National Organic Program, Jean Richardson from the National Organic Standards Board and Nicole Dehne from NOFA-VT and Vermont Organic Farmers.
Saturday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Huertas Project: Farmworker Food Access
Presenters: Marie Frey (Hudak Farm), Josefa Hernandez (Huertas Participant), Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland (Interpreter), Teresa Mares (UVM/Huertas Project), Jessie Mazar (UVM/ Huertas Project)

This panel will present four different perspectives on the Huertas project, an applied food security program that works to increase food security among Latino/a migrant farmworkers living in rural parts of Vermont. Connected to UVM Extension’s Bridges to Health Program, Huertas was started in 2010 as an informal program to distribute seeds and plant starts to farmworkers living in rural areas of the state. The goal of the project is to increase access to more localized and culturally appropriate sources of food through planting kitchen gardens.
Capturing the Value of Your Ugly Produce & Reducing Food Waste
Presenters: Bryn Oakleaf (VT Agency of Natural Resources), Ismail Samid (The Gleanery)
This workshop will discuss the Universal Recycling law's Food Recovery Hierarchy and the importance of removing food and food scraps from the landfill; and how food that is unattractive or nearing its shelf life can be captured for nutritious meals. The information will be high level as it relates to the Universal Recycling law and introductory to moderate for the portions related to cooking unattractive produce. This workshop will be co-presented by Bryn Oakleaf, Environmental Analyst V with the Agency of Natural Resources and Ismail Samad, the Executive Chef of Daily Table and Chef/Partner of The Gleanery. The targeted audience for this workshop are attendees that are not familiar with the cross section of food rescue/food access and waste reduction.
Saturday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Occupy Fair Trade: Understanding Labels & Forging a Movement
Presenter: Louis Battalen (Domestic Fair Trade Association)
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the numerous fair trade claims and labels? How can our involvement in fair trade extend beyond the grocery shelf? The Domestic Fair Trade Association has developed principles and criteria for evaluating social justice standards. Louis Battlen, from the Domestic Fair Trade Association, will review key findings from DFTA’s Evaluation Program that identifies how adequately certification programs address and utilize these results within their 2015 food justice movement campaigns. Participants will discuss incorporating this work into their lives as consumers, farm workers and farmers, and jointly as NOFA members of the DFTA.
How Scale-Appropriate Regulation Supports Family Farms and Community Food Systems
Presenters: Peter Burmeister & Katherine Fanelli (Burelli Farm), Susan & Ryan Hayes (The Farm of Milk & Honey), Andrea Stander (Rural Vermont)
The economic viability of Vermont’s family farms and the affordability of local food is being hindered by impractical and inappropriate laws, rules, policies and enforcement procedures. Hear the stories of two family farms who are trying to grow their businesses while following ALL the rules. Bring your story to share too - as a farmer or a consumer - and we'll have a lively and strategic discussion about how we can work together to improve on the current regulatory environment for local food.

Homesteader

Saturday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Easy Great Compost
Presenter: Wendy Sue Harper (WSH Consulting)
This workshop will help you figure out the best composting method to use for your home, garden and yard with Wendy Sue Harper from WSH Consulting. This workshop will examine compost ecology, discuss what not to compost, look at cool versus hot composting, examine several easy cool-composting methods, and discuss the benefits of composting.
Moving Water with Water – Building your own Hydraulic Ram Pump
Presenter: Josh Brill (Breezy Meadows Orchards and Nursery)
Learn how to build your own low maintenance, no electricity pump that works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you’re a farmer or home gardener needing to bring water up hill to irrigate your garden, quench your animals’ thirst, or help fill a pond and you have moving water and a little bit of elevation drop this pump will work for you.  Josh Brill from Breezy Meadows Orchards and Nursery will walk through the construction and use of the pump with materials that can be found at your local hardware store.
Homesteading in the 21st Century  - Transitioning to a Home Based Economy
Presenter: Anneli Carter-Sundqvist (Deer Isle Hostel)
Anneli Carter-Sundqvist from Deer Isle Hostel will share some of the strategies she and her husband developed to reach a self-sufficient, home based economy. Homesteading today, in this part of the world, is a lot about resisting the temptations from the general economic system where more is merrier, bigger is better and growth is greater. Anneli will outline the benefits she's found by staying away from this system and how she strives to keep a clear vision of when enough is enough. The audience is encouraged to join the discussion with their experiences and questions.
Saturday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Stepping Up Your Home Garden: a vegetable farmer's perspective on making the most from your garden
Presenters: Kara Fitzgerald and Ryan Wood-Beauchamp (Evening Song Farm)
Do you feel like you could be doing more with your home vegetable garden? In this workshop, Kara Fitzgerald and Ryan Wood-Beauchamp from Evening Song Farm will share useful tips and tricks for making the most of your garden space, extending the season, and having FUN with your garden!  Drawing on their experience as gardeners and vegetable farmers, Kara and Ryan will share a variety of tips and tricks to add to your vegetable gardening repertoire this season.
Dense Planting Methods for Raised Beds
Presenters: Tim King and Markey Read (Honey Dew Homestead)
Want to get the most from your garden with the lease amount of effort? Here’s a hot tip: The deeper the bed, the more densely you can plant; the more densely you plant, the bigger the yield per square foot, and the fewer weeds you will have to deal with. Join Markey Read & Tim King of Honey Dew Homestead in this interactive workshop and learn even more valuable tips tools, and techniques for how you can create a highly productive vegetable and herb garden using Bio-Intensive methods. *Due to high demand, this workshop is back again from last year's conference*
Natural and Mechanical Cooling Methods for Farm and Homestead Storage
Presenters: Chris Chaisson (Whole Farm Services), Kirk Jones (Whole Farm Services)

Chris Chaisson and Kirk Jones from Whole Farm Services will discuss the various means being used on farms for keeping storage chambers cold throughout the year. In the winter we have an abundance of cold temperatures which can be stored and used in the summer. The talk will focus on using different seasonal methods to keep energy costs low, build resilience in food storage systems, and utilize various means of accessing both natural and mechanical systems when appropriate. Promising renewable energy options utilizing tri- generation, solar, and waste-heat will be shared to foster further understanding of ways to adapt conventional cold storage spaces such as walk-in coolers and freezers. Ice will be discussed in depth as an option for storing winters cold energy and the different systems used to keep and store it for use during the summer.
 Saturday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Mycoremediation of Contaminated Soil and Water
Presenter: Tradd Cotter (Mushroom Mountain LLC)
Many species of edible fungi sweat powerful enzymes into the environment capable of molecular disassembly of complex molecules such as hydrocarbons, aromatic chlorinated compounds, and pesticides. Mushrooms native to your area of the U.S. are also well adapted to filter, stun and destroy pathogenic bacteria that accompany failing septic systems, manure holding ponds, and even pet waste runoff. Learn how these mushrooms perform these miraculous tasks and how to develop a living barrier or filtration system that is customized to fit your needs with Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain LLC and author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation. With methods for beginners to advanced growers, this talk will focus on biomass expansion, site engineering, and species of mushrooms that can be used for mycoremediation projects and brownfield to greenfield conversion planning.
Spiritual Stewardry; working with energetics of place
Presenter: Fearn Lickfield (Green Mountain School of Druidry)
Calling all land holders and aspiring stewards! Do you want to learn how to tune in and understand the subtle energetics and workings of the land where you live and/or garden? In this workshop, Fearn will give an overview of Geomancy and earth energetics and explain some of the common issues that show up in the land. She will introduce techniques to assess and respond to the sacred landscape to bring about clearing, balance, healing and fertility. You will leave with a clearer understanding and tools to take home and practice so you can co-create harmony and vitality with the land.

Localvore

Saturday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Herbal Medicine Making
Presenter: Betzy Bancroft (Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism)
Making herbal medicine is an ancient and wonderful skill that makes it possible for us to administer the goodness of plants for healing. Primarily through demonstration, Betzy Bancroft, from the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, will cover the basic techniques for making teas, infused oils and vinegars, and tinctures. We’ll also discuss how these recipes can be made into salves, compresses and more.
Fermenting by Season
Presenter: Tara Whitsitt (Fermentation on Wheels)
Tara Whitsitt of Fermentation on Wheels will hold a hands-on vegetable fermentation workshop, where she will teach with local, seasonal ingredients. Whitsitt will share the benefits of microbial preservation and how you can creatively & fearlessly ferment in your own kitchen. She will also highlight how fermentation offers a multitude of preservation options that can provide sustenance through the winter as well as create value-added product. This workshop targets beginners through experts, offering a thorough overview of the art of fermenting vegetables.
Saturday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Apitherapy - Health and Healing with Hive Products
Presenter: Ross Conrad (Dancing Bee Gardens)
The honeybee and hive products have historically played a large role in disease care and prevention. Today science is finally catching up to what naturalists, herbalists, and acupuncturists have known for years. Ross Conrad from Dancing Bee Gardens covers the production, processing and healing uses of honey, pollen, propolis, beeswax, royal jelly, and honeybee venom.
Building Quebec Bread Ovens with Schools and Communities
Presenter: Joseph Kiefer (Food Education/Food Justice Consultant)
Joseph Kiefer will explain the step by step process for designing and building a Quebec Bread Oven with a community or a school. This process involves ALL students and many parents and community members in the process: from building the base to weaving the alder frame followed by the clay day of mixing loaves of clay to place on top of the frame. The clay is then shaped to look like the school mascot such as a Newt, a Wolverine or a Bulldog. As part of the curriculum, students taste test a variety of recipes, bake them in the oven and eat them back in their classroom or take home to their families.
 Saturday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Organic Homebrewing
Presenter: Robbie Leeds (Otter Creek Brewery & Wolaver's Fine Organic Ales)
Join Robbie Leeds, who works at Wolaver's Fine Organic Ales and Otter Creek Brewery, to discuss organic brewing and beer making. This workshop will also discuss the differences between organic and conventional brewing. Come with your questions and be prepared to learn about organic brewing and beers!
Farm and Sing: Putting the Culture Back in Agriculture
Presenters: Bennet Konesni, Edith Gawler, Josh Karp and Maria Schumann (Cate Hill Orchard), Kristin Urie (Bonnieview Farm)
As long as people have been farming, they have been singing about it: harvest and planting songs, songs to influence the weather, songs about or for livestock. Josh, Maria, and Kristin have been singing together for over 10 years, and, in this workshop, will give examples of agricultural songs from around the world and talk about some ways to incorporate singing into farm work and life. We will also teach a few songs for participants to bring home and share with family or farm workers - come prepared to sing!

Livestock

Saturday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Assessing Your Livestock Markets
Presenter: Joe Emenheiser (UVM)
Developing sustainable livestock production systems are a matter of matching animals, resources, and markets. UVM Extension livestock specialist Joe Emenheiser will discuss trends and opportunities in Vermont livestock production, along with considerations for the future.
Preventing Grazing Pitfalls: Learning from Our Cows and Pastures
Presenter: Sarah Flack (Sarah Flack Consulting)
Grass based organic farmers know the importance of pasture as the primary feed source for their cattle. But part of managing pastures well is honing our observation skills to assess what the plants and animals are telling us about their health. In this workshop, presented by grazing and organic certification specialist Sarah Flack, we will review the key grazing principles that help your cattle maximize dry matter intake from pastures and avoid potential problems. We will also look at 3 items to observe to determine the health of your pasture management: livestock, their manure, and pasture plants.
Saturday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Scaling Up Egg Production: Can it work on my farm?
Presenters: Mark Cannella (UVM Extension), Sona Desai (Intervale Center), John Smith (Maple Wind Farm), Sam Smith (Intervale Center)
This workshop will focus on the research done by Intervale Center and UVM Extension Staff around the feasibility of egg production on the 1000 bird plus scale. Topics to be covered will include best management practices for large scale pastured production, market demand for eggs, legal considerations for egg sales, and the financial implications of different size layer operations. This workshop will be useful for farmers who currently have layers and are considering adding more birds and/or seeking new markets.
Pigs: Creating the Right Conditions for Success
Presenter: Brooks Miller (North Mountain Pastures), Anna Santini (North Mountain Pastures)
Brooks and Anna Miller started raising pigs on pasture in 2009. They have gone through a range of farrowing setups, fencing configurations, and feeding regimes. Currently, they keep 15-20 sows year round, and farrow twice a year. Making use of portable hoophouses for housing and sorting, both open fields and woods are grazed by pigs. In 2013, they butchered over 150 pigs sold through CSA, sausage, and charcuterie. Brooks will lead participants through the evolution of their hog production system, sharing marketing and infrastructure tips that worked or didn’t work throughout their time raising pigs.
 Saturday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.

Homeopathy for Commercial Livestock Farms
Presenter: Bay Hammond (Doolittle Farm)
This workshop will include discuss homeopathic principles, guidelines on how to administer a remedy and what to expect during the healing process. Using observation and keynotes we will discuss how to choose a remedy and then look at specific remedies (with a list of their keynotes) currently used on commercial farms. Questions during the presentation are encouraged.

Livestock Manure Management
Presenter: Brian Jerose (Agrilab Technologies), Jenn Colby (UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture)
Attendees will receive an overview of bedded pack housing options currently used in Vermont and beyond.  Descriptions of herd health, manure management, soil quality benefits and possible management challenges will be provided.  A sample manure volume and bedding requirement calculation will be performed to show how a new bedded pack system can be planned.  This tool can project the total bedding inputs and estimated costs for managing a successful bedded pack.

 

Sunday Workshops

Business & Marketing

Sunday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
What Makes Your Farm Business Unique: How to Identify & Promote Your Attributes
Presenter: Pam Knights (Pam Knights Communications)
Learn about what goes into developing a solid brand and crafting messaging that captures the essence of your farm business. Branding and marketing communications strategist Pam Knights will talk about how to identify your unique selling points and consistently articulate them to promote your brand across all forms of marketing communications from print, websites and social media. In her PowerPoint presentation, Pam will show numerous examples of farm and agritourism businesses she has worked with over the years, leaving  time for questions.
Slow Money Vermont: An introduction for entrepreneurs, community investors and service providers
Presenter: Eric Deluca & Caitlin Jenness, Slow Money VT
Slow Money is an international movement that asks people to invest as if food, farms, and fertility really mattered. Since its founding, more than $38 million has been invested in small food enterprises around the US. Come learn about the emergent Slow Money Vermont network and explore the opportunities, challenges, and considerations that go into the creative, alternative financing arrangements inspired by Slow Money. This workshop will provide an introduction into these topics, with ample time for questions and discussion.
Labor Laws that Every Farmer-Employer Should Know  
Presenter: Kenneth Miller (Law for Food)
This workshop details the federal and state laws and regulations governing labor relations for agricultural businesses. Are you clear on the varying definitions between interns, volunteers, field labor, retail labor and casual labor? Do you know the different labor laws enforced whether employees are working with products bought off-farm versus products produced on-farm? Learn the detailed requirements for minimum wage, workplace safety, workers’ compensation, overtime exemptions and unemployment insurance whether you currently have employees or may hire them in the future. Get your questions answered now by Kenneth Miller from Law for Food.
Sunday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Farmstands: Differences between Staffed and Unstaffed Models
Presenters: James and Sara Donegan (Trillium Hill Farm), Joie Lehouillier (Foote Brook Farm)
This workshop will present the pros and cons of having a staffed and unstaffed farmstand and what to consider when thinking about incorporating a farmstand to your farm or business.
Growing for Wholesale: the Options, Opportunities and Conditions
Presenters: Pat Burns (City Market, Onion River Food Co-op), Abbie Nelson (NOFA VT and VT FEED),  Annie Rowell (VT Food Venture Center), Abbey Willard (VAAFM)
Selling products directly to consumers through CSAs or farmers’ markets may seem to provide the greatest monetary return for farmers. However, considering the time and resources invested in these direct relationships, maybe not. Diversifying production and growing for wholesale markets provides an opportunity for bulk sales, efficiencies, and long term markets. Join this panel to discuss and learn about opportunities for producers to access wholesale markets including food co-ops, processors, institutions, and independent grocery stores.
Sunday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Your First Organic Farm Inspection: Being Prepared & Keeping Records
Presenters: Nicole Dehne (NOFA-VT), Amanda Gervais (Savage Gardens), Wendy Sue Harper (WSH Consulting)
Get the inside perspective of what an organic inspector is looking for during a farm inspection and how best to be prepared. We’ll discuss the role of the inspector, what inspectors do and don’t do on a farm, farm audits, and record keeping. We’ll also cover sources for products, stock, and compost approved for use on organic farms. Amanda Gervais from Savage Gardens will share the electronic record keeping system used on her farm that helps her meet the requirements for organic certification and helps her analyze her business.
Making the Most of Farm Employment and Training
Presenters: Maggie Donin (Intervale Center), Eli Hersch (Riverberry Farm), Jen Miller (RAFFL), John Smith (Maple Wind Farm)
The goal of our workshop is to help beginning and intermediate farmers understand different types of farm jobs, farm careers, and training opportunities. Maggie Donin from the Intervale Center will begin this workshop with an overview of different types of farm positions, setting goals for a farm season as an employee and working towards those goals, knowing if a farm is a good fit, effective communication with your employer, interviewing, and what to do if a job is not working out. Maggie's presentation will be followed by a panel of three farmers with different positions and training paths, including Eli Hersch from Riverberry Farm, Jen Miller from RAFFL, and John Smith from Maple Wind Farm.

Commercial Crops

Sunday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Wash it in January:  Filling the Off-Season
Presenter: Justin Rich (Burnt Rock Farm)
Summers can be made slightly less hectic by separating the growing and selling portions of the year. There are multiple tradeoffs, including constructing ever more infrastructure, as deep winter storage requires high quality harvested product in combination with conditions designed to preserve that quality. Risks and rewards of this marketing strategy will be discussed, as well as production methods to maximize quality and equipment to maintain it. Join Justin Rich of Burnt Rock Farm as he describes his experience with winter crop storage on his farm.
Exclusion Netting for Management of Spotted Wing Drosophila on Vermont Farms
Presenters: Dr. Victor Izzo (UVM, Champlain College), Hannah Link (UVM), Rachel Schattman (UVM),  Adam Hausmann (Adam's Berry Farm)
This workshop's speakers will include researchers Rachel Schattman and Hannah Link (to present their 2014 study of netting efficacy on commercial blueberry farms and best practices for commercial netting trellises), insect ecologist Dr Victor Izzo (who will present the most recent information about SWD life cycles in the northeaster US), and farmers Adam Hausmann (from Adam's Berry Farm, Charlotte) who will discuss on farm management. The panel will be targeted to commercial growers and will be useful for both those that have little knowledge of SWD and those who are well versed in the challenges this new pest presents. This workshop will be conducted as a panel with ample time for Q&A.
Sunday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Up and Coming Crops: Popcorn, Sweet Potatoes and Ginger
Presenters: Eugenie Doyle (Last Resort Farm), Geo Honingford (Hurricane Flats), Timothy Hughes-Muse (Laughing Child Farm)
Join our experienced panelists as they discuss up-and-coming crops for our state. Eugenie Doyle of Last Resort Farm will discuss the ins-and-outs of growing ginger. She will be joined by Geo Honingford from Hurricane Flats to talk about the biggest issues with popcorn production. Timothy Hughes-Muse from Laughing Child Farm, Vermont's largest sweet potato grower, will talk about how this crop works for him and his farm.
Swede midge, a new devastating pest of Brassica crops within the Northeastern US
Presenters: Dr. Yolanda Chen (UVM), Andy Jones (Intervale Community Farm), Tony Lehouillier (Foote Brook Farm), David Marchant (Riverberry Farm), Chase Stratton (UVM)

This workshop is intended for established and beginning farmers that plan to grow Brassica crops (collards, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, kohlrabi, etc.). Join Dr. Yolanda Chen and Chase Stratton of UVM, Tony Lehouillier of Foote Brook Farm, Andy Jones from Intervale Community Farm, and David Marchant from Riverberry Farm as they discuss the severity of the problem, present their most recent lab findings, and then hold a Q&A discussion on the trade-offs of the most promising pest control tactics.
Sunday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Managing and Marketing a Year-Round Diversified CSA
Presenter: Christa Alexander (Jericho Settlers Farm Inc.)
Want to take a summer vacation? Learn how Christa Alexander and Mark Fasching of Jericho Settlers Farm have adjusted their farm’s production and marketing cycles to even-out their work load and cash flow, while building year-round employment opportunities for their farm crew. Two of their quietest months on the farm are now July and August. Learn what infrastructure investments, marketing opportunities, management strategies, and lifestyle choices they have undertaken to keep their farm in full production year-round. 
Commercial Production of Elderberry – A Crop with Exciting Potential for Vermont!
Presenters: David Fried (Elmore Roots Nursery), Todd Hardie (Caledonia Spirits), John Hayden (The Farm Between), Ginger Nickerson (UVM), Stan Ward (Three Springs Farm)

Elderberry is easy to cultivate, subject to few pests and diseases, and has low establishment costs. It grows well in floodplains, and can tolerate short-term flooding. Over 35 Vermont distilleries and herbal medicine businesses use elderberry, but buy most of their berries from elsewhere. In this workshop intended for commercial growers, four experienced elderberry growers will discuss: varietal selection, propagation, cultivation, processing and marketing strategies related to commercial elderberry (and aronia, a similar species), cultivation, opportunities for working with conservation districts on planting elderberry in riparian areas, and the potential for aggregating product.

Food Systems

Sunday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Farm-Based Education Through the Lens of Sustainability
Presenters: Ethan Bodin, Rachel Cadwallader-Staub, Vera Simon-Nobes (All of Shelburne Farms)
Are you exploring the idea of opening your farm for education, or looking to build on educational experiences you currently offer? In this interactive workshop, Shelburne Farms educators, Ethan Bodin, Rachel Cadwallader-Staub and Vera Simon-Nobes will share how to use the lens of sustainability to add value to farm-based experiences. We’ll highlight some farmer-approved activities that focus on themes of sustainability such as Community and Cycles, and explore how to apply them to your site.  
Sunday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Fish On - Exploring Lake Champlain as a Food Source
Presenters: James Ehlers (Lake Champlain International), Bruce Hennessey (Maple Wind Farm), Grace Meyer (Vermont Fresh Network), Chef Doug Paine (Juniper at Hotel Vermont and Bleu Northeast Seafood)
The Vermont Fresh Network is working in partnership with Lake Champlain International to get more local fish on Vermont restaurant menus and to open up a conversation about water quality. Our panel will feature Executive Chef Doug Paine of Juniper at Hotel Vermont and Bleu Northeast Seafood, Farmer Bruce Hennessey of Maple Wind Farm and James Ehlers, Executive Director of Lake Champlain International and will be moderated by Grace Meyer of the Vermont Fresh Network. There will be ample time for audience questions and discussion.
Sunday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
In Their Own Words: Cultivating Future Leaders through Youth Farm, Food, and Nutrition Programs
Presenters: Amy Gifford (NOFA VT/ VT FEED), Panelists include: Keshav Pokhrel (Burlington High School), Jacob Hicks (Twin Valley Union High School), John Wagner (Vergennes Union High School), Julia Eastham (Rock Point School), Laura Cassety (Montpelier High School), Tomas Rogel, (Montpelier High School), Raven Ryomuto, (Mount Anthony Union Middle School
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Self-esteem, confidence, and leadership skills flourish when students participate in experiential, food-based youth programs. Amy Gifford from NOFA-VT will facilitate this workshop with a diverse panel of students from across Vermont who will share their experiences growing, harvesting, preparing, and selling food. We'll hear from youth panelists how these experiences have directly affected them academically, socially, and emotionally.

Homesteader

Sunday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
An Overview of Food Preservation
Presenter: Andrea Chesman
What are the pros and cons of canning, freezing, drying and cold storage of vegetables? What is the best way in terms of time, ease of use of final product, taste, and texture? What are the safety issues and nutritional aspects of each preservation method? How much can one person accomplish during the busy growing season? Samples of food preserved by each method will be provided  and equipment will be brought in and shown as a basis for an interesting discussion.
Practical Home-scale Permaculture
Presenters: Aaron Guman (Walking Onion), Nicko Rubin (East Hill Tree Farm)
Nicko Rubin from East Hill Tree Farm and Aaron Guman from Walking Onion have been working to establish productive permaculture landscapes in Vermont and throughout the Northeast. In permaculture healthy gardens and landscapes are created using ecological principles to mimic natural ecosystems. What concepts and tools make the most sense for application at the homestead scale? How do we create productive and ecologically rich perennial landscapes in the Northeast? We will discuss strategies for growing perennial vegetables, berries, fruit trees and nuts in the context of diverse, mutually supportive polycultures, as well as making the most of challenging soils and sites. Time will be given for question and answer.
Kiwifruits, An Uncommon Fruit for Backyards and Markets
Presenter: Lee Reich (Springtown Farmden)
Hardy kiwifruit is a cousin to the fuzzy market kiwifruit but tastes better. The plant has minimal pest problems so, along with its unique, delicious flavor, is ideally suited for growing in backyards or for market. This workshop will cover everything from variety choice to planting, pruning, harvesting, storing, and marketing.
Sunday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.  
Indoor Gardening: Seed to Salad in Seven Days
Presenter: Peter Burke (The Daily Gardener)
You don't need a greenhouse to grow fresh salad greens throughout the winter! Avid gardener and educator Peter Burke will demonstrate how by sharing pictures, designs, and techniques for managing an indoor garden. His simple design doesn't require expensive or special equipment, and will produce winter greens year round. Peter will bring samples of his produce to share and send you home with your own tray of seeds so you can start growing your own greens, even in February. *Due to the high demand this workshop is back again from last year's conference.*
Whole Health Gardening – Bringing Nutrient Density to Your Backyard
Presenter: Jenny Prince (jennygrows.com)
Because of their small scale, backyard growers have the unique ability to apply the concepts of nutrient density quickly and effectively to their gardens. Jenny Prince, of Jenny Grows, will teach you how to use a simple online calculator to craft a personalized amendment recipe for your garden, which can help you grow veggies (and soil!) with superior nutrition. Compost addicts, raised bed gardeners, and total beginners are all welcome.
Compost Tea: True Elixir or Snake Oil?
Presenter: Lee Reich (Springtown Farmden)
After going over the essentials – what is compost tea and its potential uses – Lee Reich from Springtown Farmden will discuss aerated compost tea, as currently recommended in some circles. Theoretically, does it make sense, and, in practice, has it proved effective? Lee will also explore the utility of compost evaluation. Discussion is encouraged at this workshop.
Sunday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Planning the Garden for Year Round Eating
Presenter: Clotilde Hryshko (Camp Merrishko)
Plan your garden to meet your goals for year-round eating. Clotilde Hryshko of Camp Merrishko will lead this workshop and will include ideas on freezing and canning methods as well as how to plan for seeding and growing based on food processing in a timely manner. Part of the discussion will include different soil types and how they influence timing and varieties.
Working with Honey Bee Queens
Presenter: Ross Conrad (Dancing Bee Gardens)
The queen bee is the only fertile female bee in the hive and can lay 1,500 eggs or more a day during the peak of summer. Ross Conrad from Dancing Bee Gardens will provide beekeepers with information they need to work productively with queens. Participants will learn how to differentiate between healthy queens and unhealthy ones, receive tips on how to introduce queens into a hive, and how to address queen problems that may arise.
Rotational Grazing with Few Livestock
Presenter: Bruce Howlett (Bobolink Farm)
Very small groups of animals limit some aspects of grazing management. Small flocks/herds behave differently than larger ones, the infrastructure is expensive on a per-head basis, and it is challenging to try to apply a high-impact grazing system. How can you efficiently use rotational grazing with a small number of animals, what is minimally needed to make it work, and how can you achieve the benefits of high stocking density when you don’t have much stock? Bruce Howlett from Bobolink Farm will draw on his experience grazing sheep in his yard and give you strategies to take back to your own homestead.

Localvore

Sunday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Cultivating Mushrooms for Everyone: Simple and High Yielding Home and Homesteading Techniques
Presenter: Tradd Cotter (Mushroom Mountain LLC)
Mushroom cultivation can be easier than growing many types of vegetable plants, if you know a few shortcuts and cultivation secrets! This easy-to-follow program is a must for anyone thinking about growing mushrooms on a small scale at home or in need of producing volumes for area markets. Join Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain, LLC and author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation to learn how to "think like a mushroom", build fungal biomass, and produce mushrooms consistently for fun or profit. Participants will use three different methods of cultivation that will be useful for growing over 50 different edible and medicinal mushroom species with little or no infrastructure.
Preserving the Harvest: Hams and Bacon
Presenters: Brooks Miller and Anna Santini (North Mountain Pastures)
Brooks and Anna Miller farm North Mountain Pastures, a meat CSA delivering to the central Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. areas. They produce artisan sausage and cured meats in addition to the usual cuts of pastured pork and chicken and grassfed beef and lamb. They started raising pigs on pasture in 2009. After slaughtering their first round of pork, Brooks decided to take the leap into making their own bacons and hams. While the first batch left much to be desired, they have since built a butcher shop on their farm, and have perfected a range of ham styles and bacons.
Step by Step Healing Using the GAPS Diet
Presenter: Mary Brackett (The Heal Your Gut Cookbook and MG Brackett)
This workshop will be an in depth look at the GAPS Diet, which stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. The GAPS Diet refers to disorders, including ADD/ADHD, autism, addictions, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, stemming from or exacerbated by leaky gut and dysbiosis. The workshop will include information on gut health as the root of illness, the many conditions a GAPS Diet works to heal, a step-by-step overview of the diet, detailed information of how to make bone broth, the number one staple of the GAPS Diet, and a hands on demonstration on how to make various fermented foods, including sauerkraut, ginger carrots, kefir and beet kvass.
Sunday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Home Scale Mozzarella Making
Presenter: Kalyn Campbell (Family Cow Farm)
Want to impress your friends by making mozzarella in your own home? Join Kalyn Campbell from the Family Cow Farmstand to learn the art of mozzarella making. There will be samples to try and bring home. Time will be allotted to discuss raw milk, dairying and cheese.
Local Food, Local Medicine
Presenter: Kate Westdijk (Clinical Herbalist)
Localvores seeking vibrant health and prevention of heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses need look no further than their backyard or neighborhood farm! Join herbalist Kate Westdijk to hear about the power of familiar plants and fungi to restore and maintain wellness. Share your favorite uses and learn new ways to prepare them in your home. Discuss how we all can support a healthy environment and food system through place-based natural medicine.
Maple Sugar and Other Treats
Presenters: Jacques and Pauline Couture (Couture's Maple Shop)
Join Jacques and Pauline Couture, owners of Couture's Maple Shop, and learn how to make maple sugar and other treats. The Couture's will be demonstrating how to make maple candy, answer questions, and will discuss their maple sugar business.
Sunday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
How Plants Make Us More Human: An Evolutionary Perspective
Presenters: Mika McDonald (CF Natural Health), Kenzie McDonald
Why does the human body need and respond so strongly to certain plants? How has our co-evolution with plants shaped our organ systems and our need for relationships with the natural world? Join a discussion of the emerging science at the convergence of evolutionary biology, herbalism, nutrition, and ecological medicine to find out how to engage our evolutionary heritage to optimize our health. Mika and Kenzie McDonald will discuss how much of our physiology relies on the presence of certain plants for optimal health, and how their absence spells doom for the health of modernized humans. We’ll also demonstrate how to make simple herbal remedies to address common health complaints.
Taking Care of Your Brain with Food, Herbs and Fun
Presenter: Marie Frohlich
Brain health is important for all ages as we navigate the various environmental, food, and other toxins in our world of work and family life challenges. Marie Frohlich will provide tools, tips, food as medicine, herbal recipes and exercises to support your brain health. This workshop will include a food demo and a few fun challenges for your brain.

Livestock

Sunday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Lab Approved Practices for Small-Scale Raw Milk Production
Presenter: Nick Zigelbaum (Bob-White Systems Laboratory)
This workshop will provide the basic knowledge for producing raw milk at your home or farm. Topics covered will include: how to find a good family cow, testing before buying, how to set up an adequate milk parlor, how to hand-milk in a clean manner, milk processing for drinking, and a walk-thru of the standard dairy tests. Nick Zigelbaum manages a dairy lab in central vermont and hand-milk two cows at home. Homesteaders, micro-dairies and raw milk consumers should find this workshop useful.
Producing Quality Lamb on Pasture
Presenters: Joe Emenheiser (UVM), Chet Parsons (Parsons' Farm)
The moist, moderate conditions of the Northeast are ideal for raising excellent grass and grassfed lamb. However, it takes considerable management to produce quality forage throughout the growing season. Also, moist, moderate conditions are ideal for the growth of larvae of the internal parasites of sheep, presenting additional challenges. Forage availability must be timed to match the lambs' nutritional needs for growth and finishing. Finally, the ability to assess a lamb's degree of finish and market readiness is critical to ensuring a quality product. Join Joe Emenheiser from UVM Extension and Chet Parsons from Parsons' Farm to discuss all of these considerations, and possibly some miscellaneous old shepherd ramblings.
Sunday, Session 3 - 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
How to Maintain a Healthy Flock of Sheep and a Healthy Shepherd
Presenter: Chet Parsons (Parsons' Farm)
Join Chet Parsons from Parsons' Farm to discuss some of the diseases that can affect sheep and how to maintain a healthy flock. Each time a shepherd has to deal with a health problem, it costs time and money. To maintain a profitable operation, one has to control expenses and use time in the most efficient manner. Buying meds and treating sheep are not the best use of resources. Therefore, maintaining a flock of sheep that are healthy should be one of the goals of a profitable operation.
Pastured Goose Production Challenges and Opportunities
Presenter: Wesley Bascom (Gozzard City)
In this workshop Wesley Bascom from Gozzard City will be reporting back from a SARE Study conducted in the summer of 2014 which focused on evaluating several different management techniques for raising geese on pasture. The presentation will include both the quantitative (weekly weight gain, feed conversion rate, pasture quality metrics, etc.) and qualitative results of the study. Wesley will also discuss their experience this summer of the ins-and-outs of raising and marketing geese in northern Vermont. The presentation will be aimed at anyone who is considering the addition of geese to their grazing or pastured poultry programs.

Community and School Gardens

Sunday, Session 1 - 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Community-based Gardening: Getting Started
Presenters: Susan Munkres (Calahan Community Garden), Libby Weiland (VCGN)
Community-based gardens play a vital role in people’s lives—bringing green spaces to neighborhoods, building community, providing access to fresh healthy foods, and more.  Learn how you can create a place for people to grow and learn together right where you live, play or work.  Join garden organizer Susan Munkres of Calahan Community Garden and Libby Weiland of Vermont Community Garden Network for this hands-on session.  Leave with concrete tools for getting started, planning activities for moving to the next phase, and problem-solving techniques for keeping projects going.
Sunday, Session 2 - 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Learning in the Garden: Adult Teaching Gardens
Presenters: Lisa Hoare (Fletcher Allen Healthcare), Denise Quick (Vermont Community Garden Network)
Hands-on “teaching gardens” provide supportive environments for adults to learn basic gardening skills and gain confidence to garden on their own. We will explore two successful teaching gardens: Vermont Community Garden Network’s Community Teaching Garden and Fletcher Allen’s Rooftop and Fanny Allen Gardens. Teaching garden instructors Denise Quick and Lisa Hoare will share information about their programs’ development and how they address the unique needs of adult learners. Go home with tips, tools, and inspiration for starting your own teaching garden or incorporating adult learning into existing garden programs.
Learning in the Garden: Curriculum Integration
Presenters: Helen Fields (Mount Anthony Union Middle School), Stephen Greene (Mount Anthony Union Middle School), Abby Foulk (Charlotte Central School), Deirdre Holmes (Charlotte Central School)
As school gardens become mainstays of school campuses, educators are eager to find ways to use these gardens for standards-based learning. Hear from Helen Fields and Stephen Greene of Mount Anthony Union Middle School as well as Deirdre Holmes and Abby Foulk from Charlotte Central School about the innovative ways their schools have integrated gardens into classroom curriculum and successful techniques for incorporating the Common Core. Head back to school with ideas, resources, and curriculum from the presenters and other fellow educators.
Sunday, Session 3 - 3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Garden Organizer Discussion: Volunteers in Community Gardens
Presenters: Laurie Dana (United Way of Chittenden County), Libby Weiland (VCGN)
Join fellow community and school garden organizers for this discussion-based roundtable, diving into a topic that’s on all of our minds: volunteers. Libby Weiland from Vermont Community Garden Network and Laurie Dana, Coordinator of Volunteer Mobilization for United Way of Chittenden County, will provide professional insights on recruiting, involving, and retaining volunteers. Come with your burning questions, share your best practices, and gain new ideas for working with this group of people that are crucial to the work we all do in community-based gardens and beyond.