Saturday Workshops

SATURDAY:  Session I  •  Roundtables  •  Session II  •  Session III 


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SCHEDULE: SATURDAY, February 15, 2020 

8:00 am

Registration & Exhibitors' Fair open;
refreshments available

9:00-10:30 am

Keynote: Niaz Dorry

10:45 am-12:00  Workshop Session I

12:00–2:00 pm

Lunch, Exhibitors' Fair, Roundtables (1:00–2:00), & other activities

2:15–3:30 pm 

Workshop Session II

3:45–5:00 pm

Workshop Session III

4:30–6:00 pm

Saturday Social 

6:00–7:30 pm

Film Screening: Farmsteaders

7:00–10:00 pm

Young Farmer & Slow Food Meet-Up at Hotel VT

Saturday - Session I: 10:45-12:00pm

Creative Options for Farm Access, Transfer and Conservation: Farmer Voices from the Ground*

Maggie Donin, Vermont Land Trust; Eli Hirsh & Valerie Woodhouse, Honey Field Farm; Cassie Westcom & John Tiffany, Green Wind Farm; Melissa Kosmaczewski and John Hirsch​, Clearfield Farm

Farmers seeking to secure, expand or sell their land or business use a variety of tools to achieve secure and affordable land tenure or land transfer. This can include purchase, lease and conservation options. The panelists will describe capital sources and project execution in farm conservation, access, expansion and transfer projects. There will be ample time for Q&A with both a service provider and farmers who have been through this process.

Determine Your Costs of Production: Farm Budgets Made Simple

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 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. 

Food & Mood 

Leanne Yinger, Kira’s Kitchen

This interactive workshop will provide information about the positive impact particular vitamins and minerals have on maintaining a balanced mood. Leanne will discuss how a nutrient dense diet improves physical and mental health. Her lecture will provide food for thought in your own personal journey toward optimal health. This session is open to everyone interested in food sources, nutrition and health. See how changing diet and lifestyle can provide healing of mind, body and spirit.

Growing Through the Cold of It: Winter Greens Production

Taylor Mendell, Footprint Farm; Ryan Fitzbeauchamp, Evening Song Farm

Join this workshop to discuss winter greens production. Both farms utilize high tunnels and market through various streams such as a winter CSA and weekly farmers markets. Learn how to manage your winter greenhouses in a way that can maximize your winter income and produce healthy crops. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of transitioning summer houses to winter houses, greenhouse management, crop selection & planting dates, and post harvest handling of winter greens.

Homescale Agro-Forestry

Jon Turner, Wild Roots Farm

This workshop will provide current or soon-to-be homesteaders, methods for developing niche pockets or open fields into agro-forestry systems that support food crops, rotational grazing and wildlife habitat.

Introduction to Biodynamic Agriculture

Deirdre Heekin, La Garagista

Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to crop production that views the farm as a living organism: self-contained and self-sustaining, responsible for creating and maintaining its individual health and vitality. In this session, we will cover the history of biodynamics and examine what biodynamic agriculture is in principle and practice. We will also address the current biodynamic movement as well as resources that are available in the region and nationally.

Leveraging the Vermont Brand for Agritourism and Direct Sales*

Tara Pereira, Vermont Fresh Network; Lisa Chase, UVM; Lindsey Berk, ACORN; Molly Bulger, Philo Ridge Farm

Vermont’s focus on authenticity and terroir is similar to Italy, where the First World Congress on Agritourism was held in 2018. To build on the success and momentum of the conference in Italy, the next conference will be in Burlington in October 2020. In this session, panelists will present trends and share ideas for using the international conference as a launch pad for further developing local, regional, and global markets for Vermont’s farm products and experiences.

Making Herbal Tinctures and Salves

Betzy Bancroft, Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism

Tinctures and salves are very useful remedies to have in one’s home herbal medicine kit, ready when you need them. This class will be a demonstration of how to make an herbal infused oil and then turn it into a salve. Participants will also make a simple tincture, from preparing the herbs to pressing the finished product. The methods we cover can be applied to any herbs, (and include the special step particular to cannabis), so participants will be able to prepare the remedies they most want and need.

Policy & Principles: Soil Health & Ecosystem Services*

Cat Buxton, Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition; Alissa White, Gund Institute, UVM; Mustafa Saifuddin, Earthjustice; Maddie Kempner, NOFA-VT

In 2019, the Vermont legislature convened a Working Group to research and recommend financial incentives to reward farmers for improving soil health and providing ecosystem services. Join a panel of experts to learn about the Working Group recommendations and other innovative policy approaches being used to improve soil health and farm viability across our region.

Irrigation 101 for the Commercial Scale

Brookdale Farm

Learn the basics of drip irrigation. This workshop will cover terminology, how to set up and operate an irrigation system on your farm and what supplies you need. Fertilizing through drip lines the right way with fish and other OMRI approved fertilizers will be discussed. Learn about new overhead irrigation misters, and automation as well as measuring soil moisture. Attendees will leave with everything you need to know about how to apply water to make your crops grow.

Social Justice in Local & International Food Systems*

Jessi Grillo, Heartwood LLC; Marcela Pino, Food 4 Farmers

In Vermont and across the globe, farmers and farm workers generate value to society that is arguably unmatched. Yet, many remain undercompensated and vulnerable to human rights abuses. This panel will focus on social justice in local and international food systems. Panelists will provide examples and perspectives at various scales – from large global supply chains to local sustainable agriculture initiatives in Latin America to experiences and perspectives of farm workers and recent immigrants to Vermont.

Soil Science Basics for Grass Farmers 

Ashlyn Bristle, Rebop Farm

This workshop will cover the basics of soil science and chemistry from a grass farmer’s perspective, explain how to interpret soil tests as a crucial tool in managing animal fertility, and cover specific management tactics used on Ashlyn’s diversified livestock farm to improve soil health.

True Tales from the Collective Farming Model*

Hilary Martin, Diggers' Mirth Collective Farm; Reid Allaway, Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm; Nichki Carangelo, Letterbox Collective

Anxious about starting out on your own or as a couple? Yearning to share the many burdens of running a complex farm in the 21st century? Join experienced farmers from successful collective and co-operative farms to learn how these alternative business models can make a farm more resilient, fun and livable.  Presenters will share experiences of choosing a legal business structure and systems developed for decision-making, communication and organization strategies. We are eager and humbled to explore lessons learned and to consider the successes and challenges of this unique and exciting model that strives to be both profitable and equitable.

Vermont Food Hubs: Expansion of Services for Farmers*

Amrita Parry, Green Mountain Farm Direct; Keith Drinkwine, Intervale Food Hub; Jon Ramsay, Farm Connex, Center for an Agricultural Economy; Alex McCullough, Food Connects; Katie Michels, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board

Food Hubs are based on the model that more can be done when done collectively. This session will focus on the existing and expanding programs that Vermont food hubs are offering to support a wide variety of needs in the agricultural community. As a collective group, these organizations are providing storage and aggregation, market development, direct services, farm product delivery and more to farmers. Learn about these existing services and new initiatives these food hubs are taking on that aim to expand markets and infrastructure for farmers.

Winter Garden Planning for Summer Success

Wendy Sue Harper, Teacher for Master Gardeners

This workshop will help home gardens do a better job planning their gardens for fertility, rotations, plants needed and growing starts. Wendy will review how to design a rotation, starting the right number of vegetable and flower starts at the right time, and plan fertility to help you have a great garden next year. 



Meet & Greet with VOF: Is Certification Right for You?

Nicole Dehne, VOF Certification Director; Brian Shevrin VOF Certification Specialist (Vegetables & Fruit); Kyla Bedard, VOF Certification Specialist (Livestock & Dairy)

Thinking about becoming a certified organic operation? Already certified but have questions about standards? Want to learn more about the certification process, the perks and the paperwork? Join in on this roundtable to talk face-to-face with certification specialists and get your questions answered! 

Milk with Dignity Expansion! Farmworkers Call on Hannaford Supermarkets Across the Northeast

Staff from Migrant Justice

Spend the lunch hour with Migrant Justice organizers for an action-based update on the ground-breaking Milk with Dignity Program and Hannaford campaign. Since Ben and Jerrys' became the first company to sign onto Milk with Dignity Program in 2017, farmworkers have seen wide-reaching improvements in human rights issues on dairy farms across the state. This program also supports farmers by securing a milk premium from big dairy-buying companies which go directly to farmers and farmworkers.

State & Federal Policy Roundtable: Share Your Farming Story

Maddie Kempner, NOFA-VT; Tom Berry Office of Sen. Leahy; Erica Campbell, Office of Sen Sanders; Ryan McLaren, Office of Rep. Welch; Anson Tebbetts, VT Secretary of Agriculture

The agriculture staffers of Vermont’s Congressional delegation, as well as ag secretary Anson Tebbetts will join us for a state and federal policy roundtable. Come prepared to discuss the ways that Vermont’s food and farm policy has helped or hindered you as a farmer and ideas for new policy that could be of service to you.

Saturday - Session II: 2:15-3:30pm

5 Solutions to Land-Based Wealth Redistribution

Stephanie Morningstar, Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust

This session focuses on the direct correlation between wealth redistribution, increased access to land, and healing justice for Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color (BIPOC). Through the intersecting lenses of decolonization, physiology, anti-oppression, and economics, we will share models of land access that restore harmony, reconfigure power, and reconnect the mycelial network of BIPOC land stewards to their purpose. This session will briefly illuminate the effects of colonization on the body, mind, and spirit, followed by explorations of 5 land access models employed to rebalance power and heal relationships. There will be space for small group discussion; processing of challenges and barriers; and collective inquiry. By uplifting grass-roots models for land access currently changing the landscape of wealth redistribution, participants will walk away with knowledge of accessible, action-oriented solutions. 

Cultures & Culturing, Part 1: Fermentation & Nixtamalization

Nancy VanWinkle, Nomadic Roots Kitchen; Tony VanWinkle, Sterling College

In this workshop, participants will explore traditional techniques and knowledge for the fermentation and nutritional enhancement of foods. Presenters will cover how cultures have harnessed beneficial bacteria and chemical processes to alter, enhance, and preserve food throughout time and space. The presentation will be accompanied by demonstrations and tastings. We will examine both fermentation and nixtamalization.

Effective Email Marketing & Copywriting for Farmers

Kate Spring, Good Heart Farmstead

Copywriting & email marketing are two essential tools for every farmer. Copy has the power to attract customers, and email marketing results in more sales than any social media post. The two together will help you build stronger relationships with your customers and increase sales.  

Farm Stress & Emotional Well-being on the Farm

Taylor Mendell, Footprint Farm; Allen Matthews, Farm First

Where do you turn when work/life balance feels impossible? Farm life can be a roller coaster. Although it can look idyllic from the outside, farming is often punctuated by stressful, demanding and dangerous work. Farmers navigate long hours, money worries, weather crises, and social isolation. Stress challenges our emotional well-being and mental health. The goal of this workshop is to help farmers identify resources and techniques to resolve stresses before they mushroom into debilitating situations. Join and connect with other farmers over your most victorious and challenging moments of the season, and explore strategies for supporting health and well-being on and off the farm.

Farming for Biodiversity: Designing Pollination Systems to Sustain Native Wildlife

Evan Abramson, Landscape Interactions

Wild pollination systems are being degraded rapidly, raising concern over an impending ecological catastrophe. Yet most efforts to create pollinator habitat have only increased common species, rather than the range of wild pollinators needed for ecosystem health and resiliency. This workshop will explore the critical role of plant selection in designing and planting for pollinators.

Food Scrap Management: Hire Farmers to Close the Nutrient Loop!*

Cat Buxton, Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition; Natasha Duarte, Composting Association of Vermont;  Caroline Gordon; Rural Vermont, Buzz Ferver, Perfect Circle Farm; Ben Gauthier, Agency of Natural Resources​

Next July, the Universal Recycling law requires every household to separate and recycle all of their food scraps (10 V.S.A. § 6605k). Farms that import food scraps close the loop locally and promote soil fertility while potentially offering the diverse forage to poultry at low to zero feed costs. This workshop discusses the ecological, economic, and regulatory benefits and challenges of on-farm food scrap management, a topic in urgent need of practical and political action.

Getting Started with Small-Scale Grain Growing

Sylvia Davatz, Ruth Fleishman, Seed Savers

To get you started growing small grains, Sylvia and Ruth will walk you through a typical year of growing grains on a small scale, addressing the basic steps and issues along the way, from variety selection and planting to harvest and storage. The discussion will include wheat (including spelt and emmer), barley, rye, and oats.

The Human Microbiome: Our Internal Ecology

Betzy Bancroft, Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism

What are they doing in there? As science is figuring out ways to identify and get to know the residents of our insides (and outsides!), we are learning truly amazing things, way beyond the role of microbes in digestive function. In this workshop, we’ll trace the evolution of our relationship with our microbes and discuss how they feed us, protect us, teach us and communicate with us and how you can help support your microbial diversity and abundance with food, herbs and connection to nature.

Organic Strawberry Production Systems

Ryan Voiland, Red Fire Farm

Over the last two years SARE farmer grants funded on farm trials for us to compare different strawberry varieties grown in plasticulture vs matted row systems. The goal was to see if the plasticulture system (where weed control is easier), could be manipulated to yield ripe berries for the full traditional June bearing strawberry PYO season. Red Fire Farm trialed about 10 different and unique varieties, different plastic mulch colors, different row cover regimens, and kept detailed data on labor time and yield trial plots for each treatment. This workshop will be a discussion of the results of the data & trials. Ryan will also review the basic strategies of the plasticulture versus matted row planting systems, and how these systems work best under organic conditions.

Organic Vegetable Costs of Production

Jen Miller, NOFA-VT

Over the last four years, NOFA-VT has worked with over 20 Vermont organic vegetable growers to aggregate cost of production data for commonly grown crops. This workshop will focus on newly released data for salad mix and greenhouse cucumbers from the 2019 season. Dig into production practices that maximize labor efficiency, yield, and net profit, rates of work metrics, whole farm financial ratios, and the tools that farmers used to generate these numbers. This workshop will build on Richard Wiswall’s farm budgeting and enterprise analysis workshop, taking you one step further towards an in-depth understanding of your farm’s costs of production and rates of work.

Pest & Disease Discussion for Commercial Growers*

Ann Hazelrigg, Vic Izzo, Scott Lewins, Yolanda Chen, UVM; Elizabeth Hodgdon, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Join UVM staff for a discussion about pests and diseases. This workshop is geared toward commercial organic vegetable growers or market gardeners. We will go around the room, making a list of pests/diseases people want to talk about and then address each with farmers sharing along with us.

Raising Pastured Rabbits for Meat

Nichki Carangelo, Letterbox Collective

This workshop will walk attendees through an all-natural, humane, and profitable approach to rabbit production on a small scale. Topics will include rabbit husbandry basics, enterprise budgets, and guidelines for growing, processing and selling rabbits commercially.

The Untapped Resource on Your Farm or Homestead: Weeds as Medicine for your Community!

Katherine Elmer & Kara Buchanan, Spoonful Herbals

Learn about common weeds or easy to grow medicinal plants on your farm and homestead, and basic herbal preparations that can be added to a general farm CSA or woven into an Herbal CSA. Katherine and Kara have offered an Herbal CSA program for the past five years in the Burlington community and will share examples and samples of delicious, simple and useful preparations emphasizing weeds and invasive plants.

Worker Driven Social Responsibility Panel: Bringing a New Day to Dairy Farmworkers in Vermont and Beyond!*

Cathy Albisa, National Economic & Social Rights Initiative; Magaly Licolli, Venceremos (AR); Gerardo Reyes, Coalition of Immokalee Workers (FL); Marita Canedo, Migrant Justice (VT)

Join us for a powerful panel to learn about Worker Driven Social Responsibility (WSR) and how this model is bringing a new day to dairy farmworkers in Vermont as well as workers across the world. Worker Driven Social Responsibility is a proven solution for addressing human rights abuses in global supply chains. It is founded on the understanding that in order to achieve meaningful and lasting improvements, human rights protections in corporate supply chains must be worker-driven, enforcement-focused, and based on legally binding commitments. This panel will focus on the impacts of Milk with Dignity, a farmworker-led worker-driven solution based in the Vermont dairy industry as well as take a broader look at other WSR model solutions across the U.S. and beyond.

Saturday - Session III: 3:45-5:00pm

Advancing Food Sovereignty in Vermont

Graham Unangst-Rufenacht, Rural Vermont; Niaz Dorry, National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) and the Northwest Marine Alliance (NAMA); Betsy Garrold, Food for Maine's Future

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”– Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007

Food sovereignty is a global movement based in particular histories. Connected through a world-wide network, communities across the globe are working to realize and protect their food sovereignty through local ordinances as well as state and federal policies. Join the National Family Farm Coalition and Rural Vermont in this conversation about different efforts to support food sovereignty at the local, national, and global levels.  This workshop will include some time in presentation - and some time in discussion: please bring questions, ideas, stories, and concerns.

Cancer and Climate Change: Healing the Internal and External Environment

Brendan Kelly, Jade Mountain Wellness

What is happening within us is mirrored in what is happening with the climate. Using the holistic lens of Chinese medicine, Brendan will discuss how the internal imbalances that create cancer are the same imbalances that are destabilizing the planet. The discussion will include ways to promote personal, cultural and societal well being.

Capitalize on Consumer Trends to Increase Your Market Sales

Laura Biasillo, Cornell Cooperative Extension

How do your customers feel about your farmers market? During the summer of 2018, we conducted a consumer survey to learn about consumer attitudes around shopping for local food, particularly at farmers markets. The responses provided us with valuable information that we can use to improve our retail at the farmers market. This session will share survey results and offer suggestions on retooling your marketing practices to better connect with your customer. 

Cultures & Culturing, Part 2: Hands-On Kimchi

Nancy VanWinkle, Nomadic Roots Kitchen; Tony VanWinkle, Sterling College

Interested in learning how to make your own kimchi? In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn about traditional sauerkrauts from around the world and focus on the iconic Korean kraut, kimchi. Every participant will take home their own jar of homemade kimchi. In this hands-on learning experience, we will get messy, so bring your enthusiasm and your curiosity!

Getting Started in Organic Beekeeping

Ross Conrad, Dancing Bee Honey

This workshop will provide an overview of all the basics for getting started with beekeeping from picking an apiary site, to choosing beekeeping equipment, and natural/organic options for dealing with honey bee diseases and pests. Advice and resources for beginners will be provided, with plenty of time for questions and answers.

Growing and Selling Flower and Vegetable Starts

Heidi Racht, Pleasant Mount Farm; Jane Sorensen, River Berry Farm

Growing and selling flower and vegetable starts, as part of a farm operation, or as a sole business, can be profitable, bringing in early season income, and rewarding, satisfying a seemingly unquenchable desire by our community members to have access to beautiful, healthy plant starts for their flower and vegetable gardens. In this workshop Heidi and Jane will discuss techniques to manage the many details of growing and selling plant starts including deciding what to grow and what materials to purchase, knowing which amendments and fertilizations to use, determining a schedule and staying on top of pest and disease issues.

Small-Scale Cover Cropping

Daniel Mays, Frith Farm

Learn how to incorporate cover crops into an intensive market garden without tillage or machinery. Daniel will present his human-scale methods of selecting, seeding, terminating, and planting into a variety of cover crop species. Daniel will also go over his preferred 'cover crop cocktail' for each season, and the specifics of how he manages each mix. Attendees will see photos covering each step of the process, and discuss how cover cropping fits into the larger no-till system at Frith Farm.

Land-use Analysis for Designing your Homestead

Lizabeth Moniz, Flying Mammoths Landscape Design

There are so many things to consider when looking at when buying, or designing a piece of land that you want to homestead. Lizabeth will talk about some of the things to look for when walking a piece of land and how to go about laying out your land to accommodate the homestead that you envision. It all starts with good site analysis and then time taken to create a working design that is individual to you, your goals, and your piece of property. Learn how to read a landscape to help make your vision become a reality.

Make Your Own Quick Mozzarella

Carol Fairbank, Broadfork Farm

In this hands-on workshop, learn to make a quick mozzarella that you will be sampling within the hour. Begin by adding some ingredients to fresh cow's milk, and while the magic happens, explore some basic cheesemaking techniques and dairy science. After we've created mozzarella curd, you will have a chance to stretch and form the curd into a delicately layered pasta filata (pulled curd). What could be more fun than stretching your own mozzarella? Eating it warm, of course! After all, mozzarella is the best part of the pizza!

Peening and Sharpening Your European Scythe Blade

Emily Guirl & Elisabeth Benjamin, Scythe Supply

Ever tried to cut a tomato with a dull knife? Mowing with a dull blade is just as frustrating, though less messy. In this workshop Emily and Elisabeth will demonstrate peening techniques with a peening jig and with a hammer and anvil. They will review field honing and share tips to dial in your sharpening and peening. Part of the session will be directed by attendees' interests and questions.

Pests & Diseases for Homesteaders & Gardeners

Ann Hazelrigg, UVM Extension, Plant Diagnostic Clinic

This workshop will provide an overview of the pests we saw in Vermont-grown vegetables over the course of the season and what is coming down the pike.

Profitable Meat Marketing

Matt LeRoux, Agricultural Marketing Consultant 

You are raising and selling local meat, but are you making a profit doing so? Learn how to use the Cornell Meat Pricing Tool and the supporting marketing techniques needed to command prices that deliver a profit in every channel.

Scalable Commercial Pastured Poultry Production

Keith Drinkwine, Flatlander Farm

Learn about Flatlander Farm’s pastured chicken production. Keith will go in depth on how they raise slow growing chickens, seasonally, on pasture. He will cover basic poultry production techniques, why they raise broilers with slower growing genetics and what impacts that has for their farm system, animal welfare and the kitchen table. If you’re curious about raising a few birds or a few hundred, this workshop will aim to cover it all.