Workshops

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

SUNDAY:  Session I  •  Roundtables  •  Session II  •  Session III 
 

Register Now

SCHEDULE: SATURDAY, February 17, 2018 

8:00 am

Registration & Exhibitors' Fair open; refreshments available

9:00-10:30 am

Keynote: Mary Berry

10:45 am-12:00  Workshop Session I

12:00–2:00 pm

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

2:15–3:30 pm 

Workshop Session II

3:45–5:00 pm

Workshop Session III

5:00-7:00 pm

Saturday Social & Activities


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

Berry Basics

Presenter: Nicko Rubin​, East Hill Tree Farm 

Looking to grow more fruit? Berries, berries, berries! Join Nicko Rubin of East Hill Tree Farm Nursery as he shares his experiences and covers the basics of successfully growing a wide range of long lived productive berry plants in Vermont: including aronia, black raspberry, blueberry, currant, gooseberry, goumi, hardy kiwi, honeyberry, raspberry, and seaberry. Discussion will range from varieties and siting to management and harvest. Time will be left for questions. Leave ready to fill your yard with fruit!

Community on the Farm- Social Regeneration

Presenter: Jon Turner, Wild Roots Farm Vermont

At a point in time where resilience is most needed, farms and food systems provide a great opportunity to engage and rebuild communities. This workshop will go over the planning process and provide examples to develop an operation that accounts for human health through: service learning projects, farm to school and ecological design. This discussion is intended for all levels/ backgrounds and will include a presentation and Q&A session for healthy dialogue.

Cover Cropping Systems for Vegetable and Berry Farms

Presenter: Vern Grubinger​, UVM Extension

Using photos taken on farms across the Northeast, this workshop will show the amazing variety of systems that are used to grow cover crops and how they integrate with cash crops. From short and long-term rotations, to strip crops, to permanent beds, to experiments in reduced tillage there are many options for species and cultural practices, and each combination has pros and cons. Bring your own ideas and experiences to share. All levels.

Creating Resilient Soil in Your Garden

Presenter: Wendy Sue Harper, WSH Consulting

Soil is the foundation of food production in our gardens. To create resiliency, we have to start from the ground up. Learn about techniques that can help buffer and protect your soil from dramatic weather events, and create a resilient soil that will continue to produce healthy food for your family in an ever-changing climate.

Extending the Grazing Season

Presenter: David Kennard​, Wellscroft Fence Systems, LLC

Save money & labor while improving both animal and soil health by extending your grazing season into December. Extended grazing is a natural, organic system that produces a more desirable grass-fed animal while offering many other benefits to the farmer.

Farm Finances Introduction (Part I)

Presenter: Mark Cannella​, UVM Extension

This workshop will cover introductory concepts in farm financial statement preparation and the use of financial statements to assess business performance and planning goals. Topics will include: balance sheet preparation, valuation of assets, cash flow statements, cost analysis and budgeting. This session is intended to provide an overview of financial concepts and how to use statements to facilitate business planning.

Farm Succession Planning

Presenter: Sam Smith, Intervale Center

This workshop will provide an overview of the basic points of farm succession including planning, retirement, wills, family communication, steps to discuss with each generation, taxes, methods to transfer assets, and business organization

Fermentation: The Missing Link in Most Americans' Diet

Presenter: Celeste Longacre​

For tens of thousands of years, our ancestors ate many fermented foods. This was the only way they had to preserve their bounty. Our own gut biome, therefore, is used to eating them. Not only do the digestive enzymes present in these foods help us to assimilate our food, but the probiotics fight pathogens and keep us healthy. Come and learn with author, Celeste Longacre (Celeste’s Garden Delights), how to make super-easy, quick and inexpensive fruit kvass, beet kvass, fermented mayonnaise and ketchup. A demonstration for all levels. Samples will be provided.

Fitting Old Songs To New Farms - How Worksongs Work

Presenters: Bennett Konesni & Edith Gawler​

Got garlic bulbs to shuck? Wood to stack? Carrots to thin? Consider songs as a useful, affordable tool to increase the productivity and morale of your crew. Longtime worksongers Edith Gawler and Bennett Konesni of Duckback Farm in Belfast, Maine and Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, NY, will discuss their success using songs to motivate groups to get lots of work done in very little time. They'll dive into the elements that make a great worksong, and how to connect those elements with the specific work that needs doing. And to demonstrate, they'll teach a collection of simple songs that you can use on your farm in the coming season.

Improving Your Land with Multi-Species Grazing

Presenter: Lisa McCrory, Earthwise Farm & Forest

From renovating and rotovating land, to building organic matter & increasing soil biology, raising multiple species on pasture is truly an asset to a homestead.
Learn, discuss and share the many different ways various species of livestock can graze together on your homestead as you strive for healthy soils, productive pastures, and nutrient dense feed for all of your creatures.

Land-use Analysis for Designing Your Homestead

Presenter: Lizabeth Moniz, Flying Mammoths Landscape Design

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

No-Till Production & Techniques (Part I)

Presenter: Bryan O'Hara​, Tobacco Road Farm 

Learn methods for intensively growing vegetable crops without disturbing the soil through tillage or cultivation. Techniques utilized in this system include: multi-cropping, cover cropping, mowing, solarizing, weed-free composting, mulching, broadcast seeding, and weed control. This system has been in place for several years on Bryan's farm in Connecticut and has proven to be profitable.

Safety & Liability on Farms Open to Visitors

Presenters: Lisa Chase, UVM Extension; Mary Cobb​, Nationwide Insurance

From farmstands and u-pick to school field trips, festivals, tours, and classes, farms of all sizes are opening their doors (and barns and fields) to visitors. New risks need to be managed whenever a farm has visitors, whether they are neighbors or tourists from out-of-state. This workshop provides practical advice on how to prepare your farm to safely welcome visitors. Learn steps you can take to be proactive about liability management, and take home useful tools for developing your own farm safety program.

The OMRI List: What it is and How to Use it

Presenter: Johanna Mirenda​, OMRI

Ever wondered what it means for a product to be “OMRI Listed”, or how to use the OMRI Products List? If so, this session is where you want to be! OMRI (The Organic Materials Review Institute) provides expert and independent review of inputs material, such as fertilizers and pesticides, and determines their compliance for use in certified organic production. Commercial growers and home gardeners will learn about the basic requirements for products to be included on the OMRI Products List, and how to navigate OMRI’s resources to obtain accurate and current information about products and materials allowed for use in organic farming and gardening.

What Does Home Grown Food Security Look Like? - Lessons from the Silk Road

Presenters: Robin Currey & John Van Hoesen​, Green Mountain College

77% of Kyrgyzstan’s fruits and berries and 52% of its vegetables come from gardens that average only 0.35 acres. Homegardens, or small-holder agroecosystems, are also known as “front yards and backyards!” This workshop demonstrates the power of spatial narratives through digital story maps that incorporate images and videos to illustrate what intact, localized food systems look like. Photos of homegardens and orchards offer lessons for those seeking food security and re-localization of food systems. The presenters will demonstrate how to create the story maps used in the presentation.

 

SATURDAY - ROUNDTABLES: 1:00-2:00PM

Achieving a Living Wage for Farmers & Farm Workers

Facilitators: Elizabeth Henderson, Louis Battalen

What will it take to transform work on organic farms into respected careers, with livable compensation and dignified livelihoods for both farmers and farm workers? NOFA Fair Trade Committee member Louis Battalen will be joined by Elizabeth Henderson of Peacework Farm as the invited guest farmer. We will discuss the challenges organic farmers face practicing our social justice values of fairness, as we try to ensure that we are all paid fairly. How can farms manage to pay more and adjust to a rising minimum wage? What would $15.00 an hour look like and require? How can we contribute to making our farms centers of fair and just relationships and viable and sustainable operations as well? How can farms demand prices that fully cover production costs including fair wages for both farmers & farm workers? Is targeting high end markets the sole approach? What other strategies are available? What can NOFA-VT do as an institution and we as individual NOFA members within the NOFA framework?

Beginning Farmers: Growing the Next Generation

Facilitator: Vern Grubinger​

Bring your list of questions and pick the brain of your fellow beginning farmers and Vern Grubinger, aging vegetable and berry specialist, before he forgets everything he has learned from experienced farmers.

National Organic Program Accountability: Where We Are

Facilitator: Dave Chapman, Long Wind Farm; Nicole Dehne, VOF; Maddie Kempner, NOFA-VT

Thanks to the organizing work of passionate organic farmers and the investigative reporting of some national media outlets, a series of shortcomings with the USDA National Organic Program have been brought to light in recent months. Please join us for this two-part roundtable discussion, where we will discuss the failings of the USDA in its regulation of the organic seal (part 1), and steps the organic community can take to respond (part 2).

 

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

Animal Fats: Rendering & Cooking

Presenter: Andrea Chesman​, Author

Animal fats are much better for you than you may think and are an important aspect of nose-to-tail eating. Learn how to render all kinds of fat to make it ready for cooking and baking, how to store it, and how to use it. Samples of cookies made with various animal fats will be shared.

Bioflavonoids in Cardiovascular Disease

Presenter: Guido Mase​, Urban Moonshine

Herbal medicine has remarkable potential for addressing the problematic chronic diseases of Western culture. We will highlight the “sour tonics” rich in bioflavonoids (berries from hawthorn, to Aronia, blueberries, rosehips, and more) to help explain how plants are the key to conquering the number one killer in our culture today: cardiovascular disease. In fact, the absence of these plants from our diet, along with sedentary lifestyle, is the reason we see so much heart disease today. There has been extensive research in the last few years that takes bioflavonoids far beyond their traditional role as antioxidants, and helps explain why they are so helpful while also debunking the old idea of a battle between antioxidants and free radicals. It is time to move beyond this inaccurate warlike model of health and disease, and recognize that bioflavonoids are part of a healthy internal ecology that disfavors atherosclerosis, hypertension, and cardiac mortality.

CSA Success Strategies for Today's Marketplace

Presenters: Jean Hamilton​, Justin Rich, Burnt Rock Farm & Muddy Boots CSA; Taylor Hutchison, Footprint Farm​

Is CSA an important part of your marketing mix? Have you felt challenged by member retention or finding new customers? Perhaps you see some opportunities to improve this marketplace? This panel presentation and roundtable discussion will offer CSA marketers a chance to talk with one another about marketing innovations and investments. We will discuss important market trends and share success tips, ideas for collaborations, and more.

Dig In! Rural Vermont's Groundswell Tour: Results & Next Steps

Presenters: Ben Hewitt​ & Graham Unangst-Rufenacht, Rural Vermont

In early 2017, Rural Vermont’s Groundswell Tour visited six communities and engaged over 500 Vermonters. These community conversations provided us with a clear sense of how Rural Vermont can be most effective in supporting the emphatic desire we heard over and again: Vermonters want to live in close connection to the land and to each other. We’ll share what we learned in both words and art, invite your reactions and ideas, and talk about how we are responding as an organization and moving forward.

Easily Amended: Simple Ways to Improve Vegetable Farm Nutrient Management

Presenter: Becky Maden, UVM Extension

Vegetable growers can save money on unnecessary nutrient applications while improving crop yields and overall soil health by developing a basic nutrient management plan. This workshop will help growers of all scales better understand how to interpret soil test results, calculate nutrient needs, and choose appropriate soil amendments. In particular, workshop participants will be introduced to tools developed by UVM Extension to facilitate compliance with Vermont’s new Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs), which now require growers to plan and record nutrient applications

Farm Finances and Analysis (Part II)

Presenter: Mark Cannella, UVM Extension

This workshop will cover intermediate level farm financial statement preparation and analysis techniques. Topics will include production based income statements, depreciation, profitability and ratio analysis. The session will also introduce analysis techniques including break-even and sensitivity analysis. This session is designed to familiarize managers with financial analysis methods (once accurate statements are in place) to guide business decision-making.

Getting Started with Organic Beekeeping

Presenter: Ross Conrad, Dancing Bee Gardens

This workshop will focus primarily on the benefits and mechanics of small scale and backyard beekeeping and through a lecture format, Ross will cover fundamental topics and practices for beginners of organic beekeeping including: location and equipment requirements; sourcing bees for your hive, basic honey bee biology; swarming as an expression of the bees vitality; presence and mindfulness in the bee yard; and non-toxic pest and disease control.

Grass-fed Beef: Best Practices for Production & Profitability

Presenter: Sam Smith, Intervale Center

This workshop will explore the findings of a recent study about grass-fed beef production. We will explore the best management practices of local and regional farms raising grass-fed beef, and discuss their implications on farm profitability.

Keeping Records in the Field with Mobile Apps

Presenter: Alex Smith, Living Hope Farm 

Record keeping is an important part of farming, but capturing records and keeping them organized can be time consuming. This workshop will survey phone apps that can help farmers record data and observations quickly while in the field, bring records from multiple people together, and make them easy to work with later. We will demonstrate apps built for farmers, as well as general-purpose apps like Google Sheets. Alex Smith is a vegetable farmer in eastern PA, and creator of BeetClock, an app for tracking the labor invested in each crop.

Lean Farming in Vermont

Presenter: Jen Miller, NOFA-VT

Are you looking to increase your production or business management efficiency? Lean is a systematic approach that seeks to minimize waste (defined as anything your customer does not value) in production systems. It was pioneered by Toyota in the 1930s but has since been used in a variety of industries, most recently agriculture.  Jen Miller, NOFA-VT Farmer Services Director, has been working with farms in Vermont to apply lean in their production, business management, and decision-making systems.  This workshop will use examples from farms in the Northeast to introduce lean principles and discuss best practices for success applying lean in your farm system to strategically increase the efficiency of your operation and grow your profit margins.

Many Hands Make Big Impact: On-Farm Gleaning Systems and Healthy Food Access

Presenters: Andrea Solazzo, Vermont Foodbank; Aly Martelle​, Intervale Community Farm 

Crooked carrots, overgrown zucchini, and blemished winter squash are an inevitable part of every farm operation. How can farmers develop systems to capture seconds produce without creating extra work? How can we leverage gleaning to benefit local farmers and help all members of our community access healthy food? Join us for an engaging discussion around on-farm gleaning with the Intervale Community Farm and Vermont Foodbank. We will share ideas ranging from simple systems enacted on-farm to capture excess produce, to community engagement practices and other tangible benefits of incorporating gleaning into your farming operation. The Vermont Foodbank runs the largest gleaning program in the state, partnering with over 80 farms and distributing over 2 million pounds of produce to over 153,000 Vermonters annually. The Intervale Community Farm has been in operation since 1990 and is a member-owned, year-around CSA farm and serving over 600 households in the Burlington area. This is a conversation for farmers and food justice advocates seeking to reimagine our food system.

No-Till Production & Techniques (Part II) 

Presenter: Bryan O'Hara, Tobacco Road Farm

Learn methods for intensively growing vegetable crops without disturbing the soil through tillage or cultivation. Techniques utilized in this system include: multi-cropping, cover cropping, mowing, solarizing, weed-free composting, mulching, broadcast seeding, and weed control. This system has been in place for several years on Bryan's farm in Connecticut and has proven to be profitable.

Principles of Biological Systems

Presenter: Dan Kittredge, Bionutrient Food Association

This discussion will provide an overview of what environmental conditions plants evolved to flourish in and how growers of all sizes can manage their ecosystems to support that result. Dan will dsicuss the implications of these principles when implemented broadly. The Real Food Campaign and its efforts to identify quality and support growers in producing it and consumers in identifying it will also be covered.

Vegetative Plant Propagation: The Asexual Gift that Keeps on Giving-Theory (Part I)

Presenter: Jacob Holzberg-Pill​, Dig In Farm 

This practical, hands on workshop offers a broad overview of many different types of vegetative (asexual) plant propagation; crown division, root cuttings, scaling, tip layering, softwood and hardwood cuttings. We will discuss which techniques work best for different species and genera. Come learn how to make more grape, currant, hardy kiwi, mulberry, quince, fig, blueberry, honeyberry, seaberry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, chive, horseradish, mint, lemon balm, comfrey, daylily, true lily, rhubarb, asparagus, sunchoke, rosemary, lavender, oregano, thyme, and many more. Participants will practice some of these techniques and take home plants in the second skills session of this two part workshop.

 

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

Balancing Fair Wages, Farm Viability & Affordable Prices

Presenters: Elizabeth Henderson & Louis Battalen, NOFA and the Agricultural Justice Project

We are faced with a wicked equation: When worker advocates propose raising the minimum wage for farm workers to a rate above the poverty level, farmers, dependent on hired labor, howl "and how about us, as well?" When farmers, hard pressed to cover expenses, demand higher prices to pay increased wages, food justice advocates warn -“Unfair: low-income people can’t afford more for food!” How to balance these just demands? Are there policy strategies, supply chain strategic partnerships, coalition building or market-based fixes that will allow us to value labor fairly, resolve these tensions and find a win-win-win solution? Bring your ideas to this crucial discussion for the future of our regional food supply!

Biodiversity at the Core: How the Apple Created an Organic Revolution

Presenters: Philip Ackerman-Leist & Robin Currey​, Green Mountain College

Somehow we took the apple from the biodiverse fruit forests of Central Asia and transformed it into a pesticide-dependent industrial monoculture. But when Big Apple, spurred on by climate change, rolled into an Italian town high in the Alps, local citizens rallied to protect their traditionally diverse and organically managed farms, ultimately creating the world’s first ban on all synthetic pesticides. We’ll trace the transformation of wild apples into an industrialized agricultural system, while sharing the story of how the citizens of Mals, Italy stood up for an organic future.

Capitalism & Agriculture

Presenter: Fred Magdoff​, UVM

Numerous social and ecological problems arise from the way that agriculture functions within capitalist economies. These include hunger in the midst of plenty, lack of nutrient cycling, poor rotations, inhumane raising of animals on factory farms, poor treatment of farm and slaughterhouse labor, and environmental pollution with pesticides and fertilizers. These are outcomes of a system in which the overriding goal and motivating force is profit. In such a system, decisions that make sense from the narrow economic point, are frequently ecologically and socially irrational.

Feeding the Organic Hog

Presenter: Alice Percy​, Fedco Organic Growers Supply

How do I get away from bagged grain? What do hogs need to eat to stay healthy? How do I save money feeding my hogs? What kinds of feed are suitable for hogs? Will my hogs grow on just pasture? How do I balance a feed ration? What can I feed to certified organic hogs? Learn the answers to these questions and ask your own at this in-depth workshop on hog nutrition.

Finding the Right Market for Your Meat

Presenters: Bill Cavanaugh,Mad River Food Hub; Rose Wilson​, Consultant

With demand growing exponentially for pasture-raised and grassfed meat, the time has never been better to be a livestock farmer. But with increased demand comes the challenge of finding ways to sell your product in a rapidly crowding market. This presentation will look at different avenues for marketing your meat, including direct sales, sales to restaurants and butcher shops, and institutions. We will also explore options to differentiate your product in the market through value added and further processing (including cured meats and salamis), and working with a co-packer to create and sell unique products that highlight the quality of your meat.

Getting More From Your Beneficial Nematodes

Presenters: Victor Izzo & Scott Lewins​, UVM

Organic vegetable growers have been using beneficial nematodes, with mixed success, for decades. Beneficial nematodes have attracted some growers because of the broad range of insect pests they attack, while being harmless to people, plants and the environment. Other growers have been turned off by their high cost and inconsistent results. In this workshop, we will discuss using commercially available beneficial nematodes in vegetable production and highlight some exciting research around inoculating soils with native beneficial nematodes for persistent, long term control of soil-dwelling pests.

Goddess in the Garden

Presenter: Nancy Hayden, The Farm Between

This is a workshop about our connections in the garden, exploring the infinite in the small, stopping to smell the Nicotiana, and finding our ecological and spiritual selves. Our discussion starts with awareness, curiosity, and heartfulness as fundamental ways to deepen our relationships with life on our planet, and then moves on to ways that we can modify our outdoor spaces to enhance our experiences in the natural world. Topics include wilding, immersion, bumblekultur, meditative and empty spaces, wabi sabi, journaling, sketching, and incorporating outdoor art.

Growing Fertility with Cover Cropping

Presenter: Becky Maden, UVM Extension; Ben Dana, Root 5 Farm; Spencer Blackwell, Elmer Farm; Silas Branson​, Intervale Community Farm

Cover crops play an often under-appreciated role on vegetable farms by preventing the loss of valuable nutrients through leaching and erosion—and by making these costly nutrients available to future cash crops. Join vegetable farmers Spencer Blackwell, Silas Branson and Ben Dana to learn about both innovative and tried-and-true ways to cover crop your way to improved soil health. Topics covered include using cover crops to: bring new fields into production, prevent nutrient losses, make the most of your soil amendments, and fix nitrogen for cash crops. Farmers will discuss successful cover crop species, mixes, and management. Come prepared to be amazed by the vast benefits of cover crops!

Hand-made Breads with a Sourdough Culture

Presenter: Heike Meyer​, Brotbakery Brot Bakehouse School and Kitchen

Learn the fundamental basics of sourdough alchemy in bread making: proper mixing, fermenting, shaping and baking and what makes this different from a bread made with commercial yeast. Making completely natural bread with your own sourdough starter may take some planning, but it does not have to be complicated, and you can also use your starter culture for pancakes, waffles, cakes and more. Plus you will get a ripe sourdough culture to take home, so you can start making bread right away! Come curious and leave inspired by the magic of wild yeasts and fermentation.

Hugelkultur Compost Guilds

Presenters: Chris Chaisson, Wild Branch Foods; Zach Loeks, Kula Permaculture

Hugelkultur is a system of using woody debris, compost, and soils, to create raised beds where rich soil is built. These permanent beds are great ways to plant out guilds of agroforestry plants, use local waste materials, diversify microclimates, production strategies, and habitat. We all have access to many useful waste materials in our communities, home food compost, yard waste, bagged leaves, twigs and branches and paper recycling. In this workshop we will share how to build the hugelkultures- siting them on a property, explore plant guilds and potential species for given bioregions, as well as how to allow them to succeed over time. Zach Loeks is the Author of The Permaculture Market Garden, and cofounder of Kula Permaculture. Christopher Chaisson is owner of Eleven Acre Farm and a designer/builder of farm infrastructure.

Land Succession in Vermont: Buying Land or Buying a Business

Presenters: Maggie Donin, Intervale Center; Danielle Allen, Root 5 Farm

According to the report from American Farmland Trust, “Keeping Farmers on the Land”, 91% of Vermont’s 2,000+ senior farmers do not have a younger farmer working alongside them. We also know that farmers age 65 and older own or manage nearly 30% of farms in Vermont. Farmland access is continuously sited as one of the biggest hurdles for beginning farmers, yet starting a farm from scratch is a huge undertaking that involves skills and capital.
This workshop is designed to discuss the differences between two popular land access strategies; buying land to start a farm business and purchasing or taking over an already existing farm business. The latter tends to be a strategy less understood by new farmers and seen as more challenging.
Maggie Donin will discuss the process of examining these two options and how to evaluate different opportunities. Danielle Allen will discuss her process of buying a farm business. There will be lots of time for discussion and conversation so come prepared to ask questions!

Making Herbal Medicines

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. Betzy will demonstrate the basic techinques for making teas, infused oils and vinegars, and tinctures. We'll also discuss how these recipes can be made into salves, compresses and more. Betzy has been making herbal medicines for almost 3 decades; she'll make it practical for beginners but also help with troubleshooting for those already dabbling.

Rotational Grazing Water Systems

Presenters: Kimberly Hagen & Ben Waterman. UVM Extension

Providing water is an essential piece of any agricultural operation, be it vegetable or livestock farm - so it’s important to have a system that is both efficient and effective, saving a farmer both time and money for daily operations. This is especially true for rotational grazing systems, where animals move around and still need access to water. Simplicity is also important, so there are less complicated fixes should something stop working correctly. We’ll take a look at a couple of very simple set ups at farms here in VT and discuss options for putting together a system.

Stagnant, Saturated, or Ready To Surge - Investing in Vermont's Direct Markets

Presenter: Jean Hamilton​, Consultant

From grocery consolidation to the growth of online food markets, the food retail market is undergoing dynamic shifts. These changes are directly impacting the position, opportunities, and challenges for food producers targeting local food markets. To better understand these impacts, NOFA-VT commissioned research into how current trends in food retailing and consumer values shape the opportunities and challenges for Vermont’s direct to consumer food marketers. This workshop will explore research findings around the following questions:
- With so many market outlets, is the local foods marketplace saturated?
- Is there still room for direct markets to provide viable outlets for producers?
- What strategies can we employ to support and strengthen Vermont’sVermont’s direct markets?

Vegetative Plant Propagation: The Asexual Gift that Keeps on Giving Part- Skills (Part II)

Presenter: Jacob Holzberg-Pill​, Dig In Farm

This practical, hands on workshop offers a broad overview on many different types of vegetative (asexual) plant propagation; crown division, root cuttings, scaling, tip layering, softwood and hardwood cuttings. We will discuss which techniques work best for different species and genera. Come learn how to make more grape, currant, hardy kiwi, mulberry, quince, fig, blueberry, honeyberry, seaberry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, chive, horseradish, mint, lemon balm, comfrey, daylily, true lily, rhubarb, asparagus, sunchoke, rosemary, lavender, oregano, thyme, and many more. Participants will practice some of these techniques and take home plants in this second part of the workshop. 

Winter Production & Low Tunnels

Presenter: Bryan O'Hara, Tobacco Road Farm

This workshop will present techniques for production of winter hardy vegetables using unheated low hoop tunnels and row covers. Bryan will share detailed information about the following: structure materials, crop selection, timing, cultivation, snow control, irrigation, site preparation, wind protection, harvesting, storage and marketing.

 

 

SCHEDULE: Sunday, February 18, 2018 

8:30 am

Registration & Exhibitors' Fair open; refreshments available

9:30–10:45 am

Workshop Session I

11:00-12:00 pm

Keynote: Onika Abraham 

12:00–2:00 pm

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

2:15–3:30 pm 

Workshop Session II

3:45–5:00 pm

Workshop Session III

5:00 pm

Ice Cream Social

 


Sunday - Session I: 9:30-10:45Am

Adapting to Climate Change- Benefits for Farmers

Presenters: Suzy Hodgson, UVM Extension; Lynn Knight, NRCS

The workshop covers the costs and benefits of Vermont farming practices in adapting to climate change. Specific case studies include the Intervale Community Farm and Last Resort Farm, which will show the economics of managing water. Using data collected from the farm, a partial budget analysis will illustrate to what extent the benefits of a practice vary year to year and what the bottom line is on average to the farmer.

Apitherapy: Health & Healing with Products from the Hive- Honey, Pollen & Propolis (Part I)

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. Through a lecture format, we will cover the production, harvesting, processing and useful healing properties of Honey, Pollen & Propolis for Session I; Beeswax, Royal Jelly, and Honey Bee Venom will be covered in Session II. Participants will have the opportunity to smell, taste and experience most of these hive products during the workshop.

Common Mistakes Made with Electric Fencing

Presenter: David Kennard, Wellscroft Fencing System, LLC

Learn how to successfully use electric fence to protect poultry, rotationally grazing livestock, and keep crops safe from deer and wildlife. David will review the six most common mistakes made with electric fencing, including improper grounding and lack of training animals to the fence. He will also discuss how to test and monitor voltage, lightning protection, how to choose the right size energizer, considerations when using a solar energizer, and choosing the best fencing system for your situation. Finally, he will show how to properly set up, take down, store and repair electric netting.

Community- Based Change: Environmental Health, Pesticides & You

Presenters: Shaina Kasper, Toxics Action Center; Johanna de Graffenreid​, VPIRG

Changing pesticide policies at the state-level means going up against pesticide industry which can be very difficult. Dozens of cities, towns, and municipalities are taking matters into their own hands by passing local resolutions and ordinances all across the country.
Learn about what community activists have accomplished to restrict pesticide use in their communities, the processes by which you can change policies in your town or state, and come away with some hard skills to get the word out to your neighborhood.

Designing & Building Chicken Tractors & Mobile Coops

Presenters: Tim King & Markey Read, Honey Dew Homestead

Do you want your poultry layers or meat birds to have access to lawn or pasture, yet be well protected from predators? Consider using mobile coops and chicken tractors. In this workshop you will pick-up a variety of tips, design options, material needs, and ways to construct mobile coops and chicken tractors that work well, and make moving and raising poultry as easy as possible.  

Establishing a Seed Library in Rural Vermont

Presenter: Pam Kennedy, Orleans County Seed Library

Seeds are the historical basis of our agriculture and food system. When we save seeds we save money, preserve heirloom food plants, and help plants retain their pest resistance (and therefore reduce the needs for pesticides). We will talk about the history of seed saving and its importance in restoring and preserving diversity in our food systems. We will explore the steps in starting and maintaining a seed library including identifying a host and partners, recruiting volunteers, seed lending and returning systems and sources for organic and open pollinated seeds.
 

How Do I Work This? A Citizen's Guide to Being the "Public" in Public Policy

Presenter: Andrea Stander​, Rural Vermont

This workshop will provide you with an interactive overview of Vermont's legislative and regulatory processes with emphasis on those that have the biggest impact on farming, food and rural life. I will also share essential information, tools and skills on how you can become an effective citizen advocate on issues you care about.

Motherless Meat: From Petri Dish to Plate

Presenter: Darryl Benjamin​, Green Mountain College

Would you eat meat cultured in a lab if it was guaranteed safe? Lab-grown meat is the new kid on the block when it comes to engineered food. Also known as in-vitro meat, it’s real meat developed from cow stem cells. With rising populations, the appetite to quickly develop this technology is strong. Should we be worried? What are the potential impacts on farmers and their cattle populations? Is it regulated? Who stands to benefit? What are the health safety issues? We’ll consider the pros and cons, the concerns and claims, the hopeful and the factual.

No-Till Gardening & Farming

Presenter: Lee Reich​, Springtown Farmden

No-till, when integrated with nurturing the ground from the top down, avoiding soil compaction, maintaining a soil cover, and pinpointing watering, grows healthy plants while minimizing weed problems. The principles and practices are rooted in the latest agricultural research. Discussion will cover gardens and homesteads.

Pest & Disease Discussion for Commerical Growers

Presenters: Ann Hazelrigg, Scott Lewins, Victor Izzo, Elisabeth Hodgden, UVM

Join UVM staff for a discussion about pests and diseases. This workshop is geared toward commercial organic vegetable growers or market gardeners. We'll 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.

Reverence for our Soil-My Personal Journey Toward Improvement and Strategies We All May Use for Better Earth Care

Presenter: Jack Lazor​, Butterworks Farm

Jack Lazor has been an organic dairy farmer and a lover of soil for the past forty years.  He has tried many different approaches to care for the Earth.  In the past few years as climate concerns have risen, Jack has totally changed his farming track putting an emphasis on carbon sequestration.  This workshop will explore methods of Earth care both old and new.  It is Jack’s hope that workshop participants will leave with a broader knowledge of the carbon cycle and strategies that everyone can practice to mitigate the effects of climate change.   

The Untapped Resource on Your Homestead: Weed Medicine for Your Community!

Presenters: Katherine Elmer & Kara Buchanan​, Spoonful Herbs

Join community herbalists Katherine Elmer and Kara Buchanan to 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 3 years in the Burlington community and will share examples and samples of delicious, simple and useful preparations emphasizing weeds and invasive plants.

 

Sunday - ROUNDTABLES: 1:00-2:00PM

Farm Succession: Planning for the Future

Facilitators: Mike Ghia, Land for Good; Benneth Phelps, Dirt Capital

In this roundtable we will discuss some of the most useful practices for those looking to turn over their farm. These important conversations can be difficult to start but crucial in long-term farm planning. How do we normalize these conversations to help farmers better plan for the future and provide opportunities to the next generation of farmers?

Meet Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition

Facilitators: Grace Gershuny​, Cat Buxton, Graham Unangst-Rufenacht

The Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition was formed in March 2017 by grassroots activists and enthusiasts, organizations and businesses that work with or for the land and water. Our interest is in shifting the paradigm of how people interface with the land. We operate under the premise that we can restore land water cycles by covering Vermont's bare soil; nurturing photosynthesis, biodiversity and the biology underground. This is not just about farmland. We imagine that many collaborative statewide possibilities would come out of this coalition that will positively affect our backyards and our public lands. Come find out how you can support our efforts, and consider adding your voice to ours in presenting our case to legislators, policy makers, local communities, and the public.
 

National Organic Program Accountability: Where Are We Going

Facilitator: Maddie Kempner, NOFA-VT; David Chapman, Long Wind Farm; Greg Georgaklis, Farmers to You; Stephanie Walsh, VOF

Thanks to the organizing work of passionate organic farmers and the investigative reporting of some national media outlets, a series of shortcomings with the USDA National Organic Program have been brought to light in recent months. Please join us for this two-part roundtable discussion, where we will discuss the failings of the USDA in its regulation of the organic seal (part 1), and steps the organic community can take to respond (part 2).

 

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

Apitherapy: Health & Healing with Products from the Hive- Beeswax, Royal Jelly, and Honey Bee Venom (Part II)

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. Through a lecture format, we will cover the production, harvesting, processing and useful healing properties of Honey, Pollen & Propolis for Session I; Beeswax, Royal Jelly, and Honey bee Venom will be covered in Session II. Participants will have the opportunity to smell, taste and experience most of these hive products during the workshop.

Climate Adaptive Farming: An Introduction to On-Farm Climate Change Adaptation Strategies

Presenter: Connor Stedman​, AppleSeed Permaculture 

By restoring and regenerating ecosystem patterns and processes, farms and landscapes can be designed for resilience in the face of climate disruption. This interactive workshop will explore ecological farm design principles and solutions for climate adaptation in Vermont, including on-farm water management, crop and landscape biodiversity, productive buffers and corridors, and trialing new warm-climate crops for the region. The workshop will combine discussion, slides, and Q & A, and is particularly intended for farmers, land managers, service providers, and policymakers.

Custom Grazing: An Opportunity for Beginning and Experienced Livestock Farmers

Presenter: Jenn Colby​, UVM Extension

Are you a dairy farmer seeking to lighten your management load? A farmer looking for ways to use your grazing skills to manage livestock without the requirement (and expense) of owning them? This session with UVM Extension’s Jenn Colby and NOFA-VT’s Kyla Bedard will highlight observations from in-depth interviews with farmers on both sides of the relationship, and issues to consider if you think working with (or being) a custom grazier might be a good fit for you. 

Farming International Update: Organic & Agroecology

Presenters: Elizabeth Henderson, NOFA and the Agricultural Justice Project; Ernesto Mendez, UVM

In this workshop, Ernesto Mendez and Elizabeth Henderson will bring you up to date on national and international agriculture movements. Elizabeth will report on the 2017 Organic World Congress and IFOAM General Assembly in India, and share news from IFOAM North America, and Urgenci, the international CSA network. Ernesto will provide a historical and geographical perspective (U.S. and internationally) on the field of agroecology, and where it stands currently in terms of science, practice and social movement. Together with participants, they will analyze whether there are opportunities for stronger alliances and what this means for building a movement powerful enough to transform industrial agriculture and end world hunger.

Food & Mood- Eating for Optimal Health & Happiness

Presenters: Leanne Yinger, VPI South; Kristin Tool​, Olsen Farm 

This interactive workshop will provide information about eating closer to the source of our food and how this positively impacts overall health. Leanne will introduce how nutrient dense diets improve physical and mental health. Her lecture and interactive style will provide food for thought as she shares anecdotal stories on changing diet and lifestyle to provide healing of mind, body and spirit.

Fruit Tree Planting & Establishment

Presenter: Lee Reich, Springtown Farmden ​

Success with fruit trees starts with selecting the right kind of nursery tree. From there, we’ll cover planting, in so doing dispelling certain myths about just when and how to do it, and then move on to early care — pruning, staking, watering, and soil management. All these details are important to getting a fruit tree off to a good start and a healthy future.

Giving In: Exploring the Commitment Needed to Farm

Presenters: Bruce Hennessey & Beth Whiting, Maple Wind Farm 

Maple Wind Farm has experienced a number of challenges over the last 15 years. Each challenge has been an opportunity to pull back or commit more intentionally to the farm. We will discuss our challenges and opportunities, the planning and financial tools we used, and the decision making processes utilized to deepen our commitment to the land and what we produce from it.
Specifically we will:
1. Share our decision points as we moved from part time hobbyists, to full time commercial farmers. We will offer opportunities to explore participant stories as well.
2. Provide the planning and financial tools we used to make these decisions and run through the specifics of their use.
3. Go through lessons learned responding to major challenges and disasters, and the things we do to stay resilient in a changing world.
4. Help participants explore the level of commitment needed for their chosen path.

Growing Industrial Hemp for Grain & Fiber

Presenter: Abha Gupta, UVM Extension

Join this session to learn about industrial hemp production for grain and fiber. We began growing hemp in 2016 and have been evaluating best planting dates, varieties, pest and disease pressure, harvest techniques, and post-harvest processing. We’ll share our research results, challenges, successes, and production experience from the past two seasons. This session will be especially useful for those who are interested in growing industrial hemp on a commercial level. 

Innovative Models for Land Access

Presenters: Mike Ghia, Land for Good; Benneth Phelps, Dirt Capital Partners; Jon Ramsey​, Vermont Land Trust

Are you a farm seeker looking to explore less traditional ways to access land? Then this panel is for you! Benneth will give an overview of Dirt Capital’s programs and provide detailed examples of creative ways they solve farm access challenges through partnership with farmers throughout the Northeast United States, promoting sustainable farmers’ land access and security. Mike will discuss how Land for Good researches and promotes new approaches and methods that improve farmland access, affordability and security. Jon will share the work he is doing at VLT to make land access more affordable to farmers ready to start or expand a farm business.

Lyme Disease & Climate Change: The Connection Between Inflammation & Global Warming

Presenter: Brendan Kelly, Jade Mountain Wellness

Using the lens of Chinese medicine, Brendan Kelly, acupuncturist and author of "The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis" will discuss how the warming of our planet mirrors a similar overheating within us and within our culture. Supported by research from his book, Brendan will present how the progression of Lyme disease mirrors the progression of climate change and how Lyme is very much a condition of our times. He’ll also discuss how understanding the development of the disease is essential to not only treating symptoms but also promoting health. Brendan will also present treatment methods to address the numerous symptoms associated with Lyme.

Organic Farming for Food & Justice

Presenters: Grace Gershuny, Brian Tokar, Vanessa Brown

Organic farmers and advocates can contribute significantly to the movements for food and climate justice. Three Vermont activists will tell their stories of working for regeneration through agriculture and food system transformation, climate justice organizing, and building community resilience. We will speak of our efforts on the local, national, and international level to alert and educate others, and take action to mitigate the multi-level impacts of climate chaos. How can we deepen the effectiveness of our efforts through global connections among local groups working for organic/regenerative agriculture, food sovereignty, community resilience, and social justice?

Post Harvest Design for Efficiency, Quality Improvement & Risk Reduction (Part I)

Presenters: Hans Estrin & Rachel Schattman​, UVM Extension

This hands-on practical workshop is designed for aspiring produce growers wanting to improve post-harvest flow, efficiency, profitability, and sanity! Photo-rich case studies, hot tips and tricks, and key research and resource links will support hand-on design exercises and discussion. Growers will leave this workshop with specific project ideas and resources to get cranking for the 2018 season.

Supporting Pollinators in Your Landscape

Presenter: John Hayden​, The Farm Between

Farmers, gardeners and conservationists can learn about native pollinators and how to enhance their populations in our working landscapes. Establishing native plantings, pollinator friendly cover crops, and creating different types of nesting habitat will be emphasized. John is an organic fruit farmer and entomologist who along with his wife Nancy, has established a pollinator sanctuary and fruit and conservation plant nursery at The Farm Between in Jeffersonville, VT.

Understanding Farm Animal Welfare Certification

Presenters: Kara Shannon, ASPCA; Laurie Ristino, Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems; Vanessa Riva, Stark Hollow Farm; John Miller, Certified Humane farmer 

This workshop provides an overview of three farm animal welfare certification programs –Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane and Global Animal Partnership. The ASPCA, Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) and welfare-certified, Vermont farmers will discuss the benefits of certification, what the certification process looks like and what resources are available to help farmers achieve certification. The workshop will draw from the recently published "Farm Animal Welfare Certification Guide" co-released by the ASPCA and CAFS, as well as the first-hand experiences, challenges and successes of two welfare-certified Vermont farmers. Anyone interested in understanding more about animal welfare certifications should attend!

Using Draft Horses on the Homestead & Small Farm

Presenter: Stephen Leslie​, Cedar Mountain Farm

Stephen will explain how they use horses to manage a four acre market garden at Cedar Mountain Farm. He will also discuss all of the land management aspects draft horses can be used for on the homestead and small farm such as in the woodlot, for hay making and agri-tourism.

Vermont Farm Kids: Rooted in the Land

Presenters: Misse Axelrod, NOFA-VT and The Barn Yard; Maria Reade, Someday Farm

As part of the Vermont Ag Literacy Week each November, this year NOFA-VT presented "Vermont Farm Kids: Rooted in the Land." This short documentary tells the story of a variety of Vermont farm kids, aged 8 to 28, from throughout the state. The film digs deep into life on a diverse array of farms and captures how that experience has shaped them as a farm child or cultivated them as an agricultural entrepreneur. Several interviews feature young adults who have chosen to return to work on the family farm, or start their own offshoot farm business. A presentation on how and why the film was created will begin the workshop, followed by a viewing. There will also be a meet-and-greet with some of the film's participants.

 

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

Carbon Farming: Regenerative Agriculture for Climate Stabilization

Presenter: Connor Stedman​, AppleSeed Permaculture

As climate change impacts farmers, communities, and ecosystems worldwide, agriculture can play a major role in mitigating climate change through on-farm carbon sequestration. This workshop will discuss the current state of global knowledge and practice on both belowground and aboveground carbon storage on farms. We will explore a suite of carbon farming practices well suited for adoption by farmers in Vermont, as well as the co-benefits of those systems for farms and ecosystems. The workshop will combine lecture, slides, and Q & A, and is particularly intended for farmers, land managers, service providers, and policymakers.

Cultivating a Hemp Industry in the Northeast

Presenters: Joel Bedard, The Vermont Hemp Company; Dr Brian Voigt, GUND Institute; Michael Lewis, Growing Warriors; Chad Rosen, Victory Hemp Foods

This workshop will provide an overview of positives and negatives of the development of a responsible hemp industry in the Northeast, including research, processing and go-to-market strategies as well as current and future considerations.

Ecology of Having Forest As Part Of Your Homestead

Presenter: David Brynn​, Vermont Family Forests

Vermont Family Forests has been practicing forest-centered conservation that is holistic and adaptive since 1995. David will present Optimal Conservation Practices (OCPs) for accessing family forests in Vermont in a rapidly changing climate, economy, and culture. He will also list forest vegetation practices that mimic the structure and disturbance regimes of natural forests while avoiding use of whole-tree harvesting, even-aged forest management methods, and synthetic pesticides. VFF employs this approach in plans for Vermont’s Use Value Assessment Program. David will highlight how VFF’s forest health conservation checklist closely mirror the certified organic forestry practiced in Germany and make the case for Organic Forestry Certification in Vermont.

Good Food Good Medicine

Presenters: Sandra Lory, Good Food Good Medicine Program; Joann Darling, Gardens for Learning; Joseph Kiefer & Amy Goodman-Kiefer​, White dove Herbal Sanctuary

In this interactive workshop, presenters will share best practices from the Good Food, Good Medicine Program.  This grassroots food justice education program focuses on nutrition, gardening, cooking and herbalism through the seasons as a tool for self-empowerment, skill building, and community resilience in these uncertain times.

Help Wanted: Why Attracting & Keeping Good Staff is such a Challenge

Presenter: Greg Georgaklis​, Farmers to You 

As I work with farmers and business owners their number one challenge is attracting and keeping staff who are motivated, competent, and interested in the work they do. Most question if these folks are even out there to begin with or if there has been such a shift in values and work ethic that they themselves may be a dying breed.
In this workshop we will have a series of conversations to uncover a number if limiting assumptions and expectations many of us have about pay, work, generational gaps in understanding and priorities. Then we can have a constructive conversation about what really attracts the kind of staff and help you need, and further how to create an environment where they feel they are fully part of something, not just hired hands.
This workshop is designed for Farmers and Business owners/managers with 2 to 200 employees. It is not a Human Resources workshop, but focused on how you as the owner/manager create a culture that allows others to contribute, and why that is essential today with the shifting consciousness around work.

Improving Yield of Cold-Weather Shiitake with Irrigation

Presenter: Mike Walker​, Philo Woodland Farm 

The workshop will present results of a SARE-funded research project examining whether irrigation can improve the quantity, quality and reliability of yields from cold weather shiitake strains grown outdoors on logs.
Shiitake cultivation in the Northeast often involves logs being soaked to “force” fruiting. Naturally fruiting cold weather shiitake require less labor and infrastructure, have less log damage, and less slug and insect damage. However their fruiting can be sporadic, requiring multiple harvests from each log, increasing the risk of predation, and compromising fruit quality.
In partnership with specialists from UVM we have been examining the impact of highly targeted irrigation at critical times to improve yield and quality of fruit from cold weather strains.

Intentional Ecology: Using Permaculture Principles in the Yard, Homestead and Farm Landscape

Presenters: Aaron Guman & Graham Unangst-Rufenacht, Walking Onion & Robinson Hill Beef

Permaculture is an ecological design science guided by principles. These principles have been derived from the observation of natural ecosystems. In this class we will discuss how these principles act as guidelines in our approach to designing complex ecologies for our yards, homesteads and farms. We will look at a range of principles from different ecological thinkers and discuss examples of the practical application of each.

Merchandising & Sales Tips for Farmstands & Farmers Markets

Presenter: Annie Harlow, Vermont Farm to Plate

​This workshop is geared to any producer selling at farm stands or farmers' markets. We will explore practices for evaluating retail sales and what is working, merchandising that crosses all levels of operations and images to create a dynamic retail outlet. We will also discuss strategies to develop a customer base with social media and co-branding with value added producers. Learn what it takes to increase customer satisfaction by learning to evaluate your operations and merchandising strategies. Annie's insights are garnered from work as a producer manager at City Market, retail specialist at VT Farm to Plate Network , CASFS at UCSC, Black River Producer and technical adviser to NOFA.

Milk with Dignity: Farmworker's Rights in the Food System

Presenters: Enrique Balcazar, Migrant Justice & representatives from the Milk with Dignity Standards Council

The Milk with Dignity Program is bringing together farmworkers, farmers, corporate buyers and consumers to secure dignified livelihoods for both farmers and farmworkers. Additionally, the program provides assurance to both retail food companies and consumers who increasingly value a fair supply chain that protects workers’ rights. The Milk with Dignity Program, inspired by and modeled after the Fair Food Program, enlists the resources of food industry leaders, to improve farm conditions by providing participating farmers, who agree to comply with a worker-defined Code of Conduct, a premium price for milk. Representatives from Migrant Justice and the program's newly created third party "Milk with Dignity Standards Council" will share more about this program that is just getting off the ground!

Pests & Diseases for Homesteaders & Gardeners

Presenter: Ann Hazelrigg​, UVM

An overview of what we saw for pests in vegetables over the course of the season and what is coming down the pike.

Post Harvest Design for Efficiency, Quality Improvement & Risk Reduction (Part II)

Presenters: Hans Estrin & Rachel Schattman​, UVM Extension

This hands-on practical workshop is designed for aspiring produce growers wanting to improve post-harvest flow, efficiency, profitability, and sanity! Photo-rich case studies, hot tips and tricks, and key research and resource links will support hand-on design exercises and discussion. Growers will leave this workshop with specific project ideas and resources to get cranking for the 2018 season.

Starting Problems with Diesel Engines

Presenter: Ron Wold, Vermont Technical College

This workshop will be focused on troubleshooting and basic repair of common starting problems in all diesel powered machinery. The discussion will be specifically geared toward machinery owners and operators with some mechanical ability, but who are not expert mechanics. Most common diesel starting problems are within the reach of a backyard mechanic, and the majority of the discussion will cover how to deal with those common problems- with some additional brief discussion of more major problems that can require a visit from a professional mechanic. Topics that will be covered in detail include: engine oil, battery testing and maintenance, fuel system issues, and electrical system troubleshooting.

Using Small Ruminants as Pasture Improvement Tools

Presenter: Jenn Colby, UVM Extension

In three separate Central Vermont locations over a five-year period, Jenn Colby has used sheep to manage weeds, spread nutrients, and change biological landscape functions. Working on private property and in one case developing a public-private partnership on Town-owned land, Jenn will share the ups and downs of reclaiming rundown agricultural land using farmer labor and animal management as the primary tool, instead of tractors or fertilizers.

Vegetable Production Successes & Challenges: Reflecting on the First 5 Years in Business

Presenters: Scott Courcelle, Alchemy Gardens; James Donegan, Trillium Hill Farm; Ansel Ploog, Flywheel Farm; Jen Miller, NOFA-VT

Join experienced vegetable farmers Scott Courcelle, James Donegan, and Ansel Ploog as they reflect on their production systems during their first five years operating their farms.  Learn what worked well, what aspects were the most challenging, and what solutions to those challenges were most successful as their businesses matured. Topics discussed will include: buying equipment, crop planning, cultivation techniques, maximizing yield, and farm scale.  This workshop will be most useful for aspiring farmers and beginning farmers in the first five years of running their business.  We will leave plenty of time for questions so come pick the brain of a farmer who has been there!

 

Back to Winter Conference main page »