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Sunday 2/19 Intensive

Winter Farming & Season Extension

Presenter: Michael Kilpatrick • 9:00am-4:00pm

This full day seminar will cover winter farming and season extension. Michael Kilpatrick from Kilpatrick Family Farm will discuss whether this type of production is right for you, what infrastructure is required and how to best layout your farm for winter production. We will also cover managing soils for season extension, economics of different crops, tools and equipment, field production tailored to winter storage, and storage facilities. Learn best practices for winter high tunnel production, food safety and packing house setup, as well as marketing, sales, and produce merchandising


Monday 2/20 Intensives

Successful Biological Orcharding

Presenter: Michael Phillips • 9:00am-4:00pm

Fascinating biological connections make for a healthy orchard ecosystem. All insect pests and fruit tree disease – whether fungal or bacterial – have launching points and particular timing. Healthy trees address these challenges first and foremost from within. Growers utilizing an ongoing investment in soil nutrition and biodiversity set the stage for gentler organic sprays to grow a successful fruit crop. The challenges you face at your locale will become far more manageable as you build a holistic system that keeps trees and berry plantings healthy from the get-go.

A Permaculture Approach to Regional and Site Specific Agroecology: Integrating Productivity, Ecosystem Health and Economic Equity

Presenters: Aaron Guman & Graham Unangst-Rufenacht • 9:00am-4:00pm

Permaculture design offers an ethical, comprehensive, and effective approach to assessing, designing, and implementing agricultural systems which balance human health, ecosystem health, and social and economic equity. This intensive uses a permaculture design lens to explore the integration of agricultural patterns and practices that improve environmental quality—by sequestering carbon, growing soil, improving water quality, expanding wildlife habitat, and more into the VT landscape. We will discuss strategies for growing animals, perennial vegetables, medicinals, berries, fruit trees and nuts in the context of diverse, mutually supportive polycultures. Included are dynamic small group design exercises which will facilitate the exploration of applied agroecology using the tool kits we’ll develop during the day. Students will walk away with an exposure to a broad pallet of plants and design patterns which are applicable at a variety of scales in the northeast temperate bioregion.

Organic Medicinal Herbs From Seed to Sale - A Grower’s Intensive

Presenters: Andrea and Matthias Reisen• 9:00am-3:00pm 

Andrea and Matthias Reisen owners of Healing Spirits Herb Farm, located in the Finger Lakes Of Western New York, have been Medicinal Herb growers for 25 years. They will share their  process of producing high quality botanicals from selection and propagation through field management, post-harvest handling, drying, storage and marketing. They will also discuss how to configure the layout and design of your farm’s infrastructure, choose equipment, prepare beds and fields, and manage fertility, weeds, pests and disease. The Reisens will also delve into the business of herbs and the herbal marketplace by discussing which herbs are in demand, producing value-added products, pricing considerations, regulatory challenges and how to negotiate with buyers. This intensive is geared toward either beginning herb farmers or existing growers looking to expand their knowledge base.

The Art and Science of Grazing

Presenter: Sarah Flack • 9:00am-4:00pm

In this all-day workshop we will start by reviewing the basic principles behind all successful grazing systems.  This will include discussion first from the perspective of pasture plants, and then from the perspective of the livestock. Once we put those two important pieces together, we will move into topics which include how to calculate paddock sizes, stocking densities, stocking rates and acreage needs, as well as strategies to maximize the herd or flocks pasture dry matter intake and use grazing to improve pastures. We will talk about how to use different pre and post grazing heights, length of rest periods, different plant species, and encourage healthy soils to increase pasture productivity and quality.  Using examples of real farm grazing systems, we will cover system design, fence, water systems, lanes, paddock sizing and acreage requirements. We will use photos of pastures and livestock as we then learn how to observe and monitor so that we can better understand if our grazing systems are working the way we want them to, and what we can do to make them better.


Questions? Please call NOFA-VT at (802) 434-4122 or email Rachel Fussell if you have questions about these intensive workshops.