Monday Intensives

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February 18, Registration at 8:30, Workshops 9:00 am–3:00 pm
Waterman Building at UVM, 85 South Prospect Street, Burlington, VT

No-Till Vegetable Farming: Rebuilding Soil, Health & Community

Presenter: Daniel Mays, Frith Farm

Why do we insist on tilling before every crop? Tillage damages soil structure, leads to compaction, oxidizes organic matter and stirs up dormant weed seed. The cost of tractors and tillage equipment can also be prohibitive for beginning farmers. Join Daniel Mays of Frith Farm to take an in-depth look at why and how to grow vegetables without tillage. With photos, descriptions, and data from his Maine farm, Daniel will systematically cover the no-till philosophy and methods that have enabled Frith Farm to generate soil health, keep workers happy, and turn a solid profit over the last eight years.

The session will cover:

  • The nature and benefits of no-till farming
  • Principles of no-till care
  • Establishing a permanent bed system
  • Transitioning beds between crops
  • Crop planning considerations
  • Cover cropping
  • Mulching with leaves, straw & wood chips versus synthetics
  • Weed management
  • No-spray management
  • Irrigation in a no-till system
  • Integrating perennials and livestock
  • Labor on the no-till farm
  • Marketing and community development
  • Profit breakdown

Participants will leave this workshop with a detailed understanding of the principles, practices, and results of no-till vegetable production at Frith Farm, and how to apply these concepts to their own operation or farmstead.

Daniel Mays owns and operates Frith Farm in Scarborough, Maine, where he has been growing vegetables on two and a half acres without tillage, spraying, or tractor work since 2010. Before farming, Daniel taught math and physics, and studied environmental engineering. He has enjoyed applying elements of these subjects to his style of farming.

Bread Baking with Sourdough: The Magic of Wild Yeasts & Other Natural Starter Cultures

Presenter: Heike Meyer, Brot Bakery​

Join Heike Meyer from Brot Bakery in Fairfax, VT to learn the fundamental basics of sourdough alchemy in bread making. Heike will share her skills and knowledge in proper mixing, fermenting, shaping and baking, and teach you what makes this sourdough bread different from bread that is made with commercial yeast. Participants will also learn about the history of natural bread making, types of grains used for bread, and how to start and maintain a live bread culture (sourdough). Every participant gets to shape and bake a loaf of sourdough bread in the NOFA-VT wood-fired oven and take home a sourdough culture with feeding instructions to continue their adventures of natural bread baking.

Heike Meyer was born and raised in Germany where she started baking at age 3. After studying  Food & Nutrition as well as Tourism & Foreign Languages at Fachhochschule Kiel/Germany, she and her husband moved to Vermont in 2008 to focus solely on natural baking, the art of pastry making and food education. Heike learned the art of bread baking at Weichard Brot, Berlin's oldest biodynamic bakery, and with Jeffrey Hamelman at King Arthur Flour & Bakery in Vermont. Since then she has studied with craft bakers at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, Blue Hill at Stone Barnes in New York, Runner and Stone in Brooklyn, and many others around the world to learn about bread traditions - making sure those will be preserved and passed on.

Finding Your Inner Activist: Exploring Connections Between Climate Justice & Racial Justice

Presenters: Phoebe Gooding, Dia Brown & Brittany Dunn, 350Vermont

What does racial justice have to do with climate justice? What do we mean by this intersectionality? This interactive workshop explores the foundations of these justice movements and how their intertwined roots reach out into every facet of life, including agriculture.

This workshop is designed to support individuals and groups to dig into the roots of the climate crisis and explore how and why working for climate justice necessitates the dismantling of racism and white supremacy culture. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and consider next steps to support their own learning, as well as collective learning within their groups, and concrete actions they can take within their own activism.

Some questions we will address include: Who has access to land, healthy food, farmers markets, and even grocery stores? How has the organic food movement excluded traditional Indigenous practices? What does food justice mean and how is it connected to racial justice? This is an introductory workshop and offers a series of starting points and questions, rather than a conclusive or summative approach to this content.

Phoebe Gooding works for the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform on campaigns and projects that support frontline communities, many of which are people of color and low income, that experience the daily impacts from industry and chemical pollution. She also works as a facilitator for 350Vermont, is a board member of The Root Racial Justice Center in Brattleboro, and a mother of two diligently raising her boys in gratitude of Mother Earth.

Dia Brown is a sophomore at the University of Vermont, majoring in Environmental Engineering. She works as the Climate Justice Trainer for 350VT and also brings intersectional education through her work as a lab technician at the UVM Fab Lab and as a teaching assistant for a course on gender and trans liberation in leadership.

Brittany Dunn is an educator and organizer, and also a board member for 350Vermont.

Weaving Your Story: Efficient & Effective Business Branding and Messaging

Presenters: Nicole Junas Ravlin (People Making Good PR), Lou McKenna (Punch Up Media) & Carol Degener (Brand Inflection)

The way you tell the story of your products that captures the magic of your unique brand message as it moves from farmers' field to customers' forks is more important than ever before. People are looking to feel connected to their food and your busy farm schedule might leave you little time to build this connection. 

Finally, a course that will help you walk away with the tangible tools you need to shape your story, get your story told and grab the attention of more customers for your farm or small business to grow.  All without thousands of dollars being invested in paid media!

Do you know “why you do what you do”?  Carol Degener of Brand Inflection will guide you through a series of hands on exercises to explore how you can best connect your unique story to what consumers care about today.  Nicole Junas Ravlin of People Making Good PR will then help you translate your story into PR stories that the media is thirsty to share because it is relevant, timely and gets noticed. Then we will take it up a notch with Laura “Lou” McKenna of Punch Up Media specializing in the development and implementation of search engine marketing (SEM) for a cost-effective way to reach potential customers at multiple points in the decision cycle. 

You will end the day with a toolbox of materials to help you DIY your next tier of business success.  You will walk out with a plan for what you can do immediately, over the next 6 months and plans to take it to the next level.  Are you ready to tell your story?  

Nicole Junas Ravlin has a passion for campaign development and the actual practice and craft of public relations. She leads the crisis management practice for the agency and oversees new business development. Before co-founding People Making Good, Nicole was a senior manager at the national PR firms Cone Communications and Giles Communications and the Director of Sales and Marketing at Topnotch Resort.

Laura ‘Lou’ McKenna runs Burlington-based digital marketing firm Punch Up Media. She has been working in the Vermont media scene for over twelve years, and specializing in search engine marketing (SEM) for the last six of those.

Carol Degener has over 30 years of experience in marketing and communication from her career as the VP of Innovation for Pepperidge Farm, with Saatchi & Saatchi advertising in NYC and most recently, with her own consulting business, Brand Inflection. Carol is living her passion of crafting stories for Vermont’s inspired and hard working entrepreneurs.

Monday Intensives Monday Intensives devote a full day to explore a single topic, with plenty of room for discussion, question and answer, and networking with peers interested in similar fields. The registration fee of $70 for NOFA Vermont Members and $85 for Non-Members includes a full day of learning and a delicious lunch, catered by Love Local Catering (Skinny Pancake). Please call NOFA-VT at (802) 434-4122 or email Livy Bulger if you have questions about these intensive workshops. 

Please note: Monday Intensives are held in the Waterman Building on the UVM campus at 85 S. Prospect St, Burlington, VT.