Learn to identify edible wild plants and medicinal herbs with Hannah Jacobson-Hardy, holistic health coach and community herbalist of Sweet Birch Herbals. Participants will learn how to respectfully harvest each plant and use them for making salads, soups, and skin care products. We’ll be identifying spring ephemerals such as ramps, dandelion, Japanese knotweed shoots, burdock root, and nettles, which are deliciously pungent and bitter treats that promote spring cleansing. After a winter of eating a dense, heavier diet, are you craving more fresh green foods? Join Hannah for an educational walk that includes recipes and tastings.
Sometimes less is more. Learn organization strategies from Ben Hartman, an experienced farmer who has improved his farm management based on Lean principals, originally designed by the Japanese auto industry. Lean allows him to cut waste, increase profit and make his farm more environmentally sustainable.
Join long time orchardists Pru Smith and Sharon Gensler for an afternoon workshop on small-scale homestead orcharding. They’ll demonstrate overall orchard planning, building diversity into plantings, breed selection, practical fruit growing techniques, and soil and plant health. Pru and Sharon will lead participants in an informative and experiential process, using their property, Wild Browse Farm, to demonstrate the importance of a holistic approach to orchard care.
Are you interested in or already raising grass-fed cattle? Come learn with organic grass-fed cattle farmer Matt Koziol.
Matt will discuss what farmers need to know to keep their animals healthy and productive. Starting with the nutritional requirements for livestock, particular attention will be paid to reading and responding to cattle behavior in order to reduce stress for both cow and farmer.
Learn the ins and outs of commercial medicinal herb production, from field to drying room. Participants will get an overview of the production and planning methodologies that Full Kettle Farm uses. The workshop will also focus on post production handling and herb drying for teas, oils, and other value added products.
When growing on small acreage is it critical to maximize yields of high value crops to create a profitable business. This workshop will include some growing techniques and some business strategies used by Curtis on his farm, Green City Acres, which grows $80,000 worth of produce on less than an acre of land each year.
Spend the afternoon in the goat yard with farmer Allison Houghton and Halé Sofia Schatz, who has over 40 years of experience with holistic human nutrition. We will explore preventative and holistic approaches to goat health and lactation, with a focus on high quality nutrition and behavioral care. This focus supports a healthy herd, longer lactation periods, higher levels of production, and a higher quality product, whether milk, yogurt or cheese.
Multi-species cover crop cocktails can create synergistic ecological benefits for your farm or garden - enhancing biodiversity, efficiently capturing and recycling nutrients, and sequestering carbon in the soil. This workshop will explore how to select, mix, and establish various cover crop mixtures. We will also discuss assessment and quantifying how your cover crop practices are impacting soil health.
Join Lynda Simkins, Executive Director of Natick Community Organic Farm, and long-time organic flower grower, and Deena Kanopkin, Flower Manager at Natick Community Organic, out in their beautiful flower beds for this mid-summer workshop. Participants will learn about weed and water management, the tricks to properly dead head and pick, arrangement strategies, season extension, and many other harvest and post-harvest techniques. This is will be a comprehensive learning experience, perfect for those who are just starting or those who would like to ramp up their commercial flower production.
2016 Keynoters: Andre Leu & Leah Penniman
The Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Summer Conference is the community learning hub of the NOFA universe. We learn, we play, and we enjoy a weekend of skill building, inspiration and entertainment. It is our opportunity to get together and inspire one another during a family friendly weekend with people living the same lifestyle, holding the same vision and working respectively in many ways toward the same goals.
In this workshop, Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge will show participants two ages of meat birds, two ages of layers, and brand new turkeys. Participants will learn about the management of these different types of poultry and their relationships to each other, the vegetable (2 acres) and fruit (1 acre) operation, and to the farm’s 8 pigs and 2 cows on this tightly organized and rotated farm system. They will discuss the role and opportunities available with poultry in Soil Carbon Restoration. The workshop covers feed, housing, pasturing, rotations with crops, sprouted grains, brooding, marketing, and finances.
How can you improve your pastures and soils while also increasing the size of your herd?
Rotational grazing is a system that mimics the ecology of natural grasslands. By rotating large herds through fenced off portions of your pastures, your cattle will eat more tender grass, gain more weight faster, AND sequester considerable amounts of carbon in the soil. But to accomplish these goals requires a well-designed plan.
The health of ruminant animals is directly connected to the health of the pastures on which they graze and the supplemental hay they eat. But how do you know whether you’re pastures are healthy? And how can you tell whether the hay that you’re buying is of high quality? In this workshop, organic grass-based cattle farmer Matt Koziol will teach us how to “read” our pastures and the quality of our feed hay. Matt will walk us through how to take, interpret, and implement pasture soil tests to ensure we are making wise economic and ecological choices for our pastures. He’ll cover a variety of pasture improvement strategies and discuss how different organic amendments can be used to fortify the pasture biology.
Beginning Farmer Program
2016 Bulk Order is open!
NOFA/Mass supports efforts to label foods
Free Monthly Phone/Web Workshop Series
Read our Soil Carbon Restoration white paper