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Soil Health Field Days 2020

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2020 September Issue Newsletter

By Caro Roszell, NOFA/Mass Education Director

As NOFA followers know, the future of healthy food and climate stability depends on the life below our feet. The seven state NOFA Chapters have been working with farmer leaders in our states to educate the farming community about innovations in tillage reduction for organic farms.

If you’re looking to learn more about tillage-reduction and other healthy soils practices in organic farming, NOFA has a lot to offer this fall. Here’s a roundup of the new season’s tillage reduction events across the northeast— most are online (a great opportunity to find out what growers in other states are up to) but some chapters will be allowing a small number of people to register for in-person field days.

 


Soil Health Field Day at Red Shirt Farm 2019

September 20th: Soil Health Field Day

Red Shirt Farm, Lanesboro, Massachusetts

Learn from farm manager Jim Schultz and guest presenter Dan Kittredge (Bionutrient Food Association) about the connections between soil health and the nutritient density of produce. Jim will lead a farm tour highlighting his no-till systems, including: BCS tillage reduction equipment, Johnson-Su Bioreactor, and permanent bed systems. Jim will give a demonstration of his BCS-powered transferred mulch system, including mower, rake and mini-baler. Dan will share his insight into how management practices affect nutrient density in crops. We will get a chance to use the Bionutrient Meter in the field to assess the crops in real time.

In person with remote event following. Registration fee suggested but full scholarships are available to anyone who wants one.

Register at nofamass.org/events

September 24th: Virtual Soil Health Field Day

Massaro Community Farm, Woodbridge, Connecticut

Farm Manager Steve Munno will show us around the fields and explain some soil health practices in use at Massaro, including no-till and reduced tillage, and their effects on yield and quality of food. We will learn how the farm has adapted to the Covid-19 crisis to serve the community’s changing needs. Massaro is a nonprofit, certified organic farm on 57 acres, growing food for the community and offering educational programs and events since 2010.                                                       

Free virtual event. Register at https://ctnofa.org  
 

Scott Morgan, Morganics Family Farm, with rye and oats behind him
Scott Morgan, Morganics Family Farm, with rye
and oats behind him

September 30th: Introduction to No Till

North Slope Farm, Morganics Family Farm, and Ironbound Cider Vegetable Farm in Lambertville, Hillsborough Township, and Asbury, New Jersey

Mike Rassweiler will speak about his favorable furrows approach to reducing tillage and the results for his market vegetables. Scott Morgan will discuss his tillage reduction efforts on his family grain farm— what’s working well and what is posing particular challenges, what equipment can be modified to avoid buying specialized no-till equipment, and more. Finally, Alec Gioseffi will speak about his efforts to establish an organic farm in a location that had not been cultivated in some time.  Video of the three farms will be followed by a roundtable discussion with all three farmers. Watch the Trailer.

Free virtual event. Register at NOFAnj.org

October 15th: Managing Soil Health: Grazing and Specialty Crops

Stonewall Farm, Keene, New Hampshire

Executive Director Julie Davenson and farmers from Stonewall Farm will share the soil heath strategies they employ with their specialty crops and grazing management system that result in both healthier soil and nutrient dense products.  Stonewall Farm is a nonprofit working farm and education center dedicated to demonstrating regenerative farming while educating and engaging people to support food security, ecological resilience, healthy communities and the planet. The farm is a Savory Institute HUB that produces certified organic dairy, vegetables, berries and fruits.  This tour is part of NOFA-NH’s CRAFT Program (Collaborative Regional Alliances for Farmer Training), a peer-to-peer farmer-led education, training and networking program.

Free virtual event for farmers, farm workers and NOFA-NH members. $5 for individuals. $10 for families. Ticket proceeds are donated to the host farm.

Register at https://www.nofanh.org/craft

Chuck and Marie from Freedon Food Farm
Chuck and Marie from Freedon Food Farm

October 18th: Soil Health Field Day

Freedom Food Farm, Raynham, Massachusetts

This will be a small, in-person Field Day for those who feel comfortable socially distancing and wearing masks, followed by an online version of the event in early winter. (See nofamass.org/events for updates.)

Learn from farmer Chuck Currie about his practices on his livestock and vegetable operation. At Freedom Food Farm, some crops are grown in a no-till market garden and some are grown in the field using more tractor equipment. Topics will include field equipment (including roller crimper and grain drill), market garden practices, tarping, and using animals to clear cover crops and reduce tractor passes. Chuck will demonstrate planting garlic into living green mulch as a strategy for extending days in living cover.

In person with remote event following. Registration fee suggested but full scholarships are available to anyone who wants one.

Register at nofamass.org/events (event will be posted soon!)
 

October 28th: Ironbound Cider Field Day

Hosted by Alec Gioseffi, Ironbound Farm, Asbury, NJ

Learn about this highly diversified operation involving orchards, poultry, vegetables and livestock. Farm Manager Alec Gioseffi will talk about the journey of restoring production to an abandoned farm while centering organic practices, biodiversity, and soil health. He will explain how he is reducing soil disturbance using specific kinds of equipment that help avoid moldboard plowing and rototilling.

Free virtual event. Register at NOFAnj.org

Past event recordings:

 


photo credit: Assawaga Farm

Virtual Soil Health Field Day at Assawaga Farm, Putnam, CT - May 2020

Take a virtual tour of Assawaga Farm with owners Alex and Yoko. We then discuss no-till farming, cover cropping, and finish the workshop with Caro Roszell (NOFA/Mass) teaching us how to assess soil health on your farm with carbon proxy testing. Originally recorded on May 28th, 2020.

Carbon Proxy Testing with Caro Roszell for CT NOFA - Originally recorded May 2020

Soil Health Testing with NOFA NJ and Caro Roszell - Originally recorded May 2020

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