The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

2017 Workshops by time

Click the Session to see the workshops

Increasing Profit through Regenerative Grazing  (Intermediate)

One of the surest ways of increasing profitability with cattle is to reduce dependence on purchased feed. This workshop will present methods for increasing the productivity of pastures and extending the grazing season—even through the winter—by utilizing cover crops and stockpiling grass for winter grazing.

Ridge Shinn:  Ridge Shinn, founder and CEO of Big Picture Beef, is an expert in grass-fed beef production and regenerative grazing.


Pastured Poultry for Pleasure or Profit  (Intro- Intermediate) CANCELED

Learn how to raise meat chickens, laying hens and ducks, turkey and geese on pasture for your own household use and enjoyment or for business.

Kristen Kilfoyle:  NH Pastured Poultry/Pork Farmer, 2014 Polyface Farm Intern, Mother Earth News Blogger


No-Till Crop Production with Compost/Biochar Blends  (Intermediate)

Learn about systems for growing crops with minimal soil disturbance. Following Elaine Ingham’s seminal work on the soil food web and intrigued by the potential for building long-term fertility with the use of biochar, I will share the good, the bad and the ugly of our first two no-till seasons. Outline of techniques, harvest data and a list of suppliers provided.

Dan Pratt:  Organic Farming Consultant – 40 years of messing about in the soil have finally given an old fart some new/old ideas.


The Food Safety Modernization Act: What to Expect in MA (Intermediate)

Learn how your operation might be affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act, and why addressing food safety risk areas on your farm is good business even if exempt from the law. Learn how MDAR will implement FSMA through its Commonwealth Quality Program (CQP) and about compliance dates, qualifications for exemptions, and benefits to participation in CQP beyond FSMA.  

Lisa McKeag: Educator at UMass Extension Vegetable Program. She works with vegetable growers on topics such as IPM and Food Safety.

Michael Botelho: Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) Commonwealth Quality Program (CQP).


Vining/Fruiting Crops in Protected Culture (Part 1) (Intermediate)

Though tomatoes are the most popular, many of the specialized techniques used to grow them in protected culture can be applied to the other vining/fruiting crops: cucumbers, peppers and eggplant. In this intermediate level workshop, we will talk about the best practices for each crop including spacing, trellising, pruning, whether to graft or not, temperature and more.

Andrew Mefferd:  Editor, Growing for Market Magazine


Assessing and Improving Soil Health  (Introductory- Intermediate)

This presentation will cover the basics of how a healthy soil functions, how to assess the health of your soil, and methods of improving soil health.

Maggie Payne: USDA NRCS Resource Soil Scientist


Ghost Acres & Carbon Sequestration (Intermediate)

How can we determine whether a set of farming practices actually increases the amount of carbon subtracted from the atmosphere and added to the soil? Net carbon sequestration means including the carbon balance of all inputs to a field, plus any changes in the amount of carbon present. This workshop will be a discussion of how to usefully and accurately account for soil carbon.

Brian Caldwell: Organic farmer since 1978. Researches organic grain, reduced tillage, and cover crops for Cornell University.


Farm Lease Clinic  (Intro- Intermediate)

A hands-on session on farm leases and leasing. Participants will have the opportunity to go through a lease, troubleshoot leasing issues and concerns, and dive into some of the thornier aspects of renting land to farm.

Kathryn Ruhf:  Senior Program Director and MA Field Agent. Thirty years' experience in land access, farm tenure, and lease agreements.


A Farming Sabbatical:  Impossible or Essential? (All Levels)

We have both taken farming sabbaticals with our families in Central/South America during the farming season.  These experiences involved years of planning related to both our farms and our families.  We will share ways that we were able to make this happen, discuss the challenges and provide ideas for those that are hoping, one of these years, to step away from the farm.

Don Zasada: Owner and Manager of Caretaker Farm in Williamstown, MA 

Elizabeth Keen: Owner and Manager of Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, MA


Farmer Files (Intermediate)

Record-keeping is the least favored chore on most farms, yet is critical to fully understand the productive capacity and profitability of various enterprises and to make sound financial decisions. This farmer-led panel (Laura Davis, Dan Berube, and Chris Yoder) will discuss record-keeping strategies and how to incorporate it into your daily work flow.

Maria Smith: Farmland Matching Service Coordinator


Scaling Up for Intermediated Markets  (Intro-Intermediate)

Intermediated markets include opportunities in the local supply chain that are not DTC transactions.   This workshop will explore different scales of production and how expansion relates to personal and farm goals.  It will offer strategies in whole-farm planning, market and crop diversification, and other techniques for lowering risks and increasing farm revenue. 

Andy Pressman:  Andy is a farmer and ATTRA Specialist in small-scale intensive farming systems and whole-farm planning.    


Growing Grain in New England (Introductory- Intermediate)

Grain production is virtually unknown in New England. Yet our climate and soils can produce high yields of delicious grains and beans that add diversity to our crop rotations, CSA shares and local diets. We will cover agronomy, soil impacts, disease management, harvesting, processing and marketing of wheat, barley, corn, beans and other crops.

Noah Kellerman: Farmer at Aprilla Farm in Essex, MA. Member of NOFA/Mass board.


NUBIA: Growing Food & Community in Boston  (Introductory)

NUBIA, a small refugee-run non-profit in Roxbury, MA, began growing food on a single community garden plot in ‘08, and has since grown to farming on nine sites in Boston. We will describe our journey, including our experience with acquiring and amending urban land, building organizational capacity, growing cultural crops, donating and selling produce, and expanding our programs.

Sayed Mohamed-Nour: Sayed is the Executive Director of NUBIA and began the Seed & Yield urban agriculture program in 2008.

Emily Barbour: Emily has been working at NUBIA since August 2015 as the Office and Program Manager.


Achieving a Living Wage for Farmer & Farm Worker   (All Levels)

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? In this roundtable discussion, we will discuss the challenges organic farmers face practicing their social justice values, while ensuring that both they & their workers are paid fairly.

Jen Salinetti: Jen serves on the board of the Berkshire Coop Market and is NOFA's representative to the board of the Agricultural Justice Project

Louis Battalen: Serves on the NOFA Interstate Council's Fair Trade Committee and is NOFA's representative to the Domestic Fair Trade Association


Urban Food Justice: A Model for Mobile Markets (Introductory)

Learn about food justice and how successful management of farmers markets in food-insecure neighborhoods can strengthen local agriculture. Then take a tour of the Regional Environmental Council's (REC) Mobile Market and learn how mobile markets are paving the way to even greater food access.

Noel Allen: Farmers Market Coordinator for the Regional Environmental Council in Worcester, MA.


Cultivating The Mycocosm: Fungal Explorations in your Woods & Garden (Introductory)

This workshop will teach you the techniques necessary to grow edible mushrooms in your landscape, whether it be a vegetable garden, orchard or forest. We will discuss companion planting with fungi, shiitake log cultivation and explore how to make use of waste materials and neglected spaces through mushroom cultivation. This workshop will cover the techniques necessary to grow Shiitake, Oyster, Wine Cap, Lion's Mane and many other species of mushrooms.

Dan Bensonoff: NOFA/Mass Education Events Organizer & Policy Director, vegetable, fruit and fungi grower


The Up-to-Date Advantages of Heirloom Vegetables(Introductory)

Heirloom vegetables connect us to the past, but preserving them is not the only reason for growing them. They are the result of many years of careful selection by home gardeners. Discover versatile antique vegetables and see how they extend the season, are adapted to New England, store well, lend themselves to seed-saving, and bring robust flavors to the table. 

Christie Higginbottom: Garden Historian, Old Sturbridge Village


*CANCELLED*Water & Regenerative Land Management (Introductory)

Solutions to climate change can be found in plain sight. Those who work with the land know that climate change is a symptom of distorted carbon, water and energy cycles. Regenerative land management is the practice of restoring those cycles. This talk will center on how restoring water cycles to their natural state can help damaged lands recover.

Judith D. Schwartz: Author-Water In Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World (St. Martin's Press) and Cows Save the Planet (Chelsea Green)


Growing Community on a Suburban Permaculture Homestead  (Introductory)

 You don't need a large property or a lot of money in order to live close to the land, surrounded by your friends. In this case study, hear how we've used the permaculture design process to establish a vibrant homestead on one acre. Learn how we invested in relationships with our community and utilized social capital to make it possible.

Ashley Schenk: Co-founded Broadfork Permaculture, a co-operative landscape design company in Western Mass, and builds earthen ovens.


Healthy Bees Require Management  (Intermediate)

Basic beekeeping practices have worked for a hundred years. Today new threats require adjusting best management practices to include prevention, an understanding of honeybee needs, and an awareness of those environmental conditions that increase risks to a colony. Bonita & Dan will offer an overview of how they have successfully raised bees for the past fifteen years.

Dan Conlon: Owner Warm Colors Apiary

Bonita Conlon: Owner Warm Colors Apiary


Landscaping to Support Beneficial Insects in New England  (Intro-Intermediate)

Learn how, through careful plant selection and landscaping strategies, you can support healthy populations of important beneficial insects in your New England backyard, woods, organic farm, school or churchyard. Life cycles and habitat needs of native bees, butterflies, moths, and pest predators such as parasitic flies and wasps will be explained.

Ellen Sousa: Native plant nursery owner, garden coach, designer, and author at Turkey Hill Brook Farm, Spencer MA.


Making Kefir and Kefir Cheese (Introductory)

I started making raw milk kefir in January 2008 and it was the catalyst that got me out of a wheelchair. Learn about making kefir from raw milk, facts about what milk to use, and how to make simple kefir cheese. May have a few grains to share with participants. Will have samples to taste. Handouts offered.

Pam Raymond: Pam and David raise grass fed beef, broilers, pigs, and layers for their own use, and organic vegetable/herb gardens.


Nanoparticles in Food: The New GMOs  (All Levels)

Release into the food supply first, assess risks later. Just as GMOs quietly entered the market place, so too did nanoparticles in food. What is the truth behind the use of this microscopic technology?  Where does the FDA stand? What are its implications for health and welfare of the public?

Darryl Benjamin:  Darryl Benjamin is a writer, educator, and farm-to-table advocate. His new book is Farm to Table: The Essential Guide.


Natural Dyeing with Wool  (Introductory, Intermediate)

Want to do some natural dyeing but don't have botanicals available in the winter? Join us as we use natural dyes in powder form! Just be sure to wear old clothes or bring an apron.

Betsy Alspach:  Betsy is co-owner of Eagle Lake Fibers and has been happily spinning for 20 years.

Christine McCluskey:  Christine is co-owner of Eagle Lake Fibers has been spinning and dyeing for several years.

Successful Rotational Grazing using Electric Netting  (Introductory)

Rotational grazing of animals can double your stocking rates and keep your animals and grasses healthier.  Learn about the different options for electric netting and tricks on how to make these systems more effective and easier to use.

David Kennard:  David Kennard of Wellscroft Fence Systems has helped thousands of farmers protect and graze livestock for over 40 years.


Keeping Happy Healthy Hogs  (Introductory)

An introduction to raising organic hogs efficiently and humanely. Learn your options for breeding, feeding, housing, and marketing pork that you and your customers can feel good about eating.

Alice Percy:  Fedco Organic Growers Supply; former owner/operator of Treble Ridge Farm


Microorganisms: the Unseen Workers of the World  (All levels)

The microbiome of the soil quietly provides essential ecosystem benefits related to flows of water, carbon and nutrients—all related to climate resiliency. If you understand the principles for keeping those tiny workers happy, you can develop unique carbon-farming practices to meet your own goals, and improve the health of your customers, your watershed, and your world.

Didi Pershouse:  Author of The Ecology of Care. Curriculum Developer at Soil Carbon Coalition. Founder of Center for Sustainable Medicine


On-Farm Composting for Effective Green Waste 'Disposal'(Intermediate- Advanced)

Learn practices to more effectively recycle your culls, trimmings, weeds, and any green waste. Learn weekly, monthly and seasonal tasks, sense diagnsotics for assessing pile health, and how to identify potential feedstocks from both the farm and the wider community to enhance your compost production and quality.

Andrew Brousseau: Is an earth scientist and co-owner of Black Earth Compost.


Practical Ways of Building Soil Carbon & Farm Viability (All levels)We will discuss the latest techniques, tools, and methods for growing annual vegetables in ways which build soil carbon and are practical for small farmers to adopt.

Jack Kittredge: Farmer, Carbon analyst, writer

Julie Rawson: Farmer, NOFA/Mass Exec. Director


Intensive No-Till Vegetable Production (Intermediate, Advanced)

Learn methods for intensively growing vegetable crops without disturbing the soil through tillage or cultivation. Bryan will present the techniques he uses: multi-cropping, mowing, solarizing, weed-free composting, mulching, broadcast seeding, and weed control. This system has been commercially utilized at his Tobacco Road Farm for more than 5 years.

Bryan O'Hara: Has grown vegetables at Tobacco Road Farm in Lebanon, CT for 25 years.


The Basics of Biochar (Introductory)

Curious about what scientific research can tell us about biochar and crop performance? Professor Emily Cole will explain the chemical, biological, and physical characteristics of biochar, and present results from a multi-year UMass field study on how soil biology and crop yields respond to biochar application.

Emily Cole: Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Westfield State University


Seedling Production for Spring Revenue  (Introductory, Intermediate)

In this workshop, I will discuss how I added seedling production to my existing small-scale vegetable market garden, with minimal capital investment, to boost spring income.  I will cover the basics of how I produce, manage and track the seedlings in my greenhouse, to how and to whom I market the plants. 

Laura Meister:  Farmer/Owner, Farm Girl Farm


Advanced Vining/Fruiting Crops in Protected Culture (Part 2) (Advanced)

This workshop will cover some of the more advanced techniques for greenhouse and hoophouse growers of fruiting crops- crop steering, balancing sources and sinks, CO2 augmentation, active plants, pre-day and pre-night treatments for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant.

Andrew Mefferd:  Editor, Growing for Market Magazine


SARE-Research on Disease Control in Winter Spinach Tunnels  (Intermediate- Advanced)

Review key diseases of spinach and their management, report on a SARE-Partner project comparing OMRI-approved fungicides for efficacy in improving stand and reducing disease, and have a Q&A with Danya who is an experienced producer of winter greens for wholesale and other markets. We can also answer questions about doing on-farm research and applying for grants.

Susan Scheufele:  Sue is a UMass Extension Educator specializing in outreach and applied research on vegetable pest management.

Danya Teitelbaum:  Danya owns Queen's Greens Farm, a diverse vegetable farm with a focus on year round production of greens.


 Is it Worth it to Grow Bok Choi? (Intermediate-Advanced)

The only way to find out is to make enterprise budgets for specific crops within your diversified farm. Derek will walk participants through the steps involved in enterprise analysis. Chris will describe the practical realities of analyzing their bok choi and arugula crops, including performing data collection in the field, conclusions drawn, and how the resulting analysis will inform future planning.

Derek Christianson: Owner-operator of Brix Bounty Farm in South Dartmouth MA, outgoing Vice President of the NOFA/Mass board

Chris Kantlehner: Farmer, White Barn Farm in Wrentham, MA.


Gardening Across Generations and Cultures: A Teaching Model  (Introductory)

We present a model for an intergenerational and cross-cultural urban teaching garden. WSU students work with elementary school students at a multilingual magnet school and elderly residents of a public housing project to foster a collaborative environment to learn about sustainability and contribute diverse knowledge and practice across generations and cultures.

Pam Saffer:  Director, Garden for All Ages

Enrique Torres:  Student Coordinator for the Garden


Gaining Power & A Seat at the Table (All Levels)

How can farmers exert more agency within the food distribution system? Showcasing successful models, such as Farm Fresh Rhode Island's farm-to-business delivery system, Market Mobile, we will explore various distribution models with attention to improving farmer access to the local food marketplace while increasing both farmer profits and food access for all populations.

Michelle Cruz: Cruz is the Business Development & Outreach Manager at Farm Fresh RI, CEO of Natural Creola, and co-founder-Urban FACTS

Georgina Sarpong: Sarong is the Farmers Markets Program Manager at Farm Fresh RI, chef and co-founder of Urban FACTS

Enhanced Productivity for Spring and Summer Gardens (Intro-Intermediate)

High productivity depends on getting an early start and choosing crops compatible with seasonal weather patterns.  Crop varieties, fertility inputs, watering schedules, and seedling trays plus seed-staring mixes also play a key role.  In 2016, our spring & summer garden yielded 6797 pounds of produce — without a greenhouse — on one-eleventh of an acre, our best year ever.

Steve Walach: Teaches organic gardening in middle schools for 17 years & teaches master gardeners at Bristol CC.


Resilient Water Systems For Drought and Flood (Intermediate, Advanced)

More than ever erratic weather patterns leave us with too much or too little water. We need to plan for uncertainty and design for resilience. We’ll consider rainwater collection, hillside structures like swales and terraces, keyline, ponds, tanks, stormwater planning, and greywater.

Jono Neiger: A dedicated teacher and practitioner of design for sustainability and permaculture.


Stand-Alone Solar-Powered Automated Drip Irrigation System (Introductory)

We'll cover design considerations for a small-but-scalable, cost effective drip irrigation system powered by the sun, fed by rain barrels, controlled by a micro-controller, and programmed by you. If you are interested in the basics of off-the-shelf irrigation systems, small battery-tied solar kits, Arduino micro-controllers, and can cut and paste on a computer, join us!

David Schmidt: Has over a decade of experience working the field of energy and sustainability management. He is also a home gardener.


Organic Blueberry Production

(Intro- Intermediate)

This workshop will cover the elements of organic blueberry production for beginning or intermediate growers. The concepts of site/soil requirements, plant nutrition, plant spacing and early care, mulching, pruning and pest management will be covered.

Sonia Schloemann: Sonia has been an Educator with UMass Extension for 30 years focusing on sustainable production and IPM for berries.


Indoor Mushroom Cultivation

(All Levels)

Learn how to set up your very own grow room and start transforming local waste from your community into food, medicine, compost, and a means to clean up environmental pollution. Transform a basement, barn, or other area into a space to grow Oyster, Shitake and Lionsmane mushrooms. Start growing mushrooms today!

Alex Dorr: Spawn Production and Clean-Room certified by Aloha Medicinals; has worked with Fungi Ally (Hadley, MA) and taught fungi workshops across the country.


Herbal Antibiotics & Antivirals for Colds, Flus & Prevention(Intro-Intermediate)

As pharmaceutical antibiotics lose ground in fighting illness, powerful traditional plant medicines come forward. We will review how plant medicines work differently than pharmaceutical antibiotics, and discuss Stephen Harrod Buhner's work on herbal antivirals, antibiotics, and lyme disease. We will also sample herbs, discuss their use, and identify which can be wild-crafted or grown in our area.

Sarah Stockwell-Arthen: Herbalist for 25 years, growing and preparing plant medicines at Hilltown Herbals. Student of Harrod Buhner’s work.


Healthy Cooking with Culinary Professionals  (Intermediate)

This workshop will teach you how to prepare creative meals with focus on health and wellness.  This class will provide guidance on sourcing local produce, using seasonal varieties, and utilizing more of your CSA share or farmers market offerings.  You will also gain ideas on what to prepare, how to prep, cook, and even season properly.

Rich Perna: Passionate about cooking with organic foods that are locally sourced. District Manager, Chartwells Higher Ed; NOFA/Mass Board.


Farming with Beneficial Insects (All Levels)

Learn about supporting beneficial insects that provide pest control in this workshop. Conservation biological control is a science-based pest management strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing or eliminating the need for pesticides.

Jarrod Fowler: Pollinator Conservation and Conservation Biocontrol Specialist, New England and Northeast Regions, The Xerces Society


The Beekeeper's Year  (Intro-Intermediate)

The Beekeeper's Year will provide a step by step guide to the beekeeper's duties throughout the year and walk beginning beekeepers through the necessary management steps in a first and second year hive.  We will discuss the difference between a full hive inspection and a less invasive inspection, why each are important, and when they should be conducted. 

Angela Roell:  Angela Roell is a founding member of Yard Birds Farm, a 21 acre honeybee farm and education center in Western Mass.

Principles of Biological Systems & Implications (Intermediate)
This workshop, applicable to all growing scales, will provide an overview of the conditions plants need to flourish. We will discuss practical strategies for maintaining air, water, life, minerals and food in the soil all year long, as well as the broader implications of such practices. Dan Kittredge: Executive Director, Bionutrient Food Association


The Independent Farmstead: Feeding the Farm from the Farm (Intro- Intermediate)

The other Three Sisters—ruminants, pigs and poultry—move homesteading to a new level of independence on the integrated farmstead, as ruminants convert solar energy into milk, meat and manure, with pigs and chickens on the job storing surplus nutrients, cleaning up wastes, and building soil fertility  for an overall increase of health, diversity and resilience.

Shawn Dougherty: Homesteader, grass farmer, dairyman; author of The Independent Farmstead, CGP 2016

Beth Dougherty: Homesteader, grass farmer, dairywoman; author of The Independent Farmstead, CGP 2016


Goats Are A Girl's (And the Soil's) Best Friend  (Intro-Intermediate)

If you love goats, this intensive workshop is for you! Learn about natural goat care, running a home dairy, making delicious goat milk products, and building the health of your garden soil with goat manure. We will cover basic goat health needs, natural herd management practices (including herbal remedies), low tech dairying, simple recipes, and composting.

Melissa Hoffer:  I own Red Goat Farm, a small farm where I raise dairy goats, grow organic vegetables and fruits and keep bees naturally.


Cover Crop Mixtures for Soil Health  (Intermediate, Advanced)

Cover cropping is a best practice for soil health. Does scientific research prove the benefits of multi-species cover crop mixtures? How can we design cover crop mixtures tailored to our specific production system? What kind of challenges do they present? Local research on mixtures of winter-killed cover crops, including forage radish, will be presented.

Julie Fine:  Graduate Student, UMass Amherst, Stockbridge School of Ag. Julie's research is focused on cover crops and soil health.


Using Biochar in Organic Growing Systems  (Introductory)

This workshop will introduce the unique properties of biochar and explain how it benefits existing organic farming practices. This workshop will cover how to differentiate biochar products and the importance of source material. Several methods of adding biochar to existing farming practices will be discussed.

Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE: Hugh McLaughlin is the CTO of NextChar and an expert on the properties and utilization of biochar


Carbon Farming: A Roundtable Discussion (Intermediate-Advanced)

Are you working toward or actively implementing practices that increase soil carbon sequestration? Farmers Jack and Casey will kick off a moderated, participant-driven discussion with a focus on practical strategies for on-farm tillage reduction. Other topics may include cover-cropping innovations, ways to integrate mulches, and other ideas.

Allison Houghton (Moderator): NOFA/Mass Education Director.

Jack Kittredge: Farmer, Carbon analyst, writer

Casey Townsend: Farmer at Natick Community Farm


Advanced Seed Saving for the Farm & Garden (Intermediate, Advanced)

This workshop will cover ways to integrate seed saving and amateur plant breeding into the market farm or home garden.  We will quickly brushstroke over the politics behind the state of seed to emphasize the need to reincorporate this lost art into our growing.  Areas of focus will include brassicas, cucurbits, and corn.   

Bill Braun: Farmer and seed grower at Ivory Silo Farm in Westport, MA, NOFA/Mass Board.


Magic Numbers: Arithmetic for Farm Viability (All Levels)

Farmers commonly use simple numerical methods as guideposts for everyday decision-making. Join us to discuss three examples of such tools: the "magic numbers", the simplified enterprise budget, and the labor budget spreadsheet. Anyone interested in making a living farming is encouraged to join this participatory workshop & to bring his or her own farm budget.

Chris Yoder: Organic vegetable farmer at the 5 acre Vanguarden Farm in Dover, MA & Board member for Waltham Fields Community Farm


Growing Drought Resistant Vegetable Crops (Intermediate, Advanced)

What kinds of management decisions lead to drought resilience in vegetable crops? Derek will discuss crop selection, calibrated mineral applications to support efficient photosynthesis, root system development, and cell wall development, as well as metrics and methods for triage-when to walk away from a crop in dry conditions, and when to intervene.

Derek Christianson: Owner-operator of Brix Bounty Farm in Dartmouth MA; Derek grows 7 acres of non-irrigated crops on sandy loam soil.


Organic Certification: Boon or Bother?  (Introductory)

How much of a hassle is it to get certified? What documentation do you really need to keep in order for your annual inspection? Baystate Organic Certifiers has all the answers you need to decide whether to become officially “organic,” whether you are a farmer, husbandryperson, specialty producer or processor.

Don Persons:  Has farmed certified and non-certified, now an organic inspector.


Food Forest Design - Planning an Urban Forest Garden (Introductory)

This interactive workshop will start with a visual walk through of the Boston Food Forest site at Boston Nature Center as we learn to identify patterns found in nature. We will then dive into basics of companion planting and polycultures – practicing how to design using niches. We will then brainstorm and discuss challenges specific to urban areas, including damaged soils.

Orion Kriegman: Director of Boston Food Forest Coalition

Dan Schenk: Forest Garden Coordinator at Boston Nature CenterJudith D. Schwartz


Prison Garden Ethics  (Introductory)

A conversation with prison garden educators of The New Garden Society. Each year, The New Garden Society trains 100+ students in MA state prisons and youth detention facilities in the art and science of growing plants. Join us to discuss prison gardens and greenhouses as tools for healing, expanded healthy food access and skill-building for our incarcerated neighbors. 

Renee Portanova:  Co-Founder and Director the New Garden Society


Starting a Permaculture-based Edible Landscaping Business In this collaborative presentation, Dave, Noah and Lilani will discuss how they started their permaculture-based landscaping businesses, with special attention to crucial considerations such as organizational structures (sole proprietorship, co-op, etc.) financing, marketing/branding, key lessons learned, and more.

Dave Scandurra: Edible Landscapes of Cape Cod. Dave started Edible Landscapes of Cape Cod in the early spring of 2012.

Noah Mckenna: Noah is co-founder/member/owner of Restoring Roots Landscape Co-op based in Jamaica Plain MA.

Lilani Davidson: Educator, co-founder/ co-owner of Broadfork Permaculture (cooperative) in Montague MA.


Backyard Organic Farming (Introductory)

Learn how to run your own micro-scale commercial farm enterprise, or just become better at providing fresh foods for your family. Presenters Andy and Val Tomolonis ran a small-scale diversified organic CSA from their 1-acre suburban plot, supplying organic veggies, fruit, vegetables, berries and eggs for eight families per year.

Andy Tomolonis:  Garden writer, backyard farmer, award-winning journalist and author of the book, Organic Hobby Farming.

Valerie Tomolonis:  Backyard farmer, beekeeper. Co-managed Mother Cluckers CSA.  Also makes and markets natural soaps, lip balms, jams, etc.


Get The Max From Your Garden - Season Extension Strategies (Introductory)

Season extension is very doable without the expense of big greenhouses or fancy equipment.  Learn to use variety choice, seedlings instead of direct seeding, succession plantings, and simple methods of covering crops - in both spring and fall - to extend your season.  Explore some simple building projects to add to your repertoire of season extension strategies.

Amy Frances LeBlanc: Tomato, garlic grower, market gardener, enthusiastic cook. Farm is in the foothills, Zone 4, season extension is a must!


Year-round Indoor Salad Gardening  (Introductory)

In a few simple steps you can grow all the fresh salad greens you need for the winter months or throughout the entire year without a lot of special equipment.  No lights, no pumps, no greenhouse needed. I will demonstrate the technique, show pictures of my Indoor Salad Garden and serve a salad to everyone to try.

Peter Burke:  An avid gardener himself author Peter Burke has been teaching garden classes since 2006 throughout N. E and NY.

Jake Burke: Studied Sustainable Ag & Food Systems at Hampshire College; has been co-teaching with Peter for ten years.


Dehydrate Everything (Introductory)

Dehydrating is easy, fun, saves money and is very healthy. At this workshop, I will show two types of dehydrators, and explore methods to dehydrate using the oven or car windshield. I will also share samples, answer questions, and take away the mystery of dehydrating food and craft items.

Carrie Novak: I have been a long term gardener and in the past two years have begun dehydrating nearly everything that I can think of.

Daniel Novak: I assist my wife in her gardening endeavors and enjoy helping her sample her dehydrated creations.


Ease Stress and Anxiety with Herbal Preparations (Introductory)

The northeast supports the growth of wild and cultivated herbs that calm the nervous system and repair the body from stress. Incorporating locally abundant herbs into our lives can invite prolonged relaxation for the body, mind, and spirit. Demonstrations of herbal teas, elixirs, honeys, and oils. Taste tests, recipes and references for sourcing herbs included.

Hannah Jacobson-Hardy: Community herbalist and wellness coach of Sweet Birch Herbals and owner of Full Moon Ghee.


Sustainable Hops Production for Home & Market  (Introductory)

Participants in this workshop will learn about the history, botany, and uses of the hop plant and what makes it an essential ingredient in beer. Participants will learn about about current practices in the hop industry as well as techniques for propagation, cultivation, harvest, processing of hops on a small scale, for home use and marketing of hops to small brewers.

Laura Ten Eyck:  Laura Ten Eyck co-authored The Hop Growers Handbook

Dietrich Gehring:  Dietrich Gehring co-authored The Hop Growers Handbook


Oxen in the Field & Woodlot (Introductory)

Ever thought of working alongside a thousand-pound pet capable of massive strength? How bout a pair of them? This workshop is an introduction to oxen and the draft power they can provide. We’ll talk about the potential benefits these large bovines could bring to your farm, woodlot, homestead and life.

Sophie Courser: Sophie trains a pair of oxen at Alprilla Farm in Essex MA, where she also raises veggies, grains and beef cattle.


Growing Cut Flowers for CSA & Market (Introductory)

Cut flowers can make a great addition to a CSA offering as well as to farmers market. Christina will present the basics of chemical free, local flower production in New England, including varieties, timing, tools, cultivation and mulching strategies, integration into crop rotation strategy, post-harvest handling, pricing and marketing.

Christina Dedora: Christina runs Blue Skys Farm, a 2-acre CSA and market farm, specializing in chemical-free flowers, vegetables & herbs.


Soap Making 101 (Introductory)

Learn to make soaps using only pure essential oils, natural minerals and botanical ingredients to scent, color, and texture our finished products. Each student will get a crash course in aromatherapy and will go home with two or more bars of soap customized to your taste in class, plus complete instructions for doing larger batches at home.

Rosemary Roman Nolan: Teacher & entrepreneur with over a decade of experience sharing ways to make natural bodycare products.


Helping Family and Friends to Identify and Avoid GMOs (All Levels)

You know how to avoid GMOs, but some of the people you care most about don’t share your concerns. Workshop participants will learn strategies, and information to effectively influence others to avoid GMO foods.  Participants will share their own experiences. This important workshop is for anyone interested in protecting their family and friends from the dangers of GMOs.

Ed Stockman: Biologist, fourth generation farmer and co-founder of Mass Right To Know GMOs


Bee Hive Anatomy   (Intro-Intermediate)

Hive Anatomy will cover the various honeybees and the roles they play in the hive, the social structure of the bee hive, important roles workers play throughout their lives and the role of pollen, propolis, wax and honey within the hive.  Equipment needs for start up will also be discussed. 

Angela Roell:  Angela Roell is the founder of Yard Birds Farm, a honeybee farm and education center in Western Massachusetts.

Action for Pollination Legislation (All Levels)

Join with Rep. Carolyn Dykema, a champion for pollinators in the State House, organizer Martin Dagoberto and other guests, to hear the status of state-level legislation to protect pollinators. How can we use grassroots power to challenge the pesticide companies and other special interests who threaten our pollinators? Bee at this workshop to help us figure it out!

Carolyn Dykema: State Representative for 8th Middlesex District, chief sponsor of the proposed Pollinator Protection Act

Martin Dagoberto: Community organizer for food sovereignty and social justice, agroecology researcher, and bee advocate

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