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

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Farming

Having started three farms myself, I’ll share stories and photos of my beginnings and help participants think through resources you need – physical, financial, and mental – to start a farm, or expand a garden into a commercial enterprise. I stress substituting creativity for loans or a trust fund and point to many resources.

The increasing demand for local food is creating opportunities for commercial success through small-scale intensive crop production. Small-scale intensive crop production systems are making it possible to earn significant income on small land bases. This is particularly appealing to beginning farmers who are often challenged by barriers to production, such as lack of access to land and capital. They are allowing established farmers to either downsize or diversify their operations.

Overview of how I create budgets, track payments, make financial reports, plan for infrastructure improvement, and analyze financial health. Includes descriptions and pictures of documents I use.

This workshop will help you consider all of the various details that can determine the success of a start-up veggie CSA, from land and growing to marketing, distribution, labor, administration, and more. Many handouts are supplied to cover these issues as well as crop planning and further resources.

I will explain the basics of growing salad greens for harvest during winter, based on my experiences growing in unheated hoophouses. Topics covered will include hoophouse structures, crop selection, scheduling, and growing techniques.

Scratch Farm is a 2 acre mixed vegetable farm with an 80 member CSA. We rely on purchased compost and diligent crop rotation to reach desired yields. I will explain our rotation, experiments with tillage reduction, and systems for reducing the amount of work required for two people to make a living on 2 acres.

I’ll discuss common mistakes/problems that occur on small farms regarding labor practices and creative solutions to overcome them. Borrowing heavily from the Conservation Corps Model, Many Hands Farm Corps addresses many small farm labor issues and will be used as an example of ideas that can be proliferated.

Dan Kittredge grew up on a farm in central MA and has continued on his own path, building a profitable business from the ground up. He farms Kittredge Farm in North Brookfield, MA and grows salad greens 40 weeks out of the year.

Dan presented a comprehensive plan for how to grow greens on 1/4 acre, 20-40 weeks out of the year, earning $1,000 a week. The important goals to keep sight of are crop vigor and vitality, which lead to less work and greater profit.

This workshop will cover the subtle and less well understood realities that are foundational to comprehensive understanding of biological systems, including geometry of minerals, quantum coherence, and vibrational communication in cells. Understanding these concepts in relation to our crops can inform more effective, efficient, and cost appropriate management choices.

Greg Maslow, Newton Community Farm’s first farm manager, is now in his 7th season. “Seven years ago I was given the goal of growing 40 grand on an acre,” he said. Today he aims to grow $80,000 on a single acre.

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