3:15-4:15 pm – Workshop Session IV
Chapter Organizing with National Young Farmers Coalition - Caitlin Arnold
Integrating Ground-Cover Plants in an Edible Forest Setting - Dani Baker
Policies for Soil Health - Cat Buxton, Sarah Laeng-Gilliatt, Steven Keleti
Berries, Berries & More Berries: Strawberries Part II - Ron Christie
Beekeeping 101 - Randy Fleury
Get Inspired: Forest Bathing Retreat - Hannah Fries
Organic Fertigation - Trevor Hardy
Lean System Thinking Applied to Market Gardening: Part II - Ben Hartman
Grow Them, Don't Mow Them: Weeds FTW! - Jessica Labrie
Growing Winter Vegetables - Bryan O'Hara
Building Farm & Community Composting Capacity - James McSweeney
Nuts for the Northeast - Keith Morris
Adapting to Weather Extremes on Vegetable and Berry Farms - Alissa White
Managing Weeds Passively with No Till Permanent Raised Beds - Jennifer Wilhelm
Chapter Organizing with National Young Farmers Coalition
The National Young Farmers Coalition is a policy and advocacy organization working on issues young farmers face around the country. We currently have 42 chapters in 28 states, but none in New Hampshire! We'll discuss NYFC's work and how to get a chapter started here in New Hampshire, how to start advocating for yourselves as young farmers.
Caitlin Arnold works as the National Chapter Coordinator with the National Young Farmers Coalition, helping farmers to organize in their communities across the country. Before joining NYFC, Caitlin farmed for over ten years in Washington, Oregon and California.
Integrating Ground-Cover Plants in an Edible Forest Setting
This workshop will feature over 40 different perennial groundcover plants integrated in the certified organic "Enchanted Edible Forest: garden at Cross Island Farms including berries, herbs, edible and cut flowers, alliums, mulch plants, greens, vegetables, and nitrogen fixers. The growth habit, preferred habitat, food value, other uses, landscape appeal and potential income for each plant will be described.
Dani Baker is Co-Owner and full time farmer at Cross Island Farms in Northern NY State since 2006. She began the "Enchanted Edible Forest Garden" in 2013.
Policies for Soil Health
Cat Buxton and Sarah Laeng-Gilliatt, Steven Keleti
Cat and Sarah’s interests are in creating farmer-informed policies that incentivize and reward land managers for regenerative stewardship practices and/or dismantle barriers that prevent innovation toward healthy and productive ecosystems. How can we learn to ask better questions that guide us toward the changes we actually want to see? And how can we organize effectively to advocate for policies that serve us all?
Cat Buxton is a change facilitator working to build the social mycelium that holds our communities together. She promotes soil health and food system change through education and advocacy, working with individuals, schools, community groups and statewide organizations to make a difference one meal, one compost pile, and one landscape at a time. She leads Land Listener workshops with the Soil Carbon Coalition, and organizes the Upper Valley Apple Corps and a host of other projects including the Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition. She serves on the Board of Directors for Rural Vermont, the Soil Carbon Coalition, and Upper Valley Food Co-op. To learn more about her work visit www.growmorewasteless.com
Sarah Laeng-Gilliatt serves on the NOFA – NH Board and chairs the Policy Committee. She is owner of Main Street Cheese, LLC, a small goat dairy in Hancock, NH. She was the Food Policy Coordinator for the Acequia Association as well as the Coordinator of the Rio Arriba Food Policy Council, both in New Mexico. She has dedicated herself to vibrant local economies and food systems work for many years. She was a writing assistant to her mentor Helena Norberg-Hodge of Local Futures and studied at Schumacher College in England.
Steven Keleti is a volunteer environmental advocate with over thirty years of experience, most recently helping groups across the country in the work to promote healthy soils through state legislation. He wrote the initial draft healthy soils legislation for Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and Missouri, and helped with the initial drafts for Kansas and Colorado. He has been connecting with organizations and individuals in these and numerous additional states to support the work on state healthy soils legislation. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, he has a Ph.D. In Chemical Engineering, mostly working in imaging systems, and lives in Malden, Massachusetts, with his wife and two sons.
Berries, Berries & More Berries: Strawberries Part II
Strawberries are delicious, nutritious and easy to grow. We will cover all aspects of growing berries including soil & fertility, variety selection, pests & diseases, and pruning techniques.
Ron Christie is passionate about teaching people how to grow their own nutritious food for better health and well-being. He is an avid four-season grower and orchardist and loves sharing his experiences as a winter gardener and farmer. Ron worked for 16 years in the financial services industry before returning to New Hampshire in 2005 with his family. Living Earth Farm, a “certified organic” micro farm, was created three years later. Winter greens and salad mixes became a specialty. Over time, the farm expanded into berries, vines and fruit trees (especially apples).
Ron became a Master Gardener Volunteer in the spring of 2009. In 2010, he joined UNH Cooperative Extension as the Rockingham County Agricultural Resources Program Coordinator and directed the activities of the Master Gardener Volunteers in Rockingham. Research and experimentation was a big part of what went on at Living Earth Farm. With a bit of imagination and some creativity Ron developed processes for growing that improved quality, yields and efficiencies on the farm. All without the use of any pesticides, herbicides of fungicides (not even organic ones). Ron lives with his wife Mary and their two college-age children Steven and Julie in Stratham, NH.
Randy will give an overview of introductory beekeeping covering equipment, purchasing bees, package bees vs. nucleus colonies, colony management, diseases, parasites, and pests, as well as challenges he has experienced with treatment-free approaches.
Randy Fleury has been keeping bees in South Sutton, NH for 10 years and has experience with treatment-free approaches to beekeeping.
Get Inspired: Forest Bathing Retreat
People have been retreating to the woods for quiet, meditation, and inspiration for centuries, and recent research finds that time spent in the forest doesn’t just feel good but is, in fact, good for you. Inspired by the Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, Hannah combines her own reflections and guided mindfulness exercises with a curated selection of writing from poets, naturalists, artists, scientists, and thinkers, accompanied by beautiful photography.
Hannah Fries is the author of the book Forest Bathing Retreat as well as the poetry collection Little Terrarium. She grew up in New Hampshire, went to Dartmouth College, and later received an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College. She has worked as an editor at Orion magazine and Storey Publishing and is currently a freelance writer and editor with a specialty in environmental literature.
Learn the next step in drip irrigation; feeding through your driplines. This workshop will cover terminology, the different fertilizer injectors, OMRI approved water solubile fertlizers, fish fertilizers, and other nutrient specific fertilizers. Learn how to size your irrigation zones to allow for easy fertigation.
Trevor Hardy is a 7th generation farmer at Brookdale Fruit Farm Inc. in Hollis, New Hampshire. He received a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Western New England University. He works his family’s diversified fruit and vegetable farm alongside his father, brother and other family members. Trevor manages the farm supplies division of the family business that covers the northeast region of the US. He enjoys helping farmers, like himself, learn how to efficiently irrigate their crops and is constantly learning how new crop growing advancements can help to increase efficiency on the farm. Besides selling the irrigation products he also engineers irrigation designs for customers and NRCS projects. Trevor is currently the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau President, Vice President of the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association, and sits on other local and state boards.
Lean System Thinking Applied to Market Gardening: Part II
This practical workshop is geared toward small-scale market growers. Ben will explain the innovative techniques—inspired by lean thinking—that he and his wife Rachel use at Clay Bottom Farm to eliminate weeds and pests, manage soil, and cut out waste in the production of tomatoes, greens, and many other crops. You will go home with concrete ideas and strategies, borrowed from the lean system, to apply next season on your own vegetable operation.
Ben Hartman grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Indiana and graduated college with degrees in English and philosophy. He and his wife, Rachel Hershberger, own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where they make their living growing and selling specialty crops on less than one acre. Their food is sold locally to restaurants and cafeterias, at a farmers market, and through a community-supported-agriculture (CSA) program. The farm has twice won Edible Michiana’s Reader’s Choice award. The Lean Farm, Ben’s first book, won the Shingo Institute’s prestigious Research and Professional Publication Award. In 2017, Ben was named one of fifty emerging green leaders in the United States by Grist, and published a companion guide to The Lean Farm titled The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables. Clay Bottom Farm has developed an online course in lean farming, which can be found at theleanfarmschool.com.
Grow Them, Don’t Mow Them: Weeds FTW!
Do you know the value-added possibilities growing for free on your farm? In this inspiring and informative workshop, participants will explore wild native, naturalized, and invasive plants from an herbalist's perspective, with stories, tips, and recipes of how to turn them into food, medicine, liqueurs, and more. Learn the value of going fallow as we discuss feral friends like Burdock, Dandelion, Comfrey, Mullein, Saint John's Wort, Pig Weed, Plantain, Wild Rose, Barberry... even Autumn Olive!
Jessica LaBrie is a wise woman, integrative herbalist & aromatherapist specializing in workshops, apprenticeship programs, wise woman wellness counseling, and healing blends for wellness and joy. Owner of Blackbird’s Daughter Botanicals, LLC, co-founder of Mama’s Kiss Cannabis, and president of the New Hampshire Herbal Network, Jessica is dedicated to aiding people on their sacred life journeys by reconnecting them with nature's healing gifts and inspiring a new generation of herbalists.
Building Farm and Community Composting Capacity
Choice of methodology and raw material can make a big difference in a farm’s ability to create compost that is suitable for use in organic production or for sale in high value markets. Drawing from his 2019 book, Community-Scale Composting Systems: A Comprehensive Practical Guide to Closing the Food System Loop and Solving Our Waste Crisis, James will provide insight into the pros and cons of different composting systems, with a focus on creating consistency and efficiency through systems design and management. Having consulted with hundreds of farms in New England, along with composters ranging in scale from homesteads and schools, to large commercial composting operations, this talk is intended for both novice and experienced composters who are looking to develop their farm’s or community’s composting capacity.
James McSweeney is the author of Community-Scale Composting Systems, a comprehensive designer’s and practitioner’s manual for food scrap composters. He is founder of Compost Technical Services (CTS) LLC, a consulting practice that specializes in on-farm, commercial, and community-scaled organics recycling solutions, compost systems design, operational support, and composter education. Currently CTS provides a broad range of technical assistance to composters, large and small, across VT, MA, and beyond. Prior to CTS, James was Senior Compost Specialist at the Highfields Center for Composting. In 2011, James developed and delivered Vermont’s first Compost Operator Certification Program on behalf of the VT Agency of Natural Resources and has replicated the training, which is now in its sixth year. He has produced similar trainings with MA RecyclingWorks, and is a go to resource on compost operations and best management practices for composters across the Northeast. James was one of the founding members of Compost Power, a grassroots organization to advance compost heat recovery. With a background in agroecology and permaculture, restoring ecological integrity to our cities, communities, farms, and food systems is at the heart of James’ work. He lives in Eastern Massachusetts with his wife and three kids.
Nuts for the Northeast
Since the dawn of time, nuts have been some of the most important food plants for human beings. Nut trees and shrubs offer some of the most nutrient dense foods, provide habitat, show the potential for a 'carbon-negative' and flood resilient agriculture, and are economically valuable for a variety of products in addition to nuts themselves.
Join with grower and international farm designer Keith Morris to explore the fascinating ecology and mythology of a few nut trees particularly suited to growing on farms and in neighborhoods throughout in the northeast. We'll focus of hardy proven nuts, and introduce some of the breeding, trailing, and hybridizing happening at Willow Crossing Farm in Johnson, VT to select for disease resistance, organic production, high quality timber, oils, medicinal properties, and to migrate some important nuts typically grown in warmer regions. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding and appreciation of some trees commonly found in towns and hillsides, and be introduced to promising less common nuts.
Keith Morris is the founder of Willow Crossing Farm- Vermont's longest running Permaculture/ Agroforestry Research Site- producing fruits, nuts, eggs, herbs, nursery plants, solar power, farm dinners, educational events, kids programs, nature and yoga education with local schools, and small farm-based music festivals. Willow Crossing has been implemented entirely debt-free, and without pre-existing capital- through sweat equity and deliberate financial permaculture/ community-supported social design. Off farm, Keith helps growers and communities design appropriate infrastructure to make food systems more regenerative, resilient, and connected; and started the Permaculture Education programs at the University of Vermont, Sterling College, the Yestermorrow Design Build School, St. Mikes College, and Paul Smiths College, and with the USAID Farmer to Farmer Program.
Growing Winter Vegetables
Growing vegetables throughout the winter months can be both challenging and highly rewarding. This workshop will cover the critical details: proper soil fertility; light, air, and water management; high and low tunnel structures; crop timing and selection; snow management; pest management; seed production; harvest; and marketing.
Bryan O’Hara has been growing vegetables on his Connecticut farm, Tobacco Road for over 25 years. He speaks throughout the Northeast on vegetable production techniques and is known for providing “mountains of details in a concise, practical, and cohesive manner.” His farm produces high quality, nutrient-dense food using no pesticides and working with nature as much as possible in a close relationship. With an intensive focus on building the health of the soil, he employs no-till natural farming methods. Bryan also introduces indigenous microorganisms (IMOs) from the surrounding forest into his compost systems and foliar sprays to feed, protect, and invigorate their field soil and vegetable crops.
Adapting to Weather Extremes on Vegetable and Berry Farms
Results from a regional survey conducted last year highlight how 200 vegetable and berry farmers from the Northeast are adapting to the impacts of increasingly extreme weather. In this workshop, we will look at how site characteristics influence the strategies that farmers use to manage for drought and heavy precipitation. The session will close with farmer-to-farmer style discussions about promising ideas and resources needed to support growers across the region.
Alissa White spent over a decade working on farms in California and New England before returning to school at the University of Vermont to pursue a graduate degree. She now studies agroecology and works closely with extension and applied research projects across the northeast. Her work is driven by a belief that stakeholder participation in science is critical to creating useful and useable information. Alissa grew up on on organic food in New Hampshire and now lives in Vermont with her family.
Managing Weeds Passively with No Till Permanent Raised Beds
Organic farmers often rely on tillage to prepare beds and reduce weed competition, yet end up spending hours weeding and occasionally lose crops to weed overgrowth. Our farm's no-till permanent raised bed (PRB) system has proven to be an effective way to passively manage weeds, without the use of herbicides, plastic mulch, or time intensive manual weeding. This system also improves soil structure, builds SOM, and sequesters carbon. Learn how to establish a no-till PRB system on your farm.
Jennifer Wilhelm is a small fruit and vegetable grower at Fat Peach Farm, and a research and network coordinator for the NH Food Alliance. She is passionate about small scale, low input farming; regenerative agriculture; and no-till systems to decrease labor, while increasing yields and carbon storage.