Vegetable Winter School
Tuesdays, January 10th – February 28th, 9:00am – 3:30pm, Brigham Hill Community Farm, North Grafton, MA
Save the dates for this course designed to provide growers with regulatory certainty in a time of many regulatory changes. Leave winter school ready for a Commonwealth Quality Program (CQP) audit and the peace of mind that you are prepared to handle the requirements of: the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), EPA Worker Protection Standards (WPS), Nutrient Management Regulations, and changes in Employment Law. Get up to date on research and IPM practices important to vegetable growers and gain a competitive advantage in a heavily regulated market. Each farm will get detailed support in developing food safety and nutrient management plans, training employees in WPS, developing standard operating procedures compliant with regulations, and preparing an employee handbook and a whole farm IPM plan. This course is designed for farm owners, managers and employees. Learn more and register here.
2nd Wednesdays, Monthly through 2017, Your computer!
You know how to farm with precision – spacing your rows from maximum yield and efficiency in harvesting, and growing crops best suited for your soils and climate. But are you just as precise on the business side? Do you…Know how to maximize your profits? Know how much does it cost to grow, harvest and sell your products? Earn enough revenue at each farmers market or delivery run? Know what you need to sell to breakeven? Know what infrastructure investments will pay off? The Farmer’s Edge provides the business management skills, from basic to advance, that allow you to answer these questions year after year. Learn more and register here.
UMass Extension’s Greenhouse Management and Production for 2017!
Wednesday, January 11th, 9:30am-3:30pm, Publick House Historic Inn, Sturbridge, MA
Our program this year will feature a little bit of “why we do what we do” as well as “how-to’s” for greenhouse management and production. This program will be helpful for experienced growers as well as growers that are just beginning. The last session of the day will be a grower to grower panel and discussion on using alternatives to neonicotinoids to manage pests. Topics and speakers:Light, Temperature and Relative Humidity in Greenhouses and Management Strategies (photoperiod, light quality, DIF and vapor pressure deficit), Dr. Ryan Dickson University of New Hampshire, Irrigating Greenhouse Crops, Dr. Mandy Bayer, University of Massachusetts Extension, Greenhouse Plant Nutrition, Dr. Rosa Raudales, University of Connecticut Extension, Alternatives to Neonicotinoids for Managing Pests in Greenhouses, Grower to Grower Panel, Kerri Stafford, Cavicchio Greenhouses and Amanda Gioacchini, Pioneer Gardens. (1 pesticide credit, category 26 for this talk) Cost: $45/person, discount for additional registrations from same company. More details and registration.
NOFA/Mass Winter Conference
Saturday, January 14th, Worcester State University, Worcester, MA
Go deeper into your winter study sessions at the upcoming NOFA/Mass Winter Conference at Worcester State University on January 14th, 2017! Our full program of adult, teen and children’s courses will be just what you need to prepare for your next growing cycle! This year’s keynote speaker will be Paul Kaiser from Singing Frogs Farm in Sonoma County, CA. Paul and his wife Elizabeth have been successfully demonstrating how to produce high volume, high quality vegetables in an inspiring no-till system since 2007. Learn more and register here.
The Farm Business Plan: A Narrative for your Values, Goals, and Success
Wednesday, January 25th, 5:00pm – 8:30pm Holyoke Community College, Room 303, Holyoke, MA
Define where you really want to be in 3-5 years. Organize your thoughts to produce the farm life and business you want. Give direction and confidence in moving forward. The business plan is your farm’s goals and values through a story of investments, operations, finances, and marketing channels. In this workshop we will give you the tools to build that narrative by identifying the critical elements of a plan for operational, financial, and/or marketing purposes. We will also address how to turn your business plan into an action plan. For farmers who may have some pieces to the puzzle but do not currently have a formal plan. Attending this workshop makes you eligible for one-on-one consultations for business plan support. Presenter: Bill Bean of Green Planning and Coaching and Joanie Walker of Walker Farm at Whortleberry Hill. Learn more.
Landscape Heroes: Carbon, Water, and Biodiversity
Tuesday, January 31st, 8:00am – 5:00pm UMass Amherst Campus Center, Amherst, MA
An in-depth, inspiring conversation on carbon sequestration and learn what practical steps you can take to make a positive impact in your interactions with the landscape. From yards to farms to greenways to commons to gardens, how we treat our soils impacts the climate. During this day-long program we will learn from many land care practitioners, including land managers, farmers, researchers and conservationists, what practices can return carbon to our soils and restore our landscapes. Soil is alive. In fact, in one tablespoon of healthy soil there are more microorganisms than there are people on this planet. A highly functional, thriving soil has the capacity to store carbon, absorb water like a sponge and support a thriving landscape. For years we have viewed soil through its physical and chemical properties, yet now we are beginning to realize the crucial role of biology in soil function and health. Learn more.
South Coast Food Security Forum: Innovation for Food Security in the SouthCoast of Massachusetts: An Economic Imperative
Wednesday, February 1st, 5:00pm-8:30pm, Charlton College of Business @ UMass Dartmouth, Dartmouth, MA
Keynote by Project Bread Executive Director Ellen Parker, Short, powerful, presentations of local innovations. Panel discussion with local experts, Featuring locally sourced hors d’oeuvres Sponsored by: UMass Dartmouth Business Innovation Research Center. In collaboration with: UMass Dartmouth Leduc Center for Civic Engagement and Charlton College of Business, Southeastern MA Food Security Network, SEMAP (Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership), Coastline Elderly Services, Marion Institute and more! Learn more and register.
Brockton Urban Agriculture Plan Community Meeting
Wednesday, February 1st, 6:00pm, GAR Room, 2nd Floor City Hall, Brockton, MA
This first Community Meeting formally kicks off our planning process to create an Urban Agriculture Plan for the City of Brockton. We will be discussing the various opportunities for residents and entrepreneurs of Brockton in the Urban Ag Spectrum to learn what people are interested in and how we should shape the plan. Learn more.
The Farm Business Plan: Making it Work for You
Wednesday, February 1st, 5:00pm – 8:30pm Holyoke Community College, Room 303, Holyoke, MA
There are central elements of a business plan that you take away and continue to change daily, weekly, or seasonally. Any system of recordkeeping and operations you develop to get you through the first few years of operations need to be reviewed and updated as your farm changes. In this workshop we will break down some of these key parts and learn how to identify your resources, constraints, and management strategies for meeting your farms’ goals and its future. We will emphasize the financial aspects of planning and projection and address how this, as well as all business aspects, relates to each other. Attending this workshop makes you eligible for one-on-one consultations for business plan support. Presenters: Dorothy Suput of The Carrot Project, Caroline Pam of The Kitchen Garden, and Julia Shanks, Julia Shanks Food Consulting. Learn more.
Sustainable Farm Law 101
Wednesday, Feburary 8th, 8:30am – 4:45pm Brigham Hill Community Farm, Grafton, MA
Learn how to choose and form an optimal business entity for your farm, address priority employment law issues, reduce liability risks, craft effective lease and purchase documents, write secure sales documents, and work effectively with an insurance agent and more at Sustainable Farm Law 101. Direct to consumer farmers will learn all the basics for creating a legally secure operation. Co-facilitated by an attorney and a farmer, along with plenty of time for input from participates, this workshop will be filled with practical, on the ground perspectives. Expect a compelling, informative, and engaging workshop that will empower you to build a stronger, more resilient farm! This workshop is co-sponsored by Farm Commons and by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. Learn more.
Growing People: Leadership from the Inside Out
Thursday, Feburary 9th, 4:30pm – 9:00pm Northampton Council on Aging, Northampton, MA
In this highly participative workshop, we will learn some foundations of leadership including what most impacts results, a powerful process for identifying core values, four stages of team development and how to clarify roles easily so there’s less confusion, increased efficiency, and retention of staff. Coming from a background in organizational development, Jannie Dziadzio now focuses on her local community, supporting a number of MA farmers as a consultant and mentor. The last ½ hour will be an opportunity to ask questions related to you and your farm. Presenter: Jannie Dziadzio – Facilitator, Catalyst, and Consultant. Learn more.
Growing People: Constructive Conflict Resolution
Thursday, Feburary 16th, 4:30pm – 9:00pm Northampton Council on Aging, Northampton, MA
For most of us, conflict can be a loaded word; it’s something we shy away from. Disagreements will arise on the farm and, when handled well, can result in more effective communication and stronger relationships. During the height of a farm season, it is especially critical to maintain a balanced work environment. This is the second of a two-part series where we will discuss how to approach conflict on the farm with open and collaborative communication. The last ½ hour will be an opportunity to ask questions related to you and your farm. Presenter: Jannie Dziadzio – Facilitator, Catalyst, and Consultant. Learn more.
Farm Financing: Credit, Capital, and Cash – Oh My!
Tuesday, February 21st, 5:00pm – 8:30pm Holyoke Community College, Room 303, Holyoke, MA
Looking for help exploring financing opportunities for your farm? This session will provide information on the range of loan programs and business assistance that farm lenders and service providers offer, how different lenders work together, and what they each look for in applicants. Participants will be invited to take part in brief “speed-dating” meetings with lenders for personalized assistance. Presenters: Farm Credit East, Farm Service Agency, Equity Trust, The Carrot Project, PVGrows. Learn more.
Farming Smarter with Richard Wiswall (recordkeeping, budgets, and more!)
Wednesday, February 22nd, 8:30am – 4:00pm Brigham Hill Community Farm, North Grafton, MA
Richard’s experience from farming full time for the last 35 years, coupled with his thirst for appropriate farm business strategies, gives a hard-to-find authenticity to his workshops. Richard will lead this full day workshop focused on making a profit, record keeping strategies, building budgets, and improved financial management for your farm. Beginning and seasoned farmers alike will benefit, and share in some eye opening results. Learn more and register here.
10th Annual SEMAP Ag & Food Conference
Sunday, February 26th, 9:00am-5:30pm, Bristol Aggie, Dighton, MA
Whether you’re a professional farmer, a backyard gardener, or just curious about locally grown food, this is the event for you! Each year, the lineup includes workshops for the general public as well as info-packed sessions for farmers and gardeners of all experience levels. Also offering kids’ workshops! Registration includes a locally-sourced lunch and at the Resource Fair you’ll learn about local organizations and businesses that provide services and products to help you grow, whether you’ve got a hundred acres or a couple of window boxes. Learn more and register.
Local Specialty Crop & Local Food Trade Shows
Wednesday, March 1st, 8:30am – 2:00pm Northeastern University Curry Student Center, Boston, MA
*TWO TRADE SHOWS, ONE LOCATION, ONE TIME* Local Specialty Crop Trade Show – Exhibitors will include New England based farmers, produce distributors and local specialty crop producers (products made with 50% or more specialty crops also qualify). Please view the USDA definition of specialty crops here. This Trade Show is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Exhibition booths are free for specialty crop farmers and other specialty crop producers. Local Food Trade Show –This trade show is open to all non-specialty crop food producers including meat and dairy farms, fisheries, baked goods and other added value producers. Who should attend? Any wholesale buyers, who are interested in purchasing Massachusetts or New England-produced food items. These buyers can be supermarkets, co-ops, restaurants, hotels, institutions, schools, food processors in search of ingredients, distributors, or anyone else interested in local purchasing options. Learn more.
To Diversify or Not to Diversify? And How?
Wednesday, March 1st, 5:00pm – 8:30pm Holyoke Community College, Room 303, Holyoke, MA
Market fluctuation due to over saturation of farms, unforeseen weather issues, and changes in consumer demands all affect how farmers determine what to grow, where to sell it, and how to price their product. This workshop is for farmers who are interested in market diversification as a path to farm sustainability and profitability. We will use marketing channel assessment tools to project the potential outcomes. Come prepared as this class is interactive; we will look at real farm examples and work on your own farm situations. Presenter: Matt Leroux – Cornell Cooperative Extension. Learn more.
5th Annual Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference
Saturday, March 4th, 8:00am – 5:30pm Northeastern University Curry Student Center, Boston, MA
The 5th Annual Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference (UFC) is designed to advance the opportunities and address the barriers involved in cultivating a resilient and thriving Urban Farming sector. The UFC is a multi-sector stakeholder forum designed to share information regarding what is currently happening in Massachusetts. The UFC fosters solutions, sustainable networks and business relationships. Learn more.
NOFA/RI Winter Conference
Sunday, March 5th, 8:30am – 4:30pm, Hope & Main, Warren, MA
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of RI (N O F A / R I) Winter Conference is our largest educational and fundraising event of the year. The Conference will feature a full day of workshops with nationally recognized speakers in organic and sustainable agriculture as well as influential speakers from across Rhode Island and southeast New England, networking sessions, our annual meeting and a delicious potluck meal. This year’s Winter Conference has something for everyone, be they a gardener, farmer or fan of organic foods. Learn more.
QuickBooks For Farmers
Saturday, March 11th, 10:00am – 2:00pm Sackler Center for Medical Education, Boston, MA
Join New Entry and Julia Shanks for a practical, hands-on Quickbooks workshop for farmers! Learn how to: set up a chart of accounts that suits your business, enter transactions, track enterprise-specific data, and generate and interpret farm financial statements. This workshop will be 4 hours long with plenty of brain breaks and time for one-on-one coaching. All participants will be provided with a computer, QuickBooks software (for workshop use only), and snacks. Learn more and register here.
Land Tenure: Alternatives to Ownership and Negotiating a Lease
Tuesday, March 14th, 5:00pm – 8:30pm Holyoke Community College, Room 303, Holyoke, MA
This workshop will explore the alternatives to land ownership and the advantages and challenges to these specific arrangements. Learn how to negotiate and craft lease agreements and build good relationships with all stakeholders as business people and land stewards. We will also discuss where to find additional support based on your specific land needs and situations. Presenters: Rachel Murray and Kathy Ruhf – Land For Good Learn more.
Grant Essentials: Opportunities & Approaches
Wednesday, March 22nd, 5:00pm – 8:30pm Holyoke Community College, Room 303, Holyoke, MA
Grants are great for exploring and expanding new markets, building alt-energy structures, and exploring farm viability. Determine if a grant is the right source for you. This presentation will help you understand, develop, and submit successful grant applications. We will discuss a wide range of grants as well as a more detailed presentation of SARE and MDAR programs. The Kitchen Garden will talk about their process in applying for and receiving grant funding for various projects. Learn more.
New England Farm to Institution Conference
Wednesday, April 5th – Friday, April 7th, Leominster DoubleTree, Leominster, MA
The 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit will bring together more than 500 people who are leveraging the power of schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions to transform our food system. Please join hundreds of other farm to institution advocates – for two exciting days of learning, sharing, exploring and connecting. The event will convene representatives from institutional facilities, along with their food supply chain partners and farm to institution advocates, to maximize collective impact and overcome challenges to buying more local food. The summit will feature programming that focuses on farm to school, farm to campus and farm to health care, as well as cross-sector themes. Learn more.