NOFA/Mass: From Pig To Prosciutto: Rediscovering the Craft of Charcuterie
Saturday, December 10th – Sunday, December 11, Red Shirt Farm, Brookfield, MA
Ever wondered how you can make your own traditional prosciutto? Or sausage? Or maple-smoked bacon using local heritage pork raised on pasture? This class, taught by Jake Levin, the “Roving Butcher”, will take you step-by-step from a live pig that was raised organically by Red Shirt Farm all the way to the delicious brined, smoked, cured, and stuffed end products that many know and love. Along the way, you’ll learn how to properly and humanely dispatch, break down, and butcher a whole animal and how to use all of those odd bits to make amazing value-added products that will impress your friends and family. You’ll also get to sample some delicious pork products made by Jake throughout the class. Details here.
NOFA/RI: Apple Orchard Planting & Care
Sunday, December 11th, 1:00pm, Long Lane Orchard, Warren, RI
Dress for the weather and bring a shovel. Experienced orchardist, Spencer Morris, will discuss his strategy for planting apple trees at this site – every site is different. Hear how fruit trees are grafted and Spencer’s approach to nursery production. Learn to dig a hole, plant (do not throw the rocks back in!), support, rodent-proof and otherwise provide for the starts. Spencer will discuss his management practices (or lack of) for pruning and fruit production. Participants will hear about organic and traditional approaches and Spencer’s lessons in variety selection. Participants will plant apple trees. Spencer has planted trees during snow storms, so this workshop could be even more fun than expected! Spencer Morris has managed apple orchards for over 10 years. Long Lane Orchard has 450 dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees per acre. More than 35 apple varieties provide fresh eating, culinary uses and cider. Details here.
Webinar: Grassroots solutions for a just and sustainable food system
Tuesday, December 13th, 7:00pm-8:00pm, Your Computer!
Smallholder farmers still produce over 70% of the world’s food, many using sustainable and ancestral practices. Leah Penniman, activist-farmer at Soul Fire Farm, has worked with farmers in Haiti, Mexico, and Ghana to exchange ideas and mutual aid. What can we learn from those on the frontlines of the global food sovereignty movement? Join us for a conversation that explores agricultural best practices and policy priorities to move us toward a more just and sustainable food system. More details.
Expand Your Tunnel Vision: High Tunnel Production Conference
Wednesday, December 14th, 9:30am – 4:00pm, Radisson Manchester, Manchester, NH
This conference is for high tunnel vegetable growers and agricultural service providers of all experience levels. There will be plenty of opportunities to share expertise and learn from one another. Topics will include: advanced cultural practices for tunnel tomato and Insect & disease management in tunnels. Learn more and register here.
SEMAP Twilight Workshop: Plymouth Bay Wine & Wine Jelly Tasting
Wednesday, December 14th, 6:00 pm – 8:00pm, Plymouth Bay Winery, Plymouth, MA
Take some time off from the holiday hustle and bustle for a fun night out! Join SEMAP and Plymouth Bay Winery as we talk about the wine making process and sample some delicious local wines and wine jellies. All attendees will take home a souvenir wine glass and have the opportunity to purchase these yummy wines, jellies, and sauces. $15 SEMAP Members, $20 General Public. Learn more and register here.
Open Farm Day at Round the Bend Farm
Saturday, December 17th, 10:00am – 5:00pm, Round the Bend Farm, Dartmouth, MA
Join Round the Bend during one or all of their monthly Open Farm Days. These events are a great time to visit the farm, meet the team, purchase farm products from RTB and other local farmers, and be embraced by a like-minded community that is striving to create resilient communities for all to enjoy. Open Farm Days include: non-GMO and grass-fed meat, seasonal veggies, honey, maple syrup, and family friendly farm tours are available! Please Note – Payment is by cash or check only! More details.
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.
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.
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.
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 9th, 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.
10th Annual SEMAP Ag & Food Conference
Sunday, February 26th, 9:00am-5:00pm, Bristol Aggie, Dighton, MA
Join SEMAP for their 10th Annual Ag & Food Conference! Workshops for farmers, gardeners, foodies, and kids. Registration opening soon.
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.
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
Wedneday, 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.