COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR FARMERS AND CONSUMERS

2021 Ag & Food Workshops

Sunday 2/28

1:45 – 2:45: NRCS Resources in Reaching Your Soil Health Goals
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to help farmers and landowners address natural resource concerns on their land while keeping the land productive and functioning. Improving and maintaining soil health is one of the tools in our toolbox that can lead to better production, fewer inputs, decrease in soil erosion, and more climate-smart farming. Science has evolved to recognize soil as a dynamic, living resource that requires proper care to maintain and improve. 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 on various types of land. We will also provide information on federal and local programs that can help you improve the health of your soil.
Speaker: Maggie Payne, NRCS

1:45 – 2:45: Building Resilience Through Income Diversification Strategies
Value-added products, online sales, agritourism, and other income diversification strategies can help your farm thrive. But how do you know which strategies make sense for your farm? We’ll discuss how to capitalize on marketplace trends, how to conduct market research to identify opportunities; and look at examples from several farms.
Speaker: Myrna Greenfield, Good Egg Marketing

1:45 – 2:45: Land Access Roundtable
Join a powerhouse group to discuss land access in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Speakers:
Scott Soares (Moderator)
Severine von Tscharner Fleming
Linda Vandeveer, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust
Jenn Dubois, Westport Land Trust
Ashley Randle, Deputy Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Tucker Manley, Russells Mills Flower Co.
Jae Silverman, Land for Good

3:00 – 4:00: Growing Your Own Food From Seed to Seedling
Learn the basics of starting your own vegetable seedlings and you’ll enjoy greater variety, lower costs, and a growing season that stretches into December.
We’ll cover seed choices, seed-starting mixes, containers, indoor light tables and homemade cold frames (low tunnels). If time allows, we’ll also explore successive planting techniques.
Speaker: Andy Tomolonis

3:00 – 4:00: Carcass Assessment
Learn to assess the value and quality of meat from livestock. Dr. Joe Emenheiser, a Diversified Livestock Instructor at UConn Extension, will explain the characteristics and methods that determine meat price, from fat content to tenderness. Familiarity with these concepts will help new livestock farmers better understand the industry and optimize their operations.
Speaker: Joe Eminheiser, UConn Extension

3:00 – 4:00: Interconnectivity of Beekeeping, Farmers & Food Access
Dan will discuss the history and importance honeybees have made to farming and our food availability. Honeybees have become the primary pollinator of food crops, but are an increasingly fragile species. Farmers, scientists, food businesses, and beekeepers share a mutual connection to the honeybees past and future. We will look at some of the techniques today’s beekeepers are using to improve health and productivity.
Speaker: Dan Conlon, Warm Colors Apiary

4:15 – 5:15: Identifying and Managing Diseases in Greenhouse Tomatoes
This presentation will discuss correct disease diagnosis and eco-friendly approaches to disease management by understanding pathogen features, disease cycles, host resistance, environmental factors, and biological control agents. Dr. Yonghao Li, a plant pathologist, works in Plant Disease Information Office at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, CT. He has more than 30 years of experience in gardening, disease diagnostics, and pest management.
Speaker: Yonghao Li, State of Connecticut

4:15 – 5:15: Hate Ticks?
Ticks have existed on this planet for nearly 400 million years. More than just annoying, the bite from a tick can pass on germs with life-altering consequences. (Step aside, great white sharks!) While most people know a thing or two about ticks, myths and inaccuracies about tick bite prevention abound. What people DON’T know often leaves their families and themselves vulnerable.
Understanding mosquito and tick biology holds the key to preventing disease. In this workshop, we will bust myths and review an integrated approach to fighting back against tickborne diseases. With the right knowledge and tools, tickborne diseases are preventable.
Speaker: Blake Dinius, Plymouth County Extension

4:15 – 5:15: Online Sales Strategies: The Aggregators’ Perspective
Do you want a look inside the mysterious workings, decision making strategies, and logistical maneuverings of local food aggregator and delivery hubs? Join us for a discussionfrom3 prominent regional aggregators who have brought you your farm fresh food through the pandemic. Learn how they do it? Are you a farmer looking to get into online sales and are not sure what aggregators are looking for, how they make their decisions, how they grade, store, and move produce? Join us for an inside look at the agregators’ perspective of the local food delivery movement.
Speakers:
Jesse Rye, Farm Fresh RI
Nikki Ayres, Farm Fresh RI
Dan King, Coastal Foodshed
Susan Murray, Coastal Foodshed
Insa Elliott, Market 2Day
Stephanie Chatelanat Marmier, Market 2Day

Monday 3/1

4:30 – 5:30: Adaptive Seed Stewardship for Climate Change
What can you do to amplify the diversity of your crops and the resilience of your farm? Resiliency is about relationship. Together, let’s dig deeper into 5 adaptive approaches that change the way we see seeds and save each other.
Speaker: Petra Page-Mann, Fruition Seeds

4:30 – 5:30: Berry Production 101: Raspberries & Blackberries
Learn steps to take prior to planting to help your plants succeed, as well as post-plant key practices from pruning, trellising, plant and soil health, and harvesting. Key pests and their management, as well as the role of beneficials will be discussed.
Speaker: Mary Concklin, UConn Extension

4:30 – 5:30: Planting for the Bees’ Needs
We will begin by reviewing the different types of bees, including the honey bee, and explore their life cycles and nesting habits. This sets the stage for how to recognize good bee habitat, how to develop good bee habitat, and how to estimate the possible impacts of pesticides. Finally, we will dwell on the how to support bee populations through the selection and maintenance of attractive flowering plants.
Speaker: Anne Averill, UMass Amherst

6:30 – 7:30: Making Intercropping Fit: A Strategy for Soil Health and Sustainability
The three sisters are a garden tale as old as time and an example of intercropping that nearly everyone knows. At the turn of the 20th century, intercropping was a popular farming and gardening method. Since, streamlined production strategies have caused the approach to fall out of favor on modern farms. However, a movement back to sustainable agriculture, supported by a century of tech and science, is bringing intercropping back into the discussion. This workshop will provide a crash course on the four different types of intercropping, management considerations, and how intercropping practices can provide enhanced ecosystem services and contribute to soil health management. We will touch on a variety of production systems ranging from perennial pasture and annual alternative forages to row cropping with vegetables or relay cropping cover crops into standing cash crops. Participants will leave with a framework to begin experimenting with intercropping in their operations.
Speaker: Sam Glaze-Corcoran, UMass Amherst

6:30 – 7:30: Nanoscale Nutrients to Suppress Crop Disease
Conventional agrichemicals’ low efficiency significantly undermines global food security, particularly given that global food production needs to increase 60-70% by 2050. Given that micronutrients can aid plant growth and defend against external stresses, researchers began to investigate the potential of nanoscale micronutrient platforms for disease management. In a number of studies, foliar amendment of nanoscale materials such as copper oxide have significantly reduced damage caused by fungal pathogens, resulting in enhanced growth and yield. Effectively tuning nanoscale material function and composition can increase plants’ tolerance to pathogens, as well as potentially significantly reduce agrichemical use. Results will be presented from several studies where manipulation of nanoparticle synthesis resulted in greater disease management potential and plant health by a range of agronomic endpoints.
Speaker: Jason White, UConn Extension

6:30 – 7:30: South Coast Food Policy Council
The Marion Institute is a non-profit organization working to create more equitable opportunities for health and wellness for all individuals and families. Through its Southcoast Food Policy Council (SFPC) program, the organization leads the effort at the municipal, regional, and state level to advocate for food justice, implement policies, and create systems changes that build healthier environments.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the SFPC has been working on the ground to demonstrate the need and value of local supply chains that create tight, circular economies among local producers and consumers, and the interpersonal relationships that make them resilient to external disruption. Join us to learn more about our work, how you can become involved, and how a food policy council supports a thriving regional food system.
Speaker: Liz Wiley, Marion Institute

Tuesday 3/2

4:30 – 5:30: No-Till Vegetables at Freedom Food Farm
We will discuss our transition to no-till systems at our farm, including tools and techniques we use for bed prep, planting, seeding, and cover crop management.
Speaker: Chuck Currie, Freedom Food Farm

4:30 – 5:30: Online Sales Strategies: The Farmers’ Perspective
Online sales became central to business survival during the pandemic, but they didn’t begin with the pandemic and they won’t end when we are all finally free of our masks. Join a discussion with 3 experienced farmers on how they incorporated online sales into their sales strategies before and during the pandemic. Learn how they plan to take online sales further, or not, after the pandemic. Hear from them what has worked and what hasn’t, and see if online sales might be right for your business.
Speakers:
Laura Smith, Lane Gardens
Milton Teixeira, Under the Sun Farm
Pat McNiff, Pat’s Pastured

6:30 – 7:30: Growing Biennials From Seed
Covering the basics of growing biennial crops from seed to seed.
Speaker: Bill Braun, Ivory Silo Farm

6:30 – 7:30: Cooking Nutritious Meals With Local Food
Join Southcoast Culinary Nutritionist, Haley Pollock in an educational piece “Cooking Like a Chef at Home.” Haley will illustrate how to set up your home kitchen for optimal cooking ease and pleasure. She will also speak to the most important components of cooking for wellness, which encompass curiosity, confidence, and intuition in the kitchen. In the spirit of resilient eating, Haley is sure to inspire you and your family to eat more locally and broaden your cooking & eating repertoire at your own kitchen table.
Speaker: Haley Pollock, The Holistic Trick

6:30 – 7:30: Pastured Poultry
Join Erin Williams of Bogside Acres, a grass-fed beef, pork and poultry farm in Plympton, MA, to learn how she went from a job in banking to owning a successful part-time farm business through infrastructure improvements.
Speakers:
Erin Williams, Bogside Acres
Kathryn Shepard, Revival Farm

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