Ag & Food Conference
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.
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.
Check back next year for details about our 2018 conference!
9:00 AM – Registration
9:30 AM – Opening Remarks
10:00 AM – Keynote
10:45 AM – Workshop #1
12:15 PM – Lunch
1:30 PM – Workshop #2
3:15 PM – Workshop #3
Multigenerational Farming in Southern New England, Megan Moniz and Jacob Dame
Megan Moniz and Jacob Dame will discuss how their family farm, Arruda’s Dairy in Tiverton, RI has survived and evolved since it’s inception in 1917. Learn about how the operation is functioning along with a history of the farm over the past 100 years.
SNAP Resource Workshop & Retailer Sign-up – Day long Drop in, 9:00 am – 5: 00 pm
A drop-in information session where you can get your farm, farm stand or farmers market authorized for SNAP (formerly food stamps) and receive your USDA FNS number the very same day! USDA staff will be on site to walk you through the process and assist with your application. Find out about wireless equipment options to process SNAP payments (as well as credit/debit) and learn about other resources available. If you intend on getting an FNS (SNAP) number, bring copies of the following documents which will be attached to your application: 1. Picture ID (driver’s license or passport) 2. Social Security Card (or other official document with your name and SSN) 3. Copy of voided check for bank account you will use to deposit funds. For non-profit 501(c)(3) Only: Farmers markets operated/sponsored by a non-profit are the ONLY applicants that are not required to submit verification of Social Security number for corporate officers/board members. Documentation Required: a. Copy of the IRS Determination Letter stating the organization is a 501(c)(3). A (c)(4) and (c)(6) will not be accepted. b. Letter from the sponsoring agency stating that they are sponsoring the farmers market and who they have appointed as their legal representative to operate the farmers market. c. The application must be signed by a corporate officer or a board member. For Government Owned/Operated Farmers Markets Only: Documentation Required: a. Copy of the City/Town IRS EIN/TIN Tax Exempt Letter. b. City/Town Official must sign the Application Certification Page. c. No personal information is required or needed.
Agricultural Commission Workshop
The workshop will bring together Agricultural Commission members and any others for a free-ranging discussion of issues and projects that AgComs around the state are dealing with. These may include the new Ag Commission statute, Chap 40A Sec 8L, which allows AgComs to acquire and manage land; federal Farm Bill funding and technical support programs; nutrient management regulations, farm transition planning, farmland inventories and mapping, farm leases, farmland protection, farmers markets, chicken regs, right to farm bylaws and signs, special farm events, and others.
What I Wish I Knew Then: How to Master Farm Business Management Early On, Julia Shanks, Steve Murray, & Ben & Hannah Wolbach
A panel of farmers will discuss their biggest mistakes, positive habits and conditions, and lessons learned that have helped them develop successful financial management strategies. Their first-hand experience is invaluable advice for farmers just starting out or more established businesses looking to develop strong financial management skills. This workshop will be conducted in a panel format with Q&A from the audience.
Organic Pest and Disease Management for Urban Farms, Laura Fedderson
We will identify the common pests and diseases we see in our work in the greater Boston area, and discuss both standard and more creative management strategies! We’ll focus on concerns specific to urban and suburban areas, such as maintaining plant health in small spaces and containers, animal pests, and safer management options for education gardens.
Integrated Pest Management for Cucurbit Crops, Susan Scheufele
Cuke beetles, and squash bugs, and mildews, oh my! Cucurbits are susceptible to many many insects and diseases. This session will cover the biology of key insect pests and diseases and discuss management systems that utilize and integrate cultural, biological, and chemical control strategies to effectively manage pests over the long-term. Earn 1.5 Credits!
Creating Farm and Garden Infrastructure and Trellises, Phil Nichols
Including information on creating: 8ft double and single width germination tables with measured shop drawings, organically approved 4 bay wash station with nutrient retention drainage, expandable tomato A frames using hung fencing and wind tethers, 8 foot pea trellises, pole bean tripods for up to 10 plants, cheapest, easiest way to make a 45 degree cucumber trellis for standard cultivars including direct sew technique, how to support and harvest husk cherries. All projects including measured shop drawings, cut lists and materials cost hand outs. This is an interactive workshop where Phil will make a germination table from pre cut materials. Attendees of the workshop are invited to use various tools to assemble it.
The Hows and Whys of Heirloom Tomatoes, Robert Feingold
A discussion and slideshow on all aspects of growing heirloom tomatoes, including varieties, characteristics, seed selection, seed starting, soil preparation, support, seed suppression and watering systems, fertilizers, and harvest techniques.
Reproductive Management and Artificial Insemination in Goats, Kimberly Tarvis
Have you ever wondered about artificial insemination but don’t know where to start? Reproductive management in goats is easier than ever! Join us for a hands-on workshop covering goat reproductive management and A.I., including anatomy, physiology, synchronization protocols, equipment, A.I. technique and troubleshooting reproductive problems.
Basic Butchery, Amado Baeza
We will go through the steps of taking a live animal to a carcass and then into finished products, with emphasis on carcass breaks and finished products. We will discuss the importance of humane handling and proper stunning practices (with cause and effect) and the minimum tools required to slaughter and butcher livestock (focusing on hoofed animals). We will have a discussion on food safety including how to prevent cross contamination, importance of the cold chain and more. I will explain the basic carcass breaks, primals/sub-primals, roasts, steaks, chops, etc. Finally, I will demonstrate an actual break-down on a pork carcass.
Honey Bees and Me, Heidi Pelletier
A child friendly workshop educating the importance of honey bees.
Business and Bookkeeping Basics For Farmers, Julia Shanks
You decided to become a farmer because you love being outside, working the land and making a difference in the way we eat and farm. And when you decided to become a farmer, you also became an entrepreneur and business person. In order to be ecologically and financially sustainable, you must understand the basics of accounting and book-keeping, and as Richard Wiswall says, a plan for profit. In this course, we will review the basics of accounting from the income statement (profit and loss) to the balance sheet. We’ll discuss the importance of classifying revenue and expenses so you can make important managerial decision like whether you can afford a new greenhouse or whether It makes sense to sell at a new farmers’ market.
Speed Guide to Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Farm or Food Enterprise, Myrna Greenfield
A simple marketing plan can help you increase sales and build customer loyalty. We’ll go through the four steps of creating a quick marketing plan and answer your marketing questions.
Farm to School Procurement, Todd Sandstrum, Meg Athearn, Jenny Devivo, and Matt Tortora
Panel Discussion -Todd, Meg, Jenny, & Matt will provide brief overview of institutional purchasing from their perspectives as Farmers, Food Service Director, and Chef. They will answer questions from farmers about how to successfully get products into these institutions.
Tree Fruit IPM: Overview and the Latest Scoop, Key Pests and Management Strategies, Elizabeth Garofalo
A discussion of tree fruit management strategies of various pests of apple, pear, and peach with an emphasis on integrated pest management and organic materials use. The workshop will include information on indenifying and protecting predatory insects and pollinators. Earn 1.5 Credits!
Backyard Organic Farming, Andy & Valerie Tomolonis
Learn how to run your own micro-scale commercial farm enterprise, or just become better at providing fresh foods for your family. Presenters Andy and Val Tomolonis ran a small-scale diversified organic CSA from their 1-acre suburban plot, supplying organic veggies, fruit, vegetables, berries and eggs for eight families per year.
Instrumenting your Farm Operation with the Internet of Things (IoT): The Future is Now! Liz Wiley, Chris Rezendes, and Craig Edwards
This workshop will introduce Impact LABS (LABS) to the SEMAP farming community and explain how becoming a LABS pilot location can benefit your farm. LABS pilot projects involve instrumenting farms with emerging technologies that enable farmers to receive real-time information (IoT) about specific farming conditions (e.g., well water level, water quality, soil quality, micro and nano-climate conditions). In addition to enhancing decision-making on your farm, we will discuss how the data (to which individual farmers retain ownership) can be used in aggregate to provide a larger scale understanding of conditions affecting farmers and farming communities. Learn about how the LABS pilot model works and how you can become involved.
Sustainable Small Livestock Management, Anne Petersen
Anne will discuss how we raise and manage a number of species of small livestock in a fashion that is healthiest for the animals and the land and how the different species interact with one another and benefit one another and the gardens as well.
How to Build a Better Fence, Brandon Hoderny
Brandon will discuss how to choose the right fence for your farm, including the fencing requirements for different animals, ease of installation, cost, maintenance, and durability. He will also discuss some of the major mistakes people often make when choosing and installing fences and some of the major pitfalls to avoid. Brandon will also answer your questions about fences and fence building.
Southcoast Local: Food AND Wine, Corey Nuffer
Approaching locally-grown and harvested foods as something to be paired with can inform our dining experience in unexpected ways. When that which we are pairing — the wine — shares common geography, an informed engagement not only translates to deliciousness but a conversation worth having as we examine “locally grown” through the vernacular and vantage point of the (local) wine industry.
Bristol Aggie Farm Tour
Great workshop for kids! We will meet up in the school before we head off to tour the farm and see the animals at Bristol Aggie.
Gaining Power and a Seat at the Table: Food Policy/Agribusiness, Michelle Cruz & Georgina Sarpong
Michelle will dissect elements of our food supply chain and how we can gain power and access within that system as underserved/small farmers. Showcasing successful models, such as Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s farm to business delivery system, Market Mobile, we will explore how to work with different distribution models, accessing infrastructure through wholesale and distribution channels. Working smarter through technology, how do we market and brand and ourselves to gain access to niche customers and have more of a voice in regards to food sourcing? How do we partner with like-minded people in the food system like food incubators? How can we add resiliency to your crop by producing more Value added products and allow B-Grade Produce to work in your favor to reduce waste and bring you profits? Michelle will discuss all of this and more in this agribusiness and marketing session.
After viewing state wide food plans and policies, Georgina strived to focus her work on how to engage our communities through the notion that policy and investment equals power. As Access Chair of the RI Food Policy Council and sitting at the table to observe, Sarpong will showcase ways to add your voice to the local food access conversation, provide actions steps and innovative success models from her years of access work in the local food community.
Diversifying Revenue through Wholesale, Matt Tortora & Todd Sandstrum
Presentation on how to diversify a farm’s revenue by making wholesale a more constant revenue source. Discussion on the various avenues of selling wholesale and how to tap into the wholesale network.
The Finances of Vegetable Fertility: Where to Focus Your Fertilizer Dollars on New Land, Derek Christianson
This workshop will cover strategies for maximizing production (quantity & quality) when starting out on new land. Considering prior land use, reading soil maps, taking and interpreting soil tests, and factoring expected yields (and income) form the foundation of an initial fertility plan. We’ll cover fertilizer strategies to help you make wise investments for year 1 and beyond.
Hydroponics: The Basics and Beyond, Stan Ingram
Coonamessett Farm has been growing some of our crops hydroponically for more than 20 years. This workshop will go over the basics of setting up a hydroponic system whether big or small. The pros and cons of the different types of systems. And we will talk about some of the issues associated with hydroponics. This workshop is geared toward those thinking, those just starting up, and those who have some experience with hydroponics. Come and get your feet wet with another way of growing.
What Solutions Could Benefit You and Your Farm? Impact LABS, WellnTel, Analog Devices (ADI) and more
While LABS is located in New Bedford, we work with early stage sensor, software and solution companies and industry leaders from throughout the world. Our collaborations are designed to identify the risk in some of the most critical resources to decision-making on your farm; and to bring that risk-mitigating information to you, the farmer, in real-time. In this workshop, you will meet some of the leaders of these companies and have an opportunity to brainstorm ideas for new instrumentations that could be a benefit to your operations.
Consider the Queen and Other Matters of the Hive, Dean Stiglitz
We will focus (though not exclusively) on the least considered aspects of the most important needle in the haystack…the queen bee. There will be plenty for everyone, from someone just interested in pollinators, to a beekeeper wanting to start or improve their queen rearing skills….everything will be explained in broad enough language that no one need be lost in technical details. If you don’t actually specifically know that you know about how honeybee genetics works, then you don’t know…they are not peas, they stumped Mendel, and facts are almost unbelievable. Join us and think ‘Queen’ for a day!
Quality and Consistency in Meat Production, TLI
As livestock producers, we work very hard to raise our animals in the best way possible, ensuring good quality feed, housing and humane treatment. But what happens from when we load our animals on a trailer through slaughter and butchery can affect the quality of meat just as much as how they were raised them. Join us for a panel discussion on how livestock farmers and meat processors can work together to ensure the quality and consistency of meat products. The panel will include a farmer, a slaughterhouse rep and a chef to discuss how animal handling, kill method, the cold chain and more can affect meat quality. We will also have an update on the progress of TLI’s slaughterhouse and processing facility.
Dyeing To Wear It, Rhonda Fazio
Rhonda M. Fazio, artist and designer of Dyer Maker Studio specializes in natural color and textile design with a sustainable and environmental approach. She is currently a Cohort in Entrepreneurship for All’s Winter Accelerator 2017 where she is launching a series of creative workshops that create Community with color. Learn how local colors and fibers can create beautiful art!
Get to the Point! Needle Felting for Kids, Meghan Riley
Fiber is fun and needle felting is a super skill to learn. Miss Meg will bring wool from her sheep and show you how to safely use a felting needle to make an easy animal craft to bring home. This workshop is geared towards kids over age five but all are welcome to this introduction to needle felting.