What’s New at NOFA /RI

Save The Date For These Upcoming Events

4/22 Saturday On-Farm Workshop: Season Extension With Caterpillar Tunnels
9:30 am – Noon.  Potluck Lunch to follow
Little River Farm, 125 William Reynolds Rd, Exeter, RI 02822. Directions here.
Free.  Learn more and Register to save your spot.

Caterpillar low tunnel

Caterpillar low tunnel

This CRAFT on-farm workshop will focus on extending the vegetable growing season with caterpillar tunnels. There will be three segments: first a brief discussion of caterpillar tunnels use, and then a practical segment during which we move a tunnel(s), and finally a lunch potluck to discuss and socialize.

4/29 Saturday.  On-Farm Workshop: Propagation and Starting the Season in a Heated Greenhouse
1-3pm  Directions
Casey Farm 2325 Boston Neck Road, North Kingstown, RI 02874
Free Registration Here.  You’re invited into the greenhouses to see how the growing season at Casey Farms begins.  Learn about planning strategies for the growing season including greenhouse seeding schedule, hardening off, and transplanting dates.

5/17 Wednesday.  On-Farm Workshop: Growing Sustainable Sod: Soil Fertility through Cover Cropping and Plant Diversity.
5:30 -7  PM  Location: SODCO 264 Exeter Rd. Slocum, RI
Potluck barbecue to follow.  Directions
Workshop is FREE, but please  Resister Here to reserve a spot.

At this CRAFT On-Farm workshop, attendees will tour Sodco’s acreage of Microclover Black Beauty and learn about methods in sustainable sod farming. We use eco-friendly soil fertility methods such as cover cropping and plant diversity to help our fields thrive. Learn how these methods can be applied on your farms and landscapes.

These CRAFT on-farm workshop are possible thanks to a USDA grant though the RI Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture. Everyone is welcome.  Registration NOT required, but encouraged.

See our EVENTS schedule for more On-Farm workshops HERE.


5/17 Wednesday, Rhody Ag Day at the State House

Exhibits at RI Ag Day

Exhibits at RI Ag Day


NOFA /RI Invites You to Come Celebrate With Us
As part of the Rhode Island Agriculture Day festivities, over 40 exhibitors will host displays in the State House Rotunda from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Exhibitors will include farms and local food purveyors, as well as government and non-profit agencies that work with farmers. Coordinated by DEM’s Division of Agriculture, the exhibits will highlight Rhode Island agriculture and the many organizations that collectively participate in its viability.  Rhode Island has 1,243 farms, mostly family run, which occupy 68,000 acres.

The Agriculture Day exhibits open at 11:30 a.m. with a speaking program that will begin at 2 p.m. in the Governor’s State Room, and the exhibits will be on display until 5 p.m. in the State House Rotunda.


 Farmer to Farmer Advice With our Farm Advisor Program

Farmers can get help to navigate the organic certification process with NOFA/ RI Farm Advisor program.   Not ready for certification, but interested in improving or increasing the use of organic methods on your farm or looking to produce crops in a more sustainable manner.  NOFA/ RI can help.  If you are a commercial farmer looking for guidance our FREE Farm Advisor Program can help. This program is made possible by a USDA grant from the RI DEM. Contact us at NOFA/RI at nofari@live.com with any questions.

 NOFA Livestock Advisor Program and Events

Thanks to a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant,
NOFA/RI 10988557_10152720488056943_2213617722942244607_oannounces its partnership with Southside Community Land Trust to offer livestock trainings and technical assistance.

This will expand NOFA/RI’s advisor program to cover livestock- related technical assistance.  The NOFA/RI Organic Farm and Livestock Advisor program provides FREE technical guidance to commercial farmers wishing to implement organic methods on their farms or ranches and in their marketing efforts. Experienced organic farmers and ranchers are paired with aspiring, new or transitioning farmers and ranchers and provide assistance in many areas.

Anyone interested can find the Organic Livestock Assistance Application here.
Send the completed application or questions to NOFA/RI at nofari@live.com or mail to NOFA/RI 247 Evans Road, Chepachet, RI 02814.

Livestock On-Farm Workshop: Watson Farm Grasslands Management
Forage Production for Grass Based Livestock

Tuesday, July 11, 6:00 -8 PM.  Free. Register here to hold a spot.

Watson Farm.  455 North Rd, Jamestown, RI 02835  Directions
This twilight Pasture Walk at Historic New England’s Watson Farm in Jamestown will be led by Don Minto and Chris Dvorak, Farm Managers, who have been managing Red Devon Cattle and sheep on these Historic grasslands for well over 35 years.
This discussion and tour will feature forage management practices that have
evolved and been implemented on Watson Farm’s extensive grasslands.  Some
topics that will likely be discussed are:
· Portable and Permanent Fences for Rotational Grazing
· The Graziers Eye: Farmers Footsteps
· Production of summer annuals for grazing, field renovation, &drought
· Stock Piling pastures for extending the grazing seasons
· Cattle selection and management for 100% Grass Fed & Finished Beef
· Pasture Fertility Management with Foliar Fish Spray
· The problem of forage degrading invasive plant species
· Developing forage streams for the grazing season
· Frost Seeding Legumes: Nitrogen fixation and improved palatable forage
· Wintering the cow/calf herd

Organics and a Healthier You

Rhode Island has 22 organic farms.  Check out the link below to find the closest one to you.
RI CERTIFIED ORGANIC FARMS MAP

RI Farm Market booth5 Great Reasons to say YES to Organics

1.  A Healthier You and Your Family
The average serving of conventionally grown leafy greens, peppers, tree fruits, berries, and grapes contains three to four pesticide residues.

Choosing to buy organics minimizes your exposure to these toxins can reduce your risk of cancer and other health problems.
In addition, organic foods have been shown to have higher levels of beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Supports Your Community
Supporting local organic farms keeps money in the local economy.  Rhode Island has 22 Certified Organic Farms.  The state is a national leader in direct-sales to consumers, with approximately 50 seasonal farmers markets in the state’s urban, suburban and rural areas, eight indoor winter markets, and numerous pick-your-own and farm stand operations.

3. Better for the Land
Organic farmers protect soil, water, and air quality with practices like crop rotation, cover crops, and composting. By nourishing the soil, organic farmers sequester carbon, reduce harmful waste runoff, and help ensure that our farmland will continue to be fertile and productive into the future.

4. Tastes Great
Healthy plants and happy animals produce great-tasting food! Plus, local and organic food is raised in accordance with the seasons and using varieties chosen for flavor rather than shelf life  – so it naturally tastes fresh, clean, and just like it should!

5. Grown with No GMOs
Buying certified organic is the best way to avoid exposure to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic farmers do not use GMO seeds, plants, or animal feeds, and organic processed foods do not contain GMO ingredients.  (Excerpted in part from www.nofavt.org: Why Choose Certified Organics, Locally Grown and RI DEM.)

Currently there are 22 organic farms in RI.  Check out the link below to find the closest one to you.

RI CERTIFIED ORGANIC FARMS MAP

 NRCS Announces Expanded Funding Available for High Tunnels in RI

FY 2017 Rhode Island Application Ranking Period Deadline Friday, April 21, 2017

NRCS Rhode Island is excited to announce an expansion of its High Tunnel System program. Funding has been expanded this year targeting agricultural producers who would like to install a High Tunnel beyond existing cropland.   If you are an existing agricultural producer, which includes individuals or entities growing crops for donation or even subsidence (crops grown to feed oneself or family), submit an application before April 21st to be considered for funding this fiscal year! Contact your local NRCS or Conservation District office listed below for assistance.  Visit the Rhode Island NRCS AMA Web site: here and access the application under How to Apply. All applications should be mailed to NRCS and must be received by April 21, 2017.