Practical Advise, CSAs and More

Looking for a CSA?

Many farms are signing up for CSAs. CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”.  When you choose a CSA you show support of local & sustainable agriculture. CSA membership can be very cost effective, especially when you consider the freshness and quality of the products.  Check out one of these Organic Farms offering CSA options:
Big Train Farm, Cranston
Cedar Edge Farm, Saunderstown
Greenview Farm, Wakefield
Garman Farms, Middletown
Little River, Exeter
Roots Farm, Tiverton
Stearns Farm, Jamestown
The Good Earth, Cranston
Wishing Stone Farm, Little Compton
Wild Harmony, Exeter

Tools for a Profitable Livestock Business

Unleashing the Power in Your Numbers: Tools for a Profitable Livestock Business

 Sunday, June 4, 10am-12pm, followed by lunch
Blackbird Farm, 660 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, RI

Rick Hermonot, Farm Credit East Vice President and owner of the Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, will lead this practical workshop on how to build a profitable livestock farm business. Learn some basic tools to organize and simplify your records that help you make sound strategic decisions. The “toolbox” includes: Five Keys to Focus; Five Keys to Profit; Five-Line Income Statement; Five-Year Averages; and “DIRTI Five.” The workshop is followed by a free lunch provided by Blackbird Farm.  The workshop is free but pre-registration is required. Please, pre-register here.

This program brought to you by USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant,
NOFA/RI in partnership with Southside Community Land Trust.  Our thanks to Rick Hermonot, of Farm Credit East and host Blackbird Farms.

What’s New at NOFA /RI

Save The Date For These Upcoming Events

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.  For more information visit

 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 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 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.  New Date! Monday 7/10

Monday, July 10, 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 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 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.


 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.

NOFA/RI logoThank you to our members, attendees, speakers and sponsors for a wonderful 2017 Winter Conference.

For more information on the presenters and sponsors see our Winter Conference page here.

What’s New For Spring at NOFA /RI

NOFA /RI On-Farm Workshops

Sophie Soloway, Hocus Pocus Farms

NOFA/ RI continues offering a wide range of On-farm workshops designed to increase knowledge, practices, and guidance on specialty crops issues as well as our new livestock program.  These on-farm workshops share experience and best practices between farmers.

NOFA/RI invites Rhode Island farmers to host these on-farm workshops. Host farmers receive a stipend for their program.  These programs are made possible by grants from the USDA grant from the RI DEM, Division of Agriculture.

Interested in hosting an On-farm workshop, please contact Sophie Soloway at

Spring NOFA Events

Sunday, April 9.  1-3 PM

Livestock Workshop: What to Look For When Buying Livestock
Location: Wild Harmony Farm, 366 Victory Hwy, Exeter, RI

Workshop is FREE, but please,  Register here to reserve a spot.

Hosted by Ben Coerper & Rachael Slattery of Wild Harmony Farm, this workshop will cover important aspects to consider when purchasing poultry, sheep, pigs, & cattle.  This workshop brought to you by NOFA/ RI thanks to a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant, in partnership with Southside Community Land Trust.  As with all our on-farm workshops, dress for the weather, and before heading out to the farm check our site for any updates or cancelations.

Saturday, April 22. 9:30 – Noon

On-Farm Workshop: Season Extension With Caterpillar Tunnels
Potluck Lunch to follow
Host: Little River Farm, Camille Abdel-Nabi And Bob Payne
Little River Farm, 125 William Reynolds Rd, Exeter, RI 02822

Free.  Register to save your spot.

This workshop will focus on extending the vegetable growing season with caterpillar tunnels.  This CRAFT on-farm workshop made possible thanks to a generous Farm Viability grant though the RI Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture. Everyone is welcome.  Registration is not required.

Saturday, April 29,  1-3pm

On-Farm Workshop: Propagation and Starting the Season in a Heated Greenhouse
Farm Host: Casey Farm, Farm Manager: Lindie Markovich and Assist. Manager Emily Cotter
Casey Farm 2325 Boston Neck Road, North Kingstown, RI 02874

Free Registration Here.  Learn how the growing season begins in the greenhouses at Casey Farms including planning strategies for the growing season, greenhouse seeding schedules, hardening off, transplanting dates, and the answer to that nagging question asked of all farmers “what do you do all winter?”

Casey Farm is a 300 acre property owned by the non-profit organization Historic New England. The property has been continually farmed, using organic practices, for hundreds of years. The farm currently runs a 150 member CSA program, hosts a summertime farmers market, and a Spring Seedling Sale on Mother’s Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 17.  5:30 – 7 PM

On-Farm Workshop: Growing Sustainable Sod:
Soil Fertility through Cover Cropping and Plant Diversity.
Location: SODCO 264 Exeter Rd. Slocum, RI
Potluck barbecue to follow.

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.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association. It is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, June 7, 5:30 -7 PM

On-Farm Workshop: High Tunnel Tomato Production
Host: Brandon Family
Brandon Family Farm, 592 Fairgrounds Rd, West Kingstown, RI

Workshop is FREE.  Registration is not required, but we do encourage it as a courtesy to our host farmers.  Please take a moment to Register here.

High Tunnel tomato production is one of most profitable and important crops for small diversified farming operations. High tunnels extend the growing season and increase marketable yields. This workshop is open to all but is geared to commercial production, it will briefly cover the basics and focus more on advanced management. Experienced growers are welcome to share information so we can all improve our production systems.

Brandon Family Farm is a certified organic produce farm started in 2015.  In 2017 we will be growing about 4 acres of vegetables and strawberries and have ¼ acre in high tunnel production. Produce is marketed through farmer’s markets, restaurants and local supermarkets.

Thursday, July 20th, 5:30pm

On-Farm Workshop: Farm Compost Tour: Soil Fertility and Garlic Harvesting/Curing
Location: Earth Care Farm 89 A Country Drive Charlestown, RI 02813

This on-farm workshop will focus on soil fertility and garlic harvesting and curing at Earth Care Farm.

For more 40 years Earth Care Farm has been producing high quality farm-made compost that gardeners and landscapers, big & small have come to rely upon to enrich their soil naturally. The mission of Earth Care Farm is to joyfully help bring out the best & highest from within the earth by consciously returning the best to the earth.

This on-farm workshop made possible thanks to a generous Farm Viability grant though the RI Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture.

Everyone is welcome.  Registration is not required, but encouraged.  Please, Register FREE Here.

Please consider becoming a member or renewing your membership to help support our programs!  


Balancing Farm & Life at Winter Conference

David Hambleton, Sister's Hill Farm, NY

David Hambleton,
Sister’s Hill Farm, NY


SUNDAY, MARCH 5th, 2017
at Hope & Main, Warren, RI


NOFA/ RI’s annual conference for Rhode Island Organic Farmers offers all day workshops and a potluck lunch.

Classes on Balanced Farming; Livestock workshops; Beekeeping 101; Growing for a Winter CSA; Marketing Your Farm; Farm Accounting Basics and Investment.

This year’s Winter Conference has something for everyone, be they a gardener, farmer or fan of organic foods.

Special registration rates for Students, Seniors, and
New Farmers (farming less than 10 years) 


David Hambleton

David Hambleton

Learn innovative practices, share ideas, catch up with old friends, develop new connections, and enjoy our fabulous potluck lunch.  Do you often find farming overwhelming? Is your life a little lopsided? David Hambleton, a veteran CSA grower, will share what he has done to grow a farm business that promotes a life of balance.  He’ll share what he has learned through research and practice so that you too can find balance on your farm and in your life!

David Hambleton is a farmer and farm consultant from NY’s Mid Hudson Valley.  He’s a big proponent of strategic farm planning in order to attain not just a profitable farm, but a balanced life!


To restore organic matter to soils and stabilize it is not only beneficial to those who manage land and crops but is also vital to our society.  Farmers, gardeners, homeowners, landscapers — anyone who owns or manages land — can follow these simple principles and not only restore carbon to the soil but help rebuild the marvelous system that nature has put in place to renew our atmosphere while providing food, beauty and health for all creation.

  • Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson, of Many Hands Organic Farm, MA and John Kenny, of Big Train Farm, Cranston, RI  lead a Round Table on Techniques For Carbon Restoration – the discussion will center on techniques to farm so that your soil continually builds while also producing quality and yield.


The Conference features notable speakers in organic and sustainable agriculture from across Rhode Island, New England and New York, networking sessions, our annual meeting and a delicious potluck meal.

  • Local Rhode Island Farmers Pat McNiff, Pat’s Pastured Farms, and
  • Ben Coerper, Wild Harmony Farms,
  • Lining Peng, Beekeeper, P& L Bayside Apiary
  • Presentation by the RI DEM on Organic
    Have you wondered about Organic Certification but were afraid to ask?… Or more likely too overwhelmed by the mere thought of it all?   Learn how to navigate the the process, it’s easier, more manageable, less expensive, and more rewarding than you ever thought.  Make the leap towards organically certified crops and livestock.
  • Ashley Loer, Planning a Winter CSA
  • Author and Farm Consultant Julia Shanks.   Julia, an entrepreneur, author, chef, and urban gardener herself, helps other food and agricultural entrepreneurs achieve and maintain financial sustainability.  Let Julia show you how to plan for profit.


NOFA/ RI Winter Conference brought to you by our generous sponsors: USDASpecialty Crop Block Program grant for farm viability via the RI Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture, Our conference host: Hope & Main, Clif Bar Family Foundation, Southside Community Land Trust, and Farm Credit East.

2017 N O F A / RI Livestock Program News

Thanks to a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant, and a partnership with Southside Community Land Trust, NOFA/RI will offer livestock trainings and technical assistance beginning with two Livestock programs at our Annual Winter Conference on Sunday, March 5th.

  • 10988557_10152720488056943_2213617722942244607_oRegenerative farming: How a diverse group of livestock can improve your farm’s eco-system, Ben Coerper & Rachael Slattery, Owners, Wild Harmony Farm, Exeter,  and
  • Pastured Poultry – How to improve your land while making a profit with laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys, and ducks.  Pat McNiff of Pat’s Pastured Farms, RI.