We had a terrific day, Sunday, March 5 at our Annual Winter Conference. Informative workshop sessions with dynamic speakers and on-target presentations. David Hambleton, our keynote, inspired us to focus on designing balance into our lives and on our farms and we’re still not sure how Julia Shanks had everyone laughing over Farm Budgets and Basic Accounting. Our new livestock program offered two workshops given by local, experienced farm owners, Pat McNiff, Ben Coerper and Rachael Slattery, and were well received, as was the discussion on soil carbon restoration led by Jack Kittredge, Julie Rawson and John Kenny. Local beekeeper Liying Peng, New York farmer Ashley Loehr, and Matt Green from the RI DEM rounded out the day with practical sessions on bees, planning winter CSAs and organic certification.
Once again our members and attendees came with an appetite for learning and good food and we did not disappoint on either count, our lunch time potluck had plenty of home grown food for all. NOFA President, Jan Martin took the opportunity to introduce the Board Members as she presided over the annual meeting.
NOFA/RI thanks our wonderful Conference Coordinator, Ben Torpey
Ben, a Board Member and Owner of Scratch Farms worked in overseeing every detail that went into making the Conference a success. A big thanks also goes to all of our Board Members and volunteers who stepped in to assist during the day.
For more information on the presenters see our Winter Conference page and with links to their web sites.
NOFA /RI On-Farm Workshops
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 a USDS grant from the RI DEM, Division of Agriculture.
Interested in hosting an On-farm workshop, please contact Sophie Soloway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!