The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) workshop series shares farmer experiences and best practices between farmers, farm workers, apprentices and gardeners.
These workshops are free thanks to a generous Farm Viability grant from the RI Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture which seeks to enhance farmers’ ability to grow and market their crops. Everyone is welcome. Registration is not required for CRAFT Workshops.
See how gourmet mushrooms are grown commercially. Rob DiPietro of RI Mushrooms will share his experience and offer a tour of his commercial mushroom operation. Look inside his cool and humid mushroom “grow rooms” and learn the basic techniques of mushroom cultivation. Learn about the life cycle of fungi, various methods of cultivation and how to prepare them for eating.
The RI Mushroom Company cultivates exotic mushrooms for restaurants and consumers in Rhode Island and beyond. Rob and his team grow several varieties including blue oyster, crimini, golden oyster, king oyster, maitake, portobello and pioppino. See wild mushrooms collected by a small team of authorized foragers. Read a story in the Warwick Beacon on the RI Mushroom Company and our workshop here.
Raise better vegetables with chickens in crop rotations
June 23, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Rain date: June 30, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Big Train Farm
35 Pippin Orchard Rd, Cranston, RI 02921
John Kenny will explain how rotating 125 organic chickens around his 2-acre farm has improved produce yields at Big Train Farm. Beginning and experienced growers will learn how to improve soil biology, fertility and specialty crop yields by including a chicken tractor in their crop rotation plans.
This 2-acre farm is one of seven incubator farms at Urban Edge Farm, owned by Southside Community Land Trust. Established in 2008, Big Train Farm sells produce and eggs through a 25-week mix-and-match CSA and wholesale accounts. CSA customers may also purchase weekly shares of fruits, flowers, meats and breads from other growers, producers and restaurants.
John is a NOFA/RI Organic Farm Advisor specializing in tractor operations, soil test interpretation and field planning. Each year John offers a 3-part workshop on Soil Health and Plant Science for farmers and gardeners. His courses include basic soil science, crop science and soil maintenance principles focused on organic growing techniques. He also hosts workshops on agriculture, natural science and field botany.
Other Workshop & Conferences
- Women’s Conference, (National Farmers Union & Annie’s Project), January 17 – 21, Clearwater Beach, FL nfu.org/education/117
- RINLA Winter Meeting, Jan. 21 – 22, Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, Cranston, RI rinla.org
- NOFA/NY Winter Conference, Jan. 23 – 25, Saratoga Springs, NY nofany.org/events/winter-conference
- NOFA NJ Food & Agriculture Winter Conference, Jan. 24 – 25, Lincroft, NJ nofanj.org/winterconference.htm
- Winter Flower Growers Program, Jan. 27, Townsend, MA extension.umass.edu/floriculture
- NOFA-NH Winter Conference, Jan. 31, Concord, NH nofanh.org/events/winter-conference
- Philadelphia Flower Show, Feb. 1 – 8, theflowershow.com/show-info
- High Plains No-Till Conference, Feb. 3 – 4, Burlington, CO HighPlainsNoTill.com
- PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference, Feb. 4-7, State College, PA conference.pasafarming.org
- Vegetable Pest and Disease Workshop I: Cucurbits and Brassicas, Feb. 7, UConn Torrington, extension.uconn.edu/root/feb-veg-wkshp.php
- New England Regional NOFA Accreditation Course in Organic Land Care, Feb. 9 – 12, Norwich CT organiclandcare.net
- Carbon Farming Intensive: Science, Crops and Enterprises with Eric Toensmeier, Feb. 10 – 14, Milan, NY carbonfarmingcourse.com
- Vegetable Pest and Disease Workshop II: Solanaceae and Legumes, Feb. 14, Vernon, CT extension.uconn.edu/root/feb-veg-wkshp.php
- NOFA-VT Winter Conference, Feb. 14 – 15, Burlington, VT nofavt.org/annual-events/winter-conference
- RI Spring Flower & Garden Show, Feb. 19 – 22, Providence, RI FlowerShow.com
- Meat Conference, Feb 22 – 25, Nashville, TN MeatConference.com
- Natural Beekeeping – 6-week course, starts Feb. 23, Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA. Bristolcc.edu
- Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show, Feb. 25 – 26, Sturbridge, MA HarvestNewEngland.org
- Ecological Landscape Association Winter Conference & Eco-Marketplace, Feb. 25 – 26, Springfield, MA ecolandscaping.org/conference
- Plant Nutrition & Organic Certification for Greenhouse Crops, Feb. 26, Stow, MA extension.umass.edu/floriculture/events/growing-spring-crops-greenhouses
- SEMAP Ag & Food Conference, Mar, 1, Bristol County Agricultural High School, Dighton, MA semaponline.org/events/#2015Events
- CT NOFA Winter Conference, March 7, Danbury, CT ctnofa.org/winterconference
- Restoring Health to Agricultural Ecosystems: Principles and Practices from Soil to Communities, Mar. 4 – 6, Paicines, CA hpaicinesranch.com/classes-clinics
- Bee College, Mar. 6 – 7, St. Augustine, FL entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/honeybee
- URI Master Gardeners Garden Symposium: Critters, Containers and Native Plants: Gardening in Harmony with Nature, Mar. 7, Kingston, RI urimastergardeners.org/2015-garden-symposium
- Local Specialty Crop Trade Show & Local Food Trade Show – Connecting Wholesale Buyers and Producers of Local Food, Mar. 10, Boston, MA bostonlocalfood.com/our-events/buy-local-trade-show
- Bringing Hop Growers and Brewers Together, Mar. 13 – 14, Winston-Salem, NC eventbrite.com/e/nc-va-regional-hops-conference-bringing-hop-growers-and-brewers-together.
- RI Compost Conference & Trade Show, Mar. 16, URI Kingston, RI environmentcouncilri.org
- Pollinator Health for Agriculture & Landscapes, Mar. 26, Amherst, MA extension.umass.edu/landscape/events/pollinator15
- Swiss Village Visitors Day, June 13, Newport, RI svffoundation.org
- Biological Control Conference, June 18, UConn, Storrs, CT
- Seed Savers Exchange Conference & Campout, July 17 – 19, Decorah, IA seedsavers.org/conference-2015
- New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference, Dec, 15 – 17, Manchester, NH NewEnglandVFC.org
See an international list of horticultural conferences at hortcalendar.com.
Other Events &Training
On-line Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course
Consumer demand is increasing for organic lawn care. Boost your skills and reduce toxins in the environment. This 9-unit, non-college credit course is a complete introduction to managing grass and lawns organically and will cover how pesticide and fertilizer runoff harms water quality, provide technical training on organic lawn care practices, and discuss successful business and marketing strategies. Learn more at here or call 203-308-2584. Register here.
Farm Commons – Farm Business Law Webinars
Plan for a stable, resilient farm business with 13 free Farm Law Webinars in 2015. There will be 8 Farm Law Basics webinars and then 5 new Advanced Farm Law webinars. Learn, create and converse with farmers from across the country while applying the law to your specific situation. Learn more and register at Farm Commons.
NOFA/RI Organic Farm Advisor
Organic Farm Advisors assist beginning or transitioning farmers with sustainable and organic growing, harvesting, processing and sales techniques, business planning or organic certification. Learn more about this free service here.
Young Farmer Nights (YFN) Schedule
YFN connects farmers, aspiring farmers and farm allies from all backgrounds. This regional network and open to young and old. On-farm events often include a potluck supper and bonfire. Learn more and view the season’s schedule here.
Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Series
Oregon Tilth, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s East and West National Technology Support Centers will present a webinar on Dec. 2: “Nutrient Budgeting: Organic Considerations for Implementing Conservation Practice 590″ Learn more here.
See a variety of resource conservation webinars for free, Topics include Soil Health, Cropping Systems, Bioenergy, Energy, Biomass, Energy Policy, FOTG & Planning, Fish & Wildlife, Forestry, Forest Management and Wildlife. Learn more here.
URI Master Gardeners accepting applications for 2015 winter class, http://web.uri.edu/ceoc/uri-master-gardener-program
Learn about other related training events, farmers markets and more at our web calendar here.