Our Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) workshop series shares farmer experiences and best practices between farmers, farm workers, apprentices and gardeners.
NOFA/RI CRAFT 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.
Start your growing season strong
Monday, May 18, 5:30 p.m.
Little River Farm
William Reynolds Road, Exeter, RI
Season extension means much more than a long fall season. Learn to develop a crop plan for abundant produce offerings for June CSAs and farmers markets. At Little River Farm, Camille Abdel-Nabi and Bob Payne use high and low tunnels to start spring and summer crops early, giving them a distinct advantage at farmers markets.
Little River Farm sells through a 40-member CSA and at two farmers markets: Newport’s Aquidneck Grower’s Market and East Greenwich Farmer’s Market. Bob and Camille bring their produce and herbs to the Market Garden Festival at Wilcox Park in Westerly, RI (May 17). The farm also sells wholesale to restaurants and food cooperatives.
Founded in 2013, Littler River Farm is a 3-acre vegetable farm using organic and sustainable practices to grow a wide variety of greens, vegetables and herbs. Bob and Camille’s favorites are arugula, mesclun greens, root vegetables, heirloom tomatoes and peppers. Season extension tools allow the couple to harvest and sell vegetables throughout the winter. Bob and Camille mentor young farmers by offering an apprenticeship each season.
This workshop will be co-hosted by the Young Farmer Network (YFN). A potluck supper will follow the workshop and farm tour. If you wish to stay for the potluck supper, please bring something to share, a plate and flatware. See the 2015 YFN event schedule at youngfarmernetwork.org/events.
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 certified organic 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.
Celeriac, Tat Soi and the Gilfeather Turnip: Growing Specialty Crops for Fall and Winter Markets
Garman Organic Farm
Elizabeth Lane, Middletown, RI
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Rain date: Thursday, Sept 17, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Learn the benefits of fall production using low tunnels for 15 varieties of specialty greens and snow peas that thrive through Thanksgiving. Jim and Michelle Garman will also discuss numerous root crops including golden ball turnips, daikon and watermelon radishes, celeriac and gilfeather turnips. Some chefs and consumers need a reminder that local farms can supply great greens and produce through the fall using season extension techniques. Jim and Michelle will share their marketing tips for success as well as their planting calendar.
The Garmans farm because food is their passion. They select and grow crop varieties for their delicious taste. Many cultivars are listed on Slow Food, USA’s “Ark of Taste.” Jim and Michelle are increasingly frustrated with our deceptive food system that refuses to require labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).
Garman Organic Farm is family-owned and operated, specializing in heirloom vegetables and small fruits on 3.5 acres in Middletown, RI. Jim and Michelle raise food for a 60-member CSA, The Green Grocer, A Market Natural Foods, Malt Broadway and Fluke.
The Garmans grow on farmland leased from Sustainable Aquidneck and the Aquidneck Land Trust and is nearing the end of its “Transitional Organic” period. The farm expects to be Certified Organic in May this year. Jim and Michelle use organic production techniques including building organic matter with amendments of compost, seaweed and manure, rotate crops, keep soils covered with mulches and winter cover crop blends and plant diverse crops. Learn more here.
Other Training, Webinars & Conferences
- New York Nut Growers Association meeting, Apr. 18, Liberty, NY nynga.org
- Processing Food for Sale from Your RI On-farm Residential Kitchen, Apr. 21 – 22, URI East Farm, Peacedale, RI, Register with firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Future of Water in Southeastern Massachusetts, Apr. 24, Plymouth, MA watershedaction.org
- HACCP Certification Class, Apr. 24 – 25, Hope & Main, Warren, RI makefoodyourbusiness.org/events/workshops-training
- Draft Animal Plowing, Apr. 25, Abington, CT ctnofa.org/Local_Event_Listings.htm
- Wellscroft Fence Building Clinic, May 2 or 3, Chesham, NH wellscroft.com/fence
- Hands-On Hog Slaughtering and Processing, May 3, Ware, MA nofamass.org/events
- Edible Wild Plant Walk with Hannah Jacobson-Hardy, May 17, Greenfield, MA nofamass.org/events
- RI Agriculture Day, May 28, Providence, RI
- CT Climate March - sponsored by 350CT.org. May 31, Hartford, CT ctnofa.org/Local_Event_Listings.htm
- Swiss Village Visitors Day, June 13, Newport, RI svffoundation.org
- Growing Vegetables For Health, Quality & Profit, June 14 & Sep. 13, Dartmouth, MA nofamass.org/events
- Biological Control Conference, June 18, UConn, Storrs, CT
- Seed Savers Exchange Conference & Campout, July 17 – 19, Decorah, IA seedsavers.org/conference-2015
- NOFA Summer Conference, Aug. 14 – 16, UMass/Amherst, MA nofasummerconference.org/callworkshops
- Wachusett Farm Fresh Festival, Aug. 29 & 30, Wachusett Mountain, MA wachusett.com/Events
- Growing Vegetables For Health, Quality & Profit, Sep. 13, Dartmouth, MA nofamass.org/events
- International Master Gardener Conference, Sept. 22 – 25, Council Bluffs, IA mastergardener.unl.edu/imgc2015
- New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference, Dec, 15 – 17, Manchester, NH NewEnglandVFC.org
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 adn NRCS offer webinars on the first Tuesday of every month at 3 p.m Eastern Time. 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
Learn more here.
Learn about other related training events, farmers markets and more at our web calendar here.