Our Events

Related Training, Webinars & Conferences

Xerces SocietyConservation Biological Control Short Course – COURSE FULL
Building 75, URI East Farm, Kingston, RI
Feb. 11, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm EST
Learn how to attract beneficial insects to farms and orchards for natural pest control. This workshop will cover:

  • The importance of beneficial insects – predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests.
  • Overview of conservation biological control and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
  • How to identify beneficial insects and distinguish them from other insects.
  • How to recognize the habitat needs of beneficial insects and identify habitat deficiencies.
  • The design and implementation of habitat improvements, including site preparation, insectary strip plantings, hedgerows, beetle banks, and more.
  • The current best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on beneficial insects and mitigate exposure to insecticides.
  • How to access USDA conservation programs for financial and technical support.

This full-day training will provide you with the latest science-based approaches to pest management strategies that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing and in some cases eliminating the need for insecticides. This strategy is based upon ongoing research that continues to demonstrate a link between the conservation of natural habitat and reduced pest problems on farms, orchards, and gardens.

Registration is $20 per person. Course registration includes the Xerces Society’s Conservation Biological Control Toolkit.
Copies of Farming with Native Beneficial Insects will be available for purchase on site.

Learn more and register here. Please bring your own lunch.

NOFA/RI Winter Conference: Healthy Soils, Healthy Plants, Healthy People

Sunday, February 28, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Hope & Main, Warren, RI

Learn more and register here.
Will BonsallWill Bonsall of Khadighar Farm in Industry, Maine will share highlights from his newest book, “Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening: Innovative Techniques for Growing Vegetables, Grains, and Perennial Food Crops with Minimal Fossil Fuel and Animal Inputs.”

Julie Rawson & Jack KitrredgeRestoring Carbon to Soil for Farm and Planet
Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson of Many Hands Organic Farm and NOFA/Mass will discuss how to farm so that soil continually builds carbon while producing high quality produce and generous yields.


Sam Fox

Compost and Living Soil: A Cooperative Effort
Sam Fox of Earth Care Farm will discuss composting methods at a large and small-scale and relevant Department of Environmental Management regulations. He will cover ways to increase feedstock diversity to create an inviting environment for our decomposing allies making macro and micro-nutrient availability for plants in healthy living soil.


Dr. Rebecca Brown

Cover Crops and Organic Carbon for Soil Health
This workshop will present results from recent research at URI on expanding use of cover crops on peri-urban farms. It will also present information on using urban/suburban waste materials as carbon sources to build soil organic matter levels.



Dan Kittredge

Dan Kittredge

Principles of Biological Systems with Dan Kittredge, Executive Director of  the Bionutrient Food Association 

What can we do to increase the genetic potential of our crops, yield, flavor and nutritional content in the midst of significant climatic events  Hear how to improve quality and yield, build organic matter and sequester carbon. Dan will discuss soil testing, mineral balancing and inoculation, nutritional drenches and foliar sprays as well as in-field monitoring. Hear about cover crops, visual plant parameters and how to connect the dots between soil health, plant health and human health.

John Kozinski

Open Macrobiotics: A New Approach to Health and Healing for the 21stCentury with John Kozinski
Learn about a new, progressive and contemporary version of macrobiotics that includes a wide variety of dietary practices with a focus on local and natural foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits, grass-fed meats, pastured poultry, dairy products from old breed natural cows and other whole foods. Open macrobiotics is an approach to health that includes a deeper understanding of the balancing effects of diet, nutrition, lifestyle practices, healing methods, herbs, supplements, and the mind, based on a blend of traditional and modern understandings of the body and mind – and health and sickness. Dietary adjustments will be discussed for those who wish to be vegan, vegetarian or include animal foods in their diet.

Patricia Bailey and Dan Christina at Green Animals

Patricia Bailey and Dan Christina at Green Animals

Fresh from the Field: An Ornamental (and Productive) Vegetable Garden with Dan Christina, Horticultural Director and Patricia Bailey, Vegetable Gardener of Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, RI

This workshop will look at the planning and creation of highly productive vegetable garden space while holding onto a valuable, peaceful aesthetic in a historic setting. Learn how this valuable community resource offers a hands-on teaching tool for local schools.


Liz Guardia, Citizens For GMO Labeling ActivistUpdate on GMO Labeling Efforts in Rhode Island, the Northeast and across the Nation
Liz Guardia will offer an update on the progress of the federal GMO Labeling bill as well as state level work in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She will also re-familiarize us with what is going on in the bio-tech industry.

Liz is an activist, yoga teacher and business owner in Rhode Island. She is working towards state and federal GMO-labeling bills.

Learn more about our Winter Conference and register here.

Hugh Lovel Flier 3-2016

CRAFT Workshop
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 though 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.

Chase Farms

Chase Farms

Turn Seeds into Profits
Tuesday, March 8, 5:15 – 6:45 p.m.
Snow date, Wednesday, March 9
Chase Farms
1681 West Main Road, Portsmouth, RI
Directions here.

Harry with his vegetable and herb plants by the Blue Begonia Bus

Harry Chase with veggie and herb plants by the Chase Farms’ Blue Begonia Bus

Start with good seed, treat it right and you’ll end up with strong healthy plants. Hear about successful propagation techniques from experienced vegetable and herb growers Harry and Sam Chase of Chase Farms. Learn which seedlings benefit from heated benches, compost or other soil amendments. Hear the pros and cons of drip and overheard irrigation systems versus hand watering.

See one of the first mechanical seeders in commercial production – still going strong. Watch the repotting line in action. Experience creative solutions to tedious chores like moving hundreds of trays and flats with a plant “trolley” and repurposed golf ball racks. The Chases maximize space efficiency with rolling benches and stack trays for delivery in their Blue Begonia Bus – a repurposed soda delivery truck.

Great squash yields from healthy plants

Healthy plants offer high yields

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour at this wholesale annual and perennial nursery serving garden centers and landscapers. Chase Farms grows in 25 greenhouses and high tunnels making it the “largest grower in the smallest state.” The Chases and their customers practice environmentally conscious cultivation.

Related Training, Webinars, Conferences & Special Events

See an international list of horticultural conferences at hortcalendar.com and local events at semaponline.org/events.

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 are 8 Farm Law Basics webinars and 5 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.

Small Business Training
The Center for Women in Enterprise and the Small Business Administration offer classroom and on-line training. Learn more here.

NOFA/RI logoNOFA/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 NetworkYoung 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.

Plant and Gardening Fairs and Events
See the All Things Plants events calendar.

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Series 
Oregon Tilth and NRCS offer webinars on the first Tuesday of every month at 3 p.m Eastern Time. Learn more here.

Conservation Webinars
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.

URI Master Composters
Learn more here.

Learn about other related training events, farmers markets and more at our web calendar here