Our Events

NOFA/RI Advanced Growers Workshop

Will BonsallGetting more food from less space & Cultivated crops that don’t need cultivation
Sunday, November 9
1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Watson Institute, Brown University
111 Thayer Street, Providence, RI
Facility is ADA-accessible
Directions here.

Author and grower, Will Bonsall of the Scatterseed Project, will describe a System (as opposed to a single crop) of growing a number of specialty crops in less space, using a combination of companion cropping and intensive spacing. This is Will’s version of the John Jeavons Bio-Intensive, no raised beds. Will has farmed with these techniques for many years, fine-tuning as needed. His practices work for most crops, but especially for compact vegetables.
Will Bonsall will discuss his less common permacrops including hazelnuts, hardy kiwis, medlars, elderberries and blackberries. He will focus on strategies for growing and processing these permacrops.

Register Here

Reduced fees for Students/Seniors are $25.00 and Teens under 18 are free. To learn about scholarship opportunities, contact Sanne Kure-Jensen via email or call (401) 369-3303.

Dr. Richard Bonanno

Dr. Richard Bonanno

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Impacts RI’s Farms
Tuesday, December 2, 7:00 p.m.
Watson Institute, Brown University
111 Thayer Street Providence, RI 02912
Directions here.

Dr. Richard Bonanno, experienced farmer and business leader will explain how the proposed FSMA’s Produce and Preventive Control Rules will affect local farmers. This event is free and open to everyone.

Dr. Richard Bonanno, farmer and President of Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation. Dr. Bonanno owns and manages his family farm, Pleasant Valley Gardens in Methuen, MA and is an Adjunct Professor at the UMass/Amherst, Plant, Soil and Insect Science Department with responsibilities in food safety issues. Dr. Bonanno is also a UMass Senior Extension Specialist responsible for vegetable and small fruit weed management.

FSMA’s Produce and Preventive Control Rules will affect small farms across New England as it is phased in over the next two years. RI farmers, processors, handlers and distributors will face increased costs and documentation requirements under FSMA rules.

Many farmers incorrectly assume they could be “exempt” from the regulations. Some farmers may be forced out of business under FSMA’s potential burdens.

Farmers, producers and consumers can help make the new rules more manageable and less burdensome for RI’s family farmers. NOFA/RI urges everyone to educate themselves on FSMA issues and to send comments to the USDA before the comment deadline of December 15, 2014.

The high costs of compliance (money, equipment and time) may force some small farms out of business.

Learn more at sustainableagriculture.net/fsma and newenglandfarmersunion.org/legislation/food-safety-modernization-act.

Learn how to submit comments at sustainableagriculture.net/fsma/speak-out-today.Richard Wiswall

Business Planning – Farming Smarter, Not Harder
December 6
Providence, RI
Tune-up your business and increase your net profit with Richard Wiswall. In this workshop, you will identify your farm’s profit centers—which parts of your farm make the most money, and which may actually lose money. Learn about efficient farm planning and analysis, efficient farm office management, key financial statements, employee management, and financial tips for success. Set aside the day to finally work on these, and other important farm business concerns. The workshop will address:

  • Planning for Profit: a step by step guide to increase your net profit
  • Making a Profit on YOUR farm: what is making money and what isn’t
  • Your marketing strategies
  • The Efficient Farm Office: humorous skits and demos outline best practices
  • Key farm financial statements: what they are, why they are important, and how they relate to each
  • Employee management
  • Quick business fixes

Learn more at YoungFarmerNetwork.org/Events

Lori F Pivarnik, PhD

Lori Pivarnik, PhD

RI Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Training
Dec. 10, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
URI East Farm, Building 75, Kingston, RI

RI GAP training offers important food safety information even for those not planning to become RI GAP certified.  Hear about resources related to on-farm food safety practices. Refreshments, including coffee/muffins and a lunch, will be served. GAP training is free. Register or send questions to Lori Pivarnik at lpivarnik@mail.uri.edu or call (401) 874-2972 by Dec. 1.

Writing a Food Safety Plan (Advanced Training)
Dec. 11
URI East Farm, Building 75, Kingston, RI.
Hear about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Produce Standards Rule, Prevention/Controls Rule, Harmonization Audit and how to writing a Food Safety Plan. Open to attendees of GAP training on Dec 10 above, whether RI GAP certified or not. Training is free. Register or send questions to Lori Pivarnik at lpivarnik@mail.uri.edu or call (401) 874-2972 by Dec. 1.


See an international list of horticultural conferences at hortcalendar.com.

Other Events &Training

Online 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.

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

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) 2014 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.

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

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Series 
Oregon Tilth, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s East and West National Technology Support Centers will present these “Understanding Organic and Sustainable Agriculture” webinars.

2014 Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Topics
Dec 02 Nutrient Budgeting: Organic Considerations for Implementing Conservation Practice Standard 590

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 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.