Our Events

CRAFT Workshops
Other Training, Webinars & Conferences

RI Ag Day Exhibit

RI Ag Day Exhibit

Visit our Exhibit at Rhode Island Agriculture Day at the Rhode Island State House in Providence.

CRAFT Workshops

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.

John Kenny at Big Train Farm

John Kenny at Big Train Farm

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
Free CRAFT Workshop
Directions here.

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.

Goats at Simmons Farm

Goats at Simmons Farm

Artisan Cheesemaking on Aquidneck Island 
SOLD OUT
Sunday, July 12, 1 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Simmons Farm, 1942 West Main Road, Middletown, RI
Cost: $50 NOFA Members; $60 non-members (Maximum 6 people)
Directions here.

Karla will offer a walking tour of the farm. Participants will learn to make chèvre (goat cheese) and hang it after it is ready in the tank. Participants will learn to flavor chèvre and sample their cheese with crackers. Afterwards Karla will bring participants to the barn to see her milk the animals. Participants may bring home the cheese they make. This workshop is perfect for home-cheese makers, avid cooks, cheese lovers and food enthusiasts!

SOLD OUT


Register Here


Simmons Farm is a 120-acre certified organic, family farm in Middletown, RI. The Simmons family uses biodynamic techniques to grow traditional and heirloom produce for a farm stand, Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA), numerous RI farmer’s markets and wholesale accounts. The farm welcomes visitors at the farm stand and petting zoo. Simmons Farm offers pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed beef, pastured pork and seasonal offerings of lamb and goat meat. Karla and her family make fresh Farmstead Cheeses daily in their USDA certified organic dairy using their own goat and cow milk.

Karla Simmons is a RI native, and a longtime lover of cheeses. She studied classes with Peter Dickson in Vermont and learned a lot about cheesemaking on our own. In 2000, Karla and her husband Brian Simmons took over running Simmons Farm. Karla now manages the farm’s cheese production, inventory, marketing and sales.

Field Crew at Casey Farm

Field Crew at Casey Farm

Managing Organic Farms for Drought and Weeds
Casey Farm
2325 Boston Neck Road, Saunderstown, RI
July 29, 5:30 p.m.
Free CRAFT Workshop
Directions here.

Farm Manager Lindie Markovich will share how Casey Farm’s updated irrigation system helps protect the farm against growing season droughts. The farm crew is testing new cultivation techniques this season and will share their results.

Irrigation rainbow at Casey Farm

Irrigation rainbow at Casey Farm

Casey Farm raises organically-grown vegetables, herbs and flowers for a 175 member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. On Saturdays from May through October, Casey Farm hosts a farmers’ market with local meats, seafood, fruit, vegetables, flowers and artisan products.

This site has been a farm since 1702. The Casey family and their tenant farmers have worked to improve this 300-acre farm since the mid-1800s. Today the property is managed by Historic New England.

This event 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 http://youngfarmernetwork.org/events.

Garman Organic Farm

Garman Organic Farm

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.
Free CRAFT Workshop
Directions here.

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).

View inside low tunnels at Garman Organic Farm

View inside low tunnels at Garman Organic Farm

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.

This workshop is co-hosted by the Aquidneck Land Trust‘s and a part of their 25th anniversary Walk and Talk Series.

Other Training, Webinars & Conferences

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 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.

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 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.

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 adn 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. 

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