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 organic winter growing techniques adapted from Eliot Coleman’s methods for RI winters. Beginning and experienced growers will learn when to plant seeds and transplants. Learn tricks for maintaining ideal microclimates in unheated greenhouses. Mike and Kelli Roberts will recommend their favorite winter varieties of winter greens, radishes, turnips, bok choi, carrots, and herbs. Hear how the Roberts enhance soil fertility with organic amendments, compost, and crop rotation in their greenhouses and outdoor beds.
Beginning and experienced growers will learn about the Roberts’ marketing approach including winter and summer CSAs and farmers markets. Established in 2009, Roots Farm is a one-acre, intensively managed farm.
Dress for outdoor demonstrations of low tunnel growing as well as a visit into the Roberts’ greenhouses.
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.
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.
- Central Nursery Trade Show (CENTS), Jan. 7 – 9, Columbus, OH centsmarketplace.com
- NOFA/Mass Winter Conference, Jan. 10, Worcester, MA nofamass.org/winterconference
- Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS), Jan. 14 – 15 Baltimore MD mants.com
- CNLA Winter Symposium & Expo, Jan. 13 – 14, Manchester, CT flowersplantsinct.com/cnla_winter_symposium.htm
- 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
- NOFA-NH Winter Conference, Jan. 31, Concord, NH nofanh.org/events/winter-conference
- Carbon Farming Intensive: Science, Crops and Enterprises with Eric Toensmeier, Feb. 10 – 14, Milan, NY carbonfarmingcourse.com
- 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
- 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
- Philadelphia Flower Show, Feb.1 – 8, theflowershow.com/show-info
- CT NOFA Winter Conference, March 7, Danbury, CT ctnofa.org/winterconference
- Pollinator Health for Agriculture and Landscapes, March 26, UMass/Amherst Extension Symposium
- 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.