Rising consumer demand for organic, sustainable and locally-grown products is supporting higher prices in the marketplace and increased farm profitability. Farmers wishing to transition to organic methods face many challenges.
The NOFA/RI Organic Farm Advisor program provides FREE technical guidance to farmers wishing to implement organic methods on their farms. Experienced organic farmers are paired with new or transitioning farmers and provide assistance in:
- Farm and garden planning
- Marketing, business planning, record keeping
- Soil building, raised bed production
- Cover crops and crop rotation
- Pest and disease management
- Greenhouse and high tunnel growing
- Safe tractor, tool and implement use
- Salad green production
- Cut flower production
- Growing herbs and producing herbal products
- Weed control
- Marketing at Farmer’s Markets
- Post-harvest handling and marketing
- Organic certification and NRCS assistance applications
Farmers receiving assistance may be working towards organic certification, or they may wish to produce their crops in a more sustainable manner.
NOFA/RI Organic Farm Advisors:
Christina Dedora, Blue Skys Farm, Cranston
Christina has experience growing and selling vegetables, herbs, and ornamental crops.
Favorite crops: vegetables, cut flowers and herbs
Special skills: seedling production and field growing of cut flowers and herbs; marketing at Farmer’s Markets
John Kenny, Big Train Farm, North Scituate
John has experience working with antique and modern tractors. He teaches tractor operations to farmers. John hosts workshops on agriculture, natural science and field botany.
Special Skills: soil test interpretation and field planning
Sanne Kure-Jensen, Sakonnet View Farm, Portsmouth
Sanne helps farmers with organic certification, farm succession and links farmers with farmland.
Favorite crops: honey, tomatoes, herbs and native plants
Special skills: organic certification, business planning, program planning, farm marketing, social media campaigns, web design and content management.
Diana Kushner, Arcadian Fields, Hopkinton
Diana’s farm is meticulously tended. She helps farmers navigate the organic certification process.
Favorite crops: heirloom tomatoes, basil, teenage lettuce, carrots
Special skills: weed control, cover crops and organic certification
Hendall Loeffler, Blue Skys Farm, Cranston
Hendall is an herbalist trained to make medicinal teas, salves, and other herbal products.
Favorite crops: comfrey, calendula, lavender, eucalyptus, sage and other herbs.
Special skills: growing, processing and marketing medicinal herbs and producing herbal products
Steve Ramos, Steve’s Organic Produce, Bristol
Steve is one of RI’s first organic farmers. He earns his living on a small farm under 2 acres.
Favorite crops: specialty vegetables, herbs and small fruits
Special skills: intensive growing, season extension, restaurant marketing
Derek Christianson, Brix Bounty Farm Dartmouth, MA
Derek is a farmer and educator on soil nutrients. He has experience with small and large-scale farming.
Favorite crops: all vegetables
Special skills: nutrient-dense food production
NOFA/RI welcomes additional Organic Farm Advisors. Compensation and mileage reimbursement is available through 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.
Specialty Crops Training, as defined by this USDA-supported program, includes fruits, dried fruit, tree nuts, vegetables, nursery crops, Christmas trees, floriculture, cut flowers, honey, hops and turf grass production. Program participants learn how to enhance their market competitiveness with their specialty crops through: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, “Buy Local” programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and/or reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental conservation, product development and/or developing cooperatives.