COMMERCIAL FARMERS AND BEGINNING FARMERS INTERESTED IN LEARNING OR TRANSITIONING TO ORGANIC METHODS MAY BENEFIT FROM PROFESSIONAL AND FREE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE NOFA/RI FARM ADVISOR PROGRAM.
The NOFA/RI Organic Farm Advisor program provides FREE technical guidance to commercial farmers wishing to implement organic methods on their farms and in their marketing efforts.
Experienced organic farmers are paired with aspiring, new, or transitioning farmers to provide assistance in many areas.
Reasons to Sign up for the Advisor Program
“There are always people around who will answer questions, but it is good to have the formal relationship with someone who you know you can call, especially during the busy time of year.” –
“We talk about the nitty gritty sort of details”
“Even though it is a loose structure, it is a structure. So, I don’t have to feel apologetic about sending him emails.”
A Sampling of Possible Program Topics or Goals:
Develop a season extension plan for your farm
Deepen understanding of soil fertility management
Improved seedling production and greenhouse management
Develop a business plan for a new farm
Explore the farm set up of their mentor farmer
- Farm and/or ranch planning
- Marketing, business planning, or record keeping
- Soil health
- 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
- Livestock production and marketing
- Fencing, rotational grazing
- Pasture, forage health
- Weed control
- Post-harvest handling and marketing
- Value added production and marketing
- Marketing at Farmer’s Markets
- 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. Organic Farm Advisors may meet with Advisees in-person, tour Advisees’ farms or visit other sites together. On Call Organic Farm Advisors are also available via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a call to (401) 523-2653.
Camille is owner / manager on a 3 acre certified organic vegetable farm in Exeter, RI. She and co-owner Bob Payne use organic and sustainable practices to grow a variety of greens herbs and vegetables and sell through a 40-member CSA, farmers markets and wholesale to food cooperatives and restaurants. Within their first year of business, they met their financial goals.
Camille trained in organic production, marketing and sales as an apprentice at Greenview Farm before branching out in 2013 to start Little River Farm, where they use conservation tillage, high tunnels and other season extension practices that allow for harvest and selling throughout the winter. Camille can advise on whole farming planning, cover crops, post harvest handling and seedling production.
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 has been owner and manager of Big Train Farm since 2009 and the farm has been certified organic for several years now. John has over 15 years of experience as an organic farmer as well as an academic background in biology and chemistry. When not farming, or advising for NOFA/RI, John periodically teaches a Soil, Plant, and Farm Methodology course. John has experience working with antique and modern tractors. He teaches tractor operations to farmers.
Special Skills: soil test interpretation and field planning
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.Favorite crops: heirloom tomatoes, basil, teenage lettuce, carrots
Special skills: weed control, cover crops, and organic certification.Special Skills: soil test interpretation and field planning
“I have gained a view into the inter-workings of a for-profit vegetable farm.”