Sat March 8, 2014
This full day workshop is a Bob Grubel double header: tree pruning and shitake mushroom logs! We will also have a scrumptious lunch prepared by Floyd EcoVillage’s Chef Jason Loftus.
See the website for complete details.
For those of you who might have attended the tree pruning workshop earlier this year, Bob says: “Folks can take home a little of the pruned wood in the form of scions to graft onto their apple or pear trees. If they wish to do that they need to bring gallon size plastic bags.”
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Webinar on Soil Health and Production Benefits of Mob Grazing
March 11, 2014, 2:00 pm
This webinar focuses on how both soil health and productivity can be improved by managing grazing to mimic the impact bison had on prairies, a system characterized by high plant diversity, intensive grazing, trampling of vegetation, and long rest periods. Because of their vegetative cover, pastures and rangeland are often overlooked as having degraded soils. In fact, grazing lands suffer from soil disturbing activities caused by overgrazing that results in reduced root mass, increased weed pressure, compacted soils, greater surface runoff, and diminished soil habitat. Our presenter will explain how managing stock density can be the most powerful tool available to manage grassland resources. He will cover how stock density affects utilization, reduces spot grazing, controls weed competition, improves manure distribution, and provides seed to soil contact. Simply put, managing stock density has the potential to improve and build more soil than we ever thought possible.
Follow this link to register and join the webinar.
This year’s theme is “The Safety of Local Food and Agriculture” Cost is $20/person – Register by March 7th to receive lunch and conference materials. Registration is also $20 at the door, but you may not receive lunch or conference materials. Children 12 and under are free, but please register them so they will receive lunch.
Add on workshops include:
Apple Tree Grafting (see attached) – $25
Farming for Profit – Turning Budgets into Profitability – $25
To register, or for more information, please contact Tamara at
(276) 623-1121 or email@example.com
March 27th 6pm to 8pm
This FREE workshop will be held at 24 Pelham St.
Warrenton, VA and offers new ideas for going to the Farmers Market. Speakers include:
- Selling Raw, Processed and Prepared Food Products, what is required? Cathy Kloetzli — VCE Albemarle
- Accepting SNAP EBT benefits, is this for you? Elizabeth Borst — The Farmers Markeet Co.
- Using applications to manage your market booth and your farm. Jeff Adams — Walnut Hill Farm, att Elm Springs LLC
More information can be found on this flyer. If you are interested, please RSVP to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or Master Gardener help desk at 540.341.7950 ext 2.
Questions? contact Tim Ohlwiler at email@example.com or 540.341.7950 ext 3
Saturday March 29, 2014 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM EDT
This workshop will discuss the techniques for growing shiitake mushrooms on logs in Virginia. Some of the topics include: selection of logs, inoculation process, harvest, mushroom storage and use. Tour Rockcastle’s shiitake mushroom production area and see how the process works.
Producing shiitake mushrooms at home is no mystery. To get everyone off to a good start all participants will be given a log to inoculate and take home.
This is a very popular program. Space and materials are limited, so it is important to register early to assure yourself of a space in this program. Registration is $25.00 due at the time of registration.
Get more information
If you need more information or would like to attend bur don’t use PayPal, contact the Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-878-2166
First class April 3 at 7-9 pm
Are you thinking of starting a production farm or of diversifying an existing farm? Join us this spring to work with local educators, producers, and industry leaders to explore those questions and evaluate your farming future.
The Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer Program (NPBFP) is a multi-class initiative to help aspiring and diversifying farmers make informed decisions about a new operation. NPBFR is a partner in the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program, and will utilize the Coalition’s curriculum, particularly on Introduction to Whole Farm Planning, Marketing, and Introduction to Farm Business Management.
Class dates are: April 3, 17; May 1, 15, 22, 29; and June 5, 19. Class time is 7-9 pm. All classes will be held at the Middleburg Agriculture Research and Extension Center, 5527 Sullivans Mill road, Middleburg, VA 22117. The cost of the series is $150.
For more information, see this flyer. To register, send check payable to Fauquier Education Farm, and mail to Fauquier Education FArm, c/o VCE Fauquier, 24 Pelham Street, Warrenton, VA 20186. For more information, contact email@example.com, or call 540-34107950
This is a joint effort of Cooperative Extension in Culpeper, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Rappahannock Counties, and the Fauquier Education Farm.
Saturday, April 5th OR Sunday, April 6th 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Join Alexis Zeigler for his popular intensive grafting & propogation workshop. This year the workshop is being offered twice in Charlottesville VA. For more information, visit this website or see this flyer.
Tuesday April 15 & Wednesday April 16, 2014
Holiday Inn Lynchburg, Va
This year includes a tour of Lynchburg Grows on April 14 and a screening of Dan Susman’s documentary film: Growing Cities-A Film About Urban Farming in America on the evening of Monday April 14. See attached packet for details and registration.
For more information go to — http://events.SignUp4.com/UrbanAgSummit2014
For questions or further assistance, including sponsorship opportunities, contact:
Christie Young – Christie.firstname.lastname@example.org or Spencer Neale – email@example.com
March 1st 2014
The workshop will be held upstairs in the Historic 1908 Courthouse located at the intersection of Highways 21 and 58 in downtown Independence, Virginia.
We are pleased to have local experts teaching these classes and sharing their knowledge.
This is the second in a series of four free workshops sponsored by the Independence Farmers Market and Virginia Cooperative Extension. The workshops are targeted to backyard gardeners, commercial growers, ranchers or new farmers that wish to grow food for retail, direct sales, and wholesale markets. Speakers will introduce attendees to the techniques and practices that have been successful across the Appalachian Region. Attendees will also be connected to a larger network of growers, buyers and resources to help them with their farming needs.
We hope you will plan to join us for all of them and enjoy a day full of information and tasty local food. Seeflyer for more details.
Developing A One Page Farm Business Plan
March 5th 2014
10 AM to 1:30 PM
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Boxed lunch generously provided by Farm Credit
Charles City County Recreation Center
8320 Ruthville Rd. Providence Forge, Va.
It’s time to get professional about your growing agricultural business and join us for this work-shop on writing your own One Page Business Plan. Farm Credit of the Virginias will guide you through this important step as you turn your small farm dream into a healthy sustainable business. More info found here.
Please RSVP by
804 524 5493
March 13, 2014 8am -4:30 pm
A couple of day events at Virginia Tech that may be of interest. See attached.
Yes, folks, after well over two years, we at last have a Farm Bill Reauthorization for the next five years. Key programs that have been stranded without funding since September of 2012 – including Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP – original funder of Virginia Beginning Farmer Coalition Program), Organic Research and Extension Initiative (which has funded a 5-year multistate project to develop organic controls for the brown marmorated stink bug), the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program, and the Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Program (which supports SNAP benefit access to farmers markets, among other local food initiaties). These have all received robust funding.
The downside is that the 2014 Farm Bill missed a huge opportunity to adopt substantive reforms to commodity subsidy programs – reforms that had received strong bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.
Thank you for all you have done over the past couple years during the long and often intense grassroots campaign around Farm Bill issues.
Following and attached are additional information, analysis, and reflections from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) regarding this new Farm Bill, and our next steps toward a more sustainable federal ag policy.
The President has signed the 2014 Farm Bill into law. Yes, that’s right, we have a new, five-year farm bill. It took us a long time to get to this point (remember when this bill was called the 2012 Farm Bill?!), and the final bill is a mixed bag, but because of your tireless advocacy efforts there are bright spots to build on in our shared effort to build a better food and farm future.
We made an infographic (attached jpg file) to help illustrate some of the big wins and losses in the final bill. But what’s most important to know is this: these wins are thanks to you.
As just one example, you stood up for the “stranded programs” in the farm bill – a set of innovative, job-creating programs that were stripped of all funding in 2013. Thanks to your thousands upon thousands of persistent calls, emails, and letters, Congress listened. The new Farm Bill invests over $1.2 billion over the next five years into once-stranded programs like the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, National Organic Certification Cost Share, the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, and many others. These programs will create jobs through food and farming, invest in the next generation of growers and in sustainable growing methods, rebuild rural communities, and increase healthy food access.
You’ll see some losses on the list, too – and, frankly, they’re big ones. You joined us in calling for critical reforms, including common-sense, bipartisan subsidy payment limits, but unfortunately Congress caved completely, despite intense grassroots pressure. But we won’t give up – and nor should you! We’ll double down this year – and the next, and the next – to keep fighting for better food and farm policy, including meaningful reform.
We will need advocates like you to help make sure the roll-out of this farm bill really works on the ground, and that its investments reach the hard-working farmers and families across our nation who need it most. Plus, there’s more on the horizon this year that matters for farmers and eaters, including annual funding negotiations in Congress for critical food and farm programs and the FDA’s in-progress Food Safety Modernization Act rules.
Are you ready to help us keep up the fight? Take a look at the infographic here, learn more about the sustainable agriculture community’s wins and losses in the bill [link to take action page, which will direct folks to blog posts, etc], and share this image with your friends and family [share tool].
We couldn’t have achieved any of this without you – and our work together is not yet done. Thank you for everything – we can’t wait to keep working with you in 2014 and beyond!
Thanks for all you do,
Sarah and Shavaun, The NSAC Grassroots Team
“Agricultural Co-existence” Must Include Protecting Organic and Non-GMO Farmers Against GMO Contamination!
In November, USDA posted a notice in the Federal Register, asking for public comment on “Enhancing Agricultural Coexistence” among organic, non-GMO conventional,and GMO crop farmers. The FR notice includes four questions about education, communication, and outreach aimed at improving mutual understanding – but the questions evade the most important issues:
- How to prevent contamination of organic and non-GMO crops by GMO pollen or seed
- How to protect organic and non-GMO farmers from market and financial losses resulting from GMO contamination beyond their control
- How to fairly compensate organic and non-GMO farmers in the event that they suffer losses from GMO contamination
Have you experienced GMO contamination of your organic or non-GMO crops by GMO pollen from a neighboring farm, resulting in financial losses?
Have you incurred additional expense in order to protect your crops from GMO contamination?
Have you been forced to change your cropping plan, or otherwise restrict your production options because of GMO crop production on nearby farms?
If any of these is true for you, your stories are vital to our efforts to inform the USDA about the actual extent and seriousness of GMO contamination in organic and non-GMO crops. In addition to submitting your story and comments to USDA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) would like to hear your story. Contact Mark by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or call NSAC at 202-547-5754, and ask to speak with Ariane or Sarah.
Even if you did not answer “yes” to the above questions, but are concerned about this issue, send your comments to USDA by March 4! Urge USDA to address GMO contamination directly and frankly, and to compensate affected farmers fairly.
For more information, and to submit comments, visit http://www.nationalorganiccoalition.org/usda-requests-public-input-on-agricultural-coexistence , or see How to Comment section below. If you would like to submit anonymous comments, NOC includes a link to do so.
Background and More on the Issues
In 2011, USDA re-convened the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21), which made recommendations in five major areas regarding agricultural “coexistence” – compensation, stewardship, education and outreach, research, and seed quality.
Some of these recommendations included investigating an appropriate compensation mechanism for dealing with economic harm caused by GE contamination such as the possibility of offering crop insurance to organic and non-GMO farmers. Other recommendations focused on identifying ways to foster communication and collaboration among those involved in all sectors of agriculture production, including conversations among neighboring farmers regarding planting dates to prevent cross-pollination. To access all AC21 documents go to: http://tinyurl.com/AC21DOCS
USDA is asking for input on more than a dozen questions about education, collaboration, and outreach. The department seeks input on coexistence practices, and, specifically, how the department can support communication between farmers.
As discussed above, USDA’s questions are missing the point – we need to guide them back to the heart of the matter!
And, asking organic and non-GMO farmers to purchase crop insurance to protect themselves from GMO-related losses is like asking pedestrians to carry additional insurance in case they are injured by a motor vehicle! Those who own, use, and beneft from GMO crop technology should shoulder the burden of compensating non-GMO farmers for such losses.
GMO contamination is posing an especially severe and growing burden on the organic and non-GMO crop seed sector. Crops most likely to be affected are corn (including sweet corn, popcorn, and heirloom flour and ornamental corn, as well as grain and silage corn); soybean (including edamame as well as grain and forage soybean), canola (which may cross with closely related brassica vegetables), and cotton. In addition, USDA has recently approved commercial production of GMO sugar beet (which will cross with table beet, leaf beet, and chard), and alfalfa.
Organic and non-GE farmers and handlers have shouldered the burden of contamination for too long. USDA must use its authority to:
- Prevent GMO contamination
- Fully investigate the state of contamination in our seed and food supply
- Reform the current regulatory framework overseeing GMOs
- Reject the proposal to force organic and other non-GMO producers to purchase more crop insurance to protect themselves from contamination
- Address the broader economic and environmental issues related to “coexistence” and contamination
How to Comment
Comment ONLINE at: Regulations.gov and search for: APHIS-2013-0047-0061
Submit SNAIL MAIL comments to: Docket No. APHIS–2013–0047, Regulatory Analysis, and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station, 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238.
Farmers & Handlers: If you would like to send an ANONYMOUS COMMENT outlining your experiences and costs, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/AC21Story
Interested Growers will operate under the following parameters:
- Growers must be located no more than 2.5 hours drive time from the Appalachian Harvest packinghouse facility in Duffield, Virginia and/or no more than 2 hours from the ASD main office in Abingdon, Virginia.
- Production is limited to certified organic winter squash, organic red & green cabbage (fall only) and organic pie pumpkins. These products will be certified for sale through Appalachian Harvest.
- A maximum of 20 growers will be permitted to participate in the Group Certification Program. This will be accomplished on a first come, first served basis.
- Appalachian Harvest will source the seeds for the growers, and growers will purchase these seeds from Appalachian Harvest. Appalachian Harvest will seek approval from QCS prior to purchasing seeds under the Group Certification effort.
- Appalachian Harvest will visit each farmer 2 times during this production season: (1) pre-planting and/or planting phase, (2) during harvest and/or upon completion of harvest.
- Appalachian Harvest will hold monthly training sessions and a variety of 1:1 training sessions to complete required QCS Organic Certification documentation with each farmer to be submitted no later than May 15, 2014 to QCS.
- Only utilizing inputs approved for this group certification effort. List available on request and by participation in group effort.
- Each producer utilizing the Grower Group Certification will maintain a 3 ring binder noting the following: organic certification application, MSDS for applicable inputs, and a calendar of farming events (planting dates, pest management, harvest, etc). These binders will be provided by Appalachian Harvest.
Growers participating in this Group Organic Certification effort will receive the benefits of:
- Selling the winter squash, cabbage, and pie pumpkins at a premium organic price.
- Paying a reduced rate for organic certification of these products.
- Being GAP mock audited without the cost of USDA GAP certification.
- Guidance and support from Appalachian Harvest staff.
Farm For Sale
136 acres. Rapidan area Madison VA. Woodlands and fields no herbicide/pesticide used, pond, river access, 4 bedroom brick house excellent condition. $798,000. Call Jefferson L&R 540-948-5050
General Manager Position Opening
Future Harvest – Chesepeake Allainace for Sustainable Agriculture – January 2014
The General Manager is the steward of Future Harvest CASA’s assets and mission in a time of transition. The General Manager is responsible for all aspects of the organization’s performance; job responsibilities include overseeing/performing all day-to-day operations of Future Harvest CASA.
This role reports to the Board of Directors, and directs the organization’s resources in the accomplishment of goals defined by the Board. S/he also represents FHCASA to funders, partner organizations, members, and other external constituents. Tasks included in the successful direction of the organization will include, but not be limited to:
Administration and Management Tasks
- Oversee and coordinate human resources, including Future Harvest CASA’s staff and contractors
- Successfully manage the organization’s financial resources to the annual budget
- Create and interpret financial statements and budget projections for quarterly board meetings, working with contract bookkeeper and Board Secretary
- Work with staff to develop and track program budgets, including several grant-funded programs
- Ensure accuracy, timeliness and completeness of all necessary filings (with the assistance of Board Treasurer and Secretary)
- Identify funding needs and sources, draft funding requests, and report to funders as required
- Serve as point of contact for Board of Directors and Board committees, including the committee overseeing the plan of merger with the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)
- Work with Board to conduct merger activities
- Serve as manager of FHCASA’s annual Conference, with the support of the Conference Committee and Chair
External Relations Tasks
- Maintain relations with current funders and partner organizations
- Actively work with board on grant writing and fundraising efforts
- Attend meetings within the sustainable agriculture community on behalf of FHCASA
- Staff occasional FHCASA programmatic events (e.g. Field Days, trainings, panels)
- Oversee visual identity and messaging of FHCASA
- Review and approve all external communications (e.g. newsletters, brochures, press releases)
Part-Time salaried position. Will require 20-30 hours/week. $30,000 salary with holidays, sick and vacation days. Submit cover letter and resume email@example.com.
Northern Piedmont Specialty Crops School, 2014
Person County Cooperative Extension Center, 304 S. Morgan Street, Roxboro, NC 27573
Friday, March 7, 2014 – 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
The program emphasizes high tunnel production and economics. Topics include: getting started in high tunnel production, maintaining high productivity under cover, high tunnel temperature and irrigation management, cropping systems and crop economics in the high tunnel, and innovative production and marketing of asparagus.
Pre-registration by February 28 is required. Registration is $25 for the first person in famil / business, and $15 for each additional person. For more information, call Carl Cantaluppi, Granville County Extension, 919-603-1350, e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
7th Annual Virginia Berry Conference
Save the date: March 13, 2014 8am -4:30 pm
Virginia State University, Gateway Dining Hall
More details coming soon
CSA Online Conference Aims to Give
Small Farmers the Tools to Keep Pace
The number of farms providing Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs exploded during the 2000s as the demand for fresh, local food surged. As this trend became impossible to ignore, many other companies stepped up to the plate to market local food. In 2014 and going forward these small-scale family farms face pressure from huge companies like Wal-Mart that have embraced local food, venture capital backed technology companies, and a multitude of smaller local food hubs.
To survive this onslaught of competition, CSA farmers need to work together to share best practices and promote true, small-scale localized farm options. CSA farmers also need to work together to chart the future course of CSA in order to keep the concept fresh and relevant in the years that come. The 2014 CSA Expert Exchange (www.csafarmconference.com ) is an online conference co-presented by Small Farm Central and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) that brings CSA farmers from across the United States and Canada together to discuss topics important to the success of CSA now and into the future.
“Joining a CSA farm is still the most direct way to support a small-scale, family farm growing high-quality produce, but there are now many options vying for the local food dollar. CSA farmers must be at the top of their game to produce the highest quality food and continue to articulate why CSA is so important for both the farmer and the eater. This is why we organize the CSA Expert Exchange: to learn from the best and brightest.” – Simon Huntley, Founder of Small Farm Central and former CSA farmer.
“The ‘Know your farmer. Know your food’ mantra is not one that will soon be pushed to the wayside. As consumers continue to push for that greater connection and understanding of their food and the environment in which it is produced, the demand for local food rises. CSA programs, by their traditional roots, provide just that – a genuine opportunity to know one’s food and the hands that produced it. The CSA Expert Exchange offers a platform – a network – for like-minded farmers and supporters to gather, to learn, and to be inspired to keep fighting the good fight.” – Karla Pankow, Bossy Acres
This year’s CSA Expert Exchange will occur live on March 6th and 7th, 2014. The first day will be an evening session focusing on beginning CSA farmers running from7pm until 9:30pm EST. The second day will cover a variety of topics relevant to CSA farmers of all levels of experience beginning at 11:00am EST and running until3:30pm EST. Nationwide, the conference is expected to engage between 250-300 CSA farmers. The conference will be accessible via any web browser; attendees will be available to watch video of presenters, view powerpoint slides, and interact via chat to ask questions. The fee is $70 for both days and registration is open at csafarmconference.com.
- David Liker of Gorman Farm, Columbia, MD
- Chloe Diegel and Alex McKiernen from Robinette Farms, Martell, NE
- Karla Pankow of Bossy Acres, Northfield, MN
- Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons
- Chris Brockel of FairShare CSA Coalition
- Pam Dawling of Growing For Market and Twin Oaks Community, Louisa, VA
- Michael Kilpatrick of Kilpatrick Family Farm, Middle Granville, NY
With over 6,000 members, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is one of the largest and most active sustainable agriculture organizations in the U.S. Through educational programs and regional marketing assistance for farmers, advocacy, and public outreach, PASA seeks to promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment. PASA’s hallmark event, the Farming for the Future Conference, draws thousands of participants from more than 30 states and six countries each February. For more information, visit pasafarming.org.
About Small Farm Central
Small Farm Central is a leading technology provider to small-scale farms across the U.S. and Canada. Started by an former CSA farmer, Small Farm Central provides farm websites, CSA member management services, and more to help increase the economic sustainability of small-scale farmers by creating professional and engaging experiences for the farm’s customers. Small Farm Central’s Member Assembler technology is built to manage the office side of the CSA from online member signup and payment processing to box packing and delivery logistics. For more information, visit smallfarmcentral.com.
Jim Hoorman - Extension Educator, Cover Crops and Water Quality, Ohio State University
February 11, 2014 2PM Eastern / 11AM Pacific
Lean about the root cause of soil compaction – lack of soil organic matter and biological activity caused by heavy tillage – and mitigation techniques to improve soil function for agricultural production. Mitigating negative impacts of compaction can only be solved by improving habitat for microbes, allowing them to build soil aggregates. Most producers view soil compaction as a consequence of heavy equipment compressing the soil, resulting in restricted root growth, poor soil aeration, and poor drainage. Often overlooked is the loss of soil organic matter caused by tillage and the destruction of habitat favorable for soil microbes necessary to build soil aggregates and increase soil organic matter. Key to building soil micro and macro-aggregates are mycorrhizal fungi with their hyphae and organic glues that serve as the foundation for soil aggregates. Overcoming soil compaction can only be achieved by applying soil health management principles that minimize soil disturbance, increase soil microbe diversity, keep a living root growing, and maintain residue cover.
Gaining Access to Farmland: Economic Considerations of Farm Leasing
Dr. Gordon Groover, Extension Economist Farm Management
Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
Summary: When someone thinks of a farm lease, the first thought usually is, “how much will I pay or get paid?” This often occurs before the tenant or landlord have even meet or discussed any terms. However, the main thought process should quickly shift to, “how can we reach a fair and beneficial arrangement for farmland and improvements?” Focusing on price does ground the process on financial terms yet it “short-circuits” the process of systematically discussing the contributions each is providing to ensure a viable arrangement. For example, what kind of land and improvements can be offered by the land owner? What kind of experience, skills, management, machinery, and/or livestock can be offered by the land seeker? These types of questions are a sample of what needs to be analyzed to achieve a fair lease arrangement. This webinar will focus on basic economic considerations of leasing, establishing a negotiation range, and valuation of assets and other inputs supplied by the leaseholder and/or landlord— together designed to help farmers address those important farm leasing questions.
To participate in this webinar, please go to:
What a conference!
Thank you to everyone who participated in and made the 15th Annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference a huge success. Over 550 people participated in the weekend’s activities! There was an abundance of opportunities for concrete learning, philosophical foundations, biological farming inspiration, and networking galore.
Available presentation files can be found via this link to the 2014 Conference Presentation Files page of our website. (This link is also currently on our homepage.)
If you attended the conference and haven’t yet filled out an evaluation, please do so here. We do use this feedback to shape future conferences and programs, and we read every comment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
Mark your calendars for January 30-31, 2015 for the 16th Annual conference. We informed conference attendees in Richmond that we have extremely few venue options for this conference due to the size and the requirement that the catering source food from local, organic sources. With extensive searching, Richmond and Williamsburg are the only locations we have found that meet these constraints. We polled conference attendees this year about which location they preferred. Since not all of our membership or followership was present to vote, please express your preference via this survey here.
Many thanks again for your commitment to organic and biological farming and gardening. We look forward to seeing you at future field days, farm tours, workshops, and conferences!
All the best, from your hosts,
Virginia Association for Biological Farming &
Virginia State University College of Agriculture
We are excited to announce the first annual VABF Richmond Farm Tours and we ask you to save the date for this fun and educational sustainable farm tour weekend, September 20th and 21st, 2014.
Shake the hand that feeds you. Richmonders will be encouraged to load up their cars with friends and family (one ticket covers everyone!) and head out for a day, or two, of meeting farmers and seeing where and how their food is grown. The tour will be self-paced with farms located in clusters throughout the area. Information on participating farms will be available via a tour program, a mobile app and on our web site.
The tour cost will be $25 per vehicle in advance. Entrance tickets will also be available on tour days at every tour farm for $30. (Discounts for VABF members. Volunteers will receive a free pass). More details to come!
Now accepting applications. Farms interested in participating in the tour weekend are encouraged to apply.
Funding for the tour is provided in part by the USDA Specialty Agriculture Grant Program, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Growing the Next Generation of
Published by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry)
Check out this new toolkit at the link above. It’s a good resource for those of you working with model farms and business incubator training programs.
Happy New Year!
The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) is seeking farmer input on cover crops as a conservation option on U.S. farms. This online survey will take 10 minutes or less and is for all farmers whether they use cover crops or not.
If you currently use cover crops, this is your chance to report what works and does not work.
If you do not use cover crops, tell us why not and help us understand where more scientific evidence is needed to encourage their adoption.
To access the survey, click here: Cover Crops Survey. Your answers will remain completely anonymous.
Just a few minutes of your time will help improve cover crop programs and efforts to increase access to information and technical assistance.
After completing the survey, you will have the opportunity to register for two $100 gift card drawings. Gift card registration takes place at a separate website to ensure that your responses to this survey remain completely anonymous.
Please respond by Jan. 31 to be eligible for the $100 gift card drawing.
This survey is sponsored by North Central SARE and is being carried out by CTIC. It addresses the 2013 growing season, and is a follow up to a CTIC survey last year that addressed the 2012 growing season. Results of that survey, which showed that cover crops improved corn and soybean yields in drought conditions, can be found here.
For the purposes of this survey, a cover crop refers to any crop intentionally planted between traditional spring/summer cash crop production periods.
Letters of Intent for most of the program areas are dueFebruary 19; full application April 17. However, the deadlines for the CARE program are June 4 (Letter of Intent) and August 7 (full proposal). For more information, visit http://sustainableagriculture.net/ blog/afri-foundational-2014-rfa/.
For the full RFA itself, visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/pdfs/14_afri_foundation.pdf.
Dear Friend of Virginia agriculture,
The VSU Small Farm Outreach Program is proud to invite you to our 2014 Farm Tax Planning Workshops. The workshops will be conducted by Mr. Alan G. Reese, C.P.A., who will provide a comprehensive view of tax planning for the small farm and a step-by-step walk-through of the 1040 Farm Tax Return.
Two locations are available:
Jan. 27 - VSU Randolph Farm Pavilion, Petersburg, VA
Feb. 13 – Old Dominion Agricultural Center, Chatham, VA
Both workshops will be from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. See attached flyer for addresses and details
There is a $10 fee for attending. You may pay ahead of time or at the door.
Lunch and light refreshments will be provided.
Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014
Hosted by SoilSHARE (Soil – Soil Health Assists Rural Economies)
Growing Nutrient-Dense Food Is the “Next Big Thing” in the Food Movement
We’re fortunate that Dan Kittredge, a second-generation organic farmer and nutrient-rich food grower, is coming to Madison to teach an intensive two-day workshop on biological farming (click here to download the flyer). You’ll learn how to test and analyze your soils so you can apply the right mix of nutrients to build your soil up to peak vitality. Dan will share how he saves time and money to grow the high-quality food that his customers have grown to appreciate and have made his business a success.
This is a rare opportunity to learn biological farming from a successful commercial grower. Go to http://bionutrient.org/workshops to register, click the “Sign Up Online” button near the bottom of the page and select the “Madison, VA”class location. The fee is $150.00 for the two days with scholarships available for farmers (contact email@example.com to apply).
How to Test Your Soil & Bring Lab Report to Class
Download and print the form. Note: enclose a payment of $30 (not $25) per test with the completed form (make sure to check the box for “AEA Base Test Plus EC, Mo, Co, Se, Si”).
Collect your soil sample(s) following the instructions athttp://bionutrient.org/soil-test (be sure to include your email address so Logan Labs can send you a digital copy of your report).
2014 Growers Academy, February 25 – April 1:
Please allow 4-5 business days to receive the test results and be sure to bring your lab report to class.
The Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center is offering the fifth annual Growers’ Academy, a series of courses specifically designed to help new and transitioning agricultural businesses succeed. This 8-session learning series is focused on low-input crop production techniques and launching your own agribusiness. Instructors include resource professionals and farm business owners.
Beginning Beekeepers Workshop, April 3 & 5
This two-session class will prepare the beginning beekeeper for a successful season. The first class is a three-hour, classroom-based session that provides the student with a strong foundation of beekeeping knowledge. The second session includes instruction with both classroom and field-based modules. The fee for the 8-hour workshop is $99 and includes a popular beekeeping book and lunch on Saturday. The course will be instructed by Mark Chorba, President of the New River Valley Beekeepers Association.
Sustainable Gardening Series, May 3, July 16, & October 4: Registration opens in February
An expansion of the popular Midsummer Sustainable Gardening Workshop, the Sustainable Gardening Series will cover sustainable practices for the home gardener and small farm manager throughout the growing season. Instructor Mark Schonbeck will cover preseason preparation, midsummer weed and pest management, and caring for the fall and winter garden.
For more information, contact:
Wednesday, February 12th
Rocky Mount, NC; 9 AM to 4 PM
This event is for larger scale farmers and ranchers who are already growing organically or who want to learn more about organic methods and markets. It’s a great chance to hear the latest news and research on organics, meet other farmers and resource people, and enhance or jump start your own organic projects.
Featured speakers include:
Oren Holle, nationally-known farmer from Kansas, will discuss OFARM, an innovative multi-state cooperative helping organic farmers maximize their pricing.
Chris Reberg-Horton from NC State will provide an update on the university’s path-breaking organic field trials. He’ll discuss a variety of common and not so common grains appropriate for the Carolinas.
Julie Grossman, soil scientist, will lead a workshop on the latest ideas for cover crops and soil fertility on larger-scale organic operations.
AJ Luft, popular veterinarian from Ohio, will discuss his experiences working with organic herds and holistic animal management.
Plus, information on organic inputs and market updates on best avenues to sell organic commodities and livestock.
Don’t wait! Limited spaces. This high quality, low-cost training course may sell out soon.
Click here to learn more and register for the conference:www.carolinafarmstewards.org/oclc
Note: We regret that Charles Sydnor’s mob grazing session had to be cancelled.
Less than one week remains until registration closes for the 15th Annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference! After January 27, you will only be able to register at the door on Friday, January 31.
Located in Richmond, VA, this conference will feature speakers including Gunther Hauk (Biodynamic Beekeeping), Ray Archuleta (Soil Health), Harvey Ussery (Small Flock Poultry), Mark Cain (Organic Cut Flowers), Jean-Martin Fortier (Making a Living from a 1.5 acre Market Garden), Stacy Brenner and John Bliss (Organic Vegetable and Flower Farm Management), Ira Wallace (Year Round Seed Germination), and many, many more!
Five informative breakout sessions; two plenary sessions; a packed Exhibit Hall; an ongoing seed swap; local, organic food; social hour with Virginia beverages; screening of the Virginia-filmed and well-reviewed Seasons with Brian and Julia; and an engaging youth program round out the amazing event! Register now and don’t miss out on the learning and fun!
Don’t forget: There are three unique and valuable workshops on the day before the conference, hosted by VABF and held at the same hotel as the Conference. Details and registration here.
Thursday, January 30th, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm:
Profitable Management of a Diversified Organic Vegetable & Flower Farm, Stacy Brenner & John Bliss, of Broadturn Farm (Scarborough, Maine) ($100 for members, includes lunch)
Thursday, January 30th, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm:
Biodynamic Gardening and Beekeeping, Gunther Hauk of Spikenard Farm & Honeybee Sanctuary (Floyd, Virginia) ($100 for members, includes lunch)
Thursday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm & Friday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm:
Wholesale Success by Family Farmed.Org ($40)
VABF is offering three separate intensive workshops on Thursday, January 30, 2014 (one of which continues Friday morning, Jan 31), at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Richmond, VA (same location as the VaBF Conference). These workshops require a registration ticket purchase separate from the Conference and have a limited number of spaces available.
Wholesale buyers have strict quality and safety guidelines that can be formidable obstacles for small and mid-size producers. To alleviate these concerns, FamilyFarmed.org provides technical assistance and training to farmers that address these guidelines using our publication Wholesale Success: A Farmer’s Guide to Food Safely, Selling, Postharvest Handling, and Packing Produce. Now in it’s third edition, the 312 page manual includes comprehensive sections on issues such as Building Relationships with Buyers, On-Farm Food Safety, Harvesting, Cleaning and Drying, Sorting and Packing, Packing Shed Design, and Calculating Return on Investment. It also includes over 100 crop profiles that give specific harvesting, cooling, storage, and packing information on most of the fruits and vegetables grown in the United States. It is the basis for our Wholesale Success farmer workshops that have trained more than 2500 farmers in recent years with the support of the US Department of Agriculture.
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9:00 am – 5:00 pm: Profitable Management of a Diversified Organic Vegetable & Flower Farm, Stacy Brenner & John Bliss, Broadturn Farm, Scarborough, Maine
Over the last 7 years Broadturn Farm has gone from a vacant piece of farmland at the dead-end of an old school farming lineage, to a revitalized community-centered organic farm with a novel approach to tenancy and ownership. The story involves a small, inexperienced town land trust, and a young family with only five years of farming experience, and loads of good-will, intelligent decision-making, and a reliable backbone of soil and markets. In this day-long workshop, we will cover many of the details of Broadturn Farm’s success. Join us for presentations covering production of vegetables; production of flowers; labor strategies; approaches towards equipment and infrastructure; land tenancy; community integration; and marketing both directly and otherwise. Please see tentative agenda here.
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9:00 am – 5:00 pm: Biodynamic Gardening and Beekeeping, Gunther Hauk, Spikenard Farm & Honeybee Sanctuary, Floyd, Virginia
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel
Map & Directions
1021 Koger Center Boulevard
Richmond, Virginia, 23235
(This link brings you to the same page as Conference Registration. You may choose to register for one of these pre-conference options, or the regular conference, or both.) Questions? Contact VABF Registrar Sara Schmatz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-519-1620
Jan 31 – Feb 1, 2014 Register at VABF.org
Join us in Richmond, Virginia for the state’s premier gathering of organic producers and consumers, the 15th Annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference. On January 31 and Feb 1, 2014 more than 500 passionate supporters of sustainable, organic food, farming, and gardening will have the chance to participate in sessions ranging from Land Selection to High Tunnel Planting for Profit, Organic Cut Flowers to Collaborations between Farmers, Bakers and Brewers; Making a Good Living off 1.5 acres and Profitable Management of a 10 acre Organic Vegetable and Flower Farm; Year Round Seed Germination and How to Gross $1 per Square Foot through growing diversified vegetables…plus many more interesting and informative sessions. See the full session schedule here.