By November 24, 2021VABF News



Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms

Mark Jones, Sharondale Mushroom Farm

Saturday, January 22, 2022 9 am to 12 noon

Shenandoah B


In this introduction for gardeners and homesteaders, learn to grow several different types of mushrooms using low-tech, low-cost methods in your garden or woodlot.  We will explore the biology and ecology of fungi in agriculture, using mushrooms for personal and planetary health, and methods for cultivating shiitake, oyster, lion’s mane, reishi, and other mushrooms in wood, straw, and compost.


Bins, Bubblers, and Beauty – Designing your wash/pack space to increase happiness, extend shelf life, and lower risks

Billy Mitchell, National Farmers Union Foundation Local Food Safety Collaborative

Saturday, January 22, 2022 1-5pm

Shenandoah B


During this hands-on and conversational session you’ll participate in some show and tell with different bins, build the basics of a greens bubbler, design and diagram your existing or future wash/pack spaces, and experiment with different tools. We’re going to dig into why your farm’s wash/pack area is important real estate that should create a positive environment for you and your employees to increase flow and decrease bottlenecks.  Please come ready to share what works, and doesn’t work, in your current space and bring the wash/pack questions you’ve always wanted to ask but never had the time to. There will be prizes!


Being a Better Boss

Ellen Polishuk, Plant to Profit

Saturday, January 22, 2022 8am-5pm, lunch 12-1

Crystal DE


Success in Market Farming depends on your growing prowess, business acumen, AND your people skills. Farmers often underestimate the importance of their leadership skills on the farm. For many, this is the limiting factor of their profitability and certainly their quality of life. Let’s focus on your role as manager (attending to the now) and as a leader (creating the future). We will dive deep into giving and receiving feedback.


Year Round Hoophouse Vegetables

Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community

Saturday, January 22 9am to 1pm

Shenandoah A


In this workshop you’ll learn how to decide which crops to grow; how much to plant and harvest; how to make maps, schedules and crop rotation plans. We’ll discuss which market crops are best at various times of year and consider less common crops, such as seed crops, flowers, and cover crops for soil improvement. Learn how to maximize the use of space and manage challenges such as extreme temperatures, nitrate accumulation in leafy greens, soil-borne diseases, pests and nematodes, salt buildup, and maintaining soil organic matter.


Digging Deep on Growing Grains

Benjamin Shorofsky, Common Grain Alliance

Saturday, January 22, 2-5pm

Shenandoah A


Join Common Grain Alliance (CGA) for a half day workshop on grain growing. In this workshop, we will walk through a series of presentations from experts and farmers detailing the following topics:

– Crop Selection, Planting, and Cultivation

– Harvesting and Storage

– Fertility, disease prevention, and soil regeneration

– Processing and Marketing.


No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture

Bryan O’Hara, Tobacco Road Farm

Saturday, January 22, 2022, 9 am to 5 pm with an hour lunch break from 12:30-1:30 pm



Join renowned organic grower Bryan O’Hara as he describes the no-till methods he has developed, which are completely free of herbicides or other pesticides and require only a few acres of land and minimal capital investment. He asserts that this flexible, ecological methodology is as important for soil fertility as it is for his economic success. This comprehensive workshop will explore the following topics:

  • No-till bed preparation techniques
  • Seeding and transplanting methods
  • Irrigation
  • Use of fertilizers (including foliar feeds)
  • Composting (preparation and application)
  • Culture of indigenous microorganisms to support soil biology
  • Pest and disease management
  • Year-round growing
  • Harvest and storage techniques


Principles to Produce Nutrient Dense Food & Defining Food Quality: Tools, Science and Collaboration

Dan Kittredge, Bionutrient Food Association

Saturday, January 22, 2022, 9 am to 5 pm with an hour lunch break from 12:30-1:30 pm



“Principles to Produce Nutrient Dense Food” (morning session)

Nutrient Dense crops are the byproducts of well functioning biological systems. This workshop will cover a number of critical environmental conditions and management practices necessary for the production of these more flavorful, aromatic, nutritious, pest and disease resistant harvests. The foundational paradigm of how plants have evolved to operate in relation to their environments will be covered, along with practical suggestions having to do with seed quality, mineralization, minimal soil disturbance, inoculation, in season monitoring, integrating cover crops, managing for soil aeration and hydration, and intention.

“Defining Food Quality: Tools, Science and Collaboration” (afternoon session)

The Bionutrient Food Association and the Bionutrient Institute have embarked on a open source project to 1) develop a hand held spectrometer that can be used at point of purchase to test relative nutrient density, 2) populate a database sufficient to define relative nutrient density, and 3) populate a database sufficient to identify causal dynamics in the production of nutrient dense crops. We are partnering with farmers, organizations, companies and universities in this project. Many exciting developments have occured in the past 5 years since we initiated the project. This presentation will cover all of those details.