Workshops

This year, we will feature more than 100 farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and advocates to learn from. NOFA-NY is fortunate to be able to source the most knowledgeable farmers and educators around – pulling from the 1,000+ farms we certify in addition to many other organizations.

  • Workshops sessions and discussion groups generally occur five times a day at 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm ET over the course of eight days.
  • Sessions are between 60 and 90 minutes long.
  • If you miss a session, no worries! You can view recordings on the conference app. 

View the Conference Schedule


Workshop Descriptions

Building Economic Resilience: How to Evaluate your Pivots

Presenter: Julia Shanks (Julia Shanks Food Consulting)
When Covid hit, farmers had to quickly adapt to the changed landscape. Restaurants shuttered, retail sales sky rocketed, and farmers markets came with all sorts of new restrictions. Decisions were made in a flash, and now you need to evaluate… How did it go? What adjustments do I want to make for next year? In this workshop we will discuss how to look at your financials and time so you can answer these questions. Learning how to evaluate your pivots, and quick-thinking shifts, will help you build a more resilient business.

Organic Handling / Processing / Distributor Certification

Presenters: NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC Staff
Join NOFA-NY Certified Organic staff for a discussion of certification requirements and the USDA National Organic Program regulations as they relate to processors, handlers, and distributors. Topics covered will include integrity within supply chains, who has to be certified under the upcoming Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule, processing, the “National List,” co-packing and private labeling, labels, international equivalencies, and more.

Pricing Your CSA

Presenters: Briana Alfaro (NOFA-NY Outreach Coordinator) and Elizabeth Higgins (Cornell Cooperative Extension)
This presentation explores the variables to consider when pricing Community Supported Agriculture shares, using data collected from CSAs across New York State. Learn how to analyze and use regional trends and opportunities to better predict how prices are likely to move, and how to set and adjust prices based on your business strategy. The examples in the presentation focus on CSAs, but the same thought process can be applied to setting prices for other farm products. NOFA-NY staff will present the Organic Price Index, another tool to help inform pricing for NY products.

Intro to Organic Certification

Presenters: NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC Staff
Using organic practices? You might be certifiable! Join NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC staff for a fast-paced, intensive overview of the organic certification process and requirements for crop, livestock, and on-farm processing production. Bring your questions! We’ll discuss how the National Organic Program regulations fit with your operation or future planning.

Launch Your Online Farm Store: Tools and Tips for eCommerce

Presenter: Kristina Snyder (Sunny Cove Organic Farm)
Farming full time, building a website, and managing an online store can seem daunting. It doesn’t need to be! Learn how you can save money on the middleman, do it yourself, and triple your sales overnight in as little as two hours a week. Sunny Cove Farm is a diversified dairy operation that operates a milk and meat CSA and online local foods marketplace.

Organic Maple Certification

Presenters: NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC Staff
Join NOFA-NY Certified Organic staff for a discussion of certification requirements specific to Maple operations including timelines, tapping/processing, highlights of application forms/records, and the USDA National Organic Program Regulations.

All of our 2021 Organic Dairy Programming will be offered during the Winter Conference. Workshops will be featured on Wednesday, January 20 and Thursday, January 21.


DIY Soil Carbon Proxy Testing for Dairy Farmers

Presenters: Sarah Ficken (NOFA-NY, Inc. Dairy Coordinator) and Robert Perry (NOFA-NY, Inc. Grain and Field Crop Coordinator)
Learn how to do your own soil carbon proxy testing.

From the Field: Soil Carbon Sequestration in Practice

Presenter: Phyllis Van Amburgh (Dharma Lea Farm)
Carbon sequestration is actually a side benefit that comes as a result of building highly productive soil. No matter the soil type, there are many techniques and an approach to managing crop and pasture land that will exponentially increase your productivity. Carbon is a bit like currency in the soil, and the more of it you have moving around, the healthier your soil economy. We will discuss practical implementation for getting this literal and figurative “money in the bank.”

Maximizing Intake and Milk with Highly Digestible Forages

Presenter: Karen Hoffman (USDA-NRCS Resource Conservationist)
Learn about what it takes to maximize the intake level of forages by your cows, which can lead to higher milk production and profits. We will discuss forages for both grazing and winter feeding including summer annuals, cover crop mixes, and newer varieties of perennial grasses and legumes.

Reduced Tillage Systems and Cover Cropping on Organic Dairy Farms

Presenter: Kate Parsons (USDA-NRCS Resource Conservationist)
Kate will share practices that dairy farmers are using to protect and enhance soil health on their farms. She will cover tillage reduction strategies, cover cropping, and equipment upgrades to support these practices.

The Art of Maple Syrup Production

Presenters: Amy McKinnon and Brian Ryther (Mill Hollow Maple)
Amy McKinnon and Brian Ryther of Mill Hollow Maple will give a tour of their operation, sugarbush, sugarhouse, and processes involved in the production of maple syrup, sugarbush maintenance, maple confection production, bottling, branding, and marketing.

Biological Control of Soil Pests: A Chestnut Case Study

Presenters: Camila Filgueiras and Denis Willet (Cornell CALS / Department of Entomology)
Biological control can be an effective choice for control of belowground pests. Using the chestnut weevil as a case study, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of biological control agents, methods of applications, and expected results. While we will touch on work in other perennial and annual systems, chestnuts and chestnut weevil will be used as a case study due to its unique challenges and the resurgence of interest in nut production systems in the Northeast. Our discussion will focus on the impact of this emergent pest and options for management. Discussing means of controlling this pest with biological control agents will focus on common principles useful for growers in any organic production system.

Small-scale Orchards for your Local Community (Two Sessions)

Presenters: Brett Budde (Majestic Farm), Brian Caldwell (NOFA-NY’s Farmer of the Year, Hemlock Grove Farm), and Jason Townsend (Kingfisher Farm)
Three organic apple growers share their approaches to growing and marketing fruit to their local communities. Brett Budde (Liberty), Brian Caldwell (Ithaca), and Jason Townsend (Clinton) will discuss farm goals, marketing, labor, and more.

Anticapitalism in the Garden

Presenter: Natalia Rathbun (Youth Farm Project)
This talk seeks to explore one small escape route from a hugely complex, globally indicting capitalist system of exploitation and extraction. Find freedom from the Myth of Eternal Growth, and power in Reclamation of Skills. You don’t have to be a full-time farming landowner to be a Farmer, and your agricultural knowledge and skills cultivated in the garden will dependably make you a joyful resource for your community.

Feeding the World from our Backyards: A Permaculture Approach

Presenter: Andrew Faust (Center for BioRegional Living)
Using the New York City watershed, permaculture specialist Andrew Faust will illustrate and explain how the earth works to feed people, to create energy, and how we can achieve the independence and quality of life we strive for.

Foraging to Create Food and Medicine

Presenter: Dina Falconi (Author, Clinical Herbalist)
Foraging and creating food and medicine are at the heart of Dina Falconi’s life. This presentation will focus on finding and preparing medicine from plants growing wild and in your garden.

Growing in the Garden, Mind, and Spirit During the Winter Months

Presenters: Maria and Tom Blon (Looks Like a Miracle)
Join Maria and Tom Blon in an unique participatory workshop to explore growing in the garden, mind, and spirit during the winter months.

Dyeing with Regional Plants

Presenter: Laura Sansone (New York Textile Lab)
The Dyeing with Regional Plants workshop teaches participants how to extract dye from plants, how to shift the pH of the dye in order to change colors, and how to go about dyeing various natural fibers. Dyeing with Regional Plants also discusses bioregional textile systems and teaches participants the value of using the economy of nature to color textiles and yarns. Our exploration will address ways we might apply this methodology to our current manufacturing systems in order to implement regenerative production of clothing,

The New Normal: from a Home-schooled Environmentalist

Presenter: Iris Fen Gillingham (Environmentalist)
“I don’t want to go back to normal!” The new normal is articulated by a young home-schooled environmentalist, who is dedicating her life to change.

A Regenerative Growers Guide to Garden Amendments

Presenter: Nigel Palmer (Author, The Institute Of Sustainable Nutrition)
Join Nigel Palmer, author of The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Garden Amendments, for some simple homemade recipes for soil amendments to improve your soil with amazing results.

Unleashing the Power of Imagination: Making your Community More Resilient for Economic Happiness

Presenter: Rob Hopkins (Author, Transition Towns Movement) 
Rob Hopkins is the founder of the Transition Towns Movement, an experiment that began in 2008, and since then has gone viral with more than 400 Transition Towns worldwide. In this webinar, Rob will personally take you through an exercise in imagining what if … based on his latest thought provoking book From What Is to What if: Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want.

Back to Reality: Operating a Cannabinoid Hemp Company / Farm in New York

Presenter: David Falkowski (Open Minded Organics) 

The Hemp Farmer Entrepreneur

Presenter: Doug Fine (Comedic Investigative Journalist, Bestselling Author, and Solar-powered Goat Herder)
Doug Fine’s latest book is American Hemp Farmer: Adventures and Misadventures in the Cannabis Trade (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2020). He has cultivated hemp for food, farm-to-table products and seed-building in four U.S. states. You can register for his online regenerative hemp course with Acres USA here. Willie Nelson calls Doug’s work “a blueprint for the America of the future.” The Washington Post says, “Fine is a storyteller in the mold of Douglas Adams.” A website of Doug’s print, radio and television work, United Nations testimony, and TED Talk is at www.dougfine.com and his social media handle is @organiccowboy.

Organic Hemp Certification and Policy Update

Presenters: Allan Gandelman (Main Street Farms) and Lauren Tonti (NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC Co-Director) 
Learn about getting your hemp crop or processed products certified organic the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. We will also hear from Allan Gandelman, Co-owner of Head & Heal and Owner of Main Street Farms who will talk about his organic processing methods and provide a hemp policy update.

Working Soil Health Practices into Industrial Hemp Production

Presenter: Jennifer Gilbert-Jenkins (SUNY Morrisville)
We will discuss no-till agricultural practices, intercropping, and crop rotations as well as using manure for residue management in hemp cropping systems.

Dance, Sing, and Create Stone Soup

Presenters: Jessica Beveridge and Tannis Kowalchuk (Farm Arts Collective at Willow Wisp Organic Farm) 
A lively theatrical presentation by the Farm Arts Collaborative at Willow Wisp Organic Farm. You will dance, sing, make soup, and participate in an active discussion about what it all means!

Getting to the Roots of Fermentation for Resilience
Friday, January 22
4:00 PM – 5:15 PM ET

Presenter: Sandor Ellix Katz (Author)
Sandor Ellix Katz is a fermentation revivalist. His books Wild Fermentation, The Art of Fermentation, and his new release Fermentation as Metaphor, along with the hundreds of fermentation workshops he has taught around the world, have helped to catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. A self-taught experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee, the New York Times calls him “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.” Sandor is the recipient of a James Beard award and other honors. For more information, check out his website www.wildfermentation.com.

Wow Your Guests with Vegan Appetizers

Presenter: Bhavani Jaroff (NOFA-NY Board Member, iEat Green)
The more we learn about the connection that our food system has on global warming, the more important it is for us all to reduce our intake of animal products. Come join vegan chef, Bhavani Jaroff from iEat Green and learn how to impress your guests with some delicious vegan appetizers.

Adaptive Grazing Management

Presenter: Karen Hoffman (USDA-NRCS Resource Conservationist)
Learn how to manage your grazing system by developing contingency plans based on different soil moisture variables.

Making Tinctures and Salves for Use on Livestock

Presenter: Liz Bawden (NOFA-NY Board Member, NODPA, Bawden Family Farm)
Learn about homemade tinctures for use on ruminants.

Managing Organic Goats in a 100% Grass-fed System

Presenter: David Belding (Cross Island Farms)
It is possible to raise goats organically and without grain. Discover the many tools you can use to achieve healthy, robust animals.

Raising and Marketing Small Breed Pigs

Presenter: Jennifer Bassman (Heritage Haus Farm, Empire Kunekune Pig Association) and Karma Glos (Kingbird Farm)
Small breed pigs, such as Guinea Hogs and Kunekune pigs, can use less feed than larger breed hogs. Learn about the different feed and marketing regimes from two experienced breeders.

Cannabis / Hemp Policy Update

Presenters: Liana Hoodes (NOFA-NY Management Committee, Agriculture Policy Consultant) and Lauren Tonti (NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC Co-Director) 
New York State is on the cusp of figuring out its cannabis and hemp regulations. Join us for up-to-date information on proposed state regulations, timelines, status of federal regulations and how they are affecting growers. Learn how farmers can have a say on issues affecting their hemp production.

Connecting Food and Farming in the Classroom

Presenter: Katie Carpenter (Cornell University / New York Agriculture in the Classroom) 
Teaching and learning today looks very different than it did a year ago – and with schools in a virtual environment, is there room for food and agriculture? New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) will share how you and your farm or agri-business can have valuable engagement with students and teachers. Learn tips and tricks for hosting virtual field trips, building authentic learning experiences, and explore the free standards-based lessons, activities, and resources provided by NYAITC.

Organizing for Good Food: The Good Food Buffalo Coalition

Presenters: Laura Colligan (NOFA-NY Board Member, Dirt Rich Farm) and Rebekah Williams (Massachusetts Avenue Project, NESAWG Board Member) 
The Good Food Buffalo Coalition is combating climate change, boosting local economies, centering racial equity, and improving the quality of food served in public institutions by collaborating with local, state, and national partners to bring the Good Food Purchasing Program to Buffalo and Western New York. Come learn about our multi-year collaboration with the Buffalo Public Schools Food Services Department and how we are working with some of the most impacted communities in the food supply chain to shape and lead food systems change.

Policy in 2021: What Did the Election Mean for Food and Farm Policy?

Presenters: Liana Hoodes (NOFA-NY Management Committee, Agriculture Policy Consultant) and Patty Lovera (NOFA-NY Board Member, Organic Farmers Association)
What did the election mean for food and agriculture policy at the state and federal level? This workshop will examine the prospects for policy to take on corporate control of the food system, enforcement of the organic standards, the rules for hemp production and moving a soil health bill in New York.

Soil Health: Building a Culture of Soil Care

Presenters: Liana Hoodes (NOFA-NY Management Committee, Agriculture Policy Presenters: Wes Gillingham (NOFA-NY Board Member, Catskill Mountainkeeper), Elizabeth Henderson (NOFA-NY Policy Committee Co-Chair), Liana Hoodes (NOFA-NY Management Committee, Agriculture Policy Consultant), and Patty Lovera (NOFA-NY Board Member, Organic Farmers Association)
How do we move state policy to support soil health. Learn nuts and bolts of building soil health policy and advocating for your needs as farmers. This workshop will feature experts from your legislative offices and showcase examples of effective legislative conversation.

Cultivating Resilience with Whole Farm Planning (Two Sessions)

Presenter: Laura Lengnick (NOFA-NY Keynote Speaker, Author, Cultivating Resilience LLC)
For commercial organic farmers.
Take this interactive workshop to learn more about why farms fail and how to integrate resilience thinking into your current risk management to improve the performance of your farm in these uncertain times. Part 1 will review both old and new risks that create barriers to achieving your farm goals and lead you through the use of new resilience planning tools. Part 2 will review the top no-regrets resilience practices used by leading organic farmers and lead you through the steps to identify practices that reduce risks specific to your farm operation while cultivating general resilience to unexpected disruptions and shocks.

Field Indicators for Soil Health: DIY Assessment for Farmers and Gardeners (Session 1)

Presenter: Caro Roszell (NOFA/Mass Education Director & Soil Carbon Program Coordinator)
Healthier, more lively soils store more carbon and are more resilient to weather extremes. You can learn to evaluate the health of your soil with some simple physical soil tests. Using videos and photos, Caro will explain how to conduct and interpret tests that will improve your understanding of soil carbon dynamics, fertility, and resilience. Attendees receive a link to a downloadable test manual and workbook. In Session 1, we will give an overview of how to use the tests, discuss surface observations and the ‘digging a hole’ protocols (earthworm count, biopores, root behavior, soil structure, topsoil depth). Caro will also provide some case study examples to illustrate how soil health constraints identified using these tests can be mitigated with soil management practices.

Field Indicators for Soil Health: DIY Assessment for Farmers and Gardeners (Session 2)

Presenter: Caro Roszell (NOFA/Mass Education Director & Soil Carbon Program Coordinator)
This is Session 2 of a two-part series. In this session, we will briefly revisit how to use the tests and will then discuss the texture by feel procedure, the infiltration test, slake test, and penetrometer. Caro will also provide some case study examples to illustrate how soil health constraints identified using these tests can be mitigated with soil management practices.

How Producers can be Climate Heroes

Presenter: Seth Itzkan (Soil4Climate) 
Beginning with a paleo-climate overview, we’ll discuss what we need to do right now to mitigate and reverse desertification throughout the world. Solutions in farming and grazing methods, government policies, and the future of agriculture will be discussed. Oh, and what do we do with Iowa?

Collaboration and Cultivation Within the Urban Farming Community

Presenters: Matt Kauffman (Five Loaves Farm) and Katie Pfohl (Massachusetts Avenue Project) 
Urban agriculture depends on collaboration and nurturing relationships in and above the soil. A few farms in Buffalo have joined together in an effort to maintain and promote safe soil in our city. Join the farm managers of two of these farms for a workshop on building and maintaining healthy soil on post-residential sites, while collaborating to form a strong network of urban farms.

Making a Living As An Urban Market Gardener

Presenter: Mayda Pozantides (Groundwork Market Garden)
You’ve probably seen videos or read books with titles that claim “$100k on a quarter acre”. That sounds great! But, now what? This workshop is geared towards those planning to start, or in the beginning phases of starting, an urban market garden. The workshop will address the realities of creating a sustainable business model in an urban setting. Owner Mayda Pozantides of Groundwork Market Garden, a two-acre certified organic operation in Buffalo, NY, will share the successes and challenges of managing an intensive no-till system for CSA, wholesale, farmers markets, and institutions. Mayda and her partner Anders Gunnersen have grown the business each year by adopting a philosophy of staying on their toes and getting creative. Topics will include business planning, budgeting, soil fertility, marketing and the importance of community building.

Modified Hugelkultur for Urban Growing

Presenter: Kyle Rittenburg (VINES Urban Farm)
Join Kyle Rittenburg, General Manager of VINES Urban Farm, which has undertaken a SARE grant funded project examining a new method of field and soil development on their 2.25 acre non-profit farm in downtown Binghamton. This method can be considered a modified hugelkultur design which utilizes straw bales, woodchips, topsoil, and compost to create a plantable and productive vegetable field on top of a compacted urban lot. During the 2019 growing season a cumulative yield study was conducted testing the productivity of this new field design with that of a traditional topsoil field. This study continued into the 2020 growing season showing how the straw bale field evolves and produces over the course of two years.

Food That Moves: Reaching Consumers at the Neighborhood Level with a Mobile Market Truck

Presenter: Taylor Johnson and Danielle Rovillo (Massachusetts Avenue Project)
In Buffalo, where many communities lack access to a full-service grocery store, farmers market or fresh food source, Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) fights food apartheid by working to fill gaps within our greater food system. MAP’s Mobile Market brings fresh, affordable, culturally appropriate vegetables and fruits directly into neighborhoods that have limited access to resources. The Mobile Market provides opportunities for consumers to make a direct connection to their food source, right in their own neighborhood. This business model allows producers to operate a consumer-dense market within a short timeframe, making it possible to reach several neighborhoods within the span of a day and serve customers who otherwise do not have access to their goods. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown MAP that, more than ever before, people care about where their food comes from and have a desire to make educated decisions about the quality of food the folks in their household are eating, leading them to choose to shop closer to home at their local Mobile Market location.

Getting Permission to Sell Your Packaged Food Products

Presenter: John Luker (NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets)
Updates and procedures on operating commercial 20-C licensed kitchens.

Insurance Requirements for Farmers and Food Processors

Presenter: Bob Bleistein (Eastern Classic Coverage)
Eastern Classic Coverage has years of experience working with farmers and food processors to insure their operations and products. Join us to learn what you need to know and how to plan for expansion.

Recipe Approval: Making Sure Your Food Product is Safe

Presenters: Shannon Prozeller and Bruno Xavier (Cornell CALS / Department of Food Science)
Scientist / Educators from the Northeast Food Venture Center will guide you through the concerns of food safety and further education in producing safe packaged foods through “the scheduled process.”

Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about Walk-behind Tractors! 

Presenters: David Hambleton (Sisters Hill Farm) and Mary Ellen Sheehan (Hartwood Farm)
Are you looking to add a walk-behind tractor to your farm? Learn from three experienced growers about how they have incorporated walk-behinds at a variety of scales and using a variety of different tools on a variety of tractors.

The Great Salad Debate: Varieties, Crops, and Timing

Presenters: Paul Arnold and Sandy Arnold (Pleasant Valley Farm) and Eric Houppert (Deep Root Farm)
Is single cut lettuce is more profitable than salad mix? Is that new downy mildew resistant variety is really worth the cost of the seed? This panel of experienced growers will share their numbers to start a dynamic conversation about which greens and which systems work for which farms, and why. We’ll talk production techniques, variety selection, and finally, PACKAGING! With all the options available, what works for the financial and environmental bottom line?

Lessons Learned from Lightning-Fast Market Pivots: What Worked and What Didn’t

Presenters: Corinne Hansch (Lovin’ Mama Farm), Zaid Kurdieh (Norwich Meadows Farm), and Raymond Luhrman (Fox Creek Farm)
In a season of unprecedented change many farmers not only survived, they thrived. Hear from three farms ranging from small to mid-size about shifts made from small town markets up to NYC markets. What were the challenges and setbacks, what were the successes, and how will this year change the way these farms do business into the future? This session also includes time for personal reflection and panel Q&A.

Storage Crops: Growing, Curing, and Storing for Winter Markets (Two Sessions) 

Presenters: Chris Callahan (UVM Extension), Chaw Chang and Lucy Garrison (Stick and Stone Farm), and Nathaniel Thompson (Remembrance Farm)
Looking to expand your winter market? Learn keys to success in growing winter crops from experienced growers, and hear from UVM Agriculture Engineer Chris Callahan about the most important considerations for long-term winter storage.

Intro to Organic Seed Production, Session 1: Making the Case, and Making the Space for Seed Production

In these two workshops, we consider growing seed as a crucial addition to organic farm ethos and practice, to their unique market position, and to their profit margin. This session will highlight three Northeast organic farmers on how they have found field space and fiscal viability for seed production within their farm plan.

Intro to Organic Seed Production, Session 2: Thinking from Seed to Seed – How a Market Crop and a Seed Crop Merge, Differ, and how to Consider what Seed Crop can Succeed within your Existing Farm Plan

Building from Session 1, seed growers and seed company folks will walk through the overlapping and diverging timelines for specific produce crops versus the correlating seed crops.