Workshops and Events

NOFA-NY’s Winter Conference has always benefitted from the generous community that surrounds the organization who are happy to share their knowledge and expertise.

We are fortunate to be able to source the most knowledgeable farmers and educators around – many of our presenters are from one of the 1,100+ farms we certify – and before we bring our programming to you, we collaborate with a dedicated group of farmers, educators, policy partners, and other organizations who share our vision for a just and resilient farming system.

Workshop Descriptions:

Presented by: Steve Gabriel of Wellspring Forest Farm and author of Farming the Woods
Agroforestry is getting a lot of press and funding is starting to flow, but tree planting projects often lack attention to the complex and long-term efforts needed to succeed. As a result, farmers receive little ongoing support for tree establishment, and large-scale institutional tree planting efforts often fail. We (Farming with Trees Collective) believe that farmers and land stewards have key insights into the kinds of support they need, and that farmer-to-farmer networks grounded in horizontal organizing, popular education, and participatory action research are the best way to build and sustain a thriving agroforestry community.

In order to support this, we’ll be holding listening sessions with farmers to share their experiences, wisdom, and needs from policymakers and funders to succeed long term in agroforestry. The outcome of this conversation will be shared as a public report that aims to amplify the voices of the farming community so they can be better supported for future agroforestry efforts.

Presented by: Cynthia Flores of Labor-Movement
This workshop will focus on body mechanics and movement patterns to help avoid potential work-related musculoskeletal injuries while farming. We will discuss movement health and self-advocacy for injury prevention, increased efficiency and extending career longevity. The majority of the time will be spent practicing movement patterns with attention to ideal versus real situations and movement variations and strategies to get the work done safely and efficiently. This is a participatory workshop with opportunity to receive coaching.

Presented by: Tianna Kennedy of Catskills Agrarian Alliance
Catskills Agrarian Alliance (CAA) takes a regional, collaborative approach to food sovereignty and this workshop provides a peek under the hood. CAA is a comprehensive food sovereignty project built from the ground up by farmers in Delaware, Otsego, and Schoharie Counties plus mutual aid volunteers from NYC. CAA programs include the 607 CSA, a 600+ member, multi-farm CSA featuring produce, meats, dairy, mushrooms, fruit, and value-added goods from more than 40 Catskills farms and producers; Star Route Farm, an agroecological diversified vegetable and small grain mutual aid farm; and West Branch Commons, an inaugural land access project securing land access for underrepresented and marginalized farmers. CAA also runs a robust farm-to-institution initiative which fed 42,000 Catskills’ students in 2023 and participates in community organizing with partner mutual aid groups.

Executive Director, Tianna Kennedy, will share how CAA came to be – how a scrappy farmer collaborative turned into a regional food sovereignty project and why. She will also discuss the logistics of collaborative farming and food systems, how a cooperative works financially, and the pros and cons of joining the nonprofit world.

Presented by: Raymond Luhrman of Fox Creek Farms, Crystal Stewart-Courtens of Philia Farm, Maryellen Sheehan of Hartwood Farm, and Teddy Tomao of NOFA-NY
In a time of increasing climate uncertainty, growers will share proved strategies that are making their farms more resilient. This session will also introduce the PASA Climate Smart Farming Grant which will make funding available for growers to adopt resilient strategies and receive support in implementing them.

Presented by: Brian Caldwell of Hemlock Grove Farm and the National Organic Standards Board and Akiva Silver of Twisted Tree Farm and author of Trees of Power
Join us to learn the ins and outs of these climate-smart crops! During the workshop, we will discuss the infrastructure for processing and sales which is coming into being. We will also talk about the NY Tree Crops Alliance (NYTCA), a regional nut growers cooperative.

Presented by: Eric J. Fuchs-Stengel of National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)
Community Urban Farms have been growing in popularity to reconnect neighborhoods with the earth, local food, and local community. In this session we will cover a basic outline of strategies, resources, and tools you can use to create your vision for a neighborhood communal food producer. Using example urban farms, we will discuss what has worked and how you can navigate this complex process with very few initial resources.

Presented by: Donn Hewes and Julia Ramsay of Tripletree Horse Logging and Tianna Kennedy of Catskills Agrarian Alliance
Teamsters will discuss how they use draft horses on the farm, in the field, and in the forest in addition to how they have built community and collaboration through their work.

Presented by: Liz Bawden of Bawden Farms, and Ed Maltby of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA)
Producers are working within a new model in marketing their organic milk. Milk brands no longer need a milkshed near their main markets because they can buy Extended Shelf Life (ESL) packaged products from any part of the country. This workshop will examine how northeast organic dairy producers can market their difference and encourage the development of new infrastructure.

Presented by: Corinne Hansch of Lovin’ Mama Farm
Corinne will discuss the economics of running a start-up farm while raising a family and her realization that – in order to have work-life balance – her farm needed to find profitability. Learn how she worked through barriers to achieve financial success and leave with knowledge on how to do the same.

Presented by: Kevin Clark of Rose Hill Farm, Chad Kirby, and Anya Osatuke of Cornell Cooperative Extension
Are you looking to grow better organic strawberries? Come learn from experienced farmers and Cornell Berry Specialist Anya Osatuke about recommended varieties, cultural practices, and disease management strategies to grow the best berries yet.

Presented by: Tara Hahn of Hahn’s Honeybee Haven and Kristi Winquist of Local Roots Farm
Join Tara, NY State Delegate of the American Beekeeping Federation, to learn about her experience rescuing, caring for, and relocating healthy honeybee hives across Western New York through the NY Bee Project. Then hear from Kristi Winquist of Local Roots Farm who has added these bees and has seen first-hand what these important pollinators can do to improve production. And, if you are interested in keeping bees, this workshop will cover the ins and outs of caring for your hive including expenses, equipment, feed, disease prevention, organic mite treatments, overwintering and more!

Presented by: Alexx Caceres, Jesse Miller, and Tiana Rainford of East New York Farms
East New York Farms has been producing healthy produce and cultivating youth leaders since 1999. In this presentation, we will dive into how we plant the seeds of food justice and sustainable agriculture into our youths’ lives. Youth participate in our nine month internship program where they learn about the environment, health and nutrition, advocacy, leadership and community development. We will break down the history of our youth programming and outline our current practices for effectively creating space for youth involvement in agriculture.

Presented by: Liz Bawden of Bawden Farms, Erin Bullock of Wild Hill Farm, and farmworker Allie Push
Finding and keeping the right people to do the work on a farm is a challenge. Nationally, over half of the available farmworkers lack legal documents. Though expensive and complex, the H2A guestworker program has been growing. How can farmers attract an adequate domestic labor supply? In this workshop, you will hear from farmers who are committed to hiring local workers and from a farmworker who enjoys the work and would like to make it her career. Come with your ideas for creating a domestic farm labor force.

Presented by: Allyson Levy and Scott Serrano of Hortus Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
An introduction to some of the great fruiting plants from around the world. With an emphasis on ancient plants that are underutilized like Medlar and Baltic Quince, as well as trees that are less known like Che. 

Presented by: Jessica Gilbert-Overland of Good Food Buffalo Coalition, and Ribka Getachew and Taylor Pate of NY Good Food Purchasing Program and Community Food Advocates
Join a panel of policy experts to learn about efforts in Buffalo, NYC, and statewide to enable and encourage public institutions to adopt values-based procurement practices. Modeled after national Good Food Purchasing Program standards, cities, municipalities, and public institutions across the country are working to shift procurement practices in order to prioritize food that is produced and sourced in ways that align with Good Food Purchasing Program values. This includes supporting a valued workforce, animal welfare, environmental sustainability, nutrition, local economies, equity, and transparency. Learn more about efforts that are underway in NY and how you can get involved in advancing values-based food procurement!

Presented by: Sharlyn Handcock of NRCS, Teddy Tomao of NOFA-NY, and Caitlyn Tucker of American Farmland Trust
Caitlyn will explain what the Organic Transition Initiative (OTI) is, how the pieces (TOPP, NRCS/EQUIP, and AMS Marketing) fit together, and what management standards farms need to implement to access funding through the OTI. Teddy will then review TOPP and NOFA-NY’s work with transitioning producers. Sharlyn will round out our discussion by talking about policies, eligibility, and specifications required for NRCS funding, in addition to the application process.

Presented by: NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC Staff
High standards of livestock health and well-being are central to the principles of organic agriculture. The Origin of Livestock Rule (OOL) took effect in April of 2023, and changed what animals are allowed to be bought and sold as organic. The New Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards Rule (OLPS) was published in November 2023 and addresses health, safety and welfare for livestock and poultry, as well as adding new poultry specific rules for housing, space requirements, and outdoor access. What do you need to know about these rules on your farm? Join our livestock certification team to learn about these rule updates and how they apply to your certified operation.

Presented by: Matt Sheffer of Hudson Carbon and Graham Savio and Jenna DeRario of Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County
Farmers and foresters can provide environmental benefits for ecosystems and surrounding communities like water quality, flood mitigation, carbon sequestration, increased biodiversity, and pollinator habitat. Developing a program to fairly compensate farms and foresters for these services is named as a strategy in the state’s Climate Scoping Plan, a roadmap for meeting our ambitious climate goals. In this session, you’ll hear about the goals and lessons learned from two payment for ecosystem services pilot projects and how these projects might inform future state-wide efforts.

Presented by: Heron Breen of FOOL Seed and Research, Jean-Paul Courtens of Philia Farm, and Tina Square of Intertribal Agriculture Council
Join us for an update on year one of a SARE-funded project to increase commercial vegetable grower and tribal seed keeper capacity to steward regionally adapted seed. We’ll share what growers and seed keepers have accomplished so far and opportunities to participate in the project in the coming year.

Presented by: Allyson Levy and Scott Serrano of Hortus Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
Join us for an overview of some of the best edible native fruits, with an emphasis on fruiting plants that are cold-hardy, pest resistant, and consistently productive, such as Pawpaw, Aronia, and American Persimmons.

Presented by: NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC Staff
The Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) Final Rule is meant to close gaps in organic regulations and add consistency in practices in order to prevent fraud and increase transparency and traceability of organic products. All certified organic operations must be in compliance with new requirements by March 19, 2024. What does this mean for your farm? This workshop will outline the ways that the SOE rule can apply to different operations and how to maintain organic compliance.

Presented by: Amara Dunn and Elizabeth Lamb of the New York State IPM Program and Aaron Munzer of Plowbreak Farm
Whether you are starting your own transplants in a greenhouse, or using high tunnels to extend the season on your tomato or other crops, growing crops under protection offers unique challenges and opportunities in pest management. Using insect natural enemies that eat insect pests – biocontrol – can be an important part of organic solutions to pests in greenhouses and high tunnels. Learn from an experienced grower panel and NYSIPM specialists about successfully integrating biocontrol into your organic greenhouse and high tunnel production.

Presented by: Diane Frances of La Basse Cour and Renee Seacor of Project Coyote
Where does your farm end and Nature begin? Organic principles suggest there is no boundary, but what about in practice? Climate change and biodiversity loss urge us to think beyond our production areas and goals toward the larger living systems of which we are a part, on which we depend. In this two-part workshop we’ll start by talking about the NOS Standard on Natural Resource Conservation and Biodiversity taking it beyond soil health and water quality toward habitat and wildlife. More than compliance, it is about the why’s and how’s of creating mutual benefits and the interconnection between wildlife, biodiversity, and climate change. We’ll follow with a panel of farmers and other experts on what they are doing today to make this a reality, with an emphasis on: creating and protecting natural areas and habitat for a diversity of plants and wildlife on the farm, and supporting connectivity across the landscape.

Presented by: Cheyenne Sundance of Sundance Harvest
Sundance Harvest (@sundanceharvest) is a peri-urban greens and squash farm in Ontario. Cheyenne Sundance co-founded Sundance Commons, a non-profit where new and young farmers become Farmer Members of the Commons and have access to land, infrastructure, resources, marketing, and a network of other farmers at no cost. Sundance Commons Farmer Members work in conjunction with Sundance Market and sell wholesale. These beginning farmers raise a large variety of products including vegetables, garlic, herbs, cut flowers, honeybees, and livestock.

This workshop will shine a light on how Sundance Commons started, and break down the Who, What, Where, Why, and How in a way that provides a clear roadmap for other grassroots organizers to follow or gain tips to start their own similar land-based projects to help grow a new generation of farmers.

Presented by: Matt Agle, Elizabeth Buck of Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Wil Moss
If you are looking to expand your varieties of sweet potatoes, asparagus, or okra, this session is for you! Learn from growers who trialed emerging varieties what is worth trialing on your farm. There will be time for a group discussion of varieties to crowdsource additional ideas, so keep your personal favorites in mind to share!

Presented by: NOFA-NY
Sunday, January 21 at 1:00 pm
The annual member meeting is an opportunity for all NOFA-NY members to contribute to the strategic direction of our organization by voting on Board of Directors nominations and policy resolutions.

Presented by: Residents of the Onondaga Nation and members of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON)
This unique interactive group teaching is used to foster truth, understanding, and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and is led by both residents of the Onondaga Nation and members of NOON.

The exercise helps individuals to learn the true, untold history of the Indigenous people of North America including colonization and the injustices Indigenous peoples experience then and still today.