Workshops

NOFA-NY’s 2022 Virtual Winter Conference will offer 80+ virtual workshops, discussion groups, and networking opportunities. NOFA-NY is fortunate to be able to source the most knowledgeable farmers and educators around – pulling from the 1,100+ farms we certify in addition to many other organizations.

  • Our 75-minute workshops sessions will occur at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm EST daily. You can view the workshop schedule here.
  • Workshop recordings will become available as soon as possible after the end of a workshop and will remain on the conference website and mobile app until March 1, 2022.

Workshop Descriptions by Track

Live Spanish Interpretation will be available for some workshops.

Culturally-Relevant Farming

Presenter: Brandon Ruiz of Yucayeke Farms and Atabey Choreto Medicinals
This workshop is about cultivating our culturally-relevant plants in community and in farming in general. We will discuss the importance of preserving cultural foods, factors to consider in a Northern climate and how equal and affordable access to these crops brings us and those who use these crops closer to our roots.

Indigo Workshop

Presenter: Sarah Gotowka of Luna Fiber Studio
Join Sarah Gotowka, owner of Luna Fiber Studio, for a live indigo demonstration. Indigo has a rich history in many different cultures, including North America. It has been used as medicine, associated with magic, and has a complex colonialist history. Sarah will also share information on how to cultivate your own indigo, and will share seeds from her 2021 crop to all BIPOC attendees. 

Luna Fiber Studio is a textile studio based out of Trumansburg NY, specializing in weaving and natural dyes, and is rooted in sustainability and social justice. 

The Meat Rabbit Miracle

Presenter: Natalia Rathbun of Che Pohã and Shagbark Gardens
This class will explore the benefits of keeping meat rabbits at your home. We will walk through the process of butchering a mature rabbit together, and follow this with a discussion of the ethics of raising and eating meat, the advantages to raising rabbits over other animals, and the roles of rabbits on the homestead.

Remembering: Learning and Teaching from the Land, Small Regenerative Systems, and Collaborations to Reach Youth

Presenter: Lala Montoya Heredia is a farmer, interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist, and social justice activist; a culture Cultivator
Collaboration and relation as opposed to domination in farming is a challenge, especially as we are tempted to grow our scales to meet the demands of a culture or market. I will share lessons on staying small, at a scale that one can manage, and the collaborations that made it possible for us to raise chickens, pigs, and several perennial and annual gardens at low to no monetary cost. I will also share the power of collaboration with organizations like Poughkeepsie Farm Project and Future Fruits that made it possible to host educational programming with youth and the need for more programming where young people can heal their relationships with the land. You will learn from our successes and failures in establishing regenerative systems on the land, sharing land and the harvest, and what we mean by share-steading.

Un-Beigeing” Agriculture: Small Farm Lessons on Reclaiming BIPOC Land Stewardship

Presenter: Rafael Aponte of Rocky Acres Community Farm
Who defines agriculture for whom? A recentering of the history of sustainable agriculture and a brief overview of successes, barriers, and dangers faced by present day BIPOC growers and land stewards. Exploring the lessons gleaned and strategies for survival of a small scale community farm operation in central NY.

Urban Herbalism: Weaving a Resilient Community 

Presenter: Antonia Estela Pérez, clinical herbalist, gardener, artist and co-founder of collectives Brujas and Herban Cura
In this workshop we will discuss how to build resilience within the urban dynamic, through community garden herbal cultivation, strengthening networks to local farmers, and learning skills necessary for urban survival. Antonia will share her experience of the last decade teaching culturally relevant herbalism and urban gardening workshops in NYC. This workshop may be of particular interest to urban dwellers wishing to create land and collective based healing projects.


What is a BIPOC track?
Like all of the incredible tracks at this year’s conference, the BIPOC track offers an immersive learning environment for NOFA’s diverse BIPOC community. Knowledge shares will be offered by BIPOC educators for BIPOC participants.

Why is there a BIPOC track?
For over 40 years NOFA-NY’s Winter Conference has provided organic farmers a vibrant container to connect, learn, and grow as a community. While the work being done by NOFA-NY is vital, there has simultaneously been a lack of diversity of the communities represented within the greater network. 

In recent years, there has been a desire within the NOFA-NY community to broaden the reach of the conference in an effort to create a more diverse and healthy learning environment for all participants. The BIPOC track is a way to welcome BIPOC educators and participants into the NOFA-NY community, by providing a safe entry point and intentional container throughout the conference.

Who is this space for?
This track is open to all BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) participants in the conference. 

What if I am BIPOC and white passing?
The BIPOC track is a place for all folks of color, which definitely includes and celebrates all of our community, whether you’re white passing or not. 

Who is this space not for?
This track is a container for BIPOC conference participants. We ask that this boundary be respected by non-BIPOC conference goers.

Business Basics for Organic Farmers

Presenter: Chris Laughton of Farm Credit East
This workshop will cover financial management and access to capital for both beginning and established farmers. Topics include record keeping, reading and understanding financial statements, cash flow budgeting, financing and credit options, and how lenders make financing decisions.

CSA is a SNAP

Presenters: Michelle Hughes of Glynwood and Hannah Williams of Rock Steady Farm
Farmers know that CSA and SNAP benefits don’t always match. In this session you’ll learn how to make your CSA more accessible to SNAP customers. Drawing on lessons learned from a pilot establishing a rotating fund to make CSA more accessible to SNAP users in the Hudson Valley, we’ll cover the nuts and bolts of how to apply to accept SNAP benefits, state and federal programs available to cover licensing fees and equipment for farmers, as well as on the ground logistics. We’ll also touch on upcoming NYS legislation that could make accepting EBT cards even easier for CSAs and expand SNAP incentives for local food in general in the state.

How do you Know your Pricing is Right?

Presenter: Robert Hadad of Cornell Cooperative Extension in partnership with the Agricultural Justice Project
Growers contact us frequently asking about pricing for vegetable crops. This usually occurs just as the marketing season takes off. Answering this question is difficult for many reasons. There are no set rules for determining the appropriate prices for any crop and many factors come into play. What is needed is for growers to know what it cost them to grow it.

To understand what it costs to grow a crop, one needs to be able to identify all of the inputs that go into farming. It isn’t just about seeds and equipment, inputs also include fixed overhead costs to labor. Efficiency is another attribute to be considered. How long does it take to do certain jobs and how long should it really take? How do you measure this?

Sound challenging? It is. Understanding how all this works is a win-win situation for farms. Not only will you be able to figure out how to set a price that makes a profit, but all the data you collect to make this calculation will also provide usable financial information that is critical for making informed business decisions.

This session will go over what goes into a vegetable business operation, identifying associated costs, working these into the cost of production, and building out your price base – providing with more accurate measures for profitability.

This workshop is funded through a grant from NERME. This is material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28588.

How we are Bringing Food to Underserved Communities
Two Sessions

Presenters: Elizabeth Viviana Karabinakis of Healthy Food For All, Amy Klein of Capital Roots, andKate Miller-Corcoran of VINES
This workshop will cover the technical aspects of how three non-profit organizations work with local farmers and stakeholders to bring produce to communities most affected by food insecurity. 

Capital Roots is a nonprofit organization in NY’s Capital Region that works to cultivate and nourish communities by creating equitable access to fresh food and green spaces in support of a robust regional food system. They will talk about their retail access work through their Healthy Stores Program. This effort works directly with small markets to provide the infrastructure, marketing materials, food delivery, and pricing to make selling fresh produce in corner markets a win-win for small businesses and their customers.

Healthy Food For All is a collective of a dozen CSA farms in and around Ithaca NY in partnership with Cooperative Extension with the mission of providing access to locally grown fruits and vegetables to low-income households, and promote farm viability through fair and reliable compensation for hunger relief. Since 2006, HFFA has offered subsidized CSA shares coupled with nutrition education, and recently initiated Farm-to-Pantry and Farm-to-Plate programs to further meet community needs. They will share insight gained from 15 years of developing effective strategies to address a multitude of barriers faced by highly vulnerable food insecure populations in both urban and rural areas.

VINES is a non-profit from Binghamton, NY that empowers people to improve their lives and communities through urban gardening and by connecting urban consumers to rural farmers. VINES will focus on their flexible CSA model, Farm Share. To encourage participation from low-income community members Farm Share offers up to a 75% discount on shares, neighborhood delivery, flexible payment options, and weekly member education.

Investing in Abundance

Presenter: Shannon Hayes of Sap Bush Hollow Farm
There are many ways to spend time and money farming. Instead, let’s talk about how to invest in community to generate more wealth, more time, more joy, and a brighter future.

Shannon Hayes of Sap Bush Hollow Farm will talk about the concept of abundance economics from her newest book, Redefining Rich, and how she uses it for on-farm decision-making to build wealth and prosperity on their diversified grass-based livestock farm and family cafe.

Making a Multi-Farm CSA Work for the Long Term

Presenters: Chaw Chang and Lucy Garrison of Stick and Stone Farm, and Nathaniel Thompson of Remembrance Farm
The Full Plate Farm Collective is a multi-farm CSA founded in 2005 in Ithaca NY, serving 650 summer and 400 winter shares. After more than 15 years, farmers Lucy Garrison and Chaw Chang, and Nathaniel Thompson reflect on their history of working together, what still works and what didn’t work in this CSA model, and share insights on juggling business and personal relationships through life’s transitions. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of the CSA in relation to other marketing models (both farms have additional outlets for produce), developing a collaborative means of reaching low-income and underserved populations, incubating new farmers by purchasing items we don’t grow, and integrating fruit, dairy, and other “side dish” shares. 

Networking for the Future: Catastrophe Can Lead to Opportunity

Presenters: Mark Pawliw of Farm to Fork 101
The pandemic has caused a lot of people to pivot their businesses or put some of their plans on hold. By treating farmers, chefs, and community members as one unit, some farms and food businesses were able to navigate the shutdown and come out on the other side stronger and better equipped to handle anything that is thrown at them.

In this workshop, we will look at the importance of building and maintaining relationships, why community over competition is always the answer, and how to better build the food system through growing relationships, food, and community.

No-Till Market Gardening

Presenter: Jesse Frost, host of the No-Till Market Garden Podcast, author of The Living Soil Handbook, and farmer at Rough Draft Farmstead
Few things can reduce erosion, reduce weed pressure, and increase profitability quite like eliminating tillage. But how to do that on a production scale can often be a confounding idea. In this session, Farmer Jesse will try to provide some clarity. He will dive into what it takes to make no-till possible based on your context, available materials and goals. Jesse will also break down the basics of bed preparation, crop turnover, using cover crops on a small scale, and the principles that will help you build the best no-till system for you.

Taking Our Labor Policies from Legal to Fair

Presenters: Jody Bolluyt of Roxbury Farm and Elizabeth Henderson of Peacework CSA
With a google search, you can find an employee handbook that lays out your legal responsibilities as an employer grounded in “at-will” law guaranteeing your power as employer. But if you want to create a resilient, stable team for your farm, and contribute to transforming farmwork into a respected career with livable compensation, you have to go beyond legal to policies and practices grounded in fairness. This workshop will help you think this through and provide attendees with a handbook modeled on the standards of the Agricultural Justice Project that meet the Good Food Purchasing Center requirements for ensuring “valued workforce.”

Industrial Hemp: Lessons Learned from the First Five Years

Presenters:Heather Darby of UVM Extension and Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins of SUNY Morrisville
Join us to discuss the opportunities and challenges with growing hemp in the Northeast. Best practices for growing hemp for grain, fiber, and essential oil will be discussed.

Intro to Adult Use Cannabis in New York

Presenters: Allan Gandelman of Head & Heal, Main Street Farms, New York Hemp Oil, and New York State Cannabis Growers and Processors Association, and Jen Metzger of NYS Office of Cannabis Management
This workshop will be an overview of the existing laws and opportunities for farmers in New York’s future adult use cannabis market. We will cover relevant topics around different license types, outdoor growing, sustainability, education, and what farmers should consider as they evaluate this new enterprise on their farm.

The Regenerative Hemp Entrepreneur

Presenter: Doug Fine, author of American Hemp Farmer, Comedic Investigative Journalist, Solar-Powered Goat Herder
The return of hemp to worldwide farmers’ arsenals is here, with the industry expected to cross the billion dollar annual revenue mark in 2020. For the farm-to-table “vertical” farmer/entrepreneur, the goal is to make a strong living while building soil (and therefore sequestering carbon and fighting climate change). The win-win is that regenerative techniques result in the highest-quality craft harvests. This talk sets up farmers for the best results. And after harvest, there’s little to no off-season for the value-added hemp farm/entrepreneur. Learn about marketing hemp in areas far beyond the current CBD gold rush, such as superfood (seed) applications and fiber applications.

Handling / Processing / Distributor Certification

Presenters: Rebecca Heller-Steinberg and Ashleigh Knecht of NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC
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.

Intro to Organic Certification

Live Spanish Interpretation
Introducción a la certificación orgánica

Presenter: Jess Terry of NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC
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.

¿Utiliza prácticas orgánicas? ¡Podría obtener una certificación! Únase al equipo de la Asociación de Agricultura Orgánica del Noreste de Nueva York (NOFA-NY, por sus siglas en inglés) para realizar una rápida y exhaustiva revisión del proceso de certificación orgánica y de los requisitos para la producción agrícola, ganadera y el procesamiento en granja. ¡Prepare sus preguntas! Discutiremos cómo las regulaciones del Programa Nacional Orgánico (NOP) se ajustan a su operación actual o planificación futura.

Organic Hemp Certification and Policy Update

Presenters: Kristen Barker and Lauren Tonti of NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC
Learn from experienced NOFA-NY staff how to certify your hemp crop and processed products to the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. We’ll cover current NYS policy, recordkeeping requirements, growing practices, seed & planting stock, allowed inputs, labeling, and more.

Organic Transition Panel

Presenters: Patty Gentry of Early Girl Farm, Ryan Lertora of Jamesport Farmstead, and Jonathan Skaro of Youngs Farm
A farmer-to-farmer discussion about the barriers to farming organically and the importance of knowledge sharing and community support, presented by NOFA-NY’s Long Island Organic Transition Program.

Considerations for Starting a Small-Scale Dairy or Creamery

Presenter: Gianaclis Caldwell, author of Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking, The Small-Scale Cheese Business, The Small-Scale Dairy, and more
Small-scale farmers have many advantages, but an equal number of challenges! Before you break ground on your dream dairy or cheesemaking business, learn some of the key factors that will help you make it a success. This session will cover topics such as infra-structure considerations, licensing and insurance, how to survive a visit from the FDA, sustainability, and secession considerations. Bring your questions!

Feeding Seaweed to Organic Dairy Cows: Opportunities and Challenges

Presenter: Andre Brito of University of New Hampshire
This workshop will focus on the effects of brown and red seaweeds as dietary strategies to mitigate methane emissions in organic dairy cows, and how algal bioactive compounds including iodine can affect human and cow health. Opportunities and limitations of feeding common (e.g., kelp meal) and novel seaweeds species will be extensively discussed.

Growing Cereal Rye in the Northeast

Presenters: Todd Hardie of Thornhill Farm and Sandy Syberg of Rye Revival
Moderator: Heather Darby of The University of Vermont
Rye is particularly suited to our climate in the Northeast and in coming years cereal rye has the potential to have a major impact on organic farming systems as well as our regional food systems. Dr. Heather Darby of the University of Vermont has been conducting field trials on rye varieties for a number of years and will host a panel discussion with farmers who grow rye to discuss challenges, opportunities, and tips.

Leveraging Technology to Improve Grazing Systems

Presenters: Sarah Ficken and Robert Perry of NOFA-NY
From recordkeeping, plant identification, and remote management, learn how you can use your smartphone to help improve your grazing systems. Be sure to bring your smartphone and your favorite apps as we dig into all things grazing and technology.

Producing High-Quality Forages for Grass Fed Dairy (and Beef)

Presenter: Rod Porter of King’s AgriSeeds
Since forage is the only feed source with grass fed livestock, learn what quality measurements are important, what the nutrient needs are of your livestock, what types of forage will work best for you, how to fit them into a cropping plan and how to manage them. A couple of producers will join the discussion to share their experiences.

Organic Dairy Updates and Discussion

Presenters: NOFA-NY Staff
Join NOFA-NY staff for an update on state and regional efforts to develop and sustain a thriving northeast organic dairy industry. Updates will be followed by a moderated discussion where attendees will be invited to share their experiences and ideas.

The Rye Market: Prospects and Potential

Presenters: Henry Blair of The University of Vermont and Avery Robinson of Rye Revival
Moderator: June Russell of Glynwood

Join us for updates on market opportunities for rye from bread to spirits. Consumers in the Northeast and New York in particular, have rediscovered the glories of rye. Rye is well suited to our “scrappy” climate in the Northeast and is showing great promise as a grain crop. Rye comes with a rich culinary history and a strong, growing market that provides unique opportunities for farmers. Hear about the culinary history and uses of rye, and the resurgence of the Rye Manhattan as New York Distillers have embraced rye spirits with an official designation called Empire Rye.

Cider, Farming, Collaboration, and Reparations

Presenters:Christa Núñez of Quarter Acre for the People, Autumn Stoscheck and Ezra Sherman of Eve’s Cidery, Melissa Madden of Open Spaces Cider, Deva Maas and Eric Shatt of Redbyrd Orchard Cider
Eve’s Cidery, Redbyrd Orchard Cider, and Open Spaces Cider produce small batch hard cider on their farms and through foraging. Over the past 20 years of farming, they have recognized that true regenerative agriculture includes organic and biodynamic practices, but must reach further into equity, justice, and reparations. With their land access partner Quarter Acre for the People, they explore reparations twice yearly through a collaborative cider package. In the conference workshop, they will share their farming and business philosophies and tune into opportunities for making reparations. Participants can sign up for a reparations cider package to be mailed after the conference and then join them for a virtual tasting in late February!

Growing, Maintaining, and Marketing a Successful Organic U-Pick Berry Operation

Presenter: Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht of Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market
In this age of ever-increasing labor costs, u-pick berries can be a profitable alternative for farmers. We have found success with strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. However, many factors will determine your success or failure: location, public visibility, other “agritourism” attractions you may or may not offer, your local demographic, and favorable soils and climate. We’ll discuss each of these factors and what they will mean for your operation in addition to sourcing plants, some varieties we have had success with, general planting guidelines and plant care, pricing, and marketing suggestions.

Impending Resilience: Why Biodynamics is the Next Logical Step for Organic Orcharding

Presenter: Mike Biltonen of Know Your Roots
Organic farming has reached a point where we need to build on and up from nearly 30 years of focused certified organic agriculture. We’ll expand on organic farming in a way that focuses on the farm as organism, the farmer as guide, and certain esoteric concepts that move how we treat the orchard and grow apples and tree fruit beyond the mechanistic constraints that confound much of modern organic farming. We’ll discuss the foundations of biodynamic agriculture, the preparations, using the biodynamic calendars, and specific applications such as sequential spraying in a way that brings everything into focus for anyone wishing to move into a new pomological realm. We will focus on apple production primarily, but also lean into other perennial fruit crops such as grapes, stone fruit, and nuts.

Caribbean Herbal Medicine

Presenter: Brandon Ruiz of Yucayeke Farms and Atabey Choreto Medicinals
This workshop will discuss the roots of herbal medicine in the Caribbean, historical influences and the various plants used throughout the islands. Join us as we follow the timelines of the many different cultures that make up the Caribbean, and learn about the ethnobotanical uses of different herbs.

Diversity is Resilience: Designing Biodiverse Landscapes to Support Wild Pollinators

Presenter: Evan Abramson of Landscape Interactions
Farmers, gardeners, landowners, and designers have a vital role to play in strengthening, expanding, and enhancing regional biodiversity, ecological health, and climate change resilience. On working lands, conservation properties, front lawns, and backyard gardens, functionally diverse native pollinator habitats can serve as a building block for linking intact natural areas across a fragmented landscape. But what to plant, when to mow, where to focus on first and how to measure the results? Evan Abramson of Landscape Interactions will present a series of case studies from project sites across the region, all created specifically to support at-risk species. An interactive discussion with audience members will follow.

Keeping Your Flock Healthy

Presenter: Kristin White of Chicken Librarian
Every chicken keeper, whether on a small or large scale, will run into emergencies. But there’s no need to panic! Join Kristin White, aka the Chicken Librarian, for this informative session on keeping your chickens healthy. She’ll cover what you need to create a well-stocked first aid kit and natural remedies for your backyard flock.

Steps to Creating a Self-Sustaining Apiary

Presenter: Bill Day of The Pfeiffer Center
Whether you have a couple of backyard hives or a full-on sideline operation, healthy hives are key to your success. Overwintered hives liberate you from the package treadmill and provide strong stock for honey production and making splits. In this workshop, Bill Day will review the techniques and practices that create the conditions for successful overwintering, with ample time for questions and discussion.

A Tick-ing Time Bomb: How do we Manage for Tick Borne Disease?

Presenter: Joshua Ginsberg of Cary Institute
Tick borne disease is epidemic, with over 400,000 cases of Lyme disease in the USA each year. Diagnosis and treatment remain inadequate. Over the last five years, Cary Institute has executed The Tick Project, a double-blind, controlled study that asks: Can we kill enough ticks to reduce the incidence of lyme and other tick borne disease?

Finding a Niche Market for your Meat

Presenters: Courtney Grimes-Sutton of Mace Chasm Farm and Samer Saleh of Halal Pastures
Learn how to add value to your meat through on-farm processing and niche marketing.

Logistics of Large- and Small-Scale Processing from On-Farm to USDA Certification

Presenters: Nate Henderson of Reber Rock Farm and Jim Ecklund of Eklund’s Processing
Raising livestock is essential to many farm operations, but there are bottlenecks and roadblocks when it comes to organic or local butchering. Learn what it takes to start a USDA processing facility and a smaller, on-farm processing facility from some experienced farmers and processors.

On-Farm Diesel from Animal Fats

Presenter: Dillon Klepetar of Echo Farm
This workshop will feature an overview of the equipment and skills required to manufacture biodiesel from animal fat feedstocks for your own farm, for your local farming community, or in partnership with a butcher shop. We will review the process from carcass to combustion. Participants will understand the necessary equipment, skill level, and time commitment required to process waste tallow and lard into diesel fuel that is associated with 97% less emissions. There will be a lengthy Q&A period where the presenter will share information tailored to the specific projects or opportunities being explored by attendees.

Raising Certified Organic Poultry Profitably

Presenters:Lawrence Flick of Outryder Farm and Karma Glos of Kingbird Farm
Raising poultry is a great way to build soil, establish a customer base, and find your feet as a new or beginning farmer. Learn from some seasoned farmers how to be successful raising chickens, ducks, and turkeys organically.

From Disparity to Parity: An Emergency Mobilization to Address Economic Inequities and Reverse our March Toward Catastrophic Climate Change

Presenters: Ben Burkett and Jim Goodman of Disparity to Parity
Continual farm crises affect all but the largest farms and direct marketers, keeping earnings and farmworker wages low. Parity in supply management as proposed by the Disparity to Parity Project aims to achieve fair pricing, and build a racially just, economically empowered, and climate-resilient food system. In this workshop, project leaders Ben Burkett and Jim Goodman will discuss why parity is needed and why now is the time to act. This workshop will be moderated by Elizabeth Henderson.

  • Ben Burkett is a farmer and Mississippi State Coordinator for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  • Jim Goodman is an organic dairy farmer, board member of Family Farm Defenders, and board president of National Family Farm Coalition
  • Elizabeth Henderson (moderator) is a farmer, activist, and writer. She serves on the NOFA’s Interstate Committee and is a board member for the Agricultural Justice Project

How Should Organic Grow?

Live Spanish Interpretation
¿Cómo debería crecer la producción orgánica?

Presenters: Liana Hoodes of NOFA-NY and Patty Lovera of Organic Farmers Association
The idea of government support to get more farms to go through the organic transition process is getting a lot of attention in Washington, DC. Join the Organic Farmers Association for a discussion of the best ways for federal policy to support the transition of new farms into organic, including increasing the diversity of the organic sector and how to make sure existing organic farms can thrive as the organic sector grows. What can New York State (or the Northeast region) do to encourage organic transition without causing over-supply? Bring your ideas for policies to support organic and learn how to make your voice heard in the Farm Bill process.

En Washington, DC, el proyecto de apoyo gubernamental para la transición de más granjas hacia la agricultura orgánica está recibiendo mucha atención. Únase a la Asociación de Agricultura Orgánica para analizar cómo la política federal puede apoyar la transición de nuevas granjas hacia la producción orgánica, cómo fomentar el aumento de la diversidad del sector orgánico y cómo garantizar que las granjas existentes progresen a medida que crece el sector. ¿Qué puede hacer el Estado de Nueva York (o la región noreste) para fomentar la transición orgánica sin generar un exceso de oferta? Comparta sus ideas sobre políticas para apoyar la producción orgánica y aprenda cómo participar en el proceso del Proyecto de Ley Agrícola.

Organic as a Solution to Climate Change in NYS Policy

Presenter: Wes Gillingham of Catskill Mountainkeeper
The organic farming community has long been a leader in developing climate-friendly practices that build soil health and resiliency. With climate change mitigation and adaption at the top of both federal and state policy agendas, we have a great opportunity to make organic agriculture a central solution to the climate crisis. In NYS, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and the Soil Health and Climate Resilience Act both identify agriculture as a key component of climate policy but there is much work ahead to ensure these policies are environmentally sound and socially just! Join Wes Gillingham, Associate Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, for a discussion about how state climate policies can accelerate the adoption of organic practices.

Raising Up and Inspiring the Next Generation of Farmers

Live Spanish Interpretation
Motivar e inspirar a la próxima generación de agricultores

Presenters: Christine Hutchinson of Our Core and Christa Núñez of The Learning Farm
Hear from students and program leaders in the cities of Ithaca and Newburgh as to how they are inspiring the next generation to both feed their communities and find meaningful work as farmers and part of the food and agriculture system. While doing this, they are also learning to be the next leaders, entrepreneurs, and community educators – students inspiring students.

Escuche a los propios estudiantes y líderes de los programas en las ciudades de Ithaca y Newburgh y vea cómo inspiran a las siguientes generaciones para que provean de alimento a sus comunidades y valoren su trabajo como agricultores y como parte del sistema agroalimentario. En todo ese proceso, ellos también aprenden a ser los próximos líderes, empresarios y educadores comunitarios, es decir, estudiantes que inspiran a otros estudiantes.

Regional Collaboration for Regenerative Organic Agriculture

Presenters: Marty Dagoberto of NOFA/Mass and Maddie Kempner of NOFA Vermont
NOFA-NY is part of a seven-state NOFA Interstate Policy Council that adds value to the policy work of each of the individual member states (NY, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI, NJ). During this workshop, we’ll hear from Vermont and Massachusetts NOFAs about what they are doing to advance regenerative organic agriculture policies in their states, how the Interstate Policy Council works together to advance state, regional, and federal policy, and how you can help inform this work. Facilitated by NOFA-NY’s Policy Coordinator Katie Baildon, this workshop will cover some of the most timely policy priorities including organic dairy policy, climate change policy, and the upcoming Farm Bill.

Winning the Right to Healthcare in New York

Presenter: Ursula Rozum, Campaign for New York Health
Are you concerned about the cost of healthcare for yourself, your family, and employees? Have you skipped or delayed care due to cost? The New York Health Act is a bill being considered by the NY state legislature that will make healthcare a guaranteed right by establishing a universal, single-payer health program to covers all residents of the state regardless age, place of employment, or immigration status. In this session you will learn how the Health Act will reform our health system, discuss the impact on farmers, and opportunities to support the bill in the coming months. 

Establishing Ecosystem Service Payments to Farmers

Presenters: Phoebe Schreiner and Ken Jaffe of CADE, Jeff Potent of Columbia University, Wes Gillingham of Catskill Mountainkeeper, and Carlos Valery Jr. of Orinoco Cattle Products and Farms
This workshop will invite audiences to learn about and join efforts of a coalition of groups seeking to develop a “Payments for Ecosystem Services” (PES) system in which public and private partners support farmers for practices that combine carbon farming, soil health, and water quality, aligning the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) with Soil Health legislation. Discussions will explore opportunities and challenges – from evolving public debates, to logistics, verifications, eligibility, measurement, funding sources, costs, and more.

Life in the Soil

Presenter: Monique Bosch of CT NOFA and Wiggle Room
Join us as we ‘zoom in’ on soil and compost under the microscope, checking out the microbes that make up our Soil Food Web. Get acquainted with the life in the soil, and how to determine your soil’s health by observing it under a microscope. We will also cover simple visual clues to determine soil health, and discuss methods to increase the life in your soil using regenerative ag methods.

Tree Fodder for Livestock Health and Carbon Sequestration

Presenter: Steve Gabriel of Cornell Small Farms Program
The cultivation of trees such as willow, poplar, black locust, and mulberry has long been a source of fodder for livestock and can be integrated into many underutilized spots on the farm to also benefit the ecology of the land. In this session, learn about the potential for these and other species prominent in our landscapes from a nutritional standpoint, as well as the potential carbon value of planting “fodder blocks” on the farm. Wellspring Forest Farm undertook several years of fodder research, sampling leaf material on their farm and collecting data and will share lessons learned on management of trees for fodder.

The Urban Farming Track is sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Agricultural Education for the Deaf New American Community

Presenters: Jacob Gigler-Caro and Jay Regmi of Salt City Harvest Farm
Deaf New American farmers face the challenges of adapting to a new climate from their homelands and a new agricultural market. Growing and selling food in general can be challenging, but being deaf while farming can present its own challenges. Written materials can be fundamental learning tools for many, but are often inaccessible to those with limited written and spoken language literacy. To address these challenges, Salt City Harvest Farm has been working to create a visual guide of photos and videos that explain production basics, post-harvest handling and marketing specifically for the Deaf community.

Bringing Urban Soils Back to Life

Presenters:Mayda Pozantides of Groundwork Market Garden
Due to issues such as contamination and site history, it’s not always possible to utilize native soils in urban settings – strategies like geotextile, imported soil, and raised beds may be necessary. But even if your native soil is safe enough to plant into, turning empty city lots into healthy, productive growing spaces can present challenges. Mayda Pozantides of Groundwork Market Garden started farming in Buffalo, NY in 2015. Growing on two acres, she’s found success with practices like no-till, yearly soil testing and nutrient management, and building organic matter through mulching and cover crops. This workshop will cover best practices and considerations for safely working with and improving urban soils.

Farming in the City: Laying the Groundwork

Presenter: Caitlin Tucker of CCE Cornell Vegetable Program
In backyards and high-rise buildings, on rooftops and in pockets of vacant land, more and more urban spaces are being transformed into bountiful, food-filled oases. Whether you seek to start a community garden, urban farm, food forest, or simply homestead in The City, finding appropriate land to grow your dreams is vital. Do you know what to look for in a property? In this workshop we’ll cover key considerations, including zoning, site assessment, soil health, infrastructure, and cultivating community.

Overview of the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP)

Presenter: Joseph Heller of USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
The 2018 Farm Bill required the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish an Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. Join us to learn more about:

  • Competitive Grants Planning and Implementation 
  • Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreements with Municipalities 
  • Federal Advisory Committee
  • New National Urban Farm Service Agency Pilot County Committees

Urban Farms: Growing More Than Vegetables

Presenters: Matt Kauffman and Sarah Mast of 5 Loaves Farm and Bethany Ortquist and Katie Pfohl of Massachusetts Avenue Project
The diverse cultural influences, creative collaborations, and countless marketing opportunities afforded by being located within a city, often take urban growers beyond traditional vegetable production. Learn from a panel of staff members from the Massachusetts Avenue Project and 5 Loaves Farm (both in Buffalo, NY) about urban production of maple syrup, honey, berries, fruit trees, and value-added products, as well as event space and commercial kitchen management that benefits farmers as well as the community.

Bioregional Textile Development and the Carbon Farm Network

Presenters: Gibson Durnford of Watershed Agricultural Council and Laura Sansone of New York Textile Lab
New York Textile Lab will present their Carbon Farm Network, an economic and environmental initiative they are growing here in NYS. The Carbon Farm Network is an interconnected group of fiber producers who use climate beneficial practices on their farms and climate conscious textile and clothing designers who develop yarns and textile products from carbon farmed fibers. New York Textile Lab’s Agricultural Planner, Gibson Durnford, works directly with farms in our region to implement Carbon Farming practices. Laura Sansone, Founder and Designer at New York Textile Lab helps to make connections between the designers, who want to use climate beneficial fibers, and the farms who want to pursue Carbon Farm Plans (CFP’s) on their land. Join this session to learn the various ways your farm can participate in Carbon Farming practices and earn Climate Beneficial verification through our affiliate organization, Fibershed. The session will include a digital presentation, access to NY Textile Lab’s Carbon Farm Application process, and examples of machine grade yarns and textile products that designers from our network are producing from regionally sourced fibers.

Food Product Development, Safety, and Regulatory Compliance
Two Sessions

Presenters: Cynthia James and Shannon Prozeller of Cornell Food Venture Center
Join us for this intensive workshop to dive into food microbiology and safety basics in order to create a viable food product. Participants will be introduced to the main principles of food safety, processing and the applicable regulatory requirements for compliance of different product classifications.

  • Introduction to Food Product Development and Food Safety
  • Product assessment: pH / water activity
  • Product classification
  • Processing controls and storage
  • Regulatory Compliance

How to Create and Operate a Successful On-Farm Airbnb

Presenters: Matt Baumgartner of June Farms andRob Maddox of Sun One Organic Farm
During these uncertain times, there’s nothing more real, authentic, and genuine than a farm. On-farm Airbnb offer guests the opportunity to experience nature and provide the farm owner with a new source of income.

Rob Maddox, operator of the most wished for Airbnb in Connecticut, a Geodesic Dome at his farm in Bethlehem, CT and Matt Baumgarther, who has nine Airbnb properties and has been featured internationally will share their stories and insights to setting up and operating successful Airbnb rentals on their farms.

Done property, the addition of an Airbnb rental can become a significant source of income, as well as help promote the farm and raise people’s understanding of agriculture. During the presentation we will also preview Sun One Organic Farms new “Silo” Airbnb and June Farms plans for additional on-farm properties.

Intro to Natural Dye Plants

Presenter: Sarah Gotowka of Luna Fiber Studio
During this workshop Sarah will lead a short lecture on cultivating pigment bearing plants, and will also give a live, hands-on demonstration on dyeing with homegrown plants. Sarah owns Luna Fiber Studio, a textile studio based in Trumansburg, NY specializing in natural dyes and weaving, rooted in sustainability and social justice. Sarah has been growing dye plants including indigo for over 11 years.

Beginning Vegetable Farmer Intensive, Session 1: Managing Fertility and Water on an Organic Farm

Live Spanish Interpretation
Curso intensivo para productores de hortalizas principiantes. Sesión 1: Manejo de fertilidad y agua en una granja orgánica

Presenters: Steve Reiners of Cornell University and Zoe Stapp of Brookdale Fruit Farm
Learning how to optimize nutrient and water availability to vegetable plants is key to success, but is also challenging in practice. Dr. Steve Reiners will walk growers through how to assess baseline fertility levels, how to select the best organic amendments to meet short and long term fertility goals, and whether in-season, foliar and liquid fertilizers are worth the money. Zoe Stapp will follow up with an overview of how to design a basic irrigation system including pump, line, and filter selection.There will be time for Q&A, so bring your questions!

Aprender cómo optimizar la disponibilidad de nutrientes y agua para las verduras es clave para el éxito, pero también un desafío en la práctica. El Dr. Steve Reiners hablará sobre cómo analizar los niveles de fertilidad de referencia, cómo seleccionar las mejores enmiendas orgánicas para cumplir con los objetivos de fertilidad a corto y largo plazo, y si son rentables los fertilizantes de temporada, foliares y líquidos. Luego, Zoe Stapp hará una descripción general sobre el diseño de un sistema de riego básico, incluyendo la selección de bombas, líneas y filtros. Habrá un período de preguntas y respuestas, así que prepare sus preguntas!

Beginning Vegetable Farmer Intensive, Session 2: Keys to Success in Disease Management and a Farm Start-Up Case Study

Live Spanish Interpretation
Curso intensivo para productores de hortalizas principiantes. Sesión 2: Claves para el éxito en el manejo de plagas, con un estudio de caso sobre emprendimiento de producción agrícola

Presenters: Laura Colligan of Dirt Rich Farm and Meg McGrath of Cornell University
Disease management starts with prevention, not control! Dr. Meg McGrath will introduce growers to the best strategies to prevent diseases from coming to your farm, and the best strategies to keep plants as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

The Beginning Farmer Intensive will wrap up with a case study in starting an organic vegetable farm. Laura Colligan started farming in her parents’ side yard seven years ago. She’s since bought five acres of vacant farmland and has transformed it into a Certified Organic vegetable farm. The presentation will focus on the financial realities of starting your own farm.There will be time for Q&A, so bring your questions!

¡El manejo de plagas comienza con la prevención, no con el control! Meg McGrath les presentará las mejores estrategias para evitar plagas en la granja y para mantener las plantas lo más saludables posible durante el mayor tiempo posible.

El curso intensivo para productores principiantes concluirá con un estudio de caso para la creación de una granja orgánica de verduras. Laura Colligan comenzó a cultivar en el patio lateral de sus padres hace siete años. Desde entonces, ha comprado cinco acres de tierras baldías y las ha transformado en una granja orgánica certificada. La presentación se centrará en las realidades financieras para poner en marcha su propia granja. Habrá una ronda de preguntas y respuestas, ¡aliste sus preguntas!

Considering On-farm Wildness: Service Provider or Spiritual Underpinning

Presenters: Anne Bloomfield of Hudson Valley Farm Hub, Claudia Knab-Vispo and Conrad Vispo of Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program
The habitats we intentionally and unintentionally create on farms attract a variety of wild plants and animals. How do we think about these organisms? From an agronomic perspective, some of those are deemed pests/weeds and some beneficials, many are apparently neutral spectators. In the spirit of biodiversity conservation, some rare species find important habitat on farms while others are more common and ubiquitous.

Through data and discussion, this workshop hopes to explore this question. It will be split into two sections. First, to get the juices flowing, we will share some of what have learnt about this theme through our work in the Hudson Valley. We will then ask you to reflect on this and on your own experience and provide feedback regarding what sort of research would be most interesting or inspiring for you.

Fertile Vegetables Without Livestock

Presenter: Iain Tolhurst of Tolhurst Organic
Iain’s presentation will demonstrate how a whole-systems approach to fertility and productive soil is possible in the absence of any livestock inputs. He will discuss how to manage a farm without using ghost acres and how to improve the carbon footprint of the farm all while producing ample quantities of food for local customers. For over four decades Tolhurst Organic has been demonstrating viable food production on a Stockfree farm of less than 20 acres, building soil fertility using green manures, woodchip compost and ramial chipped wood. The role of agroforestry and the integration of trees will show how that even poor soil fertility can be enhanced and sustained. No fertilizers or animal manures used and near to complete absence of pest and disease problems. This is a fine example of sustainable organic vegetable production with the absolute minimum of exterior inputs.

Success With Long-Season Brassicas

Presenters: Dan Kent of Kent Family Growers and Fred Lee of Sang Lee Farms
Consistently growing long-season brassicas like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage that are sizable and of good quality can present some challenges! Join us to learn about strategies for success including pest and disease control, fertilization, variety selection, and planting dates.

Thriving on No-Till Vegetable Farms: Two Perspectives

Presenters: Matt Herbruck of Birdsong Farm and Daniel Mays of Frith Farm
Daniel Mays of Frith Farm in Maine has been producing vegetables using no-till methods for eleven years, and currently serves a CSA market, grocery stores, and a farm stand with a crew of nine. Matt Herbruck of Birdsong Farm in Ohio has been producing no-till vegetables for five years after twenty years of using conventional tillage, and serves a 40 member CSA and two farmers markets with one employee. Both Daniel and Matt share the sentiment that no-till systems have allowed them to reduce burnout and enhance quality of life, both for the farmers and of the farm. They will discuss how they developed no-till systems on their farms, key tools and techniques they use to maintain their systems, and how they view soil health and farm viability.

Winter Production and Season Extension

Presenters: Erin Enouen of Long Season Farm and Aaron Munzer of Plowbreak Farm
Are you ready to make the jump from seasonal farmer to year-round production? With a good balance of storage crops and winter high tunnel production of fresh greens, you can start a winter CSA, start attending those winter markets you’ve been thinking about, and keep your wholesale customers happy. Join us to learn about the skills, infrastructure, and planning needed to take your farm to the next level.


Special Events

Farmer of the Year Keynote Address
Tuesday, January 18 from 10:00 am – 11:15 am EST

Live Spanish Interpretation
Discurso del ganador del premio al agricultor del año

NOFA-NY’s Farmer of the Year: Zaid Kurdieh of Norwich Meadows Farm
Each year, NOFA-NY members and supporters have the opportunity to nominate a NOFA-NY Certified Organic farmer who has gone above and beyond for organic so that we can pay tribute to them at the Winter Conference. This award celebrates inspiring farmers who have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and integrity in building a strong organic movement in New York State – a sentiment that was reflected in the nomination of Zaid Kurdieh: “Zaid is an innovative farmer who focuses on soil health and understands micronutrients and their importance. He works with seed breeders to help serve the farming community with vigorous cultivars, shares his knowledge widely, and is very well respected.” We applaud Zaid’s work at Norwich Meadows Farm and look forward to providing him with an opportunity to share his story and commitment to growing a stronger organic movement.

Cada año, los miembros y simpatizantes de NOFA-NY tienen la oportunidad de nominar a un agricultor orgánico certificado por NOFA-NY por su ardua labor en la agricultura orgánica para que podamos rendirle homenaje en la Conferencia de Invierno. Este premio celebra a los productores que nos inspiran y que han demostrado liderazgo, innovación e integridad en la construcción de un fuerte movimiento orgánico en el estado de Nueva York. Un sentir que se reflejó en la nominación de Zaid Kurdieh: «Zaid es un agricultor innovador que se centra en la salud del suelo y entiende los micronutrientes y su importancia. Trabaja con fitomejoradores para ayudar a servir a la comunidad agrícola con variedades vigorosas, comparte su conocimiento y es muy respetado». Aplaudimos el trabajo de Zaid en Norwich Meadows Farm y esperamos brindarle la oportunidad de compartir su historia y compromiso con el fortalecimiento del movimiento de agricultura orgánica.

Cider, Farming, Collaboration, and Reparations
Thursday, January 20 from 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm EST

Presenters: Christa Núñez of Quarter Acre for the People, Autumn Stoscheck and Ezra Sherman of Eve’s Cidery, Melissa Madden of Open Spaces Cider, Deva Maas and Eric Shatt of Redbyrd Orchard Cider
Eve’s Cidery, Redbyrd Orchard Cider, and Open Spaces Cider produce small batch hard cider on their farms and through foraging. Over the past 20 years of farming, they have recognized that true regenerative agriculture includes organic and biodynamic practices, but must reach further into equity, justice, and reparations. With their land access partner Quarter Acre for the People, they explore reparations twice yearly through a collaborative cider package. In the conference workshop, they will share their farming and business philosophies and tune into opportunities for making reparations. Participants can sign up for a reparations cider package to be mailed after the conference and then join them for a virtual tasting in late February!

Open Mic Night
Thursday, January 20 from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm EST

Hosted by Milo Petruziello of OEFFA
Share your artistic side with your community during this very special open mic night. Songs, poems, stories, and skits are welcome. Once the virtual conference website and mobile app go live, participants will be able to sign up for spots on a first-come, first-served basis until all the spaces are filled.

2023 Seed Conference Planning Brunch
Saturday, January 22 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST

Moderator: Heron Breen
Join us for brunch where we, as the grassroots community, will begin planning the 2023 Northeast Organic Seed Conference. Past planners and new hands alike are invited to share their experiences (planning and attending) and forward-looking goals. A successful event needs a volunteer Planning Committee who will do the actual work of mindful outreach, cooperative education program design, and equitable convening. Please come ready to raise your hand for a part in the good work! All people who work with seed and food are welcome at the breakfast discussion table.

Seed Community Share
Saturday, January 22 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST

Hosted by regional seed non-profit, Freed Seed Federation
Whether you’ve just tried to save seed for the first time, or you’ve embarked upon advanced projects, everyone’s effort strengthens our seed sovereignty. And everyone’s voice is an expert voice. Please join us for an afternoon of sharing – where participants can offer seed tales, seed poems, grant updates, ask for advice, reveal challenges and failures, and find support no matter what. Our seed community has traditionally been bolstered by an in-person vibrant atmosphere. With the help of a few special guests, we hope to bask in some winter warmth of seed kinship, even if via Zoom.

Witness to Injustice
Saturday, January 22 from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm EST

Presenters: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.

Handmade Pasta Class
Saturday, January 22 from 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm EST (Participants are welcome to stay and eat dinner together after class)

Presenter: Chef Andrea Belfiore of EVÈNTO
In this class, you’ll learn all the steps to make traditional pasta without the use of any tools except for your hands! Pasta making is truly an art form that takes years to master, but only an hour or so to get the hang of. Bring the whole family to enjoy this interactive event.

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