Thursday, January 27, 2011

Workshop List for CT NOFA's Winter Conference, Part 3

Shannon Hayes – Tender, Delicious Grassfed Beef
Covers quality control factors from field to plate, helping both farmers and consumers understand how to assess a pasture, animal finish, processing, butchering and proper cooking. She describes it as an in-depth PowerPoint presentation with lots and lots of images that take folks out to the pastures, into the slaughter house and cutting room, then out to the grill and into the kitchen. Following the presentation she does an extensive Q&A to help folks trouble-shoot with their grassfed production and cooking concerns.
Shannon Hayes, Ph.D. of Sap Bush Hollow Farm is the host of; author of "The Farmer and The Grill", "The Grass-fed Gourmet", "Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture” and a working third generation family farmer.
Leigh White – Good Food. The Best Medicine
The healing power of nature is one of naturopathic medicine’s guiding principles. This refers to not only the body’s ability to heal itself when supported, but also the earth’s ability to provide resources (foods) to guide that healing. Dr. White will discuss the use of some everyday, easily-accessible healing foods.
Dr. White began her career as a Product Development Scientist. Realizing she was more interested in educating people about having faith in their bodies, she made a major career change- receiving her Naturopathic Doctorate and M.S. in Human Nutrition (University of Bridgeport). She is now a Naturopathic Physician with a family practice in North Haven.

Nicholas Mancini – Worm Composting Simplified

The PowerPoint presentation/discussion is to show how basic of a concept worm composting can be, while achieving great results. The important aspect of composting is to have the right amount (50/50%) of nitrogen and carbon ratio, water and aeration, the rest should be left to the worm population to complete.
Nick Mancini is a Certified Master Gardener that specializes in organic vegetables, fruits and brambles. He’s the past head Master Gardener of Vegetables at Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford. He teaches at Norwalk Community College Extended Studies, Westport and Fairfield Continuing Education, and lectures in garden clubs, horticultural societies and libraries throughout Connecticut and neighboring states. He’s currently writing a book for the home gardener entitled Intensive Organic Gardening: The High Yield, Low Budget Approach.  
Joan Nichols – PA 490 CT's Land Use Value Assessment Law Power point presentation on PA 490: CT's Land Use Value Assessment Law for Farm Land, Forest Land, Open Space and Maritime Heritage Land, with time for questions and answers.
Government Relations Specialist; advocating and assisting agricultural producers in all aspects of Connecticut agriculture.
Erica Fearn – Access to Land for Beginning Farmers Farming without land is impossible and finding the right place you can, to buy or lease for the right price, can be daunting. In this workshop, you will evaluate the land requirements for your agricultural enterprise, increase your understanding of farm acquisition strategies, and learn of resources available to you.
Erica Fearn, Land For Good Connecticut Field Staff, has over 16 years of experience in agricultural organizations. She has served as Executive Director of the CT Farm Bureau and as the Area Director of Programs & Policy for American Farm Bureau. Erica raises Boer goats in W. Suffield, CT.

Alan Gorkin – Growing Winter Greens in a Cold Greenhouse and Frames
Our experience growing winter greens in a cold greenhouse (minimal heat) and coldframes (bottom heat soil only). Examples will be provided for tasting. Many unusual greens and their uses will be featured, as well as soils, sow dates to harvest, etc.
Horticulturist on private estate of 11 acres in Greenwich, CT. Garden supervision related to care of hedges, vegetable, greenhouses, fruit orchard, statuary and water features. Alan Gorkin, Horticulturist, 6 member CSA and market at Wilton Farmers Market and Branchville. Fresh vegetables and transplants. BS Horticulture MIchigan State U; Instr

There's still time to receive the early bird discount! Register online here or call the office at 203-888-5146.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

CT New Farmer Summit and Farmer Social Mixer

CT NOFA is proud to announce the CT New Farmer Summit on Friday, February 11, 2011 from 2:00pm - 6:00pm. Held in the 4-H Education Center at Auer Farm in Bloomfield, CT, this Summit is for young and/or beginning farmers who are currently farming, either your own business or employed by farm work. The USDA defines new farmers as farming less than 10 years and young farmer as 35 years old or younger. Participants in this Summit should have at least 2 seasons full-time farm experience and plan to be mostly employed as a farmer in the future.
There is no charge to attend this Summit, but you do need to preregister. Please complete this application by February 1st. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so we encourage you to apply early. If you need to fill out a paper copy of this application, please call (860)318-6813 to request one. Registration IS required AND YOUR PARTICIPATION WILL BE CONFIRMED BY Feb.4th. We only have capacity for 50 people for this first event! 
The Summit will be formatted around Roundtable discussions, participant led workshops and round robin sharing (including a virtual farm tour with photos, seed swap and catalog sharing, a book share, and a farmers market table).
Topics will include (and are not limited to):
  • What is the culture of CT agriculture?
  • Season successes and failures?
  • Best tools, varieties, techniques and resources…
  • The A-HA moment! New ideas that worked!
  • Turning disaster into opportunity…
  • And More!
Have questions? Contact:  Shannon Raider -, 860-318-6813

It even gets better! After the Summit, there will be a Farmer Social and Mixer from 6:30pm - 8:00pm. A $5 donation is suggested for pizza and refreshments. Check out the Event Page on Facebook and let us know that you'll be attending.

Thank you to the Greenhorns blog for this feature on the Summit!

This event is in partnership with CT NOFA, UCONN Extension and many CT Farms and is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2010-49400-21847.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Workshop List for CT NOFA's 2011 Winter Conference, Part 2

Are you getting excited for CT NOFA's Winter Conference on Saturday, March 5th?  We hope so! In the meantime, here are some more confirmed speakers for the day...
1.  Wayne and Marilyn Hanson - How We Grow Garlic at Wayne's Organic Garden / My First Year Using a Heated Greenhouse
Basic information on their garlic growing methods, in details with a  few laughs, garlic types, planting, culture, harvest, curing and storage.
Pleasures and pitfalls, success and failures of in-ground growing of greens in winter and early production of tender vegetables in spring and summer.
Wayne and his wife and partner Marilyn have been struggling to make a living at growing certified organic vegetables on one-and-a-half acres for over twenty years.  We ain't rich, but we feel good, eat well, and have lots of great friends.
2.  Tom Morris - Reduced Tillage for Increased Soil Tilth
Learn about tillage implements, types of reduced tillage, effects of tillage on soil structure, soil fertility, plant growth, weed control, and water use efficiency.  If you use a rototiller or rotovator, you should attend and learn how to minimize damage to your soil from those implements.
Tom Morris is an associate professor of soil fertility at the University of Connecticut.  His research and extension work are dedicated to the efficient use of nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, applied to landscapes managed by humans.  In a former life he was the Research Farm Manager at the Rodale Research Institute.
3. John Kriz - Making Mead and Wines from Non-Grapes at Home
Learn all about making mead, and wines from fruits, flowers and even vegetables: Recipes, equipment, yeasts, bottling, corks and labels. With an emphasis on practical knowledge, you will know all you need to make your first batch of home-made wine.
John J. Kriz, a beekeeper and organic gardener when he is not at his day job, is a home winemaker, with much practical, hands-on knowledge from many years of trial-and-error experience. 
 4. Joyce Purcell - Conservation Practices on Small Farms
This presentation will cover conservation measures that are most commonly used on small farms in CT.  Specific examples of where practices are used will be shown.  An overview of the USDA Farm Bill Programs, practices  and producer eligibility will be provided. 
Joyce Purcell is the Assistant State Conservationist for Connecticut, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  She is the program manager for Conservation Programs, Stewardship Programs and the Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Program.  Coming from a farm family her interest in farming, particularly locally grown agricultural products complements many USDA agricultural viability and sustainability initiatives.   
5. Paul Trubey - Raising Dairy Goats and Making Cheese
A beginner’s overview of raising dairy goats including health, nutrition, breeding, goat behavior and personality, heard management, kidding, and milking. We will also focus on the various products that goat milk can produce including various cheeses and yogurt. Also included -a demonstration of making of a simple cheese.
Paul Trubey, a social worker by profession, began working with goats in 1996 and then started a commercial dairy making farmstead cheese in 1999. At that time Paul made about 20 pounds of cheese  every three days from the milk of ten goats at Highwater Farm in Glastonbury, CT.  In 2002, the operation moved to Beltane Farm in Lebanon, Ct  and now produces about 85 pounds of cheese per day during high season in partnership with its partner farm Oak Leaf Dairy n Lebanon, CT.  The focus of Beltane Farm is to maintain a sustainable human-animal partnership while providing  humane care, excellent health and high quality of life for the goats.

You can now register for the Winter Conference online - click here!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Free Webinar on Organic Apple Production and Marketing

Interested in growing apples? Not sure how to market your business? Make sure to register for this webinar (which is free!!) on Thursday, January 27th at 12:00 CST.

Organic Apple Production and Marketing (A Beginner's Guide)
Commercial-scale organic apple production has entered the mainstream. Once thought of as practically impossible, profitable organic apple production is now a reality for established apple growers from coast to coast. And the techniques for successful organic apple production are backed up by research and recommendations from universities such as Cornell, Michigan State, and Washington State.

But the path to profitable commercial organic apple production isn't easy. Organic apple growers face many hurdles, from pest control and certification to marketing. But if you're willing to tackle these hurdles, the profits may well be worth the effort.

To find out what's involved in profitable organic apple production, and whether this business is right for you, register for our free webinar titled  "Organic Apple Production and Marketing (A Beginner's Guide)."

Presented by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), this organic apple webinar will be broadcast on Thursday, January 27th, at 12 Noon Central Standard Time.

Some of the topics to be covered in this hour-long webinar include the following:
  • Overview and trends in organic apple production and marketing in the U.S.
  • Organic apple production techniques for different regions of the country.
  • Disease control with organic fungicides and disease-resistant varieties of apples.
  • Insect and mite control with kaolin clay, pheromones, and new-generation pesticides
  • "Farmscaping" to optimize biological control with beneficial insects
  • Control of vertebrate pests in orchards such as deer and voles
  • Non-chemical weed control in organic apple orchards
  • Economics and marketing of organic apples—how can I make a profit?

The speakers for the webinar are Tammy Hinman, a horticulturalist, and Guy Ames, an experienced apple grower. Both speakers currently work for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Hinman and Ames provide technical advice to apple growers nationwide through the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA), with funding provided by USDA. Ames and Hinman are also coauthors of ATTRA's new publication on organic apple production, which will be available this winter.

This January 27th webinar on Organic Apple Production is free, but registration online is required. To register for the webinar, visit this website:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Connecticut Gardener

Connecticut Gardener is the perfect magazine for the Connecticut gardener.  Published four times a year, the magazine has been “the definitive resource on gardening in CT, written by and for people who garden in and around our state”.  With over 15 years of experience, Connecticut Gardener provides “accurate, dependable, organic, local gardening information” to approximately 2,000 subscribers.  
Each issue is jam packed with information on:
perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs, lawns, shade gardening, deer and other animal pests, Q&A's, tips, native plants and invasives, insect and disease control, what, where how, and when to grow it, calendar of events, and much more.
The website offers information on how to subscribe, a calendar of events, a photo gallery, and an extensive list of resources.  For all of you Twitter fans, you can follow them at  You can visit the official website here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Serving Hartford and Tolland Counties, Foodshare provides to over 40 towns.  Instead of just feeding the hungry, President and CEO, Gloria McAdam and the rest of her team want to actually end hunger in our state.  In fact, their mission is to “work to end hunger as a part of the overall community effort to alleviate poverty in greater Hartford”.
To fulfill their mission, Foodshare creates solutions in three ways: serves as the region’s food bank (by distributing 16 tons of food each day), reducing the number of people in need (by increasing their self-sufficiency) , and engaging members of the community (so they can understand the causes and solutions needed).
Foodshare hosts a long list of programs, including a rapid delivery program, a role play and discussion activity, and a “kids’ cafĂ©”.  In 2009, Foodshare distributed 12 million pounds of food to local partner agencies.  In addition, Foodshare accepts food donations Monday through Friday in Hartford and Bloomfield.  And yes, they do accept fresh produce and refrigerated food!  Their website has an extensive list of resources, including information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
           Please visit their website to find out how you can get involved  by either donating, volunteering or becoming an advocate.  It can be found here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Workshop List for CT NOFA's 2011 Winter Conference, Part 1

CT NOFA's 2011 Winter Conference will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2011 in Manchester, CT.  Join us in the celebration of local organic farming, gardening, landscaping and sustainable lifestyles!  The list of workshops are coming in...keep reading to find some interesting topics! We will continue to update this list in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned!

1. Dr. Sandra Anagnostakis - "Growing Nuts in CT"
 Dr. Anagnostakis will discuss several kinds of edible nuts that can be grown in Connecticut, how they can provide an interesting hobby, and a little something extra for the table.  The discussion will also include species needs, growing conditions, care, and harvest, along with  some cookbook recommendations.
Sandra Anagnostakis has worked at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station since 1966.  She is a member and past president of the Northern Nut Grower’s Association, Inc., judges the nut exhibit at the Pennsylvania Farm Show each January, and does research on butternut and chestnut trees for the state of CT.  She is also the International Registrar for cultivars of chestnut.
2.  Jeffrey S. Ward, Ph.D. - "Crop Tree Management in Farm Woodlots"
Crop tree release is a management tool to simultaneously manipulate stand composition and concentrate growth on individual stems of high value species. It is a versatile technique that also provides income and firewood while retaining aesthetic forest stands. This workshop will provide a how-to guide bolstered with research results.
Jeff Ward received his BS and MSat Ohio State, and after the Peace Corps (Guatemala), his PhDat Purdue. He has been at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station since 1987. His research has focused on natural area dynamics, alternative forest management practices, controlling invasive shrubs, and reducing deer damage.
3.  Keith Zaltzberg - Ecological Farming and Gardening at the Water's Edge
Come explore practical, perennial solutions for ecologically-sound farming and gardening at or near the water’s edge. We will discuss economically-productive systems that prevent erosion and water pollution, build soil, create wildlife habitat, while yielding useful materials. Discussion will include low-input perennial food production, coppice establishment and management, biochar and biofuel production.
Keith is an ecological landscape designer with the Regenerative Design Group where he uses his experience in organic farming, permaculture design and education to create beautiful and productive landscapes.  He homesteads on 12-acres of a wet, rocky hillside in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
4. Winter Caplanson - Million Dollar Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Want to promote your farm or market effectively but don't have a big marketing budget? You can use incredibly simple but powerful marketing strategies to build your business at low cost or no cost! Step-by-step, learn how permission marketing, social networking, PR, and targeted direct mail can boost your profits.
Winter leads the Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market’s marketing and media relations efforts.   The CRFM is Connecticut’s largest market, drawing 75,000 visitors each year. Winter developed their popular Friends of the Market and Business Partnership programs which generate nearly $10,000 annually and were featured last year in the New York Times.
5.  C. Marina Marchese - Beekeeping Basics
Did you know honeybees are responsible for pollinating over 100 different fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds? including coffee, chocolate and blue jeans! This workshop is an overview of the amazing honeybees and beekeeping from life inside the beehive to harvesting honey. How beekeeping is a sustainable agricultural practice that is an important part of the future of our planet. Q&A, book signing to follow.
C. Marina Marchese is the founder and owner of Red Bee Honey and the author of Honeybee: Lesson from an Accidental Beekeeper. President of the Back Yard Beekeepers in CT.

Find us on Facebook here. Let us know if you'll be attending the event on our page!
More information on the Winter Conference can be found at our official page -

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Green Energy TV

Doesn’t it seem like everything is going online today?  Green Energy TV is an online television channel offering green videos to millions of viewers around the world.  Dedicated to sharing innovative ideas and educating individuals, the site offers videos, tips, products, news, and even jobs! 
For the video section, users can upload their own videos for free.  All of the videos are available to watch at no charge.  There are 17 categories of videos, including green building, corporate responsibility, recycling and our favorite…organic!
They have even decided that they will take some of their revenue to develop solar and wind energy projects in Third World countries.
Check out this video of Hurricane Farm in Scotland, CT.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Food Documentaries

Documentaries are a great way to captivate your audience. There have been some really good documentaries in the past few years that you should take the time to watch.
  • Food, Inc. 

In only the past few decades, the food industry has gone from small, local farms, to big business where seemingly costs outweigh side effects, leading to the mentality that if it’s cheap it’s good. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2009, Food Inc. is not afraid to tell the whole story. They go after some big names in the food industry, detailing how a lot of our food is processed, by looking at the production of meat, grains and vegetables. The film highlights the serious economic and legal power that some of the major food companies hold in this country. Additionally, the film tackles another important issue, the at-times inhumane treatment of workers in some of these plants. In the end, it’s clear that the filmmakers are arguing for more transparency and calls for consumers to seriously be aware of what they are eating, which means actually reading labels!
  • The Garden 

At the end of The Garden, you will feel like you were just punched in the stomach. This documentary follows the story of the South Central Urban Farm and Community Garden in Los Angeles, California which at the time was considered to be one of the largest urban farms in the country (over 14 acres!). Over 350 families came to use the land to grow crops which they could then feed their families - many of which were low-income households. Without giving too much away, this film should hopefully ignite some passion inside of you. On a side note, this film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2008.
  • Dirt! The Movie 

Goofy animations aside, this serious documentary explains how vital dirt is to our world. Many people forget that dirt is actually alive, and without it, our food cannot grow. Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, this film interviews some world renowned changemakers, including Dr. Vandana Shiva, Sebastiao and Lelia Salgado, Pierre Rabhi, Majora Carter, and Wangari Maathai. With these interviews and more, you’ll definitely enjoy the positive message that Dirt! The Movie delivers!
Special Note: The CT Community Gardening Association will be holding a free film screening of Dirt! The Movie on February 12, 2011 at the Berlin Peck Public Library in Berlin, CT from 12:00pm – 3:00pm.

Here are some others... "Food Stamped", "A Delicate Balance", and "Food Fight". 

Have you seen any of these? What was your impression? What else is missing from this list?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NOFA-VT Price Study

      Do you want to switch to local and organic foods but think that you can't cover the price? Did you know that it may actually be cheaper to shop at farmers' markets?
      The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) set out to answer the question: Is locally-grown and organic food really more expensive? "Vermont Farmers' Markets and Grocery Stores: A Price Comparison"is a 29-page report that was recently published.  In the report, the authors estimate that there are over 5,200 farmers' markets in the United States, yet Americans spend only .2% of their food dollars at farmers' markets.  The authors argue that the main reason for this is because of the perception that prices are higher at farmers' markets than at conventional grocery stores.
      To look at the question of pricing, five researchers set out to collect prices from farmers' markets, conventional grocery stores, and co-ops around the state of Vermont.  Prices were collected over a two-month period, three times each month.  At each location, researchers collected prices for 12 items, including blueberries, corn, cucumbers, eggs, green peppers, head lettuce, mesclun and spring mix lettuce, potatoes, snow peas, string beans, squash, and tomatoes.

      After some statistical analysis, the report concluded that the difference in prices between farmers' markets and grocery stores is largely exaggerated.  For all organic products, except for potatoes, prices were cheaper at farmers' markets!  The authors argue that as local operations become more efficient, prices will continue to drop.  
      So what's the lesson from this study? If you are looking to buy organic (which you should!) try shopping at your local farmers' market.
      For the full report, please visit

Monday, January 3, 2011

Where do you get your environmental news from?  Does it seem almost too cut and dry? promises to deliver all of the “green” news while having some fun.  This online non-profit magazine has ten years under its belt, and has no signs of slowing down.  Topics range from:
climate and energy – global warming, impact of fossil fuels, and alternative energy options
food – organic, sustainable, local grub and healthy recipes
living – how to go green, pop culture and eco-tips for sustainable living
placemaking – green building, urban planning, public transportation and community
business – green jobs, companies and the economy
politics – green legislation, lobbying and activism
Here’s a great article on the favorite food books of 2010 from influential foodies Michael Pollan, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Mark Winne, Ann Cooper and more! -