Winter Conference: Intensives

OVERVIEW | KEYNOTE SPEAKER | WORKSHOPS | INTENSIVES | MORE ACTIVITIES | CHILDREN'S CONFERENCE | DETAILS


Intensive workshops devote a full day to exploring a single topic and will take place on February 19, the day after the main conference. Led by knowledgeable presenters, there is plenty of time for discussion, question and answer, and networking with peers. All intensive workshops will take place in person at the UVM Davis Center in Burlington, VT from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Image
A bee lands on a chive flower

Building Biodiversity & Ecological Resilience On Farms

In person in Burlington, VT | Sunday, February 19 | 9:00 am - 3:00 pm | $80 for NOFA-VT members, $95 for non-members

Join us for a birds-eye view of farm-level biodiversity practices and why they matter to both nature and the bottom line. Farms with greater ecological complexity both above and below the soil surface are more productive and profitable - in a word, more resilient to disruption by outside events - while also greatly benefiting the natural world. Led and facilitated by the Wild Farm Alliance, gain both a big picture of biodiversity concepts as well as strategies to implement this coming season. Explore the biodiversity continuum and how soil, water, and climate tie in. Specific examples and research will be presented. Local organizations, experts, and farmer panels will focus on practices like hedgerows, no-till, bird habitat, biological pest control, complex crop rotations, cover cropping, pollinator plantings, perennial species, and forest ecology. 

Presenters

  • Jo Ann Baumgartner, Wild Farm Alliance: The Executive Director of Wild Farm Alliance, Jo Ann is the author of many farm publications on birds, biodiversity, food safety, and organic agriculture, and was an organic farmer for over a decade.
  • Tony Fleming, Consultant: “Geologist by profession, ecologist of necessity,” Tony is a contributor to publications on natural resources and biodiversity in the farm landscape, leader of biodiversity-themed trainings for organic inspectors and certifiers, author of natural resource inventories and land management plans, and an organic inspector from 1998-2010.
  • Farmer Panel:
    • Jane MacLean, Sweet Roots Farm: They grow berries, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in Charlotte, VT.
    • Evan Perkins, Small Axe Farm: Evan will share about the no-till market garden in Barnet, how they think about their farm as a whole ecological site, the farm’s place in the context of their rural community, and caring for the forest and wild spaces on their farm in addition to their production fields.
    • Tanya Tolchin, Otter Point Farm: Tanya grows organic veggies, flowers, herbs, and berries in West Haven, VT and will discuss implementing NRCS pollinator plantings on their site.

 

Register for the Conference

Choose option to add on intensive workshop during registration

 

Image
Signs from an anti-monsanto rally

People-Powered Change from the Ground Up

In person in Burlington, VT | Sunday, February 19 | 9:00 am - 3:00 pm | $80 for NOFA-VT members, $95 for non-members

Today, democracy at every level is threatened by special interests and corporations with undue influence over the political process. To combat democratic decline and continue fighting for just and equitable policies in our food system and beyond, we know that community-based organizations must work to rebuild participatory democracy from the ground up.

Are you curious about engaging in social change and bringing your skills and experience to social justice work? Join 350Vermont and other presenters for an engaging workshop to explore one of the key ways we organize for change: campaigns. Learn why and how to design effective campaigns to achieve your goals and make impactful change. We'll use case studies and interactive exercises to understand how to pick goals, figure out who has the power to give you what you want, plan creative and impactful actions, and explore the components and arc of a campaign that gets us where we need to go. We'll close with short presentations about some of the most exciting and relevant campaigns happening in Vermont right now and give you ways to put your newfound skills to work and get involved. 

Presenters

  • Sonia Silbert, Co-Director and Lead Trainer at 350Vermont: With over 15 years experience working in social justice movements, Sonia is an experienced trainer, facilitator, and organizer who prioritizes using experiential and popular education techniques to train activists and organizers.
  • Campaign panelists:
    • Caroline Gordon, Rural Vermont: Caroline is the legislative director and will speak about the Protect Our Soils Coalition.
    • Vanessa Rule, 350Vermont Lead Organizer: Vanessa has been organizing for climate justice since 2006, including co-founding and co-leading Better Future Project, 350 Massachusetts, and Mothers Out Front.
    • Michael Weiss, Environmental Justice Organizer at Rights & Democracy: Michael is an advocate for cooperatives and the solidarity economy, working in the agriculture and housing sectors with a Sustainable Development degree.

 

Register for the Conference

Choose option to add on intensive workshop during registration

Image
A farmer unspools rope fencing.

Building Farm Labor Management Skills: Feedback and Financials 

In person in Burlington, VT | Sunday, February 19 | 9:00 am - 3:00 pm | $80 for NOFA-VT members, $95 for non-members

Having a rockstar boss and workplace culture contributes to higher team morale and overall productivity. Are you interested in improving your skills when it comes to budgeting for hired labor? Have you been wanting to write a personnel policy for years and have just not made the time for it?

In this intensive session, we will take a deep dive into feedback systems, an aspect of employee/employer communication that can transform your farm team and lead to more satisfied employees and increased efficiency. Learn about different types of feedback and how to set up successful communication systems on your farm that encourage good, productive feedback. We will present templates for personnel policies, job descriptions, and other materials that contribute to a thriving workplace culture. We will also dive into budgeting and the financials behind farm labor, using the Cost of Labor Estimator and the Equipment Cost Recovery Analysis Tool. There will be plenty of opportunities to work alongside other farmers to think through and develop materials, labor budgets, and systems specific to your farm. Whether you are about to hire your first employee or you have been an employer for many years, you will leave this session with tools and skills to enhance your team and overall farm productivity and profitability. 

**Participants are encouraged, if possible, to bring along laptops and/or farm records to work on during the session. 

Presenters

  • John Hendrickson, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Dan Kaplan and Karen Romanowski, Brookfield Farm
  • Corie Pierce, Bread and Butter Farm: Corie is a passionate educator and community builder and is the owner-operator of Bread & Butter Farm in Shelburne, VT - a regenerative farm where they raise 100% grassfed beef, organic veggies, and woodland pork.
  • Ellen Polishuk, Plant to Profit: Co-author of the book Start Your Farm and having farmed for 25 years, Ellen is now a farm coach and workshop leader with her client work touching on all aspects of production, soil fertility, quality of life, farm finances, and bookkeeping.
  • Don Zasada, Caretaker Farm: Don has been farming and managing crews for the last 25 years, first, as the Director of Agriculture at The Food Project near Boston and later, as the owner of Caretaker Farm in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

 

Register for the Conference

Choose option to add on intensive workshop during registration

 

Image
A group of goats in a lush forest

Raising Small Ruminants

In person in Burlington, VT | Sunday, February 19 | 9:00 am - 3:00 pm | $80 for NOFA-VT members, $95 for non-members

The Vermont Sheep and Goat Association, along with special guests from Doe’s Leap Farm, Rolling Bale Farm, and Greylaine Farm, will engage attendees on a range of topics for raising healthy small ruminants. Topics will include dairy goat management; wholesale vs retail sales and consumer education; pros and cons of pasturing on leased land; systems for winter, shearing, and milking; and lambing and kidding systems. Katherine Petersson and Lizzy Kass from the University of Rhode Island will give an overview of integrated parasite management and ongoing research focused on alternative methods of parasite control. 

Presenters

  • Hilary and Ben Haigh, Rolling Bale Farm: Hilary and Ben’s focus on infrastructure efficiency and use of a variety of markets has allowed their farm to stay small, but thriving in Shoreham, VT where they produce organic pastured chicken, organic grassfed lamb, beef, cultured butter, and buttermilk.
  • Mike Kirk, Greylaine Farm: Mike is the lead butcher at Philo Ridge Farm and he and his partner, Marion, operate a small sheep farm in Charlotte, VT where they raise grassfed Dorset x Il de France sheep on about 100 acres of pasture and woodlands.
  • Katherine Petersson and Lizzy Kass, Dept. Fisheries, Animal & Veterinary Science, University of Rhode Island
  • George Van Vlaanderen, Does' Leap Farm: On their pasture-based, animal-powered farm in northern Vermont, Kristan and George produce certified organic goat cheese, goat milk kefir, farm-made sausage, and whey-fed pork.

 

Register for the Conference

Choose option to add on intensive workshop during registration