Winter Conference: Workshops


Choose from 40 workshop offerings during the main conference on Saturday, February 18, 2023. There is something for everyone passionate about a just and verdant local food system, from commercial farmers to gardeners, policy wonks to grassroots organizers, and food system professionals to home cooks. All live-streamed workshops will also be recorded and made available to attendees after the conference.

* = available via live-stream and recording

There are three workshop sessions on Saturday: 

  • Session I, 10:45 am-12:00 pm
  • Session II, 2:15-3:30 pm
  • Session III, 3:45-5:00 pm



Peruse all the offerings below or jump to specific topic areas:

Drawing of salad bowl
Do-It-Yourself in the Kitchen
*Make Fire Cider

Session I

Curious about the uses, preparation, and story behind the herbal formula, fire cider? Said to increase immunity and more, join Betzy for a hands-on workshop in which participants will each prepare a small jar of fire cider oxymel to take home. We'll discuss its history, medicinal uses, and delicious, zesty recipes to incorporate fire cider into our cooking. Everyone is welcome in this basic-level class. 

Presented by: Betzy Bancroft, Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism

Betzy Bancroft has been teaching herbal medicine for three decades, currently serving as a core faculty at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism and an Advisory Board member for United Plant Savers.

Building Resilience with Green Malt Bread

Session II

How would you like to bite into a nice crusty loaf of gluten-free sourdough bread? With a starter and ancient grain preparation techniques, you can make your own 100% whole grain bread using a variety of combinations of freshly sprouted ("green malt") brown rice, buckwheat, teff, millet, sorghum, wild rice, amaranth, and quinoa. Come learn how to start a green malt brown rice starter from scratch, sprout grains, and make flatbread, tortillas, and, of course, bread! Samples will be available for tasting. This class builds resilience: when we know how to make bread from any grain we can grow, while nurturing our health, we are better prepared for the future. 

Presented by: Lisa Nichols, Brattleboro Food Cooperative

Lisa Nichols is the Education, Events, and Demo Coordinator for the Brattleboro Food Cooperative and rediscovered the use of malting in bread preparation ten years ago, which revolutionized her baking and health.

Kimchi Demystified

Session III

Are you kimchi curious? Join Allie Dercoli and Tyler Burns of FinAllie Ferments for a hands-on kimchi workshop and take home your own jar of kimchi.

Presented by: Allie Dercoli and Tyler Burns, FinAllie Ferments

Allie Dercoli (she/they) is a queer woman business owner of FinAllie Ferments, an oak-aged sauerkraut and kimchi company focused on making small farms more viable while providing living wages for friends and community members. Tyler Burns (he/him) is a magic and dynamic college preparatory teacher and organic and permaculture designer, farmer, and fermentor who has a homestead and helps his best friend and fellow farmer Allie operate FinAllie Ferments.

From Seeds to Perennials
Seed Stories: Deep Dive into Organic Seed Production

Session I

What happens to seed varieties? Where do they go? We will share a handful of specific organic seed stories, challenges, and triumphs of the multi-faceted process. Our stories will offer a glimpse into the importance of building relationships with breeders, farmers, and vendors to develop organic varieties. We hope this narrative offers a seed producer perspective, informs growers of the efforts and obstacles of developing organic seed, and generates an open dialogue of how communities can build regional resilience in seed systems. 

Presented by: Paul Feenan, High Mowing Organic Seeds 

Paul Feenan was born and raised in Bennington, VT, and, after spending thirty years in the field of diversified agriculture, is very proud to be working alongside growers to find the right seeds for their operation at High Mowing Organic Seeds.

*Seeding Resilience in the Green Mountain State Through Seed Saving and Sharing

Session II

Within the last century, seed systems have been fundamentally altered in the United States to be characterized by a highly consolidated commercial seed sector that has narrowed the crop diversity available to farmers and gardeners. However, this change has not been met without resistance. This workshop will present recent research that has been conducted in Vermont over the last few years to highlight the fact that farmers and gardeners continue to value and seek out seed varieties that are genetically diverse, unique, and personally meaningful. Prominent seed system actors in the state will also share information on initiatives and projects being undertaken to support a more robust and resilient local seed system.  

Presented by: Carina Isbell, University of Vermont and State Agricultural College; panelists Sylvia Davatz, Upper Valley Seed Savers; Laura Oliver, Let's Grow Jericho! Seed Lending Library; Brian Stroffolino, Solstice Seeds

Carina Isbell, M.S., is a research associate and Fulbright Fellow (beginning in March 2023) concentrating on issues of agrobiodiversity conservation in both the Global North and Global South, agri-food system governance, and food justice.

Farming Flowers

Session I

This workshop is designed for anyone interested in starting to produce cut flowers, adding cut flowers to their current operation, or scaling up their flower production. Join Jessie Witscher of Understory Farm to learn about farming flowers and feeding the soil, pollinators, and community.

Presented by: Jessie Witscher, Understory Farm 

Jessie Witscher has 14 years of farming experience and currently grows seven acres of specialty cut flowers with partner, Gregory, in Bridport, VT.

*Growing Cannabis Sativa with Organic Practices

Session II

Join us to learn about using organic practices to grow Cannabis sativa, including the certification requirements for organic hemp production per the national organic regulations. Nick Sibley from Vermont Organic Farmers LLC will cover the practices and paperwork required of organic producers. Hillside Botanicals will talk about the importance of soil fertility, crop rotation, how to manage pests and diseases, and how to promote biodiversity on your hemp or cannabis farm.

Presented by: Nick Sibley, Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF); Sarah Shaw and Nathan Bacon, Hillside Botanicals

Nick Sibley is a Certification Specialist at VOF. Sarah Shaw and Nathan Bacon are the co-founders and owners of Hillside Botanicals, a certified organic and Real Organic Certified hemp and medicinal herb farm located in Randolph, VT.

Coppice Agroforestry - Growing Sprouts for Backyards, Homesteads, and Farms

Session III

People have managed trees and shrubs for stump sprouts for thousands of years for a wide range of purposes, but these practices are largely forgotten in modern North America. Learn what coppicing is, why it's so useful in backyards, homesteads, and farms, how to do it, and hear about specific examples of growers and craftspeople who integrate it into their land management practices.

Presented by: Mark Krawczyk, Keyline Vermont LLC and Valley Clayplain Forest Farm

Mark Krawczyk is an applied ecologist, educator, and grower with a background in permaculture design, agroforestry, natural building, traditional woodworking, and small-scale forestry and co-owns and operates Keyline Vermont LLC.

*Cultivating Community Herbalism: Medicinal Plant Gleaning Partnerships

Session III

Our farm landscapes and backyards are not only capable of producing nourishing food for our families and communities, but also host powerful plant-based medicines from cultivated herbs and flowers, weeds (including nuisance invasives), cover crops, meadows, and forested areas. Join Spoonful Herbals co-directors and community herbalists for a panel discussion with farmers and land stewardship coordinators from the Intervale Center, the Intervale Community Farm, Rock Point Commons, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, and Shelburne Farms on the often untapped opportunity of weaving together land stewardship goals and community herbalism. Learn about and taste particular plants and value-added products! Add value to your land stewardship efforts by tapping into your "living apothecary" and sharing medicinal plants through community herbalism and mutual aid networks.

Presented by: Kara Buchanan and Katherine Elmer, Spoonful Herbals; Aly Martelle, Intervale Community Farm; Tre McCarney, Shelburne Farms; Duncan Murdoch, Intervale Center; Tyler Pastorak, Rock Point Commons, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont

Katherine Elmer (she/her) and Kara Buchanan (she/her) are community herbalists and Co-Directors of Spoonful Herbals with over five years of medicinal plant gleaning partnerships with area organic farmers. Aly Martelle (she/her) started working at the Intervale Community Farm in 2007 and focuses on the CSA, propagation greenhouse, wholesale, washing, packing, gleaning and donations, field work, harvest, winter growing, and working with the crew. Tre McCarney (she/her) works at Shelburne Farms with a variety of partner organizations to offer food systems, nutrition, health, and sustainability-focused programs and events. Duncan Murdoch (he/him) is the Natural Areas Stewardship Coordinator at the Intervale Center, where he began his work growing and planting native trees in 2015. Tyler Pastorok (he/they) is the Land Stewardship Coordinator for Rock Point Commons, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont in Burlington.

*Perennial Vegetables for Your Farm or Garden

Session III

Why plant, weed, cultivate, and water annual vegetables year after year when you can grow perennials that mimic annuals, plant them once, and harvest them year after year with minimal labor? This workshop will describe a number of highly nutritious perennial vegetables, herbs, flowers, and leaves that are easy to grow and require minimal care. The growth habit, preferred habitat, nutritional value, and uses of each plant will be described accompanied by photos taken in the presenter’s edible forest garden. Attendees will be inspired to try their hand at growing these carefree food plants.

Presented by: Dani Baker, The Enchanted Edible Forest and Cross Island Farms

Dani Baker is a self-taught certified organic farmer and edible forest gardener who loves to inspire others to landscape their plots, large or small, with perennial food plants, incorporating permaculture principles that reduce labor and increase the abundance of the harvest year after year.

Organic Practices & Systems for Resilience
Grass-Fed: How Regenerative Grazing Can Restore Soils and Stabilize the Climate

Session II

Join this workshop to learn about what grass-fed really means and the nutritional density of grass-fed meat. Grazing ruminants regeneratively is the key to rapidly harnessing photosynthesis to store carbon in the soil, stabilize the climate, and rejuvenate the rural economy. Here is the why and how! Learn how grazing can concentrate nutrients from pasture plants to grass-fed meat. Ridge will dive into the connection between soil health, plant health, animal health, and human health.

Presented by: Ridge Shinn, Northeast Grass-fed Beef Initiative

Ridge Shinn is the Executive Director of the Northeast Grass-Fed Beef Initiative and co-founder and CEO of Big Picture Beef and has been a leader in the shift from feedlot production to 100% grass-fed beef.

*Panel: Building Resilient Pastures in a Changing Climate

Session I

As weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable, what are the strategies we can use to help build resiliency into our grazing systems? With panelists from a diversity of livestock production scales, models, and species, this discussion will center around the ways in which we can maintain the quality and quantity of our perennial pastures for making milk and marbling carcasses. 

Presented by: Ashlyn Bristle, Rebop Farm; Ashlee Kleinhammer, North Country Creamery; Evan Reith, Philo Ridge; Nick Zigelbaum, Longest Acres Farm; facilitated by Cheryl Cesario, UVM

Ashlyn Bristle has been farming for over a decade and co-owns and operates Rebop Farm, a diversified and pasture-based livestock and dairy operation on a hill farm in Brattleboro with her husband, Abraham. Ashlee Kleinhammer operates North Country Creamery, a 115-acre farm and small-scale, premium dairy that produces cheese, milk, and yogurt from the on-farm, grass-fed milking herd, with co-owner Steven Googin. Evan Rieth manages the grazing plan for a herd of Belted Galloway cattle and flock of Romney and Border Leicester sheep at Philo Ridge Farm, a 400-acre farm selling its products through its on-farm restaurant and market. Nick Zigelbaum owns and operates ZigelFarm and Longest Acres Cattle in Chelsea, VT, which brings organic, Animal Welfare Approved, and 100% grass-fed beef to top-end restaurants from its herd of heritage Devons.


*Soil Health: Farms, Fields, and Gardens

Session II

What does it look like to farm with soil health as a main priority? Learn about the cultural practices that three different farms use, how they've evolved over the years, and what is working now. Patrick, Nathan, and Henry will discuss how they define soil health, tillage, cover crops, soil testing, deep compost mulch system, permanent beds, supplemental fertility, and more.

Presented by: Nathan Hammer, Firefly Fields; Patrick Sullivan, Ananda Gardens; Henry Webb, Old Road Farm.

Nathan Hammer started Firefly Fields in Bristol in 2016, after working on and volunteering at 15 other farms across the country and in France and Argentina. Patrick Sullivan manages Ananda Gardens in the Montpelier area with his partner Melisa Oliva, serving 150 families with a three-season vegetable CSA, running an on-farm farmstand, and more on less than two acres. Henry Webb owns and operates Old Road Farm along with his wife, Gabby, which has about five acres in tilled ground and is going into its fourth season in Granville, VT.

Old Growth as Teacher

Session II

There is a new understanding in organic and regenerative agriculture circles that recognizes the foundational importance of "context" as we go about redesigning our farming systems to be more resilient and adaptable in the face of climate change. Context enfolds both our current reality and historical antecedents in regards to land use patterns. In our region, the historical context includes consideration of the ancient old growth forests that existed here prior to the European invasion of Indigenous peoples' land. As we consider how to apply the principles of soil health to our farming systems, what can we learn from examining how those principles functioned in the old forests? This workshop will take on that question by examining how organic, regenerative, and agroforestry practices at Cedar Mountain Farm and other regional farms can be deepened by learning to mimic the highly evolved landscape functions of the ancient forests as we create the farms of the future. The workshop will consider policy initiatives that could play a critical role in transitioning our regions' farms and forests to regenerative land management practices and help ensure a just transition to a sovereign and re-localized food system.

Presented by: Stephen Leslie, Cedar Mountain Farm

Stephen Leslie is a co-owner of Cedar Mountain Farm and Cobb Hill Cheese, which consists of 20 milking cows, 60 acres of intensively managed pasture and hayland, plus a 1 acre no-till market garden.

Growing Endemic Mycorrhizal Fungi with Regenerative Farms

Session I

Join us to learn about the accessible, economically viable, and low-maintenance process of gathering and growing local, native mycorrhizae fungi for farms interested in incorporating these symbiotic collaborators into regenerative farming systems. The presenters will provide practical information to easily implement at home. The process and application is relevant to a wide audience, like farmers, gardeners, and earth tenders who are working with perennial systems, buffers, or border sanctuaries that avoid tilling, additional chemical input, and minimal soil disturbance. Some initial data from recent research on area farms will also be shared.

Presented by: Luca Kolba and Jess Rubin, UVM & MycoEvolve

Luca Kolba is a recent UVM environmental studies graduate and research assistant with MycoEvolve, where he worked on a native mycorrhizal inoculum growing project as his undergraduate capstone project. Jess Rubin facilitates MycoEvolve, an ecological resilience service offering earthworks & education; working with UVM Plant Soil Science in myco-phytoremediation research and restoration on local farms.

Getting Started in Organic Beekeeping

Session I

Aspiring and established beekeepers, learn about the current state of the honeybee and the beekeeping industry and alternatives to the failing status quo. Safe, non-toxic, and effective methods for controlling hive pests and diseases, such as mites and disease, are covered. Whether you are looking to use fewer chemicals and increase your profit margin, or are committed to keeping bees organically, this workshop is for you.

Presented by: Ross Conrad, Dancing Bee Gardens

Ross Conrad is a former president of the Vermont Beekeeper's Association, a regular contributor to Bee Culture Magazine, author of Natural Beekeeping, and co-author of The Land of Milk and Honey: A History of Beekeeping in Vermont.

D.I.Y.: Grow Your Own Fungal Insecticide  

Session III

Be empowered to develop your own beneficial fungi cultures for use in agricultural settings to control insect pests with the Vermont Entomology and Participatory Action Research Team and Soil Ecology Lab at the University of Vermont. Together we will explore how beneficial fungi can be used to control insect pests, how to cultivate them with basic equipment (most of which you can find in your kitchen), and how to apply them effectively. Participants will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience growing beneficial fungi. We will also evaluate the feasibility of the methods taught for different types and scales of production systems, as well as reflect upon our successes in the field using the beneficial fungi.  

Presented by: Josef Gorres, UVM Plant and Soil Science; Vic Izzo, Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative; Scott Lewins, UVM Extension and Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative; Maryam Nouri-Aiin, UVM

Josef Gorres is a Professor in the Plant and Soil Science Department at UVM and the resident expert on invasive earthworm populations in the northeast and their contribution and impact on the soil ecology of temperate forest and agroecosystems. Vic Izzo is an agricultural entomologist and Senior Lecturer at UVM who specializes in the development of sustainable pest management strategies and agroecological methods of production. Scott Lewins specializes in biological control strategies, especially in organic farming systems, and is particularly interested in developing habitat conservation tactics for supporting beneficial organisms in agroecosystems. Maryam Nouri-Aiin is an entomologist and postdoctoral researcher working in both the Soil Ecology Lab and Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative at UVM in biological control methods of insect pest control, with a particular emphasis in entomopathogenic fungi.

Planting Cover Crops for Pollinator Habitat

Session II

A familiar farm management practice is the use of cover crops. Cover crops are well known to contribute to the maintenance of soil health. Another benefit of cover crops is the ability to provide resources that support pollinators. Pollinators require carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. When allowed to flower, cover crops provide insect pollinators with these dietary resources in the form of pollen and nectar, while additionally providing shelter and protection to some. We will talk about general information to consider when choosing cover crop varieties for crop pollinator habitat and ideas for managing the cover crops for pollinators on your farm. Case studies will be shared and if participants have experience with cover crop or other types of pollinator plantings, please come ready to share your successes and challenges! We will also take some time to learn how to identify and distinguish between crop pollinator types, such as bees, flies, and wasps, to refine your pollinator observation skills.

Presented by: Laura Johnson, UVM Extension

Laura Johnson is based in the UVM Extension office in Berlin where she collaborates with existing UVM programs and statewide partners to promote best practices for pollinator health in agriculture in the region.

Introduction to Agroecology

Session I

What is agroecology - a concept, a farming methodology, a movement? Maybe you’ve heard this word before, or maybe not. Perhaps you're wondering if we're referring to ecology in the context of agriculture or agriculture with an ecological twist. We’re excited to talk all things agroecology at a basic level, including co-creating an understanding of the term that incorporates what you know about our local context and what might stand in the way of us realizing a fully thriving food system. Since agroecology relies on collective action, we’ll end the session by thinking about how - through agroecology - we can move closer to the future we want to see. Please bring your experience, opinions, doubts, and dreams.

Presented by: Martha Caswell and Nils McCune, University of Vermont Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative

Martha Caswell is committed to food systems transformation and connects ideas and people in pursuit of mutual thriving with work that focuses on agroecology and the ways that scholar activism and engaged research can contribute to systems change. Nils McCune is a Research Associate at the Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative with extensive experience as a popular educator in agroecology with rural social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Biochar: For Improved Soils, Carbon Sequestration, and Greater Yields

Session III

This workshop will introduce biochar for use on crops and gardens. We will describe biochar's nutrient and water retention properties for better crop yields and soil health, as well as its remediation use of contaminated soils. We will also describe how we and our Indigenous partners incorporate hemp and mycology into our work for healthy soils to complement the biochar. We will discuss current USDA/NRCS programs available now for farmers to be reimbursed for use of biochar and these other practices.

Presented by: Earl Hatley, Missisquoi Band Abenaki Nation, VT Healthy Soils Coalition; Tim Houseberg, Native Health Matters Foundation 

Earl Hatley is an enrolled citizen of the Missisquoi Band Abenaki Nation and a retired environmental consultant who worked with Native American Tribes and non-profit, Native-led organizations for over 35 years. Tim Houseberg, a Cherokee Nation citizen, began his career with the Cherokee Nation in 1991 and served in Environmental Programs for Natural Resources where he was a co-author of the 1993 Cherokee Nation Environmental Protection Act and went on to help establish the Inter-Tribal Environmental Council, which builds the technical capacity for Tribal governments to manage and protect their natural resources and shared environments.

Food Security & Access
*Innovative Local Food Access Initiatives

Session II

Some of the most effective and innovative ways of addressing barriers to food access originate from small, community-focused groups. The People’s Farmstand, Neighborhood Roots Food Collective, and Abenaki Helping Abenaki are three such initiatives that have identified gaps in how their community has been served in the food system, and built their own mechanisms for food access and sovereignty. Join us for an inspiring panel discussion on community and food resilience across Vermont.

Presented by: Julie Beet, Neighborhood Roots Food Collective; Sadie Bloch, The People's Farmstand; Chief Don Stevens, Abenaki Helping Abenaki; facilitated by Johanna Doren, NOFA-VT 

Julie Beet is one of the founders of Neighborhood Roots Food Collective in Guilford, VT, a nonprofit that supports community members and local farmers in growing their own food while helping to ensure that all neighbors have access to nourishing, locally-produced food. Sadie Bloch, a senior at UVM, is an operational partner at The People's Farmstand, a free, local, and culturally-relevant produce distribution operating weekly through the growing season in Burlington, VT. Chief Don Stevens is the Chief of the Nulhegan Abenaki and the Executive Director of their non-profit, “Abenaki Helping Abenaki,” which is responsible for tribal programs and services.

*Increasing Food Access at Your Farm or Market: Support with SNAP Authorization and EBT Transactions

Session III

For many farmers and farmers market managers, food access is a priority. Going through the SNAP authorization process can feel intimidating and time-consuming, especially for small farms with limited capacity. This session will provide an overview of the SNAP authorization and EBT transaction process for farms and farmers markets interested in offering SNAP payment as an option, plus tips to set them up for success. Panelists will share their first-hand experience with running SNAP/EBT transactions as payment for CSA shares, at farm stands, and at farmers markets.

Presented by: Joie Lehouillier, Foote Brook Farm; Taylor Mendell, Footprint Farm; Hannah Stearns, Stowe Farmers Market; facilitated by Ariana Matthews-Salzman, Vermont Foodbank

Joie Lehouillier is a third generation farmer and owner and operator of Foote Brook Farm, which produces more than 145 different varieties of organic produce on its 100-acre expanse in Johnson, VT. Ariana Matthews-Salzman is a VTFMA Board Member, the Richmond Farmers Market Manager, and a 3SVT Specialist at the Vermont Foodbank. Taylor Mendell is co-owner of Footprint Farm in Starksboro, VT, where she and her team grow a diversity of vegetables year-round for a 175 member CSA and several wholesale accounts. Hannah Stearns worked in restaurants for many years and transitioned her experience to farmers markets and is the current manager of Stowe Farmers Market and the former director of Burlington Farmers Market.

Behind the Scenes of Two “Farmacy: Food is Medicine” Programs

Session II

Heidi and Lindsey will recap the process of launching and sustaining the Farmacy: Food is Medicine programs in Addison and Rutland Counties. Part community-supported agriculture (CSA), part doctor's orders, the Farmacy programs are free for patients who have been recommended by their physicians. Heidi and Lindsey will dive into the history of both programs, explore how each program operates, their funding models, and their vision for the future of these programs. They will engage with the audience to identify regions of the state that are not currently represented by healthcare CSA programs to workshop possibilities of launching new programs around Vermont. 

Presented by: Lindsey Berk, ACORN (Addison County Relocalization Network); Heidi Lynch, Vermont Farmers Food Center

Lindsey Berk lives in Brandon, serves as the Executive Director of ACORN, and also works as an agritourism and marketing consultant for farms, small non-profits & mission-driven companies, and serves on the 350VT Board. Heidi Lynch is passionate about creating community spaces that reconnect people and food, including working with Vermont Farmers Food Center since 2014.

*Community Collaborations – Culturally Responsive Local Food Access

Session I

Over the past three years, the Vermont Foodbank has been closely collaborating with community members around culturally relevant food access needs and purchasing food from local farmers. Through these relationships and expressed community needs, we have been distributing to Nepali, Burmese, Congolese, Mexican, Honduran, and other community groups the specific, culturally responsive local foods requested and utilized as part of daily diets. This has included a partnership with Diggers’ Mirth farm on a home delivered CSA program, pasture-raised chicken from Thegoene Mahoro, and African eggplant and dried corn from Janine Ndagijimana. We hope for participants to understand the wide range of food needs in our community and best practices for partnering with farmers and distributing food. We are planning for a lively conversation and will also include some samplings of food produced for these projects.

Presented by: Elena Palermo and Andrea Solazzo, Vermont Foodbank; farmers Janine Ndagijimana, Theogene Mahoro, and Dylan Zeitlyn

Janine Ndagijimana started farming in Vermont in 2013 and grows African eggplant and amaranth that she sells both locally and all across the United States on her farm in Colchester, VT. Theogene Mahoro is a Rwandan refugee, who came to Vermont in 2004 and has been farming since 2012; he owns and operates Mama’s Farm in Williston, VT and with his wife Hyacinthe raises 4,000-5,000 chickens every year. Andrea Solazzo is the Director of Community Engagement on the Vermont Foodbank, directing the state-wide gleaning program, various community-driven food access initiatives and working closely on various culturally relevant food projects statewide. Dylan Zeitlyn is a founding member of Diggers’ Mirth Collective Farm where he has been growing vegetables every season since 1992.

Participate! Agitate! Organize!
Climate Justice 101

Session II

Join 350Vermont for an interactive workshop that explores the intersection of the climate crisis and social justice issues. Work together to craft a deeper understanding of Climate Justice, delve into how the impacts of the climate crisis intersect with other oppressions and discuss what it looks like to center justice in our climate organizing work here in Vermont.

Presented by: Sonia Silbert and Connor Wertz, 350 Vermont

Sonia Silbert is an experienced trainer, facilitator, and organizer with over 15 years experience working in social justice movements and the Co-Director and Lead Trainer at 350Vermont. Connor Wertz is 350VT's Grassroots Organizer and has been part of the climate justice movement since high school, was involved with Middlebury’s successful divestment campaign, as well as a founding member of Sunrise Middlebury.

Farmworkers Call on Hannaford to Join Milk with Dignity Across the Northeast

Session I

Join us to learn about the Milk with Dignity Campaign with Hannaford Supermarket! The Milk with Dignity Program, created by Migrant Justice, brings together farmworkers, consumers, farmer owners, and corporate buyers with the principle goal of fostering a sustainable Northeast dairy industry that advances the human rights of farmworkers, supports the long-term interests of farm owners, and provides an ethical supply chain for retail food companies and consumers. Farmworkers have been escalating this campaign for the last 3+ years. Join us to learn more, get updated on the Milk with Dignity Campaign, and find out how you can get involved.

Presented by: Migrant Justice

Migrant Justice is a grassroots community organization founded and led by the immigrant farmworker community working on dairy farms in Vermont with the mission to build the voice, capacity, and power of the farmworker community and engage community partners to organize for economic justice and human rights.

*Good News from the Every Town Project!

Session II

Every Town is focused on placing at least one piece of healthy land in trust from each town in Vermont for permanent access and stewardship by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Through the relationships built with local nonprofits, land trusts, and individuals throughout Vermont, we work to support BIPOC land access and the ability to thrive on land. During this session we will share updates about our first land transfer, our new community center in the Upper Valley, and the formation of the Liberation Library! We will discuss our collaboration with the Northeast Farmer of Color Land Trust and the programming we offer to support the Releaf Collective, a growing network of BIPOC focused on land, environment, agriculture, and foodways. Come and find out how to support this work and get involved!

Presented by: Kenya Lazuli, Every Town

Kenya Lazuli is the VT Land Access Organizer with the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust whose work is focused on the Every Town project.

Pop-Up Solidarity Network with The Knoll Garden at Middlebury College

Session I

What does it mean to stand together in times of great uncertainty? What does it look like to have our grassroots movements deeply intertwined and exchanging? We aim to share what community work we’re doing at The Knoll Garden at Middlebury College–what we’ve achieved, hurdles, how we’ve contradicted ourselves. We also really want to hear from people pursuing similar projects and see this as a place to exchange broader ideas (values and mission) and practices (hiring procedures and pay). We hope to collectively explore our roles as organizers and workers in the food system, share resources, and explore opportunities for solidarity work!

Presented by: Andrés Oyaga and Megan Brakeley, The Knoll at Middlebury College. 

Andrés Oyaga is a student, researcher, organizer, and rabble-rouser who, since moving to Vermont, has found himself diving into the instinct of growing food and engaging with food systems through work as an intern at The KnolI at Middlebury College. Megan Brakeley is a parent and educator who has been teaching and farming since 2007; she serves as Food and Garden Educator at the Knoll and is fed by the VT Releaf Collective.

Agroecology Movement Farmer Forum

Session III

Local, national, and international partners are founding an Agroecology and Movement Building School in Vermont, in collaboration with La Via Campesina North America, part of a 200 million+ peasant movement of food producers working for food sovereignty around the world. This is an opportunity for farmers, organizers, and educators to talk strategy and goals for the Agroecology, Food Sovereignty, and Just Transition movements. Please come be part of this conversation about the School, and collaborations for justice and resilience in our food systems and communities.

Presented by: Freddy Congo Suarez, Union de los Pueblos de Morelos in Mexico; Yorlis Luna, Nicaragua Farmworkers' Association and Ixim Ulew Agroecology School; Henry Harris, Center for Grassroots Organizing; Mollie Wills, Rural Vermont

Henry Harris grew up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and has worked in social movements and building trades around the US, including working in grassroots agroecology and helping found the Grassroots Center in Marshfield, VT. Mollie began working for Rural Vermont in 2010 and currently serves as the Grassroots Organizing Director, working directly with Vermont’s grassroots network of family farmers and their allies organizing around issues that impact agricultural communities.

Charting the Course: Organizing for People, Land, and Justice in the 2023 Farm Bill

Session III

Every 5 years, the federal farm bill plays a massive role in determining the course of our nation's food and farming system, influencing which crops are grown on how many acres, for what purposes, using what practices, and who has access to critical resources for self-determination, like land and capital. As the impacts of climate change, systemic racism, and corporate consolidation ripple throughout our communities, the 2023 Farm Bill presents an opportunity to pave the way toward a fairer, more climate-resilient future. Join Jordan Treakle of the National Family Farm Coalition and Sophia Kruszewski of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to learn how you can be part of the movement for a farm bill that charts a course for a thriving future.

Presented by: Sophia Kruszewski, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Jordan Treakle, National Family Farm Coalition

Sophia is the Deputy Policy Director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and previously directed Vermont Law School’s Food and Agriculture Clinic, providing law and policy services to farmers and food system organizations. Jordan is the National Programs Coordinator for the National Family Farm Coalition and since 2008 he has worked at the local and international levels on policy advocacy related to community land rights, agroecology, and farmer technical assistance.

Tools & Marketing for Farm Businesses
*Simple and Powerful Record-Keeping: Airtable for Farms

Session III

Farmers must have good records, but we’re rarely sitting at a desk when we need to track information. Julian will show the benefits of Airtable (a modern, online, easy-to-use database) as a system for organizing your information, capturing data on the go, and how to use it to gain powerful insights when there’s time to sit down at the computer.  

Presented by: Julian Post, Champlain Valley Hops

Julian Post is a co-founder of Champlain Valley Hops, a Vermont farm with 37 acres of craft hops in production, where he fell in love with a database software called Airtable and has since transitioned to being an Airtable consultant and educator. 

*The Mystery and Myths Around Organic Certification

Session I

Are you curious about the organic certification process? Are you a farmer or processor who has considered getting your product certified? Are you a consumer wondering what organic certification really means? Bring your questions and come join VOF staff as we demystify organic certification. We'll discuss the process that farmers go through, common misconceptions, and will be available to answer all of your certification questions.

Presented by: Vermont Organic Farmers staff

*Resilient Farmers: Self-Care and Stress Management

Session III

Agricultural work exposes farmers to conditions beyond a farmer's control. Often, resultant mental health issues are not addressed due to the stigma sometimes attached to seeking care. In this session, Farm First will discuss tools for managing the stresses of farming, including identifying when resilience is running thin and options for help. Self-care, connecting to other farmers, accessing resources, and other topics will be presented and discussed with high audience participation, including inclusive and helpful small group activities facilitated by farmers in the Farmer Peer Network.

Presented by: Karen Crowley and Leanne Porter, Farm First

Leanne Porter is a coordinator for Farm First, a Vermont-based, public program formed to provide farmers and their families with support, resources, and information to reduce stress. Karen Crowley is the Program Manager at Farm First with an extensive background in professional and organizational development, teaching and education, mental health and substance use issues, and program management and development.

Intro to Farm Financials Party

Session II

We are deep into the winter business planning season, a time to reflect on the past year and develop plans for the next season. A major focus of this time should be on your financial statements - compiling statements, analyzing past performance, and developing projections for the coming season. In this interactive workshop, we will cover the introductory concepts key to preparing and understanding farm financial statements (balance sheet, profit and loss, cash flow) and using them to make budgets and business planning decisions. There will be plenty of time for questions, discussion, and hands-on practice with the concepts covered.

Presented by: Jen Miller, Farmer Services Director at NOFA-VT 

Farm Ergonomics & Your Body: Caring for the Most Important Tool on Your Farm

Session III

Keep your body healthy and train others to do so, too! This workshop will cover farm ergonomics, stretching, and strengthening relevant to all people who work on farms, including time devoted to considerations related to body mechanics for women and implications related to pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause.

Presented by:  Beth Holtzman, UVM; Kendall Kunelius, UNH Extension Field Specialist; Jill Rotondo, Intervale Community Farm (formerly)

Beth Holtzman coordinates the UVM Extension New Farmer Project and Women’s Agricultural Network, both of which support well-being among aspiring, beginning, and experienced farmers. After spending 8 years as a professional lumberjack sports competitor and a lifetime in agriculture, Kendall presents a unique perspective on safe lifting strategies, female body ergonomics, and injury prevention through physical wellness.

*Marketing for Farmers Who Want Nothing to Do With Marketing

Session I

Given the short window of the winter season to prepare for the upcoming growing season, Mieko and Taylor will give farmers something to act on when time is limited, helping farmers filter out the overwhelming marketing choices. Learn about why a website is your basecamp and why email marketing is one of the most approachable avenues for farmers. Learn about the concept of a brand voice, converting customers to loyal promoters, and a messaging framework. Leave with some tips and tricks to try right away!

Presented by: Taylor Katz, Free Verse Studio; Mieko Ozeki, Radiance Studios; facilitated by Bill Cavanaugh, NOFA-VT 

Mieko Ozeki is a mother, wife, business owner, and advocate for agricultural and small businesses and the owner of a boutique content creation and branding agency (Radiance Studios LLC) and cofounder of Vermont Womenpreneurs. Taylor Katz is a poet, herb farmer, shopkeeper, and freelancer dedicated to growing soil and community in her home town of Chelsea, VT, where she has worked with a variety of farmers, non-profits, and small business owners to implement realistic and authentic marketing strategies that support the growth of their businesses and their communities.

Worksongs for Farming

Session I

This is a participatory workshop where we'll look at where work and music intersect. We'll learn a handful of worksongs and discuss where, when, why, and how worksongs can benefit a crew and make the task at hand more efficient and fun! 

Presented by: Elsie Gawler and Ethan Tischler

Elsie Gawler is a once-farmer turned full time musician from Maine who shares her music through concerts, worksong workshops, and contra dances throughout New England and beyond. Ethan Tischler is a musician who spent 4 years working and teaching at Bread & Butter Farm in Shelburne, VT and now shares music with students and listening audiences throughout New England and beyond. 

The Farming & Childcare Conundrum: Strategies & Discussion

Session II

Raising children on the farm, keeping them safe, and building your farm business can be stressful and costly. Come hear and share practical strategies for juggling kids of all ages and work. Tell us what kind of programs and policies would make it easier to raise kids on the farm. We also want to hear how we, as farm organizations, advocates, and researchers, can support you, your family, and your farm business.

Presented by: Florence Becot, National Farm Medicine Center; Shoshanah Inwood, Ohio State University; Graham Unangst-Rufenacht, Rural Vermont

Florence Becot is a Rural Sociologist and Associate Research Scientist at the National Farm Medicine Center, focusing on the health, safety, and economic viability of farm families. Shoshanah Inwood is a rural sociologist at Ohio State University where her integrated research and extension program focuses on household issues affecting farm viability and prosperity. Graham Unangst-Rufenacht is the Policy Director at Rural Vermont, a father, seasonal farmer, researcher/educator, and activist.

Agritourism in Vermont: How Has it Changed Since 2020?

Session I

A lot has happened in the agritourism world since February 2020. Join Misse Axelrod, Hannah Sessions, and Jacob Powsner to hear about how three farmers shifted toward welcoming visitors to their farms throughout the pandemic. Vermont has also recently enacted a few pieces of legislation intended to support agritourism enterprises. Kristen Brassard from VAAFM will talk about Act 31, Act 143, and other recent legislative and marketing changes to the agritourism landscape. Attend this workshop to learn about hosting on the farm: tours, lodging, meals, education, and more.

Presented by: Misse Axelrod, Drift Farmstead; Kristen Brassard, VAAFM; Jacob Powsner, Baird Farm; Hannah Sessions, Blue Ledge Farm; facilitated by Andrew Graham, NOFA-VT 

Misse Axelrod is the owner of Drift Farmstead, a diversified farm, and founder of Vermont Farm and Forest School in Roxbury, VT. Kristen Brassard leads the agritourism efforts on the Marketing and Export Team at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. Jacob Powsner is a co-owner at Baird Farm, a fourth generation diversified family farm, where he helps to manage the maple production and direct-to-consumer sales. Hannah Sessions and her partner Greg have operated Blue Ledge Goat Farm in Leicester, VT since 2000, and host tours of their farm and cheese plant, as well as guests at an on-farm Bed and Breakfast that opened in 2021.

CSAs and Farm Stands: New Practices During the Pandemic

Session III

In this workshop, farmers who have small, medium, or large farm businesses will talk about how their CSAs and farm stands changed, evolved, and thrived during the pandemic. The pandemic caused a huge shift in how consumers buy food, including a significant increase in direct sales, and as a result farmers had to quickly switch to new market channels and change or scale up their existing direct-market offerings. Come to this session to hear what worked, what didn't work, what these farmers are anticipating for the coming season, and of course to ask questions!

Presented by: Patrick Helman, Sandy Bottom Farm; Jack Manix, Walker Farm; Patrick Sullivan, Ananda Gardens; facilitated by Andrew Graham, NOFA-VT 

Patrick Helman and his family run Sandy Bottom Farm, growing certified organic vegetables intensively on 1.5 acres in Isle La Motte, VT with with a farmstand, 75-member CSA, and more. Jack Manix operates Walker Farm, a farmstand and garden center that consists of 11 flower and plant greenhouses, 14 certified organic vegetable greenhouses, 35 certified organic acres of vegetable and small fruit production, and 25 acres of certified organic Christmas trees. Patrick Sullivan manages Ananda Gardens in the Montpelier area with his partner Melisa Oliva, serving 150 families with a three-season vegetable CSA, running an on-farm farmstand, and more on less than two acres.

This Farm Feeds Vermont Kids

Session III

Join NOFA-VT's Farm to School Team to learn about the various ways your farm can engage in the farm to school movement in Vermont. Are you interested in policy initiatives that support child nutrition? Have you always wanted to sell your products to schools or early childhood centers? Are you interested in offering more educational opportunities on your farm? If so, this workshop will dive into the various ways farmers can further engage in this movement.

Presented by: Misse Axelrod, Drift Farmstead; Angus Baldwin, West Farm; facilitated by Kayla Strom, NOFA-VT 

Misse Axelrod is the owner of Drift Farmstead, a diversified farm, and founder of Vermont Farm and Forest School in Roxbury, VT. Angus Baldwin operates West Farm, an organic vegetable farm in Jeffersonville, VT and has integrated farm to school through sales, hosting farm field trips, and his advocacy work. Kayla Strom is the Farm to School Coordinator at NOFA-VT.