Tag Archives: Winter Conference

NOFA Vermont seeks workshop proposals for the 34th Annual Winter Conference

Richmond, VT – The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA Vermont) is accepting workshop proposals for its 34th Annual Winter Conference. Proposals will be accepted until September 18th, 2015. The event is Vermont’s largest agricultural conference, bringing together more than 1,500 farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, educators, policy makers and consumers for three days of workshops, networking sessions, meals and celebration.

The goal of the conference is to facilitate learning and sharing of information on all aspects of local, organic farming and gardening.  Organizers of the conference aim to create a gathering space that fosters collaboration between diverse groups of people, while also meeting the specific needs of these varied groups. The suggested topics below apply in the broadest sense. Additional topics will be considered.

Workshop topics:

  • Technical commercial organic vegetable, fruit, herb, flower, dairy & livestock production (beginner – advanced)
  • Direct marketing strategies and best practices: CSA, farmstands, farmers’ market vending, etc.
  • Procurement and infrastructure: distribution, processing, storage, food safety and cooperative models
  • Education: farm-based education, experiential education, school gardens
  • Agri-business marketing, technology, and business planning
  • Food security and access
  • Homesteading and gardening (beginner – advanced)
  • Health, wellness and nutrition
  • Alternative energy, climate change and resiliency
  • Policy, activism, and community engagement

The annual Winter Conference is NOFA Vermont’s largest fundraiser, which supports programs that educate and connect farmers, gardeners, and their communities throughout the year. The success of the conference is due in large part to the support of the many talented presenters who choose to participate each year.

More information about the conference, and the RFP process, can be found at http://nofavt.org/annual-events/winter-conference/RFP or by calling NOFA Vermont at (802) 434-4122.

2016 CONFERENCE SPECIFICS

Location: University of Vermont’s Davis Center and surrounding campus, Burlington, VT
Dates: Saturday through Monday, February 13-15, 2016
RFP Information: http://nofavt.org/annual-events/winter-conference/RFP
Submit RFP: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016RFP

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About Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont: NOFA Vermont is member-based organization working to grow local farms, healthy food, and strong communities in Vermont. Our members are farmers, gardeners, educators and food lovers of all sorts – anyone who wants to help us create a future full of local food and local farms. Our programs include farmer and gardener technical assistance, farm to school support, organic certification, advocacy, an online apprentice and farm worker directory, an annual Winter Conference, and programs that work to ensure access to fresh, local food to all Vermonters, regardless of income.

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Growing the Good Food Movement: Reflections on Winter Conference 2015

The 33rd Annual NOFA Vermont Winter Conference was held February 14-16 at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington. “Growing the Good Food Movement” brought together organic farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and consumers for 3 days of workshops, keynotes, singing, feasting, and mid-winter blues bashing. We hope you will enjoy these photos from the Conference. And please be sure to join us next year (we’re already planning the 2016 Conference)! Photos by Ali Zipparo

Story and Poetry Slam to Highlight Sunday Morning’s Conference

33rd Annual NOFA Vermont Winter Conference
February 14-16, 2015
University of Vermont, Burlington

Inspired by the revitalization of storytelling in Vermont and beyond, we’re opening our keynote stage on Sunday morning for a Story and Poetry Slam.

We invite you (yes, you!) to submit a story or poem to be considered for inclusion in the slam.

The theme for stories and poems is Growing the Good Food Movement. Tell us a specific story or read us a poem about how you have experienced or are addressing farm or food equity, race, class, farm worker rights, or food sovereignty in your work or life.

To submit your story or poem, call the NOFA Vermont office at 802-434-4122 and ask to be connected to extension 30. Leave a message telling us your story or poem (be sure to include your name and how we can reach you)!

Laura Brown-Lavoie
Laura Brown-Lavoie, farmer, poet, performer, and youth mentor

Stories and poems must be 5 minutes or shorter.

Deadline for submissions is January 15.

Submissions will be reviewed by our winter conference planning team and the 5 storytellers will be notified by February 1.

Hosting the Story and Poetry Slam (and performing, as well) will be Laura Brown-Lavoie. Laura is a farmer, poet, performer, and youth mentor in Providence, RI, who describes herself as,  “A farmer with a pen clipped to her beltloop. A poet with leaves in my hair… Out in the field between rows of tomatoes, the sun is past noon and there is a poem coming. Poems, they get sweated out of me. Born, like we all are, of physical labor, of sunlight and rain.”

You can follow Laura’s blog at http://lauralambbrownlavoie.wordpress.com/

Keynote Speaker Announced!

33rd Annual Winter Conference February 14-16, 2015 University of Vermont, BurlingtonNatasha Bowens

Traveling the country, storyteller and photographer Natasha Bowens collected stories from farmers and food activists of color. These accounts are collected in her new beautiful book, The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming, highlighting important issues of food justice and food sovereignty. We knew right away that she would speak powerfully and eloquently to the theme of our 33rd Annual Winter Conference, Growing the Good Food Movement. Blending storytelling, photography and oral history, Natasha’s Saturday morning keynote address will show how true food sovereignty means a place at the table for everyone. Natasha writes:

“[Race and food] are two pillars of society that are deeply etched with injustice. From seed to table, the corporate-controlled food industry in this country is rife with discrimination, oppression and the denial of rights. Rights to healthy food, rights to land, rights to a clean environment, and rights to an equal opportunity for success and livelihood for farmers are not fairly attainable. One problem is that the people who control this broken food system do not represent the most impacted communities: women and communities of color and low income. Another problem is that the “food movement” community is usually racially and economically exclusive which just perpetuates the cycle. Such topics as racial health disparities, “food deserts” and “food justice” have rapidly come into the limelight lacking any input at all from the communities being spoken for.  If we cannot see and hear from our communities, we will not have a food system free of racial inequities”

Read more about The Color of Food and Natasha’s work at browngirlfarming.com

Direct Marketing workshops to be combined into Winter Conference

As we are gearing up for our winter educational offerings, we wanted to share that we have decided to not host a Direct Marketing Conference in 2015. Instead, based on feedback from past Winter Conferences, we will offer more direct marketing workshops in our commercial farmer track at the 2015 Winter Conference. These workshops will focus on issues relevant to farmers’ market vendors, and CSA and farm stand farmers. We hope that by re-combining these two conferences, more of you will be able to benefit from the workshops that have been spread out between two conferences in the past!

UVM's Davis Center serves as the conference hub. (Credit Elizabeth Ferry)The Request for Proposals (RFP) for Winter Conference workshops is currently open through September 15, 2014.

Even if you don’t have a workshop you would like to present yourself, we are also looking for feedback on specific workshops or presenters that you’d like us to consider for the 2015 Winter Conference. If you have ideas or suggestions, please contact our new Education Coordinator, Rachel Fussell as soon as possible, with a deadline of September 15th.

You may have noticed that I didn’t mention farmers’ market organizers in my workshop audience list above. We haven’t forgotten you! We will be collaborating with the Vermont Farmers’ Market Association (VTFMA) to host a day of workshops and the VTFMA Annual Meeting in March 2015. We will be sending more information later this fall on that event so please be on the lookout!

Lastly, we are looking forward to hearing from you after the Winter Conference about how this new set-up worked for you. While nine years ago we started a separate Direct Marketing Conference in order to accommodate more attendees when space at the Winter Conference venues was our major limiting factor, we are excited to again try to meet your needs by bringing the two conferences back together now that space is not an issue. Your feedback will help us determine if this is the best option moving forward or if we need to look at additional possibilities.

We look forward to hearing from you!

[By Erin Buckwalter,  Market Development and Community Food Security Coordinator]

NOFA hiring Education Coordinator

Are you a planner, educator,  organizer? Do you love farms, food, and fun? Join the amazing NOFA-VT team! We’re hiring for an Education Coordinator to manage our year-round schedule of events and our beginning farmer program.

The Education Coordinator is predominantly responsible for managing the educational events at NOFA-VT to engage current members (farmers, gardeners, and consumers) and attract new members through development of Winter Conference workshops, and seasonal on-site workshops (on farms, gardens, homesteads).  The Education Coordinator is a member of the technical assistance team and provides support to the Technical Assistance Coordinator.  In addition, the candidate will develop and oversee NOFA-VT¹s Beginning Farmer programs (apprenticeship tool, CRAFT program and Journey Farmer Program) and organize technical/networking events for beginner farmers.  The position will start in mid-August.

Click here to read the full job description and learn how to apply!

“Organic Matters” film debut at the Conference!

We are exited to debut our new short film, Organic Matters, as part of the NOFA Vermont Winter Conference FarmsTED talks this morning! If you didn’t join us to watch it on the big screen in the Davis Center (or if you just want to watch it again!), take a look:

This 9-minute video features certified organic farmers across Vermont talking about why they believe in certified organic, how it defines their approach to their land and to food production, and why organic is important to the overall food movement.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of certified organic, locally grown!

Children’s Conference – Space & Scholarships Available!

There are still openings for youth ages 6-12 at our Children’s Conference this weekend! The Children’s Conference happens at the University of Vermont, simultaneously to the adult conference, but you don’t have to be an adult attendee at the Winter Conference in order to send your child.

Full scholarships are available!

The Children's Conference is a great way to spend a wintry weekend.The conference is a great opportunity for kids to work with wool, participate in a community art project with Bonnie Acker, create songs with Chris Dorman of Bread and Butter Farm, and go on outside adventures with Earth Walk.

Click here for more information and to see our proposed schedule.

To register, contact Coordinator Lauren Lenz at laurenlenz@gmail.com or (603) 359-3160.  Walk-in registrations are welcome for both the children and adult conference.

Milk Quality & Mastitis Part II: Treatment

This article is part of the NOFA Vermont Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance Program.

Click here to jump to our Winter Conference offerings for dairy and livestock farmers.

Silhouette of three cowsWe recently shared some resources for mastitis prevention. But what to do when cows do get a clinical or subclinical udder infection?

Subclinical mastitis can show up as an increase in the SCC (somatic cell count) without visual signs of mastitis. Clinical mastitis will include visual changes in the milk or udder swelling.

When a cow has clinical mastitis, treatment suggestions that Dr. Guy Jodarski, staff veterinarian for Organic  Valley/CROPP Cooperative, discussed in a recent webinar include:

  • frequent stripping
  • vitamin & mineral supplements
  • allowed synthetics including fluids, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • biologics (such as immunoboost) and vaccines
  • herbs including antibacterial tinctures
  • topicals (essential oils)
  • whey products – made from colostrum
  • antioxidants
  • homeopathy

Some synthetic medications are allowed for use on organic livestock; for acute mastitis cases these include Banamine (Flunixin) and aspirin. Electrolytes (such as CMPK or hypertonic saline), along with injectable vitamins, are also used by some veterinarians.

Before treating an animal, check the 2014 Organic Livestock Healthcare List or contact the VOF certification office to be sure the treatment is approved for use. It is important to keep records of what treatments are used, and to withhold milk when required by the organic standards.

As there’s no single silver bullet treatment for mastitis, each farm will find a few products from this list that work for their management system.

A good relationship with the veterinarian can make being  certified organic easier! Your veterinarian can help you  understand what treatments to use, develop a better prevention plan, and keep better records.

For more information on organic production, herd health, and other technical assistance available from NOFA Vermont, contact Sam Fuller, Program Coordinator, at 802-434-4122 or sam@nofavt.org.

Dairy & Livestock at the Winter Conference

Join us for an advanced commercial dairy & livestock track on Saturday, including:

Sunday also offers a diversity of workshop topics, including Efficient Swine Rationing from Piglet to Adult, Farm Labor: Strategies for Success with Your Employees, Market Research: How to Address Opportunities, Winter Lambing Procedure, and many more!

And on Monday, February 17th, join our all-day intensive:
Chicken Soup for the Soil: Building Nutrient-Dense Soil for Nutrient-Dense Crops with Jerry Brunetti,
Jack Lazor, and Heather Darby.

Homesteaders and Gardeners at the Winter Conference

The Winter Conference isn’t just for farmers – there are over 20 workshops this year designed with homesteaders and gardeners in mind! So whether you’re interested in getting the most produce possible out of your raised bed, or getting more fruit from your apple trees, the Winter Conference has you covered.

Saturday Workshop Spotlight: Hardy Nuts for Farms and Yards

Black WalnutsKeith Morris will be on hand to guide you through the ecology and mythology of nut trees suited to growing on Vermont’s farms and in our neighborhoods. Morris will focus on hardy proven nuts, and introduce the breeding and trialing happening at Willow Crossing Farm in Johnson, VT to help migrate some important nuts typically grown in slightly warmer regions.

Sunday Workshop Spotlight: Poultry Breeds and Brooder Set Up for the Backyard Producer

chickens2 It’s time to order those chirping wonders! Yet, those colorful, descriptive and plentiful poultry catalogs can be quite daunting. Join Bay Hammond, Farm Manager at Cerridwen Farm at Green Mountain College in Poultney, VT, and co-manager of Doolittle Farm in Shoreham VT to learn all about the different breed types, their benefits and shortcomings.

There are additional workshops and networking opportunities for cooks, activists, educators, and more. See the complete list of conference workshops here, and stay tuned for more workshop spotlights in the coming week!