Community Calendar

February  |  March  |  April  |  May

Look here for events and field days to help you grow organic successfully.

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January

Sustainable & Urban Agriculture Courses
Jan. 20  |  Triton College

Online/hybrid courses in Sustainable/Urban Agriculture starting January 20 at Triton College. In district tuition of $108 per credit hour for online courses plus fees no matter where your home address is located. Spring online courses include Sustainable Agroecology, Urban Agricultural Issues, and many more. Contact Benjamin Newton with questions. Learn more.

Webinar: Food Safety Liability and Regulations for the Farm
Jan. 20  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn about the upcoming regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act. A food safety incident could have potentially disastrous implications for any direct-to-consumer farmer. They will talk about how a food safety incident plays out, from lawsuits to recalls and contract breaches. Learn more.

Webinar: Rotational No-till, Mulching and Conservation Tillage for Organic Vegetable Farms
Jan. 20  |  1 p.m. Central

Hosted by eOrganic, learn how to create organic cropping systems using diverse living and/or dead mulches, along with rotational conservation tillage to increase soil health.  Learn more and register.

35th Annual EcoFarm Conference 2015
Jan. 21-24  |  Pacific Grove, Calif.

The EcoFarm Conference offers more than 70 workshops featuring an array of educational and technical workshops for farmers, ranchers, distributors, retailers, activists, consumers, students, and educators, along with notable keynote speakers, an exhibitor marketplace, live entertainment, discussion groups, mixers, delicious organic meals and libations.  Learn more and register.

Webinar: Managing Bad Stink Bugs with Good Stink Bugs
Jan. 22  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic for a webinar on managing stink bugs using the spined soldier bug, by Yong-Lak Park of West Virginia University. The efficacy and utilization of the spined soldier bug as a native biological control agent will be presented and discussed. This webinar is for a mixed audience including researchers, extension specialists and agents, and growers seeking information on biological control of stink bugs.  Learn more.

New & Alternative Specialty Cut Flowers for Market Sales
Jan. 22  |  6-8 p.m.  |  $5  |  Baldwin, Wis.

Hosted by UW-Extension, learn about new/novel cut flowers and growing practices used to diversify farmers’ product mix and keep their bouquets unique and profitable. Presenters will share what they learned to help you maximize your specialty cut flower sales potential in 2015. Learn more and register.

36th Annual NPSAS Winter Conference
Jan. 22-24  |  Aberdeen, S.D.

Conference includes workshops on livestock, planting trees for food, gardening, canning, small farm dairy production, bee keeping, recycling, cover crops, local foods and more. Speakers include microbiologist Don Huber, journalist Alan Guebert, and Missouri rancher Cody Holmes.  50+ exhibitors, youth workshops and organic/local foods.  Learn more.

Post-Harvest Handling, Food Safety and GAPs Compliance
Jan. 24  |  12-5 p.m.  |  $50  |  Amery, Wis.

Join the Hungry Turtle Learning Center to learn about production and handling systems designed to minimize microbial contamination. Chris Blanchard, farmer and consultant, has been through the audit process and helped others through it for this review of practical food safety, how to develop a written food safety plan, and how to set up record keeping systems that support business processes rather than existing outside of the system.  Learn more and register.

Growing a Hops Business
Jan. 25  |  Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Eau Claire-based Grow More Hops, LLC offers this seminar for Midwest growers who want to meet craft brewers’ increasing demand for locally grown hops.  Learn more.

Conservation Cropping Seminar
Jan. 27  |  $20  |  Sycamore, Ill.

Hosted by the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District, learn how to improve productivity on your farm. Local agricultural producers and resource experts will share information and insights on soil health improvement options, cover crop success, and wise nutrient management techniques.  Learn more.

Webinar: Heritage and Ancient Wheat: Varietal Performance and Management
Jan. 27  |  1 p.m. Central

Hosted by eOrganic, learn about varietal performance, including yield potential, standability, disease tolerance, and grain quality, and growing practices, including planting rate and nitrogen fertility application. Learn more and register.

Wisconsin Farm to School Summit
Jan. 29  |  8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  |  Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Hosted by CIAS, the summit will bring professionals together to “Dig In” to farm to school programs in Wisconsin that benefit students, schools, and the local economy.  Learn more and register.

Market Manager Certificate Program
Jan. 30-Feb. 28  |  Waterford, Mich.

Join MIFMA with this voluntary program designed to encourage farmers market managers to pursue leadership skills and professional development in topics essential to market management. Market managers will be recognized with a certificate which offers acknowledgement to market organizers and vendors that the market manager is a trained professional. The program consists of three in-person sessions and seven webinars.  Learn more and register.

Local Foods: The Journey Continues
Jan. 31  |  9 a.m.-3 p.m.  |  $10  |  Buffalo, Minn.

Join the Sustainable Farming Association for the Crow River Chapter Annual Meeting featuring Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, food critic at Minneapolis/St.Paul Magazine, and Jenny Breen, a preeminent  Minnesota chef and local foods advocate. The gathering will bring together area farmers, food advocates, chefs, and supporters to discuss the potential for moving local foods further into the mainstream.  Learn more and register.

Deep Winter Production of Greens and Livestock Fodder Utilizing Passive Solar Energy
Jan. 31  |  10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  |  Ashby, Minn.

Hosted by the Sustainable Farming Association, farm owners Sue Wika and Tom Prieve will provide a detailed overview of the construction and operation of their deep-winter greenhouse, which utilizes passive solar energy with underground heat storage. The greenhouse provides greens for local consumers. In addition, the structure is utilized to produce fodder for the farm livestock. Learn more.

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February

Organic Farming 101
Feb. 2-Mar. 30  |  $250  |  Minneapolis, Minn.

Join the Women’s Environmental Institute to learn the How-To for full scale organic farming  along with the science that explains it.  Learn to plan your farm season intentionally with forethought and mindfully for the unexpected. Learn more and register.

Conservation Cropping Seminar
Feb. 4  |  $20  |  Mattoon, Ill.

Hosted by the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District, learn how to improve productivity on your farm. Local agricultural producers and resource experts will share information and insights on soil health improvement options, cover crop success, and wise nutrient management techniques.  Learn more.

Introduction to Organic Farming Principles
Feb. 4  |  6-8:15 p.m.  |  $25  |  St. Paul, Minn.

Hosted by the MN Food Assocation, learn the basic concepts of what it means to grow sustainably and organically and the practices involved in an Organic Systems Plan.  Learn more.

Telling Your Farm Story on Social Media
Feb. 5  |  6-8 p.m.  |  $5  |  Hudson, Wis.

Hosted by UW-Extension, learn more about how creating and telling your farm’s story cannot only serve to generate interest in your business but also drive sales and traffic to your website, social media pages and farm. Learn more and register.

Whole Farm Planning Workshop
Feb. 7  |  $15  |  Dodgeville, Wis.

Organized by Southwest Badger, learn the framework for whole farm planning as well as gain knowledge of financial and legal matters, identifying and managing natural resources, and using managed grazing as a conservation practice. For more information or to sign up for the workshop, contact Laura Paine (608-732-1202).

Webinar: Housing for small poultry flocks
Feb. 9  |  2 p.m. Central

Organized by eXtension, Phil Clauer from Penn State University will be discussing various issues related to housing for small poultry flocks.  Learn more.

Webinar: Building Pest-Suppressive Organic Farms
Feb. 10  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic and learn what tools and ecological strategies worked and what did not work on five long-term organic farms. They will also explore the question of how much diversity is enough and how to manage on-farm biological control organism habitat.  Learn more.

Southern Wisconsin Vegetable Production Workshop Series
Feb. 10  |  1-5 p.m.  |  Madison, Wis.

Hosted by UW-Extension, learn about detailed production information on two vegetable crops, from variety selection to postharvest handling.  Learn more and register.

Intro to Organic Farming: Crop Profiles
Feb. 11  |  6-8:15 p.m.  |  $25  |  St. Paul, Minn.

Hosted by the MN Food Assocation, get a better understanding of the vegetable crops you can grow here in Minnesota.  Class covers the different vegetable families and information such as direct seeding verses transplanting, ideal growing conditions, fertility needs and pests and disease issues.   Learn more.

SFA Annual Conference – “25 Years of Loving the Land”
Feb. 14  |  St. Joseph, Minn.

Voting is going on through Oct. 30, 2014 to decide topics for networking discussions at this conference, organized by the Sustainable Farming Association. Early bird rates of $35/members and $45/non-members holds through Sept. 30. The annual conference provides a forum for farmer-led networking discussions and exhibits by vendors with products or services related to sustainable farming.  Learn more.

Webinar: Blasting the Competition Away
Feb. 17  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic for a webinar on using air-propelled abrasive grits for weed management in organic grain and vegetable crops. This webinar will provide an introduction to the concept of weed management with air-propelled abrasive grits, or “weed blasting”, in organic cropping systems.  Learn more.

Iowa Cover Crops Conference
Feb. 17-18  |  West Des Moines, Iowa

Join the Soil and Water Conservation Society for a forum for farmers, industry leaders, and agribusiness professionals to exchange information, discuss opportunities for collaboration, learn about successful cover cropping practices, and troubleshoot challenges that may be encountered.  Learn more and register.

Conservation Cropping Seminar
Feb. 18  |  $20  |  Macomb, Ill.

Hosted by the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District, learn how to improve productivity on your farm. Local agricultural producers and resource experts will share information and insights on soil health improvement options, cover crop success, and wise nutrient management techniques.  Learn more.

Southern Wisconsin Vegetable Production Workshop Series
Feb. 18  |  1-5 p.m.  |  Madison, Wis.

Hosted by UW-Extension, learn about detailed production information on tomato crops, from variety selection to postharvest handling. The second session will cover pack shed design and flow.  Learn more and register.

Plot Planning and Crop Mapping
Feb. 18  |  6-8:15 p.m.  |  $25  |  St. Paul, Minn.

Hosted by the MN Food Assocation, learn how to map out a small plot to maximize production, taking into account things such as crop rotation, time of planting, time of harvest, spacing, water needs and companion planting.  Learn more.

Midwest Soil Health Summit
Feb. 18-19  |  Alexandria, Minn.

Organized by the Sustainable Farming Association, this conference includes workshops and a presentation from soil health pioneer, Gabe Brown.  Learn more.

Cover Crop Management for Small Farms
Feb. 19  |  6-8 p.m.  |  $5  |  Baldwin, Wis.

Hosted by UW-Extension, learn more about how cover crops are an essential component of a diversified vegetable operation. Presenter Mike Racette will share his expertise on how cover crop planting and management can add organic matter, prevent erosion, build nutrients and increase the water holding capacity of soils on small scale, diversified vegetable farms.  Learn more and register.

Hopyard Establishment, Harvest and Processing
Feb. 21  |  Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Eau Claire-based Grow More Hops, LLC offers this seminar for Midwest growers who want to meet craft brewers’ increasing demand for locally grown hops.  Learn more.

Webinar: Going In-Depth with CSA Farm Law
Feb. 24  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, farmers will get in-depth tools to move forward on managing sales, drop-site, volunteer, and worker share matters. We’ll also discuss some of the more unique CSA programs like farmers’ market pre-pay programs and multi-farm cooperative CSAs. Farmers who’ve already attended one of Farm Commons’ basic CSA law programs will get a lot out of this advanced session.  Learn more.

Introduction to Markets
Feb. 25  |  6-8:15 p.m.  |  $25  |  St. Paul, Minn.

Hosted by the MN Food Assocation, the discussion of what markets are available for local produce and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each. Most detail will be about Farmer’s Markets – what is available and how to sell successfully at Farmer’s Markets.  Learn more.

26th Annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference
Feb. 26-28  |  La Crosse, Wis.

The MOSES Conference is the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming. This event includes 65+ workshops, inspiring keynote speakers, and a two-floor Exhibit Hall with more than 170 exhibitors open exclusively to conference attendees. This farmer-focused conference is celebrated as the foremost educational and networking event in the organic farming community.  Learn more.

 

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March

Webinar: Getting Farm Work Done Legally with Interns, Apprentices, and Volunteers
Mar. 2  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn how using interns, apprentices, and volunteers is legally complicated and farms have gotten steep fines for doing it wrong. Get out ahead of the curve and build a legally compliant intern or volunteer program for your farm. Learn more.

Season Extension
Mar. 2-4  |  $375  |  Champaign, Ill.

Hosted by the Land Connection,  learn the essentials of season extension from farmers and other professionals in a classroom setting,  visit farms that have made season extension a vital component of their success, and get a hands-on demonstration in high tunnels. Learn more and register.

Webinar: Promoting Native Bee Pollinators in Organic Farming Systems
Mar. 10  |  1 p.m. Central  |  Free

Join eOrganic for a webinar on promoting native bee pollinators in organic farming systems. The webinar will cover the importance of native bee pollinators in organic farming systems, particularly diversified systems that produce many crops per year. We will first discuss the diversity of native bees in farming systems, and the roles they may play in supplementing (or replacing) honey bees for pollination services.

Michigan Farmers Market Conference
Mar. 10-11  |  East Lansing, Mich.

The two-day conference features three tracks led by experts in farmers market management and agriculture: (1) a market manager Boot Camp Track designed for beginning market managers; (2) an Advanced Track for managers who are looking for specialized information; and (3) a Farmer/Vendor Track designed for farmers who direct-market through farmers markets. Each track builds on the information that attendees found helpful at last year’s annual conference, while providing up-to-date information on timely topics related to farmers market management and/or marketing.  Learn more.

Webinar: Financing a Farmland Purchase
Mar. 23  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn more about the legal basics with bank loans, land contracts (aka contracts for deed), and family financing. The legal language behind promissory notes, security agreements, land contracts, and mortgages isn’t just “boilerplate.” Farmers will learn the basics behind these documents. Learn more.

Webinar: Efficiently Manage your Farm’s Risks with Insurance
Mar. 24  |  12 p.m. Central  |  Free

Hosted by Farm Commons, learn how insurance is vital to build a resilient farm. What’s a farm liability policy and is it the same as a property/casualty policy? How does it work with a homeowner’s policy? Is workers’ compensation required and how does it work? Find the right policies for you with this webinar.  Learn more.

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April

IAC Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit
Apr. 14-16  |  Green Bay, Wis.

Hosted by the Intertribal Agriculture Council, spend three days of working sessions, hands-on workshops, tours and more. Summit focus is on accessing USDA programs as a Tribal member or Tribal farming operation.  Learn more and register.

Organic Trade Association’s Policy Conference
Apr. 14-16  |  $349  |  Washington, D.C.

Join OTA with this conference comprised of three activity days. Events include a day for members to conduct trade association business, an informative and thought-provoking policy conference, and a final day, when members will take the organic message to legislators on Capitol Hill during hundreds of pre-organized Hill Visits. Learn more and register.

Farm Skills 101
Apr. 17-May 1  |  Alexandria, Minn.

Organized by the Sustainable Farming Association, the Deep Roots Farmer Development Program is a much-needed beginning-farmer curriculum that emphasizes all three tenets of sustainability, plus provides extensive skills training. Learn more and register.

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May

14th North American Agroforestry Conference
May 31-June 3  |  Ames, Iowa

Join the Association for Temperate Agroforestry for their biennial conference. Early registration ends Mar. 15. They are currently accepting abstracts for poster and oral presentations. Learn more.