1. Organic Certification 101
Meagan Collins, Quality Certification Services; Daniel Parson, Oxford College-Emory University
Two of the foremost experts in the Southeast will explain the cultural practices, production techniques, and requirements of an USDA Certified Organic farm. Learn about the materials and inputs approved for use under the National Organic Program, markets for organic products, and USDA Organic certification. Marty Mesh is the executive director of Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers Inc. (FOG), a Gainesville-based nonprofit providing education, outreach and legislative advocacy on behalf of organic agriculture. FOG also operates a USDA-accredited certification program, Quality Certification Services, with over 800 clients in 37 states and 11 countries. Manager of the organic farm at Oxford College-Emory University, Daniel Parson has been a pioneer in small-scale intensive agriculture in Atlanta and upstate South Carolina for more than a decade.
2. Hands on Food Education for Kids of All Ages
Chef Asata Reid, LifeChef and Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture
The best way to get kids to eat healthy food is to involve them in cooking it! You’ll learn how to get kids making meals in the kitchen, tips to encourage adventurous eating, and how to connect cooking with gardening. You’ll also make some healthy dishes in flavor profiles kids will love!
3. Grow Your Own: Stimulating Local Economies through Agriculture
Nikki Seibert, Lowcountry Local First
Through their Eat Local Initiative, Lowcountry Local First (LLF) has built a coalition of 90 farmers, over 30 apprentices and 45 chefs working together to create a vibrant local food economy in the Charleston area. Nikki Seibert, Sustainable Agriculture Program Director, will outline the nonprofit’s work to strengthen community support for local-independent businesses and farmers. These initiatives include facilitating growers groups, a farmer apprenticeship program and an incubator farm. See what’s growing to sustain Charleston and the possibilities ahead for coastal Georgia.
4. Farming for Bees & Other Beneficial Insects
Nancy Adamson, Xerces and NRCS and Keren Giovengo, University of Georgia MAREX
Enhancing diversity on farms supports bees and many other beneficial insects, improving crop production and reducing pest outbreaks. Join Nancy and Keren to learn about common bees, predators, and parasitoids, and ways you can support beneficials on your farm and in home gardens. We will tour UGA’s EcoScapes sustainable landscaping demonstration garden to learn about local pollinator-friendly native plants and explore hands-on sustainable restoration efforts to create good habitats. Regionally-specific pollinator resources and tools will be provided. We will also briefly highlight collecting native plant seed and propagation to enhance local ecotype use.
Please Note: This workshop will be held at UGA Marine Extension’s classroom at 715 Bay Street, Brunswick, GA 31524 (10.4 miles from JICC). Directions will be available on-line and in registration confirmation packets.
5. Crop Planning
Alex Hitt, Peregrine Farm
Perhaps the only thing worse than a field of beautiful vegetables with no place to go is a half-empty CSA box or farmers market table. In this workshop, one of the most distinguished farmers in the country will provide the most important lessons for any farmer: proper crop planning. Learn the tricks of good succession planting. Hear examples of volume requirements for typical markets. Alex Hitt was awarded the 2006 Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture by SARE for his work in exploring ways to make agriculture more profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities. Together with his wife Betsy, he sells vegetables and fresh-cut flowers (and holiday turkeys) at the Carrboro Farmers Market in Carrboro, North Carolina, as well as marketing to the excellent Weaver Street Market and host of the finest restaurants in the greater Chapel Hill area.
6. Profits & Enterprise Budgets: How to Work Towards More
Ellen Polishuk, Potomac Vegetable Farms
Just because you sell out of a product at market doesn’t mean you are making a profit! The only way to know if a product is in fact profitable is to know what it costs you to grow it. Very few growers know the costs of growing a single crop on their farms. Let’s take a look at how to determine the cost of production, harvest/pack and distribution of individual crops on your farm. We will look at existing enterprise budgets and a whole farm profit management tool called Veggie Compass. Hear from a seasoned vegetable grower and farm consultant how to make progress towards increasing your farms profits.
7. Root-knot Nematodes and Grafting
Dr. Xin Zhao and Wenjing Guan, University of Florida
The workshop will present Dr. Zhao’s research on integrated use of grafting in organic vegetable production, as well as using resistant rootstocks to manage nematodes in organic melon and tomato production. This workshop will include an interactive, hands-on learning component with UF’s vegetable grafting exhibit and demonstration for attendees.
9. Women in Agriculture
Charlotte Swancy, Riverview Farms, Linda Seals, County Director, UF/IFAS Brevard County Extension & Annie’s Project
This introduction to risk management and life planning education for farm and ranch women is designed around the national educational program, Annie’s Project, and led by Annie’s Project instructor, Linda Seals who is dedicated to strengthening women’s role in farm enterprises. Charlotte Swancy, a successful organic farmer, will co-lead this workshop to offer first-hand experience and perspective on balancing operational management, labor, and family life on the farm.
10. Starting and Sustaining a Community Farmer’s Market
Leanne Culbreath, Wiregrass Farmer’s Market, and Debra Chester, Statesboro Mainstreet Farmer’s Market
Learn the ins and outs—and the joys and trials—of starting and building a sustainable community farmer’s market. Debra Chester of the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmer’s Market and Leeann Culbreath of the Wiregrass Farmer’s Market in Tifton will share their knowledge and stories from over a decade (combined) of managing small-town farmers markets in south Georgia. Topics will include goal setting/visioning; board development; state and local regulations; vendor recruitment and support; rule development and enforcement; marketing; community engagement; funding; craft regulation; and off-season activities. While the focus will be on small-town markets, the best practices shared will be useful in urban and non-traditional settings as well.
11. Build a Raised Bed at Oglethorpe Point Elementary School
David Berle, UGA and Faye Barnett, Instructional Coach, Oglethorpe Point Elementary School
This is a small, hands-on workshop limited to 20 participants that will focus on the practical side of building raised beds. A practice-based learning workshop intended to complement the content-based learning of Saturday’s Educational Session on raised beds also led by David Berle. This workshop will include instructions for building and maintaining raised beds, and the end product will be permanently installed at Oglethorpe Point Elementary in Glynn County.
Please Note: This workshop will take place at Oglethorpe Point Elementary School at 6200 Frederica Rd, St Simons Island, GA 31522. Direction will be available on-line and in registration confirmation packets.