- March 6
Production and Marketing of Winter Vegetables - 9:00am to 5:00pm - Sturbridge Publick House. Growing Over to the Dark Side: Building a Successful Enterprise with Winter Vegetable Production and Sales. Demand for winter vegetables has grown dramatically in the past five years, and farmers’ skills in growing and storing produce for winter sales has expanded with it. Everyone who builds a winter component into their farming enterprise has to adapt how they grow, wash, package, store, and move vegetables around to deal with conditions of the frozen and dark side of the calendar. Plus, they need to develop new marketing venues. In this program, experienced farmers and marketers will offer their insights, followed by plenty of time in each session for farmer to farmer discussion. Current status of winter markets and where are we headed? Winter products are being sold through farmers markets, CSA, and wholesale channels. Which markets are growing and where are the best opportunities for the future? What has worked well to build the customer base for these markets? How do we match the market demand with supply as we grow? How do farmers build a successful market strategy for winter? Brief regional snapshots of what’s happening will be presented by a panel with expertise in winter markets, followed by a facilitated discussion. For more information contact: Lisa McKeag, 413-577-3976 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Becky Sideman 603-862-3203, Becky.Sideman@unh.edu. Complete details here.
- March 8
13th Annual Growing Minds Through Massachusetts (and Connecticut) Agriculture Conference for Educators - 9:00 am to 3:30 pm, The Baird Middle School, Ludlow, MA. Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom (MAC) is sponsoring its 13th Statewide Winter Conference. For the second year, will collaborate and co-sponsor the conference with Connecticut Agriculture in the Classroom. Titled "Growing Minds Through Massachusetts (and Connecticut) Agriculture," the conference offers offers educational and networking resources, activity ideas and framework connections that can facilitate and enhance pre-K through 12th grade classroom teachers alike and help bring agriculture to the classroom. Details here.
- March 11
UMass Community Tree Conference - Sustaining the Trees that Sustain our Communities, Stockbridge Hall, UMass Amherst. Everyone who works outdoors--whether on the street, in a park or in a client's backyard--is exposed to a variety of issues every day. Topics include: The Benefits of Trees, Greening Amherst: An Update on Urban Forest Management Practices and Policies, Establishing Trees, Maximizing Benefits: Selling the Care of Mature Trees, Pesticide Safety: Storage, Handling & Use, Asian Longhorned Beetle: A Climber?s Perspective. One-day conference is designed for arborists, tree wardens, municipal managers, city planners, foresters, sugar bush owners and landscape architects who are involved with the management of property, both private and public. For more information, contact UMass Extension at (413) 545-0895, email@example.com, or Rick Harper at (413) 545-3747, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://extension.umass.edu/landscape/
- March 14
Farmers' Market Managers Professional Development Workshop - College of the Holy Cross, Hogan Student Center, Worcester, MA. Topics inculde: The Food Safety Modernization Act: Implications for Farmers Markets, Market Integrity, Tips and Tools for Managing the Urban, Suburban and Rural Markets, Effective Social Media Strategy and Tools, Getting Legal, Putting the Fun in Farmers Market Marketing, Bonding with your Board Of Health, and Managing EBT. Registration and details here.
- March 18 2014 Northeast Harvest Agricultural Conference, 9 am - 3 pm, Topsfield Fairgrounds. Conference presentations include: Website Design - Search Engine Optimization & Social Media, Selling Your Local Products to Schools & Institutions, Backyard Poultry, Young Farmers and CSA, Squash Vine Borer-Seedless Table Grapes - Pollinators and Pesticide Stewardship, and more. Includes opportunity to earn 2.5 spray credits for those who need them. Conference website here.
- March 18
Cost Reducing Strategies for Dairy and Livestock Operations - 10:30am to 3:30pm, UMass Animal and Crop Research Center. This is a collaborative event presented by the Extension Services of UConn, UVM, UNH, UMass and UMaine. Presentations will be focused on innovative ways to maximize the impact of every dollar you invest on your farm and how to manage your farm for long-term sustainability. Presentation topics will include: Contribution of no-till methods to soil health, Evaluating nitrogen fertilizer needs, Grazing and harvesting cover crops, Management for more profitable heifer replacement systems, Nutrient Management, Integrating cover crops into corn silage systems, Animal nutrition, Producing high quality forage. Registration encourarged by March 1st. Details here.
- March 19
Greenhouse Plant Disease Diagnostic Workshop - 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Room 107 Fernald Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Workshop led by Bess Dicklow, UMass Extension Plant Pathologist. Program for commercial growers of greenhouse crops will include a lecture to review the basics of diagnostic plant pathology followed by a hands-on workshop using diagnostic test kits for viruses and root diseases of greenhouse crops. Microscopes will be used to view fungal root pathogens such as Thielaviopsis, Rhizoctonia and Pythium and foliar pathogens such as Downy mildew and Botrytis that were covered in the lecture. Space is limited to 25. Four contact hours for pesticide recertification have been approved. Contact: Tina Smith, email@example.com, 413-545-5306.
- March 20
Webinar - How to Sell Domestic Foods to the USDA - Each year, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) buys nearly $2 billion and 2 billion pounds of frozen, processed, and fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Otherwise known as “USDA Foods.” These healthy, American grown and processed products help feed millions of school children and are also distributed to food banks, disaster areas, and wherever else they are needed. AMS proudly buys “USDA Foods” from a diverse pool of companies, both large and small. Special emphasis on contracting information for small, socially disadvantaged, women-owned, and service disabled veteran-owned businesses, as well as those in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUB Zones). Note: The small business size standard for federal contractors in “USDA Foods” procurement is 500 employees or less (except for shell eggs, which is $12.5 million in annual revenue). Details here.
- March 20
Farm Share Fair - 5:30-8:30 pm, Cambridge College, 1000 Mass Ave, Cambridge. Do you have a Farm Share (CSA) program with distribution locations in the Greater Boston area? Sign up to be a vendor at The Farm Share Fair. Consumers get to compare the various CSA programs and learn about all the various options: veggies, fruit, flowers, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and specialty products. Over 40 vendors will be at the fair, including some wonderful sustainable food product companies and service providers. Last year, over 500 Bostonian eaters came to check out our offerings. This is a great way to talk about your farm, and connect with your target market. Details and registration at www.farmsharefair.com.
- March 22
SEMAP's 7th Annual Agriculture & Food Conference, Greater New Bedford Regional Voc Tech, 1121 Ashley Blvd, New Bedford, MA. Program Updates: Whether you're a professional farmer, a backyard gardener, or just curious about locally grown food, this is the event for you! This year's offerings include workshops for the general public as well as info-packed sessions for farmers and gardeners of all experience levels and workshops specific to organic methods. Registration includes a locally-sourced lunch prepared by the Voc Tech's own Culinary Department students, led by Chef Henry Bousquet, and at the Resource Fair you'll learn about local organizations and businesses that provide services and products to help you grow, whether you've got a hundred acres or a couple of window boxes. Registration by March 1st is just $25 for SEMAP members and $35 for non SEMAP members. The deadline to submit sponsor and exhibitor contracts has been extended! Businesses or organizations interested in sponsoring or exhibiting can contact Kristen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to check here for back for updates and descriptions of conference workshops!
- March 26
Agriculture Day at the Statehouse, Boston, MA. Agriculture will once again take center stage at the State House in Boston. Massachusetts Agriculture Day is the one day a year where farmers come together to focus legislative attention on the agriculture sector. Schedule and details here.
- March 27
Massachusetts Poultry Enhancement Council Meeting - 6:00 pm to 8:15 pm, Auburn Public Library, 369 Southbridge St., Auburn, MA, www.auburnlibrary.org. Resources for Massachusetts Poultry Producers. Agenda includes Opening Remarks: MDAR Commissioner Greg Watson, Introduction of Contact Reps. for the Massachusetts AI response plan, MA/NE Poultry News; Overview of Salmonella pullorum reactor cases, Intro to understanding GMO’s, 2014 Feed Report, Rodent life cycle & control methods, along with open discussion on current events, questions and concerns. All welcome, questions, contact Ed at Edward.Hageman@state.ma.us.