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Past Workshops

2018

Farmer Braintrust

Tuesday, December 11, 10am to noon
Cost: Free
Location: MSU Student Organic Farm, 3291 College Rd, Holt MI 48842

Farmer Field School presenters, participants and advocates will meet to plan Farmer Field School 2019 and other ways to collaborate.

Farmer Roundtable: Topic TBD

Tuesday, December 11, 1pm - 3pm
Cost: Free
Location: MSU Student Organic Farm, 3291 College Rd, Holt MI 48842
Join beginning and experienced farmers as we take a close look at how to use creativity to sell all your farm products and CSA shares.

Crop Fertility

October 7, 2018, 9am to 4pm
Cost: Sliding Scale $55 to $100
(NOTE: Please bring your own lunch - lunch NOT provided)
Location: MSU Student Organic Farm, 3291 College Rd, Holt MI 48842
Speakers: Lee Arboreal of Live Edge Farm, Zach Hayden of MSU and Joel Clifton of Morgan's Composting.

See creative cover crop rotations at the MSU Student Organic Farm, make biochar and learn about how to amend soil nutrients and enliven your soil food web.

Adding Value to your On-Farm Marketing

Tuesday, August 21 from 6 - 7:30pm
Cost: Free
Location: Webinar
Speakers: Trent Thompson from Green Gardens; Jill Sweetman and Nate Lada from Green Things Farm, Corie Pierce from Bread & Butter Farm in Shelburne VT.
Summary: Learn from growers selling produce and flowers through farm stands, on-farm dinners and hosting weddings on their farms.
[Link to Webinar recording coming soon!]

CUT Flowers for Weddings & Events

Sunday, July 15, 9am - 4pm
Cost: Sliding Scale $45 to $150
Location: Seeley Farm,2150 Warren Road, Ann Arbor MI 48105
Speakers: Alex Cacciari of Seeley Farm and Amanda Maurmann of Gnome Grown Flower Farm
Learn how to grow, market and arrange flowers for weddings & events!
Tentative Schedule:
8:30 - 9 register, coffee socialize
9-9:30 intros
9:30-11:30 field walk, mini-harvest, q&a, discuss production techniques, pests, weeds, variety choice, etc
11:30-12:30 convene in shade and discuss marketing: designing yourself or marketing to wedding florists
12:30-1:30 lunch
1:30-4pm arranging workshops. We'll take what we harvested (plus some pre-harvested stuff) and work up maybe 3 types of wedding pieces: bridal bouquet, boutonniere, corsage.

Designing your Packing Shed

Monday, April 30, 2018 9am-4:30pm (Registration at 8:30am)
Location: Eastminster Presbyterian, 1315 Abbot Rd. East Lansing, 48823
Speaker: Atina Diffley, former co-owner of Gardens of Eagan Farm; author of Turn Here, Sweet Corn

DIY Caterpillar Tunnel Build

Tuesday, April 10, 8am - noon
Cost: FREE
Location: New City Urban Farm, 1226 Union NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Speaker: Lance Kraai of New City Urban Farm

Every Year, New City Urban Farm adds a new caterpillar tunnel to their intensively cropped 2 acres in the Creston Neighborhood of Grand Rapids. This year, they are adding 2 new caterpillar tunnels. You will be able to pull and secure plastic on one tunnel before bending hoops and building another tunnel. Join us on April 10 and you will gain the skills to construct the lowest-cost hoophouses on your own farmsite.

2017

Farm Labor Roundtable: Work/Life Balance

Tuesday, December 12th, 11:30am - 2pm
Cost: FREE
Location: Eastminster Presbyterian Church

Together, farmers and others will share and discuss positive methods for maintaining work/life balance in the hectic world of sustainable farming. Join us to share your thoughts and get great ideas on making your livelihood a healthy and happy part of your life.

Farmer Field School Gathering

Tuesday, December 12th, 2 pm-4pm
Cost: FREE
Location: Eastminster Presbyterian, 1315 Abbot Rd. East Lansing, 48823

Farmer Field School Gathering, is for workshop attendees and other new farmers to get to know more about each other, but also help us brainstorm provide feedback about Farmer Field School. This includes: feedback on workshops, input on workshop structure, pricing, timing & content, explore how to support dialogue & learning between workshops and among each other, and other topics around workshops as they emerge.

Shoulder Season* and Root Crop Production

*(Oct – Dec/Feb – April)
Monday, November 6th 9am - 5pm
Cost: $150 ($40 for 2nd person from same farm) NEW - Scholarships now Available (See button below)
Location: MSU Student Organic Farm, 3291 College Rd.
Holt, MI 48842

Presenters: Denae Friedheim, MSU Student Organic Farm, and Tomm Becker - Sunseed Farm

Join us for this workshop looking at two key aspects of season extension: Shoulder Season Production (Oct – Dec) and spring (Feb – April) and Root Crops. In both areas we will look at important practices & schedules for success, necessary production & storage infrastructure, proven crop types and varieties, post-harvest/storage management and other critical elements to moving beyond summer production.

Hosted at MSU Student Organic Farm, which has experimented and fine-tuned their season extension production since 2002. Co-presented by Sun Seed Farm, which has been growing in the shoulder season and producing lots of root crops since 2009.

Lunch and snacks provided.

Getting Great Production, Quality & Profits from Your Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage and Family

Sunday, September 10th 9 - 5pm
Cost: $150 ($40 for 2nd person from same farm) NEW - Scholarships now Available (See button below)
Location: Understory Farm, 28120 County Road 215
Bangor, MI 49013

Presenters: Lee Arboreal, Live Edge & Fred Monroe, Monroe Family Organics

Join us for this information packed, hands on workshop that will be all about Brassicas - one of the most critical vegetable families to the small scale vegetable farmer. Presented by two farmers with more than 25 years of combined organic and sustainable vegetable farming experience in wholesale & direct market production. The day will cover variety selection, production, management and marketing of brussel's sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, collards, kale & kohlrabi with possible forays into turnips, mustard and rutabegga.
Lunch and snacks provided.

Cut Flowers: Planning, Production & Marketing

Wednesday, August 2nd, 9 – 5pm
Cost: $150 ($40 for 2nd person from same farm) NEW - Scholarships now Available (See button below)
Location: 3378 Mason Rd, Owosso, MI 48867
Presenters: Pooh Stevenson, Owosso Organics and, Casey Lemeiux, The Flower Garden

Join us for this information packed, hands on workshop on Cut Flowers. Two very successful flower farmers with different approaches will share their strategies and experiences in cut flower production, covering everything from flower selection, infrastructure needs, plant starting and cultivation to harvesting, handling, arranging and marketing to individual, event and wholesale customers. Workshop will include a tour of Owosso Organics flower production.

Irrigation Success: Strategies & Design for the Small Farm

Wednesday, May 24 1 – 5pm (HALF DAY WORKSHOP!)
Cost: $70 ($25 for 2nd person from same farm) NEW - Scholarships now Available (See button below)
Location: 4960 Quiggle Ave SE, Ada, MI 49301
Presenters: Chad & Heather Anderson, Green Wagon Farm and, Lee Arboreal, Live Edge

Join us for this information packed, hands on workshop on irrigation options, design and practices. Get perspectives on design and equipment purchases for a reliable irrigation system from Green Wagon Farm, a diverse vegetable CSA & market farm as well as from Live Edge which specializes in larger wholesale vegetable production with a background in direct to market vegetable production.
Discussion and farm tour will also include irrigation prioritization (what is most or least priority) , dry land farming approaches, and designing the best system you can with limited funds or water supply. We will also cover weather and moisture monitoring and fertigation tools.

Vegetable Transplant Production Success!

Sunday, March 19 9am – 5pm
Cost: $150 - 1st person from farm, $40 for 2nd - NEW - Scholarships now Available (See button below)
Location: Cinzori Farm, 10506 F Drive South, Ceresco, MI

Presenters: Anthony Cinzori, Cinzori Farm, Denae Friedheim, MSU Student Organic Farm

Join us at one of Michigan’s oldest and largest diverse organic vegetable farms, Cinzori Farm, for a look at their strategies for large scale transplant production as they grow transplants for more than 70 acres of vegetables. Denae Friedheim will also share techniques and lessons learned from the 13 years of vegetable transplant production at the MSU Student Organic Farm.

Record Keeping for Higher Profits

Monday, January 23rd, 9am - 5pm
Cost: $150 for 1 person ($40 additional for 2nd person from same farm)
Location: Stone Coop Farm, 9615 Musch Rd. , Brighton MI 48116 [directions]

Presenters: Joannee DeBruhl - Stone Coop Farm, Katie Brandt - Groundswell Farm, and additional other farms.

There is an axiom that says you can only manage what your measure - and it applies to farming...

Join us for this dynamic workshop on the key record keeping practices for running an efficient, informed and profitable farm. We will explore what kinds of records to keep, methods for keeping them and strategies for implementation. We will explore how to use records to inform price setting. Finally we will explore how to use your records to make critical decisions on practices that will identify costly problem areas on the farm and profit centers that can help improve profits on your farm.

2016

Farm Labor Roundtable: Getting, Managing, and Keeping Good Labor for Your Farm

Wednesday, December 14th, 1pm - 4pm [NO CHARGE]
Cost: FREE
Location: MSU Student Organic Farm, 3291 College Rd.
Holt, MI 48842

Together, farmers and others will share and discuss a variety of successful practices and approaches to farm labor including: employment, contract work, piece rate, internships, and work trades. Workshop will explore the benefits and trade-offs of these various arrangements relating to cost, legal, management, and souring considerations. Approaches for recruiting, training, managing and retaining employees will be covered. Presenters will also discuss setting employees up for success and expectation achievement, investing in staff, creating management positions, and setting appropriate compensation.

Advanced Strategic Business Planning & Management: Finances Deep Dive, Strategic Investment, Capital Access, and Growth

Saturday, December 10th - 9am - 5pm
Cost: $150 for 1 person ($40 additional for 2nd person from same farm)
Location: MSU Student Organic Farm, 3291 College Rd.
Holt, MI 48842
Presenters: Fred Monroe, Monroe Family Organics, Tomm Becker - Sunseed Farm,
Michael. D. Jordon, Retired Farm Loan Manager (20 years experience) and former farmer.

We’ll offer a very thorough analysis of business financial measurement, planning & management tools, indicators for understanding current business structure and health, planning and assessing strategic investments, accessing and maximizing capital investments, taxes & business types, risk assessment and management, planning for growth and strategies for business exit/transition.

Strategic Business Planning & Management: Markets, Finances, Production, HR and More

Saturday, December 3rd - 9am - 5pm
Cost: $150 for 1 person ($40 additional for 2nd person from same farm)
Location: MSU Student Organic Farm, 3291 College Rd.
Holt, MI 48842
Presenters: Fred Monroe, Monroe Family Organics, Tomm Becker - Sunseed Farm,
Michael. D. Jordon, Retired Farm Loan Manager (20 years experience) and former farmer.

This workshop will cover the key elements of a business plan: values & vision, goals and strategies, market analysis & strategy, production & operations management, HR management, and understanding and implementing business financial measures & analysis.

Scaling Up (or Maybe Down): Finding and Getting to the Right Scale for Your Farm

Sunday, November 6th, 9am - 5pm
Cost: $150 for 1 person ($40 additional for a 2nd person from the same farm)
Location: Sunseed Farm 5000 Boyden Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48105 (Map)
Presenters: Tomm Becker - Sunseed Farm, Nic Theisen - Loma Farm
and Nic Welty - 9 Bean Rows Farm

This group of experienced farmers will explore such ideas as - "What is the best scale for your farm business to maximize success?" The answer to this important question depends on a wide variety of factors relating to your income needs, goals, values, product mix, strategic opportunities/competitive advantage, land base and other resources. Getting the right ratio of overhead and costs relative to sales and income along with the right mix of diversity and/or specialization of production and markets is essential in evaluating decisions of scale.
This workshop will examine potential critical thresholds for sales, relative to these factors based on observed patterns in successful farms and the first hand experiences of these farmer presenters. This workshop examines Return on Investment (ROI) for a number of potential capital and equipment investments/purchases a farmer might make, and some priorities and rules of thumb regarding infrastructure, equipment, management time, and staffing/labor at small-medium-large farm scales. This workshop is designed to help farmers identify and think critically and strategically about how to grow or right-size their operation for maximum success.

Communications & Marketing for Farm Success

September 19, 9am - 5pm
Cost: $150 for 1 person ($40 additional for a 2nd person from the same farm)
Location: MSU Student Organic Farm, 3291 College Rd.
Holt, MI 48842
Presenters: Katie Brandt, Groundswell Community Farm and Trent Thompson, Green Gardens Farm
Learn some of the best tips, tools and strategies for reaching and building a relationship with current and potential customers/buyers and understanding and strategizing on what you need to communicate about and how to brand your business for success with both direct and whole-sale markets.

Summer Fruiting Crops in High Tunnels (Tomatoes and more)

Monday, August 1 8am - 5pm
Cost: $150 for 1 person ($40 for a 2nd person from the same farm)
Locations: Start at Green Gardens Farm 14201 H Drive N Battle Creek, MI [map] and then go to Ten Hens Farm - 7539 Clark Road Bath, MI [map]
Presenters: Trent Thompson, Green Gardens Farm and Adam Montri, Ten Hens Farm,

A hands-on workshop covering the nuts and bolts of successful planning, production, post-harvest handling, packaging, and marketing of summer fruit under hoops (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers). The workshop will also cover ginger, sweet potatoes, and basil. Led by experienced hoophouse growers and hosted on their farms, content includes an overview of the varieties and techniques that have worked best for them including plant dates, fertility, trellis systems, pest and disease management, harvesting, marketing and more. Don’t miss this chance to see their operations and learn from two expert growers in the field.

Crop Establishment & Scheduling for Direct Seeded and Transplanted Crops

Sunday, June 26th 8am - 5pm
Cost: $150 for 1 person ($40 additional for a 2nd person from the same farm)
Location: Monroe Family Organics, 8009 N. Ennis Rd, Alma MI 48801 [map]
Presenters: Fred Monroe, Monroe Family Organics, Lee Arboreal, Live Edge Farm

Ensuring a healthy stand of direct seeded or transplanted crops in the field is critical to farm success. This workshop provides an intensive focus on stand establishment in vegetable crop production covering seed, seeders, germination, and knowing when to till it in and start again for direct seeded crops. This workshop will also cover field establishment from greenhouse to a thriving crop for transplanted crops. We will explore various methods of transplanting and transplant production/management. All core plant families will be covered and optimum systems for each considered. Presenters will cover the right scheduling to get your production on-time for a continuous and bountiful harvest.

Do It Yourself Infrastructure, Equipment and Maintenance

Saturday April 9th, 8am - 5pm
Cost: $150 for 1 person ($40 additional for a 2nd person from the same farm)
Location: Cinzori Farms - 10506 F Drive South Ceresco, MI 49033 [map]
Presenters: Lee Arboreal, Live Edge Farm and Anthony Cinzori, Cinzori Farm,

The workshop will present strategies and designs for a host of projects to save you time & money and improve your efficiency on the farm: Everything from build-your-own vacuum seeders (which participants will do in the workshop), barrel washers and other tools to the best info on walk-in coolers, hoophouse end walls, quickhoops/caterpillar tunnels and more. Ideas on when it pays to DIY and when it might be best to buy it or have it done. Presenters will discuss how to evaluate purchase of new or used equipment, and what things to look for as possible failure/trouble points on used items.

Workshop will also cover basic maintenance for common farm implements & equipment. Come learn from the over 40 years of collective experience of these two successful farmers. Participants will build and take home their own vacuum seeder.

2015

Field Based Pest and Disease Management: For Sustainable Outdoor and Hoophouse Vegetable Production

September 14, 2015 8 am – 6pm
Cost: $150 for the first person from your farm, $30 for the 2nd ($90 per person).
Location: Student Organic Farm - Lansing, Michigan.
Presenters: Ben Werling – MSU Extension, Nicole Quinn – MSU Graduate Research Assistant, Vegetable Entomology Lab, Jeremy Moghtader – Farm Manager, MSU Student Organic Farm, Director MSU Organic Farmer Training Program

Participants will spend most of the day in the field and hoophouses seeing and learning about the pests, diseases, disorders, beneficials, and reactive measures associated with different crops as well as discussing the practical and financial aspects of management strategies.

Outcome goals: Participants will learn how to identify and scout for major pest and disease challenges to their farm, articulate management responses to identified problems and become familiar with resources for problem-solving.
Includes: Overview of a systems approach to pest and disease management, identification and exploration of lifecycles and common thresholds for action for pests and diseases. Also includes hands-on response strategies, field training for hoophouse and field pest and disease scouting and helpful record keeping.

Holistic Soil Management: Fertility, Cover Cropping, Weed Management and Tillage

October - 18, 2015 Sunday, 8am-6pm
Cost: $150 for the first person and $30 for the second person from your farm
Location: Student Organic Farm – Lansing, Michigan.
Presenters: Lee Arboreal- Live Edge Growers (formerly of Eaters Guild Farm), a 15 year veteran organic farmer focused on larger scale organic production and Jeremy Moghtader - Farm Manager, MSU Student Organic Farm & Director, MSU Organic Farmer Training Program.

Includes: Proven strategies, planning, and tools at various scales for building and maintaining the healthiest soils while managing weeds and prepping fields for crops. Plan to spend 4-5 hours outside on the Student Organic Farm exploring implementation and demonstrations on the farm landscape. Lunch provided. Participants will also receive valuable resource and support materials.

Year Around and Seasonal CSA Success: Strategies and techniques for improving profitability and satisfaction

November - 14, 2015, Saturday, 8am - 6pm
Cost: $150 for the first person and $30 for the second person from your farm.
Location: Student Organic Farm – Lansing, Michigan.
Presenters: Tomm Becker - Sunseed Farm, Jeremy Moghtader - Farm Manger, MSU Student Organic Farm, Director MSU Organic Farmer Training Program.

Learn about proven strategies and different approaches to CSA startup and growth from the experiences and exploration done by the Organic Farmer Training Program and Sunseed Farm. Leave with new tools and new ideas about how to live, work and grow your CSA including extended and year-round season models. Lunch provided.