Organic Growers School is excited to offer this curriculum and training opportunity to Southern Appalachia for a second year in partnership with Certified Naturally Grown.

Manage for Your Farm’s Future

Growing a viable farm business is sustained by continuous learning of the land and your products. In this workshop series, growers across Southern Appalachia and beyond will gain tools to manage their crop production for whole-farm success. 

Regionally Specific Tools

The Holistic Crop Management series focuses on the growing regions of Western North Carolina, Southwestern Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, and Northern Georgia. Webinar sessions will feature farmers and agricultural experts from these areas. Through curated group activities in the virtual setting, participants will be able to build a network with experienced growers who know farming and the land.

While this webinar series focuses on farming in the Southern Appalachians, farmers from any region will gain valuable knowledge and are invited to join.

Winter 2021 Workshops

January – February 2021 • Online – livestream from anywhere!

In response to the need for virtual learning opportunities during the pandemic, we have restructured this workshop series from in-person workshops to a six-part webinar series, which includes a mixture of videos, resources, and live virtual meetings.

Webinar sessions will be held Tuesday evenings, January 5th – February 9th.

Workshop Structure & Cost

Workshop Structure & Cost

  • The curriculum uses Certified Naturally Grown standards as the guidelines for holistic principles, and the sessions will consist of discussion-based exploration of soil health, pest management, disease control, and weed maintenance, along with several components of the Holistic Management framework.
  • Participants are not required to be Certified Naturally Grown or Certified Organic to join the webinar; however, the skills gained in these sessions will equip farmers to take on certification confidently should they choose.
  • The cost of this 6-part webinar series is $225. Early-bird pricing TBA

Workshop Descriptions & Winter Schedule

Session 1: Tools from the Holistic Management Framework

January 5, 2021

Participants will learn how to view the farm as an ecosystem while managing the four ecosystem processes – energy flow, water cycle, nutrient cycle, and community dynamics – in order to establish balance and promote productivity on your farm. 

Session 2: A Holistic Approach to Soil Health

January 12, 2021 

Soil health, in an agricultural context, can be loosely defined as the combination of soil fertility, soil structure, and the biological activity that enables the production of healthy plants, active nutrient cycling, water infiltration and retention, and minimal soil erosion. Participants will understand and learn to apply the four ecosystem processes, holistic management principles, the basics of soil science, and soil monitoring techniques to help increase their farm’s soil health,  productivity, and resilience. 

Session 3: Managing Weeds Holistically

January 19, 2021 

Effectively managing weeds can be the most labor-intensive task for ecological crop and vegetable production. This session will cover common weed biology, ecology, and identification. Participants will also learn preventative as well as mechanical and cultural practices you can implement on your farm to reduce weed pressure, save time, and money. 

Session 4: Managing Pests Holistically

January 26, 2021

In this session, participants will gain an ecological understanding of pests including their biology, how to sample for pest and beneficial insects, and their relationship to soil and nutrient management. You will also learn management strategies that are commonly used to prevent pest damage, promote beneficials, and be equipped to develop a plan to manage pest outbreaks effectively on your farm. 

Session 5: Managing Disease Holistically

February 2, 2021

We’ll take a deep dive into ecologically-based preventive, cultural, and integrated practices to reduce the impact of the disease on your farm in this session. You will gain a thorough understanding of what causes disease, identification techniques, and best management practices for reducing the damage that crop disease can cause. 

Session 6: Developing Holistic Decision-Making Skills for Your Farm

February 9, 2021

As we work with the land, farmers are subject to many natural factors that are out of our control and we must prepare for the unexpected by being in the constant process of a plan. Viewing the farm through the window of the four ecosystem processes offers us a framework of Observation and Monitoring. In this session, we take that a step further by exploring tools and developing skills for decision-making in order to confidently proceed with a plan of operation rather than having to function within ‘crisis management’.

Further Information

Please contact Agatha Hannah at <agatha@organicgrowersschool.org> if you want to learn more about this workshop series, or have any questions.

estions.

Funding for this workshop series was made possible by thanks to our farmer networks, regional partners, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant #AM180100XXXXG067. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

OGS is an equal opportunity organization. 

Thank you to our sponsors & partners:

OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and our funding partners: CLIF bar Family Foundation, Southern Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education UNFI Foundation, WNC Bridge Foundation, Harry Chapin Foundation, Walnut Cove, New Visions, and USDA Rural Development. Our Growth Partners (year-round program support) are: Carolina Farm Credit, Earth Tools, Biltmore Company, Buchi,  Living Web Farms, and Chelsea Green Publishing. Our Media Sponsors are WNCW, Asheville FM and BPR. .