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

March 23 – April 27, 2021 • Online – Livestream from anywhere!

 

In response to the need for virtual learning opportunities during the pandemic, we have restructured this curriculum 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 from 6:30-8:30 pm, from March 23 – April 27, 2021.

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 region of the Southern Appalachians, but farmers from any region will gain valuable knowledge and are encouraged to join. Webinar sessions will feature farmers and agricultural experts. 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.

Workshop Structure and 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. 

EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems

Scholarship Opportunity

This year, EmPOWERing Mountain Foods is offering scholarships for residents in the Southwestern NC counties to attend the Holistic Crop Management Series. Their funding and programs focus on the seven counties of Western North Carolina (Jackson, Macon, Haywood, Swain, Cherokee, Clay, and Graham) and is based at the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Cooperative Extension Office in Cherokee through a partnership between the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Cooperative Extension.

If awarded, you will only pay $50 to attend the 6-part series.

If you are interested in applying for scholarship funds, please fill out this application and we will be in touch with additional details.

More information can be found at their website.

Workshop Descriptions & Schedule

Session 1: Tools from the Holistic Management Framework

March 23, 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

March 30, 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

April 6, 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

April 13, 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

April 20, 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: Refining Holistic Decision Making Skills and Practical Applications on the Farm 

April 27, 2021

In this final class of the 6 part series, we will integrate the learnings from all previous 5 classes. Participants will be able to plan for their growing season and troublesshoot holistic management challenges. 

Further Information

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

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, Buchi,  Living Web Farms, Gaia Herbs and Chelsea Green Publishing. Our Media Sponsors are WNCW, Asheville FM and BPR. .