Farm School 

Friday, January 26

All three sessions run from 9:15am to 5:00pm with breaks in between. 


Track 1: Lean Farming — Production Methods for the Efficient Farm with Ben Hartman, author of The Lean Farm

Session 1: The Lean Farm

An introduction to the lean system and how you can apply it on your farm. This session will cover concepts like muda, kanbans, heijunka, and kaizen and show examples of how they are applied on our small-scale vegetable farm to cut out waste and increase profits with less work.

Session 2: Lean Vegetable Growing

Focusing on applying lean ideas on your farm to grow seven profitable crops: tomatoes, peppers, baby greens, carrots, turnips, beets, and kale.

Session 3: Lean Business Management

This session will go over how to use lean concepts to keep records quickly, manage employees, price your food, decide what to grow, set metrics for your farm, and more.

Session 4: Tools and Infrastructure, Leaned Up

Finally, this last session will go over the tools and supplies Ben Hartman finds most useful, as well discussing the eight pieces of infrastructure Hartman argues every farm should have.

Track 2: Agroforestry — Designing Perennial Polycultures with Dave Jacke, author of Edible Forest Gardens

Full Day Session

Mimicking natural ecosystems in our agriculture promises the regeneration of healthy ecological functions while meeting our food and other material needs. How do we create healthy edible ecosystems? Conscious ecological design provides the key. With clear scientific theory and practical design processes we can combine plants into effective guilds and polycultures. When we do so, beneficial ecosystem properties emerge: minimal competition, maximum cooperation, additive yielding, and reduced work and outside inputs. This multi-faceted day-long workshop explores the essential ecological theories and design processes behind guild and polyculture design. We’ll review some science, explore some examples, and analyze and design some plant polycultures.

Track 3: Beyond the Farmers Market — Local Sales 2.0 with experts in four focus areas: CSA wellness, wholesale value-added and institutional, chef, and grocery.

Session 1: CSA Wellness Programs

Ready to expand your CSA program? This session will outline the growing work in CSA worksite drop-offs throughout the state. Presenters will discuss how these drop-offs are changing the landscape for typical CSA shares, the process of matchmaking farms to employers, the impact on farm viability, reducing barriers for employee participation, and the potential for insurance policy change to offset costs.  

Panelists/Presenters: Rob Hanel (TentCraft), Andrea Romeyn (Providence Organic Farm), Tricia Phelps (Taste the Local Difference), Diane Conners (Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities)

Session 2: Feeding the Masses — Value Added Producers

Focusing on large volume wholesale markets, including sales to value-added producers, and farm-to-institution sales, this session will go over feeding the masses. Presenters will outline first steps and the farm requirements for large volume and contract sales, while sharing their experience and best practices for farms interested in this type of sales market.

Panelists/Presenters: Kelly Lively (Cherry Capital Foods), Grant Fletcher (Bronson), David Klingenberger (The Brinery), Jeremy Moghtader and Alex Bryan (University of Michigan).

Session 3: From Field to Fork — Cultivating Relationships to Grow Your Bottom Line

This session will go over the importance of building relationships with chefs by highlighting two different and successful farmer/chef partnerships. The presenters will explain how their relationships started, what makes them work together so effectively, and why the synergy between farmer and chef is critical (to good food and good business).

Panelists/Presenters: Molly & Dion Stepanski (Presque Isle Farm), Eric Peterson (The Fresh Palate), Simon Joseph (Roaming Harvest, Harvest, Gaijin), Nic Theisen (Loma Farm)

Session 4: Grocery Connection — Packaging and Marketing

This session will cover the process that growers need to go through in order to get their produce and other value-added items into markets and grocery stores. We will discuss working with a designer for packaging, connecting with store managers, and other important info to consider to expand your reach as a local farmer.

Panelists/Presenters: Maria Panone (Grain Train Natural Foods Market), Anne Morningstar (Bear Creek Organic Farm), David Coveyou (Coveyou Scenic Farm), Eldon Homer and Chris Jacobs (Oryana Community Co-op), Chris Butz (Gills Pier Ranch)


Download the Registration Brochure for full agenda, session descriptions, and speaker bios in a printer-friendly format.