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Scaling Up the Food Chain: Specialty Crop Farmer Workshop Series - Nov. 2 - 5

Published Sep. 11, 2013 | Discuss this article on Facebook
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Nov. 2, 2013 - Nov. 5, 2013

Shisler Conference Center
Wooster, OH

Registration is now open for a two-part intensive specialty crop workshop series, set for Nov. 2-5 at the Shisler Conference Center in Wooster. The workshops will help produce farmers scale up and take advantage of the growing opportunities to sell to retailers, wholesalers, and institutions.

This series, organized by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) and Countryside Conservancy, will feature Linda Halley and Chris Blanchard, experts in produce production and farm business management.

Session 1 will take place Nov 2 - 3 and feature Linda Halley. An organic produce grower since 1989, Linda spent 15 years as the co-owner of Harmony Valley Farms in Wisconsin, a highly successful certified organic farm with a diverse marketing strategy that includes a CSA, farmers’ markets, and wholesale sales. Today she manages 100 acres of transitional organic production at Gardens of Eagan in Minnesota, another thriving farm with a diversified marketing strategy.

This session, titled “Expanding Produce Production and Meeting Large-Scale Buyer Demands,” will focus on production techniques that work on larger-scale sustainable farms. Session topics will include: growing transplants efficiently; planting from transplants and direct seeding; weed control; meeting demands of distributors, institutions, stores, restaurants, and cooperatives; and picking, washing, packing, cooling, storing, and delivering your products to maximize efficiency and freshness.

Session 2 will take place Nov. 4 - 5 and feature Chris Blanchard. Chris owns and operates Rock Spring Farm in Iowa, a 15 acre vegetable and herb farm that supplies a 200 member CSA, food stores, and a farmers’ market.

This session, titled “Growing and Managing Your Farm Business,” will concentrate on business practices for thoughtful and sustainable expansion. Session topics will include: equipment and infrastructure for scaling up; hiring and managing employees; planning the growth of your farm and effectively prioritizing equipment, infrastructure, and employee needs; financing options; and bookkeeping and recordkeeping.

Sept. 3 - 30 is early bird registration costing $125 for one session or $225 for both sessions. After Sept. 30, the cost is $150 for one session or $250 for both. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The final registration deadline is Oct. 21; however, registration may fill up in advance of the deadline.

Lodging options are available near the facility; lodging is not included in the registration fee.

For more information, contact Countryside Conservancy at (330) 657-2542 Ext. 224 or [email protected].

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