Friday, Oct. 26th Pre-Conference Intensives and Tours
UPDATE: The Starting a Small Market Produce Farm intensive, Mushroom Cultivation and the Horticulture, Livestock and Beginning Farmer VIP tours are all SOLD OUT.
Jump to: Intensives
All Day Tours
NOTE: All tours leave from the Hyatt Hotel located at 220 North Main Street in downtown Greenville. Buses will load on the east side of the hotel. Buses leave promptly.
1. Horticulture Tour
All Day Tour: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Our first stop is the wonderful Clemson University Student Organic Farm. The farm is designed to be a hands-on learning environment to demonstrate farming systems that are ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. Farm Manager, Shawn Jadrnicek, will show us how the five-acre farm has integrated passive solar greenhouses, hydronic heating systems, reflecting minnow and tilapia production ponds, rainwater harvesting, shitake log culture, and soldier fly production to create harmony on the farm. Next, we will visit Hurricane Creek Farms. Jesse and Debbie Adkins will show us how their state-of-the-art hydroponics makes season extension possible. With this technology, Hurricane Creek Farms produces organically grown lettuce year-round, and tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers during winter months. Field & Flower is the final stop on the tour. Owner, Ed Phillips, will show us how commercial production, landscape beautification, and conservation practices can work in harmony. You will see how Ed’s hoophouses extend the flower growing season. Lunch is included. Tammy Hinman from the National Center for Appropriate Technology will host.
2. Livestock Tour
All Day Tour: 9:00am – 4:30pm
The picturesque fields of Greenbrier Farms are the first stop on this tour. At Greenbrier, you will learn how Chad Bishop and Roddy Pick raise grass-fed, free-range beef, pastured chickens, grass-fed lamb and pastured pork. Greenbrier places high importance on the humane treatment of its livestock and the quality of its soil. Next, we will travel to Bethel Trails Farm to learn about raising and producing pastured poultry and meats, including pork, beef, and lamb. Owners Steve and Michelle Ellis’ vision is to raise animals in a clean, healthy environment while providing consumers with local products that make eating fun, healthy, and meaningful. The third stop on the tour is Happy Cow Creamery, where Tom and Linda Trantham run a unique on-the-farm milk bottling operation offering high quality milk directly from their own dairy cows. Enjoy a tour of the paddocks where Holsteins graze and where no chemicals or chemical fertilizers have been used in over 22 years. You will also learn about Happy Cow’s 12 Aprils grazing program. The overall tour will focus on problem-solving on the farm and how to continually improve a livestock operation. Lunch is included. Dr. Steve Washburn, livestock expert from NCSU, will host.
3. Beginning Farmer VIP Tour
Afternoon Tour: 1:00pm – 4:30pm
The Beginning Farmer VIP Tour is especially designed for farmers and ranchers with less than ten years of experience. We will visit two farms where new farmers are using innovative and sustainable practices. Our first stop is Buffalo Farms. Come hear how John Zaugg transitioned from city life in New York to becoming a farmer in South Carolina. Since 2006, John has been maintaining a pasture-raised buffalo herd and now has 250-acres including diverse vegetable products. Our second stop, Bio-Way Farm, is a certified organic produce operation that operates on permaculture design principles. You will learn how Chris Sermons and Eleanor Crescenzi grow a diverse mix of cultivated fields. See asparagus and row crops, as well as forest gardens set amidst an oak savannah that is maintained by goats. Bio-Way also operates a micro-nursery to propagate useful perennials and native plants. This tour is a great way to meet other beginning farmers and jump start your new farm efforts. Special funding from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – USDA. Dr. Julie Grossman, soil scientist from NCSU, will host. Discounted price.
4. Diversified Farms Tour
Afternoon Tour: 1:00pm – 4:30pm
This tour is a chance to see two beautiful and productive Upstate farms. Our first stop is Greenbrier Farms where Chap Bishop and Roddy Pick raise grass-fed, free-range livestock and grow diverse produce. You will learn about how Greenbrier uses sustainable practices for its meat and produce products, including the use of greenhouses. Greenbrier highly values its soil quality so that both its produce and meat products are of the highest quality. Next we will visit The Happy Berry, a picturesque pick-your-own fruit farm. Visitors will be treated to a walking tour that includes an agricultural history of the land going back 10,000 years. Learn about production practices for blueberries, blackberries, figs, muscadine and seedless grapes, including how to manage pests using sustainable methods. Dr. Keith Baldwin from NCA&T will host.
5. Community Gardens Tour
Afternoon Tour: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Come get an insider’s look at urban food security in Greenville. Our first stop is the organic garden at A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School, where students and families participate in growing and eating fresh produce. Next we’ll travel just across the street to Project Host. You’ll see a community organization working to nourish and educate the less fortunate through a soup kitchen and culinary school that are supported by a robust garden on its property. When the garden began in 1998, Project Host became the first soup kitchen in the country to have a garden on-site. Our final stop is the St. Francis Community Garden on the grounds of St. Francis Hospital’s downtown campus. Nestled in the Sterling neighborhood, this garden is a partnership of St. Francis’ Growing Healthy Communities Initiative and Leadership Greenville’s Class 35. The garden serves as a source of engagement for neighborhood residents, members of the community and hospital employees. Your host is Reece Lyerly with Gardening for Good.
ONE MORE OPTION: Limited space for the general public is available on the all-day Extension Agent/Professional Tour (9:00am-4:00pm).
Intensives are at the hotel unless noted. The two off-site workshops require your own transportation.
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Presenters: Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota, and Sherry Aultman, Clemson University
Time and again, we hear people say that this workshop was a key reason they finally took the bull by the horns and got organic certified. Certification means taking advantage of great price and market opportunities. Is the time right for you? You’ll get six hour of hands-on instruction, walking you through the entire certification process. Items covered include an overview of the National Organic Program standards, the certification process and the organic farm plan. Also learn about how to pick a certifier, record-keeping templates, approved materials and cost-share opportunities.
Participants are encouraged to bring their field histories, farm maps, input labels and specific questions about the program, organic standards and approved materials. We want you to leave the workshop confident and able to complete an organic farm plan and apply for certification.
Nationally-known and outstanding presenter, Jim Riddle, will lead the course. Jim is the Organic Outreach Coordinator at the University of Minnesota. He helped write the standard, so he knows it. He will be assisted by Sherry Aultman of Clemson’s organic certification program. Sherry is an energetic trainer and knows the local situation and conditions. Space is very limited, so sign up early. Lunch is included with the reasonable fee.
Orchard Health Applications
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Presenter: Michael Phillips, orchardist and author, New Hampshire
Fruit tree culture has been stuck in allopathic mode for far too long, solely seeking out short-term fungicides and antibiotics to destroy disease-causing organisms from without. We never understood that the tree’s own immune ability could be coupled with the stimulation of friendly microbes to defeat disease from within. Looking at fungal progression and bacterial opportunism in the light of competitive microbes, balanced tree nutrition, and primed immune function changes everything. Yes, we will review the old school ways of mineral fungicides and what place that might still have. Yes, we will “go deep” in terms of understanding how to reinforce the arboreal food web and balanced nutrition from the perspectives of the soil food web and soil chemistry. Growing flavorful, nutrient-dense fruit requires that we invest in a robust biology rather than react to symptoms. This full-day program with orchard health expert, Michael Phillips, will inspire you to recognize the paramount priorities in your own home or community fruit planting. Michael’s just-published book The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way has received rave reviews. Don’t miss this exciting day of learning! Lunch included.
Resource Rodeo for Farmers
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Presenters: Staff of the Rural Advancement Foundation-USA and other experts
There is a lot of great help out there these days for innovative farmers. Are you taking advantage of it? This hands-on, interactive workshop and clinic taps you into the tools and resources to help you take your farm enterprise to the next level. The format includes a two hour morning workshop featuring top resource people. Then, spend the afternoon sitting down in small groups or one-on-one with resource providers. Bring your questions, issues and challenges and talk through them with our resource experts. Resources include grant programs, financing, crop insurance, legal issues for farms, farm planning, conservation programs and easements, marketing and more. You will walk away with new information and new ideas targeted to your individual farm circumstances. Don’t miss this one-stop training and consulting opportunity. Lunch is included. Sponsored by Southern Risk Management Education.
On-farm workshop at Parson Produce
Starting a Small Market Produce Farm
9:00 am to 3:30 pm (OFFSITE)
Presenter: Daniel Parson, Parson Produce
Want to jump-start the process of starting your small produce farm? Prefer a hands-on (and outdoors) teaching approach in a small class setting? This year, we are pleased to offer an on-farm workshop with popular and esteemed farmer and trainer, Daniel Parson. The class will take place at Daniel’s farm, Parson Produce in Clinton, SC. You will get to see Daniel’s operation and learn about the basics of starting a small farm, including the technical issues of farm design and soils. The class will cover what to grow and how to grow it, and how that fits into a smart marketing and financial plan. Special attention to growing on leased land. Learn tricks to keep your costs down, handle the manual labor and sell like a pro. Plenty of opportunity for questions. Registration is at 9:00; the class goes from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. To keep the cost low, we ask that you bring a bag lunch; drinks provided. Pre-registration required. Limited class size.
Workshop participants meet at the farm in Clinton, SC, which is 45 minutes south of Greenville. Address: 3111 Highway 56 South, Clinton, SC 29325. Phone: 864-833-4742.
Friday morning intensives
GAP Certification for the Small Farm
9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Presenters: Ben Chapman and Audrey Kreske, Food Safety experts, NC State University
Today every farm, large or small, needs to have a smart plan for ensuring food safety. “Good Agricultural Practices” or “GAP” certification is one way to put a plan in place. It has the added bonus of opening doors to markets that require GAP. But will GAP work in the small farm context? The answer increasingly is — yes! Come join top experts from NCSU who have been studying the best ways for small operators to take advantage of GAP. They will lead you step-by-step through the process. Ben and Audrey have years of experience in food safety in the farm-to-fork path and are excited to share their knowledge with you. You will come away with a new confidence to tackle the GAP.
Introduction to Organic Beekeeping
9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Ross Conrad, beekeeper and author, Vermont
Ross Conrad wowed us last year with his in-depth understanding of raising bees without chemicals and in today’s challenging environment. His popular book “Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture” is the go-to source for many beekeepers. This workshop is designed for the absolute beginner who does not have bees yet. Topics covered include the Basic Biology of the Honey Bee, Sourcing Honey Bees, and Beekeeping Equipment and Tools for the beginner. After this workshop, you will have a solid foundation as a natural beekeeper and friend of the bees. Don’t miss Ross’ return to the Carolinas!
Friday afternoon intensives
Advanced Organic Produce Growing: advice and tips, or what i’ve learned in 20 years
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Ellen Polishuk, Farm Consultant, Maryland
Come learn from Ellen Polishuk, popular speaker and one of the Southeast’s top growers. Ellen knows veggie growing on a small scale and also on a larger scale with multiple fields. In this advanced level talk, Ellen will let you in on some of her secrets, including soil fertility and rotation improvements that are dear to her heart. She will also discuss the all-important issue of weed control – mulches and equipment. Then, you will learn about specific crops her farm has had success with (tomatoes, eggplant, herbs, garlic, greens) plus a few that haven’t been so successful (melons, berries). Don’t miss this outstanding opportunity to learn from a really great grower.
Permaculture In action: An introduction
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Presenter: Zev Friedman, Living Systems Design, Asheville
Come learn from one of the Southeast’s top permaculture practitioners. Zev will provide a general introduction to permaculture concepts, with lots of pictures and examples. He will describe the Permaculture in Action hybrid educational and installation business model. This is a new model that Zev has been working on in Asheville this year and is sure to fuel your efforts by quickly creating living examples of productive permaculture systems. There will be plenty of time for your questions and ideas – as this relates to your land and situation. Travel deeper into the permaculture movement as it transforms our farms, homes and regions. More info on Zev and permaculture at www.livingsystemdesign.net.
ON-FARM WORKSHOP AT MUSHROOM MOUNTAIN HANDS-ON MUSHROOM CULTIVATION
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (OFF-SITE)
Presenter: Tradd Cotter, Mushroom Mountain
We are pleased to offer a very affordable half-day class at Mushroom Mountain. Many of you have enjoyed Tradd Cotter’s workshops at the conference. And we’re excited that his new book, “Organic Mushroom Cultivation and Mycoremediation for Everyone” will be soon be published. Now you can experience the place where Tradd does his magic. You will get hands-on training about mushroom ecology, cultivation and garden design. See Tradd’s research and production greenhouses, and woodland production beds. You will go home inspired and prepared to start growing mushrooms (or more mushrooms.) Each participant will receive a free oyster mushroom kit for your home or farm. Class size is limited to 25.
Workshop participants meet at the farm which is located 30 minutes southwest of Greenville at 129 Merritt Road, Liberty, SC, phone: 864-855-2469.