Workshop Descriptions

Wednesday, November 20th


Transitioning to a Diverse Orchard with Ken Taylor
Join Ken Taylor of Green Barn Farm for an explanation on how he diversified the farm into a more resilient fruit, nut, berry plantation to fit lifestyle expectations of less inputs, less work and more profit. Whether contemplating a business venture or more simply an adventure into food sustainability, this workshop will offer inspiration! Interpretation offered

Designing/Planting the Orchard with Ken Taylor
This workshop will cover how to choose the best regionally adapted plants for harsh climate orchards, and how to synergize various plants’ production. Orchard design options with considerations of organic, permaculture, holistic, and biodynamic will also be covered. Interpretation offered

Orchard Interventions by Ken Taylor
Orchard interventions such as pesticide spraying, watering, fertilizing, pruning and thinning will be discussed. Harvest timing, methods and storage will be briefly covered as well. Interpretation offered

Building the Organic Orchard from the Ground Up
with Julia Reekie
Join us for this one hour break-down of building an organic orchard from the ground up. In 2008, Julia Reekie, researcher with AAFC, led her team to install an organic ‘Honeycrisp’ apple orchard at the Kentville Research Station, in the heart of Nova Scotia’s apple region. Julia will share her experiences with weed control, insect pest pressures and apple tree diseases. If you are interested in diversifying your farm to include organic apples, or if you are considering the transition to organic apple production, this is the presentation you cannot miss! Interpretation offered

Positive Solutions with Permaculture 
with Graham Calder
In this visual presentation, Graham will introduce participants to inspirational permaculture designs from around the world, with emphasis on food foresting and edible forest gardens. Because permaculture design includes the whole system, examples of energy, housing, community, food, medicine, personal happiness and social solutions are integrated into this presentation. A food forest may be the organic orchard of your dreams! Interpretation offered


Export, Wholesale & Value-Added Consultation Session 
with Beth Pomper and Matthew Holmes


Panel: Innovative Season Extension Techniques with Patrice Finnigan, Jean-Pierre Privé and Norm Hunter

These three panelists have interesting experiences to share with season extension innovation applications on their farms!  Patrice Finnigan grows tomatoes, cucumbers and beans year-round in his high-tech greenhouse operation in Rogersville, NB.  Norm Hunter, a small-scale farmer in love with season extension techniques, recently purchased a Rimol moveable greenhouse.  Jean-Pierre Privé, an agricultural researcher, has experiment and researched a variety of new and exciting systems.

Protected Structures for Sustainable Raspberry Growing with Jean-Pierre Privé
Jean-Pierre Privé of Plant Medic Inc. will report on his findings experimenting with high tunnels, rain shelters, and Extenday reflective groundcovers in raspberry production, addressing impacts on microclimate, productivity, beneficial ground arthropods, and marketable yields. (Bilingual speaker)

Part 1: Season Extension with Storage, Root Cellaring and Low Tunnels 
with Paul & Sandy Arnold
The Arnolds have been practicing season extension on their farm in zone 4 since 1992. They use a variety of techniques, including a root cellar with modern cooling/humidity controlled equipment, row covers, and home-made field houses (14’x100’) in order to have an abundance of product for sales through the end of November and then starting up again May 1st.

Part 2: Season Extension with High Tunnels
with Paul & Sandy Arnold
Paul and Sandy have been working with year-round production in high tunnels since 2006. They will go through each month of detailed production systems in their three high tunnels (34’x 144’) in which they produce fall/winter/spring crops of various greens and onions. Using a range of row-cover and hoop techniques, their three unheated tunnels yield over $1700 per week in produce for the winter weekly farmers’ markets. Varieties, as well as organic insect and disease controls, will be discussed.


Intro to Wholesale
with Peter Chapman
Almost every grower has a passion for what they do best, growing product.  Selling the product can be a big mountain to climb.  Peter Chapman will clarify what is going on in Canadian retail and explore the opportunities for organic.  We will discuss what a producer must have to sell to the retailers.  We will also cover some of the nice to haves that will differentiate you from the crowd. Peter will take you behind the closed doors of the retailers so you know what they really think about organic, the good and the bad. You will leave with some concise ideas for getting your product in to retail or solidifying an existing relationship.  We will help you navigate up the mountain to get your items in to the shopping carts of the consumer.

Building Wholesale Relationships
with Peter Chapman and Beth Pomper
Accessing and maintaing the wholesale market when you are marketing what was once considered a “niche” product (i.e. organic foods) requires building relationships with your clients. Beth Pomper brings her experience working with markets in the Northeastern United States, while Peter Chapman brings a perspective of building relationships with supermarkets and wholesale buyers even closer to home. These two speakers have tons of information to share – this is not a session to be missed if you are interested in building new wholesale relationships, or simply learning how best to manage and maintain your current clients.

Regulations and Realities for Value-Added Products with Ed Charter and Mike Beamish
The possibilities with value-added products seem endless, but there is much to consider before diving into this exciting new market opportunity: regulations, technical options, off-farm vs on-farm processing, and more. This session will provide a case study of one producer’s experiences using BioFoodTech’s services to illustrate the process for other producers.

Panel: Value-Added Lessons Learned
with Brian Boates, Guylaine Buecheli, and Levi Lawrence
Join in this session for a diversified panel of value-added producers who will share from their experiences in value-added fruit, vegetable and meat products what they wish they had considered prior to embarking on their value-added ventures.


Farming Smarter, Not Harder
 with Richard Wiswall
Farming offer fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one’s own boss, and working intimately with nature. But unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming; because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating – and often avoidable – losses. This workshop will focus on the planning and analysis needed to run a profitable farm, in an easy, step-by-step format. Tips for beginner farmers will finish the session.

Farmer Friendly Budgets
with Richard Wiswall
Ever wonder how much it costs to produce a dozen eggs? A feeder pig? Hoophouse greens? Are you making a profit with them given your current sales prices? Longtime organic farmer Richard Wiswall will demystify production costs for various farm ventures and show which ones are making money or not. This group working session will simplify and enlighten the process of determining profitability for any of your farm endeavors. Beginning and seasoned farmers alike will benefit, and share in some eye-opening results.

The Efficient Office
with Richard Wiswall
The Efficient Farm Office emphasizes procedures to eliminate otherwise undetected lost profits. The two paper trails – Purchases and Sales – are examined to guarantee no lost sales revenue and achieve maximum tax benefits. Purchases and subsequent bill paying systems are set up for maximum efficiency. The Sales paper trail seems straight forward but pitfalls abound, including leaks from a CSA, farmers’ market, and even invoiced sales. Richard performs a humourous office skit to emphasize key points.

Farm Record Keeping 2.0 with David Wiles, AgSquared
Detailed, well-organized farm records are essential tools for building a sustainable farm enterprise – they can help you learn to improve your practices and increase your production, and share the relevant details with customers and certifiers. Unfortunately, detailed, well-organized farm records are also incredibly difficult to keep. In this workshop we will discuss strategies for making effective record keeping an easy and regular part of your farming work, and how AgSquared can help. Together we will walk through an exercise to help you focus on just the most important records for your needs. We will then talk about how to build record keeping into your daily activities so that it’s easy to do, and produces organized records that are easy to use. We will focus on AgSquared as an information capture and organization tool, but many of the techniques we discuss will be relevant for paper record-keeping systems as well.

Thursday, November 21st

 Health for Soil, Plants and People: Holistic Thinking on Soil Quality with Dan Kittredge
We are what eat, and technically, a lot of what we eat is soil-based. This empowering talk will discuss the basis of food and nutrition, from the perspective of someone who grows it and raises it with holistic quality – for plants and people – in mind. Interpretation offered


Year-round Farmers’ Market Success: Tips and Tricks with Paul & Sandy Arnold
Marketing is very critical to the success of any farm and the Arnolds will show how they approach marketing at year-round farmers’ markets to make their living. Displays, products, presentation, workers at their tables, and the variety of products all need managing for details to keep customers happy and coming back. However, beyond the actual displays, record keeping is an important tool to know what to bring each week and also what crops have higher values to increase profitability, so they will go over their farm’s simple but valuable system of record-keeping, which can show how some crops can earn them over $200,000 per acre!

Panel: CSA Software
with Small Farm Central, Farmigo, and HarvestHand
While managing a CSA can save time in terms of finding markets for products, it does require a significant amount of time in member management and communication. Learn from this panel of representatives of different CSA management software options how these tools can help you find efficiencies in how you run your CSA.

Part 1: Promote to Build Your Farm Business
with Roger Snowdon
Many farmers are great at growing things, but marketing them is a whole other skill set. Whether you have a budget for promotion or not, this session will leave you with many practical steps you can take away to better promote your farm business. You will learn: how messaging makes multipurpose content development easier; how to use visual stories and storytelling; how to give the media what they want; about body language and the power of oral imagery to support your message and your relationship with customers; and how to cascade promotional material to increase value.

Part 2: Promote to Build Your Farm Business
with Roger Snowdon
(Continuation from above).

Considering the Marketing Co-operative
with Amanda Hachey
This session will explore CSA and direct marketing co-ops by looking at examples from across North America. If you are curious about how to get one started, we will look at ways to form a co-op and present what supports there are in the Maritimes for co-operatives. (Bilingual speaker)

Scaling Up Your CSA
with Josh Oulton and Kent Coates
The CSA model has seen an incredible rise in popularity in recent years. While more farms are incorporating this model into their operations, existing CSAs have plenty of opportunity to increase their shares to capture more of this growing market. Learn from two of the largest CSA operations in the Maritimes how to manage such growth successfully.


Part 1: Growing Table Grapes in Cold Climates
Since 2006, Claude Gélineau has been researching and field trialing varieties of table grapes suitable for the cold Québec climate. Not only has Claude found successful table grape varieties suitable for the Canadian climate, but he has outlined organic management practices utilizing biodynamic principles. This two-hour presentation is your introduction to organic table grape production for Atlantic Canada. (Presentation in French; Bilingual speaker) Interpretation offered

Part 2: Growing Table Grapes in Cold Climates
Since 2006, Claude Gélineau has been researching and field trialing varieties of table grapes suitable for the cold Québec climate. Not only has Claude found successful table grape varieties suitable for the Canadian climate, but he has outlined organic management practices utilizing biodynamic principles. This two-hour presentation is your introduction to organic table grape production for Atlantic Canada. (Presentation in French; Bilingual speaker) Interpretation offered

Managing the Spotted Wing Drosophila Organically
Have you ever had a traveler overstay their welcome? This world traveler wasn’t invited in the first place, but the door was opened in the global food system, and the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) has made itself comfortable in Atlantic Canada. If you grow *any* fruit crop, please join Dr. Deb Moreau for this one hour overview of the Spotted Wing Drosophila, a NEW pest that has just recently invaded Canada from Asia. Dr. Moreau will describe field monitoring and identification techniques, and present results from the field counts performed across Atlantic Canada in 2012 and 2013. Organic control options will be discussed. A station will be set up for growers to make their own monitoring cups.

Organic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy Arnold
The Arnolds will compare the matted row system with their annual bed system of producing strawberries on Biotelo plastic and raised beds. They will detail plug production from tips, soil and bed preparation, weed control, fertility, planting techniques, disease/insect control, and crop values showing that strawberries can yield over $35,000 gross per acre.

Organic Management of the Nova Scotia Strawberry Virus Complex
Once bitten, twice shy- Avoid strawberry viruses by managing their vectors. John Lewis, horticulturist with Perennia, will provide an overview of strawberry viruses and their vectors, as well as more detailed information on the two viruses causing disease in Nova Scotia, including symptoms of infection, alternative hosts, acquisition and retention times. Scouting methods and critical control timings will be discussed and organic control options for vector management will also be reviewed. Cultural control practices will be discussed.

Fruit & Berry Network Development – Where to go from here?
 with Stephanie Compton
Calling all fruit and berry growers! Join Stephanie Compton, Fruit & Berry Network Coordinator in this roundtable brainstorming session- where to go from here? Stephanie will present an overview of the field days, workshops, market analysis and educational mission findings. As a group, we will decide how to proceed with the Fruit & Berry Network into the future.


Recipes for Growing High Quality Seed 
with Jodi Lew-Smith
In this workshop we’ll discuss the factors that affect seed quality in the various seed crop types that do best in our northeastern climate. Crop by crop we’ll look in detail at planting strategies, disease control, harvest timing, care and cleaning of harvested seed, and then, finally, factors outside our control. We’ll discuss some of the patterns we’ve noticed with respect to what makes seed production work for people and what factors might make for less-than-ideal seed quality situations. We’ll also talk briefly about the Great New Frontier of seed production in the northeast, which is protected production of biennial seed crops in unheated high tunnels.

Seed-borne Disease with Jodi Lew-Smith
As a seed grower, what diseases do I need to worry about? How do seed-borne diseases differ from all the other diseases I have to watch? Are there different categories of seed-borne disease? Well, the good news is that, while there are many diseases that can travel on seed, only a small number cause big problems. Dr. Jodi Lew-Smith of High Mowing Organic Seeds will talk about the types of pathogens that travel on seed, and the ways that seed-borne disease can be monitored and prevented. She’ll talk about some inexpensive ways to test and/or treat your stock seed before you plant it, and which specific diseases to watch for in your fields. She’ll discuss the few cases where you might tear up plants versus the many cases where you might treat symptoms but not worry about transport of disease on seed.

Creating Regionally Adapted Seed Genetics with Ken Taylor
Come to learn how you can create and select the best food genetics for your local food sustainability. Regionally adapted genetics can be bred and selected by farmers and private landowners like you. This workshop will focus on open-pollinated perennial foods such as fruit, nuts, berries and even some perennial veggies. Workshop participants will be provided with some select genetics to take home to start their own seed breeding trials!

Beyond the Basics: Saving Vegetable Seeds 
with Andrea Berry
Mastered peas and beans? Join Andrea Berry of Hope Seeds (Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia) for this workshop about how to take your seed saving or production to the next level! Andrea will start the workshop by sharing some of her successful techniques (and not so successful experiments) saving seeds from the more challenging vegetable crops. She’ll guide a round-room discussion on topics including pollination strategies, overwintering seed crops, special equipment needs, and how to handle difficult weather and growing conditions for delicate seed crops.

Saving Grain Seed 
with Loïc Dewavrin
This presentation will cover seed saving practices and techniques on an organic grain operation and the 
challenges in producing high quality organic grain seed. (Bilingual speaker)

Panel: The Business of Seed 
with Andrea Berry, Gilberte Doelle, and Angus Mellish
Getting the perspectives of a local seed entrepreneur, a representative of a medium-scale local seed company, and a contract seed producer, this facilitated discussion will explore the nature of commercial seed in Atlantic Canada. What are the challenges? What models exist to address them? What are the opportunities for seed producers to carve a meaningful niche in the seed production world?


Things to Know About Growing Mixes
with Rob English
This workshop will look at three components commonly used in growing vegetables and seedlings: compost, greenhouse mixes and worm castings. It will provide a basic tutorial about principles involved in each of these components and the different techniques employed in producing these types of products. A guide will be presented of what to look for and questions to ask of your supplier. This workshop will also give some basic guidance for those who wish to produce their own compost and greenhouse mixes. Finally, a brief review of growing trials conducted this past spring will be presented.

Building the Best Soil
with Paul & Sandy Arnold
The Arnolds started with very poor soils in 1988 and have built them up to grow healthy, diverse crops. They will detail how they analyze soil tests, calculate amendments and choose fertilizers. Their system of mulching with chopped hay/straw to increase/maintain organic matter and control weeds will be shown through many photos. Other topics for soil health, such as cover crops and compost, will be reviewed.

Albrecht Method
with Eltjo van Cingel
In this session, agricultural consultant Eltjo van Cingel will address soil fertility through an Albrecht soil analysis, focusing on specific minerals and life in the soil. He will also provide recommendations for soil amendments that can improve both the fertility and productivity of a soil. Interpretation offered

The Nature & Property of Soils
with Dr. Andrew Hammermeister
This workshop will cover advanced soil topics, discussing the origin of soils–and thereby, the origin of different soil types and properties. Interpretation offered

Part One: Nutrient Dense Crops
with Dan Kittredge
Dan Kittredge will lead participants to grasp and apply innovative and reliable principles and practices for producing more nutritious food crops that result in healthier lives. The learning focus of the series includes soil biology, mineralogy and energy dynamics. Participants will gain an increasing depth of understanding about the multi-faceted nature of the biological system of the soil and the interaction that takes place between the soil, the air, the plants and our observations and interventions. Interpretation offered

Part Two:
Nutrient Dense Crops with Dan Kittredge
This session will detail practices and techniques to apply throughout the growing season, laying out a plan for the year including when to till and to what depth, as well as other specific recommendations regarding soil management to improve nutritional quality of crops. Interpretation offered

Friday, November 22nd


Managing Pest & Disease in Organic Vegetables
with Tim Livingstone
Currently growing over 40 vegetable crops plus strawberries, raspberries and blueberries all certified organic on about 11 acres, Tim Livingstone of Strawberry Hill Farm will share what have proven to be his most successful (and not so successful) pest and disease management strategies in his vegetable crops.

Brix & Growing Quality Vegetables
with Dan Kittredge
As a reading of sugar, amino acid, oil, protein, flavonoid, and mineral content, brix levels provide us with the opportunity to measure quality in vegetables, and thereby monitor efforts to increase nutrient density of crops. This workshop will provide an overview of what brix is and how to incorporate it into your farm, concluding with an extended Q&A session. Please note Dan Kittredge’s Thursday sessions on Nutrient Dense Crops are a pre-requisite to this workshop.

Economics of Wholesale Vegetable Production
with Matt Dykerman
The infrastructure to scale up vegetable production for a wholesale market can be costly, but there are ways to manage such investments and expansions on your farm to turn a profit. Join Matt Dykerman of Red Soil Organics for an analysis of the income and costs related to his own experiences in wholesale vegetable production on 60+ acres.

Panel: Mechanical Weeding Techniques
with Josh Oulton, Mike Carr, and Kent Coates
Weed pressure is a challenge for all organic crops, and there are a variety of mechanical techniques to control them. Our panelists will detail which cultivating tools they find useful for which crops, and other valuable lessons learned in weed management for vegetable crops.


Oilseed Production
with Loïc Dewavrin
Loïc Dewavrin’s family farm has been producing organic sunflower oil for twenty years with their on-site cold-press facility. Join Loïc to learn from his experience with this and other oilseed crops––from seed to oil! (Bilingual speaker)

Agro-Bio: Experiences in a Grain Co-operative
with Loïc Dewavrin
As an active board member of La Coop Agro-Bio du Québec, Loïc Dewavrin will demonstrate how organic grain producers are working together to respond to regional challenges and improve marketing of their products. (Bilingual speaker)

Understanding & Controlling Weeds
with Dr. Andrew Hammermeister
Fundamentally, an understanding of weeds and what they can help you determine about your farm’s soil and fertility, will help you understand how to manage weeds in your crops. Over the years, the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada has participated in many field trials and tests to determine new and effective weed control measures for organic field crop production.  This workshop will venture into some of the best methods to employ for our region. Interpretation offered

Organic No-till Soybeans
with Sébastien Angers
No-till production offers many soil conservation benefits, but of course, tillage is widely used as weed control in organic field crop production. Learn how this alternative production method can be applied effectively in organic soybean production. (Presentation in French; Bilingual speaker) Interpretation offered


Animal Management
with Sébastien Angers
In this workshop, Sébastien Angers will provide an overview of what he has found to be the most effective strategies for managing organic livestock on his own pastured pork and grass-fed beef operation. (Presentation in French; Bilingual speaker) Interpretation offered

Intensive Pasture
 Management with Sébastien Angers
Join Sébastien Angers of Les Viandes Rheintal for an overview of intensive organic pasture management. Angers will detail the techniques he uses on his own farm raising pastured pork and grass-fed beef. (Presentation in French; Bilingual speaker) Interpretation offered

On-Farm & Off-Farm Processing
with Guylaine Buecheli
Speaking from her own experience overseeing her family farm’s value-added meat processing, Guylaine Buecheli will share the pros & cons and dos & don’ts related to processing options for livestock and value-added meat products.

Opportunities & Options for Organic Dairy in the Maritimes with Roger Henry and Alyson Chisholm
The presenters will open up this interactive session with a brief overview of cow (commercial/hobbyist) and goat (hobbyist) dairy opportunities followed by an open discussion. The speakers have a good working knowledge of on-farm processing, feed requirements, and certification issues, and will touch on the topics of market opportunities and profitability.


Sourdough Bread-making 101
with Tegan Wong-Daugherty & Speerville Flour Mill
Learn all about the unique properties and deeply localized nature of sourdough leavened bread. You will learn how to start and care for your own sourdough at home as well as try your hand at shaping prepared dough and baking them off in Speerville’s Panyol wood-fired oven. All participants must come with their hair tied back and if possible your own apron. Recipes will be given and you will get to taste the results at the Friday lunch!

Demystifying Food Labels: Understanding the Organic Claim
with Jodi Koberinski
This workshop will unravel some of the complexities and misconceptions of organic foods. Jodi will help the audience to better understand food labels and understand the legitimacy of the organic claim. Included in this will be a discussion of the difference between claims and labels such as organic and natural, sustainable and ecological, and a comparison of these with the concept of ‘local.’ With an explanation of how certification works, listeners will understand how they know that their food is organic and how to find it.

Organic Vegetable Growing From the Ground Up 
with Alyson Chisholm
This workshop is a brief introduction to the world of organic vegetable growing and will cover the principles of organics, choosing a garden site, soil building, composting, garden planning for a continuous harvest and pest, disease and weed management. Because of limited time topics will be covered very briefly and there will be lists of resources given for more information.

Preparing Whole Foods 
with Diane Savoie
With plenty of instructional demos, this workshop will deliver some of the basics of cooking from scratch. While the focus will be on food preparation, participants will learn the whole cycle of food transformation: from starting with whole ingredients fresh from the garden to preparing them without creating waste, except what can be returned to the earth as compost. (Bilingual speaker)

CLOSING PLENARY: Demanding Organics for Health
with Jodi Koberinski
Jodi Koberinski, Executive Director of the Organic Council of Ontario, will begin by providing a brief overview of Canada’s organic sector – its history, the development and adoption of national standards, and the current state of the sector. She will then look at some of the studies being used to discredit organic foods and how their findings are being misused to draw conclusions by addressing common scientific “blunders” like “third-party authority.” Finally, she will walk the audience through the overwhelming body of evidence pointing to the health benefits of organic foods as well as the many environmental benefits of organic agriculture that are often unacknowledged by negative press. Interpretation offered

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