I recently completed a course offered by Johns Hopkins through an online service called Coursera. It was totally free and provided a lot of great readings on food system issues.
I’ll pass along some readings at some point.
I wanted to recap some of the amazing things that I saw and learned at the Organic Growers School in Asheville March 8th and 9th. I have been to the Carolina Farm Stewardship conference twice but never have been to OGS. It was fantastic. I wanted to pass along some of the things I learned and hope that you can use them.
The first class was MicroHydro Electricity with Bob and Pat Momich. What is basically boils down to is for a system they were looking at prices ranging from $7,300 to $9,500. There are cheaper ways to go but these systems provide a quality power input with reliability. Below is a copy of the handout given in class that has some great resources and a breakdown of the costs.
Growing & Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal, and other Woodland Medicinals with Jeanine Davis was the second class I took. It was also great and got me interested in the production power of our forest lands. (Bonus: Jeanine is our Friends of Ag Breakfast speaker this Wednesday the 19th) Below are some great resources:
Lastly, Jeanine is also just about to launch a revised copy of her book with the same name of the presentation, available May 2014, you can pre-order the book here.
The third class I took was a half day workshop on Drystone Masonry with Dry Stone Joe. I have rock walls throughout the property that I own but are all held together with mortar – the art of dry stacking and shaping and placing rocks was fun to watch and learn. He teaches workshops through WNC and has a website with alot of great resources and I have listed below three of the websites specifically that he mentioned.
Sunday was Permaculture day, I spent all day in one place listening to some amazing ideas. The first class was Innovative Horticultural Strategies for a New Permaculture Century with Chuck Marsh of Useful Plants Nursery. I was lucky and unfortunate enough to eat dinner with Chuck at the CFSA conference – lucky because I had 3,000 questions to ask him and unfortunate because I felt terrible and asked all of two. Chuck went over an amazing amount of stuff but three things I walked away with were – coppicing is a great way to harvest wood and to keep your fruit trees forever young, living fences are amazing, and deep bed gardening is an impressive way to grow.
The next class was with Zev Friedman and was entitled Real Life Forest Gardening and Farming. This was also really interesting and one of the things I walked away wanting to know even more about was The Milpa Cycle – the three sisters garden’s grandmother.
The Organic Growers’ School was really amazing and I hope you will consider going next year. There’s nothing quite like a fresh perspective and to be energized for the coming growing season. The School also features classes throughout the year so it is well worth your time to look at their website and see what classes they have coming up.
So when I heard of this program from Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy I was so amazed at the initiative of these folks. Alot of folks look at conservancy from a narrow point of view and sometimes they do have a specific scope of work but this is right along the lines of what is needed in our region and aside from that it is a great opportunity for a new farmer. Check out the details below and follow up with them soon – deadline is April 1st, 2014.
Patrick pointed me to a recent Christian Science Monitor article about one man on a beekeeping mission. “Andrew Coté travels the world teaching beekeeping as a way to help alleviate poverty in underserved communities…”
Additional NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/nyregion/connecticut/30colct.html
Carolina Farm Stewardship is offering an awesome opportunity to learn from the best, Dr. john Navazio of the Organic Seed Alliance and with none of that drive 4 hours to Raleigh junk either – he’s comin’ to the mountains! On Thursday, March 20th from 9 am to 1 pm he will be at the Mountain Horticultural Research Station. This is an awesome opportunity and not to be missed. More details below:
Congratulations are due for two Polk County farmers for grants received from the WNC Ag Options program.
First is Chauncey Barber, our esteemed ag teacher at the high school:
Secondly, is Steve Modlin of Old Mule Farm
Way to go!