Tradd Cotter is a microbiologist, professional mycologist, and organic gardener, who has been tissue culturing, collecting native fungi in the Southeast, and cultivating both commercially and experimentally for more than twenty-two years. In 1996, he founded Mushroom Mountain, which he owns and operates with his wife, Olga, to explore applications for mushrooms in various industries and currently maintains over 200 species of fungi for food production, mycoremediation of environmental pollutants, and natural alternatives to chemical pesticides. His primary interest is in low-tech and no-tech cultivation strategies so that anyone can grow mushrooms on just about anything. Tradd Cotter is the author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation: Simple to Advanced and Experimental Techniques for Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation.

Richard Wiswall is owner / operator of Cate Farm in East Montpelier, VT, where he has been farming organically for over 30 years. Known for his work on farm profitability and appropriate business tools, he has consulted with over 70 farmers in New England, helping them increase profitability and meet their long term goals. Richard is author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook- A Complete guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff- and Making a Profit, and gives workshops frequently on the subject of farm business.

Dru Rivers grew up in rural Vermont for her first 18 years. She moved to California to attend the University of California Davis where she studied Plant Science and Entomology. Here she become involved in the burgeoning sustainable agriculture movement and met her husband Paul. They moved to their present farm in the beautiful Capay Valley in 1984 and continue to farm there with their 4 children, spouses and farm partners! Full Belly Farm has been a certified organic farm since 1985 and currently grows over 100 different crops on 400 acres.

Coach Mark Smallwood has been dedicated to promoting organic agriculture, environmental stewardship, efficiency and conservation for more than 30 years. He is a long-time organic farmer and biodynamic gardener, raising chickens, goats, sheep and pigs, and driving his own team of oxen.

Coach has expanded research efforts at Rodale Institute to explore the connection between soil, food and health. He brought heritage livestock back to Rodale Institute’s 333-acre farm, created a Honeybee Conservancy to train and steward backyard bee keepers, and launched “Your 2 Cents,” a national campaign to support and promote new organic farmers.

Prior to joining Rodale Institute, Coach served as the Mid-Atlantic Green Mission Specialist and Local Forager at Whole Foods Market, and was the first Environmental Coordinator at MOM’s Organic Market. As his name suggests, Coach was also a public school educator and basketball coach.

Rachel Armstrong is the Executive Director and founder of Farm Commons, a nonprofit legal services organization dedicated to providing the proactive legal resources sustainable farmers need to become the stable, resilient foundation of a community-based food system. Rachel’s passion for farming goes way back to the days when she proudly proclaimed that she wanted to be a farmer when she grew up. Rachel has lived out that dream in many ways, from working on farms to managing a community garden, starting a catering company that featured local foods and running a nonprofit local foods consulting program. Although she never dreamed of becoming an attorney, when Rachel realized how keenly the farming community needed quality legal information, she felt compelled. Now, Rachel loves resolving the business legal issues that hinder farmers from achieving their goals.

Laura Fisher handles Farm Commons’ communications and outreach. She has always been fascinated with all things food-related. A growing interest in the “how” of the food system led her to pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Education with a concentration in sustainable agriculture. Upon completing the degree, Laura realized that her education was missing a key component – knowing what it really took to grow the kind of food that she was advocating for. In a quest for a practical education, Laura worked on farms, community gardens, and urban agriculture projects around New York City. She became interested in supporting the farmers that she met and in helping them thrive as business owners and the backbone of our food system. Today, Laura particularly enjoys engaging with and learning from the talented and hard-working members of the Farm Commons community.

Stacey Murphy, the host of this event, is a radical systems designer and farmer activist. Founder of BK Farmyards and Farmyard Bootcamp, she has initiated urban farms and CSA’s, curated online and on-the-ground agricultural and entrepreneurial trainings, and co-created hands-on, holistic food systems classes for high school students in Brooklyn, NY. Stacey’s online 8-week course helps beginning small plot farmers develop their business plans and strategize how to effectively manage resources to grow more food.

Joel Salatin is a third generation beyond organic farmer and author whose family owns and operates Polyface Farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The farm produces salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, forage-based rabbits and direct markets everything to 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, and 10 retail outlets. A prolific author, Salatin's nine books to date include both how-to and big picture themes. The farm features prominently in Michael Pollan's NYT bestseller Omnivore's Dilemma and the award-winning documentary, Food Inc.

Nannett Cepero grew up in a family of gardeners and plant lovers. Plants are part of her heritage, her education, and her everyday life. After college she worked in higher education but kept her studies in ethnobotany and cultural anthropology as a hobby. She recently completed a seminary program and during her seminary experience she decided to return to her passion to feed people and increase awareness in North America of the various edible plants that exist around the world. Her plant collection is ever expanding and her adventures in container growing of exotics and unusual plants from around the world continues to fill her days. She loves to share her success and failures with people, she knows we learn from our mistakes as well as our successes, and she advocates for urban farming and biodiversity, along with consulting and giving presentations on exotic and uncommon plants for container gardening and farming.

Crystal Stewart joined Cornell Cooperative Extension in 2007 as the horticulture and agriculture educator in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Today, Crystal's areas of emphasis include organic horticulture, small and beginning farmers assistance, and basic farm business management. Previously, Crystal was a Regional Extension Educator with the South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension providing horticulture support.

Chris Wayne is the FARMroots Director at GrowNYC, where he develops and manages technical assistance for both beginning and established farmers who sell through the Greenmarket Program. His focus is land transition, succession and marketing projects.

Chris came to GrowNYC in 2009 after 2 years of small scale fruit and vegetable farming in Costa Rica and a childhood on his dad's farm in Danbury, CT. After a season as a Greenmarket manager, Chris joined the team of the New Farmer Development Project, where he helped to identify, educate, and support immigrant farmers to start environmentally and economically sustainable farms within 200 miles of NYC. In 2010 Chris stepped into the role of Beginning Farmer Coordinator, where he managed workshop, mentorship, business training, and micro-loan programming for aspiring farmers.

 

Connor Stedman is an agroforester, ecological designer, and educator based in the Hudson Valley of New York.  His work integrates sustainable farming practices with multi-resource forest management and conservation science.  Connor works as a designer and planner with AppleSeed Permaculture LLC and as a writer, organizer, and consultant with Greenhorns and the Agrarian Trust.  His writing been published in Small Farms Quarterly, the Permaculture Activist, and the New Farmer's Almanac.  Connor holds an M.S. in Ecological Planning from the University of Vermont.

Dennis Derryck is the Founder and President of Corbin Hill Food Project and a Professor of Professional Practice at New School University. With 30 years of experience linking theory to practice, his experiences span the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Dennis was the first Managing Director of the Food and Industrial Products Company (FIPCO), a holding company based in Liberia, West Africa. In three years, he grew FIPCO’s revenues from $1 million to $4 million by importing foods from across three continents and distributing these food items in difficult geographic and political environments. FIPCO was among five organizations that he led as successful start-ups or successfully turned around. Dennis has overseen the development of social ventures at the New School through his Social Entrepreneurship through Design course and his Community Development practicum, where his graduate students have won the JP Morgan Chase Community Development Competition four out of eight years. He was most recently the Chair of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and is currently Vice Chair of the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO).

Lindsey Lusher Shute is the Executive Director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition (NYFC), a membership-based organization dedicated to the success of the next generation of sustainable farmers in the United States. NYFC’s supporter network includes thousands of farmers and consumers from all fifty states, who work together to advocate for change in federal policy, develop new farm technology through the Farm Hack project and solve local issues through regional NYFC chapters. Lindsey regularly speaks at conferences and meetings across the nation, advocating for practical and policy solutions that will help beginning farmers build independent and sustainable farms. Lindsey and her husband run Hearty Roots Community Farm, a 600-member CSA farm, in the Hudson River Valley. Lindsey’s first growing experience was at the Red Shed Community Garden in Brooklyn, which she built from the ground up with neighbors.

Growing up in Northwest Connecticut, Zach Wolf was surrounded by farms and protected land.  He spent time outside of high school learning carpentry from his father, farming with family and friends, and eventually working as a field assistant at Aton Forest Ecological Research Station, in Norfolk, Conn. Once he read Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America in 2000, he never again saw the rural landscape in the same way.  After graduating from Columbia University with a B.S. in biology, Zach returned to Connecticut to work at Whippoorwill Farm, a 400-acre grass-fed beef operation. From 2009 – 2011, he served as field foreman at Stone Barns Center, and then went on to co-manage The Locusts on Hudson, an 80-acre estate in Staatsburg, N.Y., where he has raised livestock, vegetables and herbs and developed an on-farm apprentice-training program.

Zach returned to Stone Barns Center in spring 2014 to direct the Growing Farmers Initiative, where his goal is to redefine farming as a viable career option and to help train the next generation of farmers as conservationists. Meanwhile, he will continue to farm at The Locusts to maintain on-the-ground connections to agriculture.

Before starting his urban farm in the fall of 2009, Curtis Stone had absolutely no previous experience in farming or even gardening. In 2008, Permaculture inspired him to become an active participant in society. After touring off-grid homesteads, eco-villages and urban farms down the west coast, from Kelowna to San Diego, he returned to Kelowna to try his hand at SPiN farming. After completing a successful and profitable first season in 2010, Curtis is a case study example that the methods taught are simple and easily transferable to anyone. His methods require very little investment, and there’s no need to own land or heavy machinery. Through the off-season, Curtis speaks on food-related issues and is a consultant for multiple community food projects.

Kevin Egolf is an impact investing professional focusing his efforts on socially responsible farmland investing. His passion for sustainable agriculture and extensive finance background naturally led him into the growing impact investing field and towards agriculture. Through Iroquois Valley Farms, a leader in triple bottom line impact farmland investing, and Local Farms Fund, an early stage farmer land access venture in the NY Foodshed, Kevin helps investors achieve social and environmental benefits alongside financial returns. Prior to his work in socially responsible farmland investing, Kevin spent several years in investment banking and private equity developing extensive experience in corporate valuation, transaction management and fundraising. Kevin is a graduate of Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts in both Economics and Computer Science. Kevin is also the wrestling coach at Hunter College High School in New York City.

Tammy Howard is a native Coloradoan who came to the National Center for Appropriate Technology via a long stint of farming and sustainable agriculture work in the New York State and Arizona.  At NCAT, Tammy works as a Sustainable Agricultural Specialist with an emphasis on farmers market nutrition programs, beginning farm business planning, market gardening, and other horticultural topics.  She works extensively setting up farmers market SNAP programs in Montana and with beginning farmers throughout the country providing technical assistance on business planning, marketing, and goals setting.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture Food Crops from Colorado State University and a master’s in Food Systems Studies from Antioch University.  She lives in Belgrade, Montana and enjoys hiking and trail running and dabbling on her flower farm in her spare time.

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Enjoy this clip from Joel Salatin: Where would he look for land?

Joel Salatin Extra: Lessons from Australia's indigenous people

Who is this event for?

This event is dedicated to new farmers starting their first farm; WWOOFers & apprentices transitioning to become Farm Managers; visionaries contemplating changing their career to farming; and families of farmers who want to understand the business more.  NOTE: A small farm is any business that grows and sells at least $1000 in agricultural products in a year, not exceeding $250,000 in sales. Whatever end of the spectrum you are on, you need tools to understand what parts of your farm are the keys to your long term prosperity.

Why This Event?

Living off the land is not always easy. If you don’t have a mentor who knows the ropes, chances are you’ll make some costly mistakes.  Join a group of extraordinary farmers and practitioners as they share their business expertise and how to avoid the most common pitfalls.

• Do you want to learn how to ethically grow the most with the available resources ?
• Do you want to participate in the discussion of how small farms could feed the world?
• Do you want to be a part of a movement that is building biodiversity and  local community resilience?
• Do you feel called to live a lifestyle deeply connected to the earth?
• Are you ready to inherit the experience of elders?

What are the benefits of signing up?

• Learn effective decision-making processes for farm businesses.
• Assess the risks associated with starting a farm business.
• Stop ignoring the marketing component of your business and sell more goods.
• Focus on your farm's (or future farm's) environmental AND economical sustainability.
• Listen in with your family so that they can support your decision to become a farmer.

Please join us!

Your host, Stacey Murphy

 

What you'll learn

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18TH
Chris Wayne: Stealing Market Savvy - Standing Out at the Farmers Market
Rachel Armstrong & Laura Fisher: Farm Risk Management
Crystal Stewart: Holistic Management Decision Making
Tradd Cotter: Mushroom Cultivation & Production

THURSDAY, MARCH 19TH
Richard Wiswall: Farming Smarter, Not Harder
Mark Smallwood: Can Small Farm Organic Production Feed the World?
Nannett Cepero: Five Uncommon Crops in Cold Urban Areas
Tammy Hinman: Goal Setting for New Farmers

FRIDAY, MARCH 20TH
Lindsey Shute: How You Can Help National Young Farmers’ Coalition Help You
Zach Wolf: Your Relationship to Soil Fertility Management
Kevin Egolf: Farmland Access Strategies for Aspiring Farmers
Curtis Stone: Small Plot Farming >> on Borrowed Land

SATURDAY, MARCH 21ST
HOST Stacey Murphy: Understanding Your Finances - Tips & Strategies
Dennis Derryck: Growing the Local Movement with Food Hubs
Connor Stedman: Five Research & Development Opportunities for Regenerative Agriculture
Dru RiversProduction Flower Farming
Joel SalatinFarm Strategies from Polyface Farms

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