Apple juggling
Events: February 2011

Beginner Beekeeping Classes

Tuesday, February 1 9:30PM - Wednesday, February 2 12:00AM | West Greenwich, RI | directions | website

Feb 1, 10 (Thurs), 15, 22, March 1 (6:30-9:00 PM)

The classes will cover everything the beginning beekeeper needs to know. Subjects will include getting started, the honeybee life cycle, choosing an apiary site, buying bees and equipment, assembly of the hive, installing package bees, catching swarms, nectar sources, bee diseases and pests, hive inspections and wintering. There will be a variety of beekeeping equipment displayed and demonstrated each week.

The cost for these beginner classes is $50.00 per person. This includes all course materials, a textbook and current dues in the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association. Additional family members at the same address may attend for $5.00 each. (In this case, the entire family will be a member of the organization but will receive only one textbook and one set of handouts). Advance registration is required. To enroll, write a check payable to the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association or RIBA and send to:

Rhode Island Beekeepers Association
c/o Rob Mortin
366 Ten Rod Road
North Kingstown, RI 02852

For additional information, call Betty Mencucci at 568-8449, Mark Robar 539-0434, or Lou Chasse 295-0888. For more information and to print out a registration form, go to:

Hosted by RI Beekeepers Association at the Metcalf School: 930 Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich, RI.

Contact Mark Robar by e-mail for more information.

Canada Goose Abatement for Livestock and Agricultural Producers

Wednesday, February 2 10:00PM - Thursday, February 3 12:00AM | Tiverton, RI | directions

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in partnership with the RI State Conservation Committee and RI Conservation Districts is offering two workshops on Canada Goose abatement for livestock and agricultural producers in Bristol County, RI. This workshop will assist you in developing a plan for goose management and is funded through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) which provides technical and financial assistance to address conservation issues.

Resident Canada Geese populations can inflict significant damage on agricultural land in the form of water quality impairment, crop loss, and subsequent erosion. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, geese also produce heavy concentrations of fecal droppings which can lead to excess nutrient enrichment of ponds and lakes. The additional nutrients then lead to excessive plant growth such as algae and other nuisance plants. Rapid increases in algae can then limit the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water for other aquatic organisms. These large, dense geese populations also pose a risk to other species of birds through transmission of avian diseases.

To mitigate effects on water quality, NRCS is offering a pilot conservation program to help manage resident Canada goose populations. Conservation practices eligible for financial assistance through the EQIP program include Tree and Shrub Establishment, Early Successional Habitat Management, Conservation Cover, Fencing, Upland Wildlife Management, and Wetland Wildlife Management.

Livestock and agricultural producers in Bristol County, RI are encouraged to attend the workshop to learn about Canada Geese and strategies for coexistence with them. The workshop will discuss the natural history of the Canada Goose; resident versus migrant populations; human/goose conflict; Federal, State and local regulations; and strategies for mitigating goose problems.

Hosted by Natural Resources Conservation Service at the Eastern Conservation District Office: 2490 Main Rd, Tiverton, RI.

Contact Walter Marshall at (401) 349-0262 or by e-mail for more information.

Intro to Poultry Workshop

Thursday, February 3 | 9:00PM - 11:00PM | Lowell, MA | directions | website

The NESFP Poultry Workshop Series will consist of five workshops and will cover all aspects of raising pasture poultry. A focus will be on meat bird production, ranging from coop design to processing.

Workshop 1: Intro to Poultry Farming

In our first workshop we will introduce different poultry enterprises and discuss material sourcing and regulations that affect poultry production.We will host a guest poultry farmer and take time to answer questions and concerns within the group.

Registration required. $15 (free for Farm Business Planning course students and graduates). Contact Sam for more information.

Hosted by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project at the New Entry Office: 9 Central St. Suite 402, Lowell, MA.

Contact Sam Anderson at (978) 654-6745 or by e-mail for more information.

Soil Food Web Workshop

Saturday, February 5 | 1:00PM - 3:00PM | Charlestown, RI | directions | website

Join us and others with similar interests as we work to beat the winter blues by exploring what goes on under that layer of snow, ice and frozen earth.
This workshop will explore the relationship between soil and soil organisms and the impact these relationships have on plants.

If you are an educator, environmentalist, ecologist, landscaper, gardener, composter, or just plain curious about what is going on in the natural world around you and the soil under your feet, this workshop will be of interest to you.

Cost is $40. Contact Nancy at for more information.

Hosted by The Worm Ladies at the Worm Ladies of Charlestown: 204 East Beach Rd, Charlestown, RI.

Contact Nancy Warner at (401) 322-7675 or by e-mail for more information.

RI Local Food Forum

Tuesday, February 8 | 11:30AM - 5:30PM | Providence, RI | directions | website

A networking opportunity for farmers, chefs, food service buyers, and public health professionals.

This year's theme is "Fresh Where We Work". In addition to general networking and local food discussion, there will be a special focus on efforts to get fresh local food into hospitals, schools, workplace cafeterias and other institutional food service.

Registration online. Free.

Hosted by Farm Fresh RI and Brown Dining Services at the Andrews Dining Hall, Brown University: Cushing St & Brown St., Providence, RI.

Contact Hannah Mellion at (401) 312-4250 or by e-mail for more information.

Farm Labor Management: Introduction to Labor Law

Tuesday, February 8 9:00PM - Wednesday, February 9 12:00AM | South Deerfield, MA | directions | website

CISA's 2011 winter workshop series for farmers will focus on labor management with information and strategies for hiring and managing your labor needs.

The series will be made up of six workshops starting February 8th and ending by early April. Workshop are $10 for Local Hero Members and $15 for non members to cover the cost of dinner. Discounts available for attending the whole series.

This session will focus on the legal aspects of hiring and staffing. Presenters will discuss aspects of labor management that commonly impact farm businesses such as fair wage and labor laws, child labor laws, health insurance requirements, the law as it relates to volunteers/interns/apprentices, the Farm Workers Act, etc. We will use this session to put labor into a farm context and cover alternatives to paid labor and efficiency improvements. We will also provide participants with tools and resources to identify their current areas of weakness.

Hosted by CISA at the CISA: 1 Sugarloaf St, South Deerfield, MA.

Contact Devon at (413) 665-7100 or by e-mail for more information.

Rhode Island Farmers Market Association Meeting

Thursday, February 10 | 4:30PM - 6:30PM | Providence, RI | directions

There will be a meeting of the Rhode Island Farmers Market Association on Thursday February 10th at 1:30 pm at the DEM Division of Agriculture Office at 235 Promenade Street Providence RI 02908 Room 370

Please send someone to represent your farmers markets.

Hosted by DEM Division of Agriculture at the DEM Division of Ag Office: 235 Promenade St Room 370, Providence, RI.

Contact Pete Susi at (401) 222-2781 x4517 or by e-mail for more information.

Sweetest Squash Competition

Saturday, February 12 | 2:00PM - 3:00PM | Pawtucket, RI | directions | website

Come celebrate Valentine’s Day at the Market and dazzle us with your most delicious desserts made with any variety of squash.
Use butternut squash to create a delicious custard, or bake an acorn squash into a subtle flan, or why not try a spaghetti squash pie?. . the list goes on!

Contest begins at 11am! So bring your dish to the Greenhouse (room adjacent to large hallway) by 10:30am.

Please bring a serving utensil and we'll provide the sampling cups.

Lots of squash still available at the Wintertime Farmers Markets. Visit these farms: Wishingstone Farm, Freedom Food Farm, Schartner Farms, North Star Farm, Silverbrook Farm, Pezza Farm

Guest judges and prizes!

Hosted by Farm Fresh RI at the Saturday Wintertime Farmers Market: 1005 Main St, Pawtucket, RI.

Contact Sarah Lester at (401) 312-4250 or by e-mail for more information.

Farm Labor Management: Employer Obligations

Wednesday, February 16 9:00PM - Thursday, February 17 12:00AM | South Deerfield, MA | directions | website

2nd in a 6-part series. Workshops are $10 for Local Hero Members and $15 for non members to cover the cost of dinner.

Jose Ocasio from the MA Division of Career Services will review traditional paid farm labor. Many farmers in our region use or are considering H2A programs, weed or picking crews and the use of other hired hands. He will review the legal requirements of these types of labor, hiring options, as well as the mechanisms for acquiring labor through government programs. This session will also review the range of employee benefits that farms need to consider from legal requirements, such as workers compensation, minimum wage, W-4/W-9 forms, unemployment insurance benefits, IRA plans, EIN numbers, W-2's and W-3's, Form 943 to health care, etc.

Hosted by CISA at the CISA: 1 Sugarloaf St, South Deerfield, MA.

Contact Devon at (413) 665-7100 or by e-mail for more information.

History of Dairy Farms in RI

Wednesday, February 16 10:00PM - Thursday, February 17 12:00AM | N. Scituate, RI | directions

The Scituate Preservation Society is sponsoring a presentation by Richard Greenwood entitled Out to Pasture: The History of Dairy Farms in RI on Wednesday, The Scituate Rotary Club will be guests of the Society and will provide a pot luck supper at 6:30 PM prior to the lecture.

Hosted by Scituate Preservation Society at the N. Scituate Grange Hall: 706 Hartford Pike, N. Scituate, RI.

Contact Sal Lombardi at (401) 647-0001 for more information.

Keep ‘Em Covered: Making Cover Crops Work for You

Thursday, February 17 | 1:00PM - 6:00PM | Sturbridge, MA | directions

This event is part of a three-year USDA/Northeast SARE Research & Education Project entitled Cover Cropping Strategies for Year-Round Weed Control on Mixed Vegetable Farms in Southern New England led by University of Rhode Island professor Rebecca Brown.

$20/person, includes lunch.

Featured presenters for the workshop include:
Ruth Hazzard (University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension) will share results of current research in the area of cover crops and small grains.
Andrew Sparda and Will Brinton (Woods End Laboratories, Inc.) will discuss the relationship between CO2 respiration and nitrogen availability in soil and compost.

Hosted by URI Cooperative Extension at the Stephen Brewer Theater: 1 Stallion Hill Rd, Sturbridge, MA.

Contact Kristen Vastrataro at (401) 874-2967 or by e-mail for more information.

RI Good Agricultural Practices Certification

Tuesday, February 22 | 12:00PM - 5:00PM | Kingston, RI | directions | website

We would like to invite current RIGAP certified growers and other RI growers interested in becoming RIGAP certified to our February 22nd training session which will be held at Building 75, URI East Farm, Route 108 in Kingston. This year’s training session will include a discussion by of RIGAP certified growers who will talk about their participation in the program and its benefits. As of 2010, 40 RI farms are RIGAP certified which represents a significant percentage of the state’s fruit and vegetable production. Also included in the session will be a brief discussion of the recently passed Food Safety Modernization Act that includes FDA “powers” and new general food safety requirements for all food processors and specific produce safety standards. Refreshments, including a light lunch, will be served.

The overall goal of the voluntary RI Good Agricultural Practices (RIGAP) Certification Program is to integrate food safety practices into farm production of fruits and vegetables. The program is based on the FDA/USDA-issued guidelines for producers of fresh fruits and vegetables which are designed to minimize the hazards of microbial contamination in produce. Food safety issues associated with personal hygiene practices of workers, application of compost and manure, sanitation and water quality are addressed in the RIGAP Certification Program.

URI Cooperative Extension and RIDEM Division of Agriculture are committed to offering this valuable program to Rhode Island growers. The RIGAP program, which has been in place since 2002, allows growers to be proactive rather than reactive. The RIGAP program offers growers the opportunities to utilize RIGAP certification as a marketing tool, be eligible to sell their produce as part of the RI farm to school program and finally, to be prepared to comply if required with the new food safety regulations.

How do I become a RIGAP Certified Grower?
• Participate in the February 22nd GAP Training Session. Topics covered include the GAP practices related to: personal hygiene practices of workers including illness and handwashing, sanitation in the field and packinghouse, and water quality.
• Farm visit(s) by Karen Menezes to discuss how you will and/or have implemented RIGAP practices.
• Successful completion of an on-farm audit conducted by RIDEM Division of Agriculture staff.
• Complete the required recertification yearly which is a farm visit/audit by RI DEM/Div of Ag.

After successful completion of the audit, you will receive RIGAP promotional materials which include: a Certificate of GAP Certification, consumer brochures, and signs to use wherever you sell your produce.

The University of Rhode Island is an equal opportunity employer committed to the principles of affirmative action
If you have questions about the program and/or would like to attend the training session on February 22nd, call Lori Pivarnik at 874-2972 or email her at To register complete the registration form and mail to: Lori Pivarnik, Cooperative Extension Food Safety Education Program, Nutrition and Food Science Center, 530 Liberty Lane, West Kingston, RI 02892 by February 15, 2011. Or you may email her at by February 15, 2011 with your registration information.

Hosted by URI Cooperative Extension and DEM Division of Ag at the URI East Farm Building 75: Route 108, Kingston, RI.

Contact Lori Pivarnik by e-mail for more information.

2nd Annual Ag Day - "Sustainability Standards & the Commonwealth Quality Seal"

Wednesday, February 23 | 12:00PM - 6:00PM | Topsfield, MA | directions

Northeast Harvest, MDAR and Umass Extension are hosting Ag Day on Wednesday, February 23rd from 9am to 3pm at Coolidge Hall at the Topsfield Fairgrounds. The topic will be "Sustainability Standards & the Commonwealth Quality Seal". During this meeting we will introduce the Commonwealth Quality program and discuss how it can benefit Massachusetts growers. Most of this meeting will be directed to fruit and vegetable growers. Having the seal aof Commonwealth Quality on your produce instantly conveys the freshness, quality, and reliability of your products to consumers.

Hosted by Northeast Harvest - MDAR - UMass Extension at the Coolidge Hall: Topsfield Fairgrounds, 207 Boston Street, Topsfield, MA.

Contact Joy Nowak at (978) 887-5000 or by e-mail for more information.

Alternative Food Systems Without the Romance

Wednesday, February 23 | 8:30PM - 10:00PM | Providence, RI | directions | website

Alternative food movements have tended to build on romantic agrarian ideals as an antidote to the industrial food system. But romantic movements have tended toward politics that have led either to cooptation by conventional systems or nihilist stances that deny the possibilities of alternative politics. Can we build an alternative food politics that is neither romantic nor susceptible to nihilism? What might such a realist, "imperfect" food politics look like?

Hosted by Mellon Graduate Workshop on Food Studies at the John Nicholas Brown Center: 357 Benefit Street, Providence, RI.

Contact Micah Salkind by e-mail for more information.

Farm Labor Management: Employee Management

Thursday, February 24 9:00PM - Friday, February 25 12:00AM | Northampton, MA | directions | website

3rd in a 6 part series. Workshops are $10 for Local Hero Members and $15 for non members to cover the cost of dinner.

This session will review management and retention of farm labor, including techniques to generate high performance employees. Richard Wiswall will review mechanisms for management such as performance evaluations and coaching, as well as dealing with challenges. The discussion will cover staff productivity, quality and efficiency. Richard will share his experiences hiring, training, coaching and evaluating the employees and apprentices at his farm. He will have sample job descriptions and performance reviews and share his thoughts on how to determine pay rates.

Hosted by CISA at the Potpourri Plaza: 234 King St - Conference Room 234-236, Northampton, MA.

Contact Devon at (413) 665-7100 or by e-mail for more information.

Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff

Saturday, February 26 | 4:00PM - 7:00PM | Providence, RI | directions

The second annual Spring Kickoff will feature a seed swap, workshops, food, and music to help you prep for the growing season ahead.

Hosted by Southside Community Land Trust at the Botanical Center Roger Williams Park: 1 Floral Avenue, Providence, RI.

Contact Jessica Knap at (401) 273-9419 or by e-mail for more information.