Winter Farming Workshops in Massachusetts

winter farming workshops

We’re excited to announce that Communities Involved in Sustainable Agriculture (CISA – Western Massachusetts) will be offering another round of Winter Farming Workshops beginning January of 2017. http://www.buylocalfood.org/events/category/cisas-workshops/

CISA invites you to join our eight-workshop series on Mapping Out Your Farm’s Future: Settings Goals for the Success and Sustainability of Your Farm beginning January 2017. In order to draw a map of the future of your farm, you need a solid foundation with which to review your past and assess your present. This workshop series will support farm owners and operators in decision making for realistic long-term financial, operational, marketing, and personal goals. Examples in the workshops will be farm related, but the skills and methodology will be relevant to all businesses.

Participation in the whole series is encouraged. You will be eligible for a one-on-one consultation by attending one Business Plan workshop. Attending three workshops gives you the eligibility for an additional one-on-one consultation related to the topic of any workshop being held. Dinner will be served at each session. The cost to attend the series is $90 for Local Hero members, or $15 for each individual workshop. The non-member fee is $110 for the series, or $18 for each individual workshop.

Register online at buylocalfood.org or contact Stevie Schafenacker at stevie@buylocalfood.org (413) 665-7100. If cost is a barrier to your participation, please feel free to contact Stevie to discuss options as we want everyone to be able to get the training they need to effectively operate their business. Scholarships may be available.

The first half hour of each workshop will be for food and socializing. Workshops will begin promptly thereafter.

The Farm Business Plan: A Narrative for your Values, Goals, and Success

January 25, 5:00-8:30pm

Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Avenue, Kittredge Center: Room 303

Define where you really want to be in 3-5 years. Organize your thoughts to produce the farm life and business you want. Gain direction and confidence in moving forward. The business plan is your farm’s goals and values through telling a compelling story of market need, strategy, investments, operations, finances, and marketing. In this workshop we will give you the tools to build that narrative. We will also address how to turn your business plan into an action plan. For farmers who may have some pieces to the puzzle but do not currently have a formal plan. Attending this workshop makes you eligible for one-on-one consultations for business plan support.

Presenter: Bill Bean of Green Planning and Coaching and Joanie Walker of Walker Farm at Whortleberry Hill

The Farm Business Plan: Making it Work for You

February 1, 5:00-8:30pm

Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Avenue, Kittredge Center: Room 303

There are central elements of a business plan that you take away and continue to change daily, weekly, or seasonally. Any system of recordkeeping and operations you develop to get you through the first few years of operations need to be reviewed and updated as your farm changes. In this workshop we will break down some of these key parts and learn how to identify your resources, constraints, and management strategies for meeting your farms’ goals and its future. We will emphasize the financial aspects of planning and projection and address how this, as well as all business aspects, relates to each other. Attending this workshop makes you eligible for one-on-one consultations for business plan support.

Presenters: Dorothy Suput of The Carrot Project,

Caroline Pam of The Kitchen Garden,
and Julia Shanks, Julia Shanks Food Consulting.

Growing People: Leadership from the Inside Out

February 9, 4:30-9:00pm

Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street

In this highly participative workshop, we will learn some foundations of leadership including what most impacts results, a powerful process for identifying core values, four stages of team development and how to clarify roles easily so there’s less confusion, increased efficiency, and retention of staff. Coming from a background in organizational development, Jannie Dziadzio now focuses on her local community, supporting a number of MA farmers as a consultant and mentor. The last ½ hour will be an opportunity to ask questions related to you and your farm.

Presenter: Jannie Dziadzio – Facilitator, Catalyst, and Consultant

Growing People: Constructive Conflict Resolution

February 16, 4:30-9:00pm

Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street

For most of us conflict can be a loaded word; it’s something we shy away from. Disagreements will arise on the farm and, when handled well, can result in more effective communication and stronger relationships. During the height of a farm season, it is especially critical to maintain a balanced work environment. This is the second of a two-part series where we will discuss how to approach conflict on the farm with open and collaborative communication. The last ½ hour will be an opportunity to ask questions related to you and your farm.

Presenter: Jannie Dziadzio – Facilitator, Catalyst, and Consultant

Farm Financing: Credit, Capital, and Cash – Oh My!

February 21, 5:00-8:30pm

Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Avenue, Kittredge Center: Room 303

Looking for help exploring financing opportunities for your farm? This session will provide information on the range of loan programs and business assistance that farm lenders and service providers offer, how different lenders work together, and what they each look for in applicants.  Participants will be invited to take part in brief “speed-dating” meetings with lenders for personalized assistance.

Presenters: Farm Credit East, Farm Service Agency,

Equity Trust, The Carrot Project, PVGrows 

To Diversify or Not to Diversify? And How?

March 1, 5:00-8:30pm

Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Avenue, Kittredge Center: Room 303

Market fluctuation due to over saturation of farms, unforeseen weather issues, and changes in consumer demands all affect how farmers determine what to grow, where to sell it, and how to price their product. This workshop is for farmers who are interested in market diversification as a path to farm sustainability and profitability. We will use marketing channel assessment tools to project the potential outcomes. Come prepared as this class is interactive; we will look at real farm examples and work on your own farm situations.

Presenter: Matt Leroux – Cornell Cooperative Extension

Land Tenure: Alternatives to Ownership and Negotiating a Lease

March 14, 5:00-8:30pm

Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Avenue, Kittredge Center: Room 303

This workshop will explore the alternatives to land ownership and the advantages and challenges to these specific arrangements. Learn how to negotiate and craft lease agreements and build good relationships with all stakeholders as business people and land stewards. We will also discuss where to find additional support based on your specific land needs and situations.

Presenters: Rachel Murray and Kathy Ruhf – Land For Good

Grant Essentials: Opportunities & Approaches

March 22, 5:00-8:30pm

Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Avenue, Kittredge Center: Room 303

Grants are great for exploring and expanding new markets, building alt-energy structures, and exploring farm viability. Determine if a grant is the right source for you. This presentation will help you understand, develop, and submit

successful grant applications. We will discuss a wide range of grants as well as a more detailed presentation of SARE and MDAR programs. The Kitchen Garden will talk about their process in applying for and receiving grant funding for various projects.

Presenters: Melissa Adams of MDAR, The Kitchen Garden,
Sue Scheufele (SARE), CISA staff

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