Sustainable Farming Classes in Upstate New York at Hawthorne Valley Farm

Upcoming Sustainable Farming Classes in Upstate New York at Hawthorne Valley Farm All classes take place at the Farm Learning Center at Hawthorne Valley farm, which is located in Harlemville, NY, in Columbia County.  2 hours north of New York City and 30 minutes south of Albany. Address is 327 County Route 21C, Ghent, NY 12075. To register for any of the courses, please contact Caroline Smialek, Learning Center Administrator, 518-672-7500, x232, or Understanding Soil Sunday, October 2, 2011 - 9:00am to 4:00pm Cost: $50-100 sliding scale, includes lunch Healthy soils are the foundation for developing sustainable farms. Dr. Conrad Vispo of Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program will lead a panel of farmers and soil specialists as we explore and deepen our awareness of the different soil types that form our farmscapes and influence our farm planning. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required to secure a spot for this workshop. What is Biodynamics?: An Introductory Workshop October 23, 2011 * 9 am to 4 pm Cost: Sliding scale $50-100, includes lunch If you are a home gardener, farmer or an interested learner, this is the workshop for you! This day will include an overview of biodynamic agriculture, as well as several hands-on opportunities to see Biodynamics in practice. Hands-on activities will include the crafting of compost piles and the application of biodynamic preparations. We will also discuss how to design a two-acre vegetable garden and how to integrate the presence of small livestock into an operation. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required to secure a spot for this workshop. In addition, we have space in our Hudson Valley Farm Beginnings Program. Whole Farm Planning Course

Program Structure

Hudson Valley Farm Beginnings is offered to 15 applicants on a yearly basis. Aspiring and current farmers, those in transition from conventional to sustainable agriculture, second career farm entrepreneurs, and landowners interested in developing farming enterprises on their land are all welcome.

The course is based on curricula developed by the Land Stewardship Project and Angelic Organics Learning Center and has been modified to meet the unique needs of farmers in the Northeast. The program includes 42 hours of class time, four field days (tour plus in-depth open-book financial sessions with regional farmers) and individual mentoring sessions. The class meets twice monthly from October through the end of January. Mentoring sessions meet during the month of March and four field days are held during the months of April and May.

-Clarifying your values: setting personal and strategic goals.
– Analyzing your situation:  strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
– How to manage your most important asset: Your land.
– Creating a business plan.
– Marketing your products.
– Distribution options and how to develop a pricing strategy.
– Assembling the financial data:  budgeting and your beliefs about money.
– Land access and tenure:  lease agreements.
– Goal setting
– Sound financial management
– Strategic business planning
– Access to support networks & colleagues

Program Focus Sessions Include:  Beyond the Fields: Building skills for a successful farm business

Program fee is $600-1200 sliding scale, includes lunch and certificate.

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