Cornell Small Farms Program Update
Message from the Editor
It happens every year, and always surprises me. Last summer, just after the first long, soaking rain of summer, I walked out to the garden to see a carpet of slugs feasting on a tattered array of succulent green stems that were once peppers, basil and hearty greens. I went straight to the local farm supply store to purchase another round of starts and added a large bag of Earthbound organic slug killer to my cart. A little sun and the slug killer worked wonders and the new plants were soon looking delicious and hearty enough that they attracted a midnight visit from some local deer who browsed them to the ground. I half-heartedly replanted, mostly surrendering to the fact that I was likely sticking charitable snacks in the ground for an infinite number of hungry fauna patrolling the great backyard.
Several months later, despite the stresses of weather and herbivory, I bent down to see modest fruits forming on most of the garden veggies. The resilience and abundance of nature always surprises me. I know I’m not the only one whose fruits and vegetables are suffering early heat or late frosts, drought or excessive rains, and damage from any number of creatures with wings and legs and hoofs. And yet, as the days grow shorter, the farm stands and stalls grow fuller with bountiful displays of the harvest. It certainly is hard work to tend a farm or garden, but we can be thankful that nature does a miraculous job with its part.
During this busiest time of the year, don’t forget to find a shady spot, rest your head, and be amazed by nature’s work!
Cornell small Farms Program Update
Winter and Spring was a busy season of hosting some excellent webinar presentations! Now that you are all out in your fields and gardens, we don’t expect that you’ll be tuning in to our webinar archive any time soon, but should you be resting indoors to escape the hottest part of the afternoon, we’ve listed some archived presentations below with links.
Valuing Time and Muscle – Working with Beginning Farmers in Labor Record Keeping
Chris Blanchard, farmer, consultant, and educator, explored ways to track and calculate labor inputs that translate into meaningful records. This training focused on what activities to monitor, if and how to extrapolate from a snapshot, when to lump activities together or get picky, and what forms and formats may work better or worse. If you missed this webinar, you can access the archived version by visiting www.nebeginningfarmers.org and clicking on Trainer’s Toolbox.
Diversifying Beyond Direct – Supporting Beginning Farmers in Exploring Wholesale
Participants learned through the experience of Deep Root Cooperative and their work with organic vegetable farmers in the Northeast. The webinar discussed the nature of wholesale relationships, terms of pricing and payment, and expectations for quality and packaging. Exploring the structure of wholesale markets will help educators design outreach and education programs that prepare beginning farmers to consider these channels as their enterprises grow. You can access this archived webinar by visiting www.nebeginningfarmers.org and clicking on Trainer’s Toolbox.
Sustainable Farm Energy Series Focused on Solar, Geothermal, Biodiesel & More
Are you looking to stabilize rising fuel and energy costs on your farm or homestead? Are youseeking more sustainable sources of energy? In this four-part webinar series hosted by the Small Farms Program in April with support from NE SARE, participants learned from an organic vegetable farmer, grape grower & winemaker, sunflower & biodiesel producer, and pastured livestock farmer who led virtual tours of their sustainable farm energy systems and ecological production techniques. If you missed any of these, the archived webinars are free and open to the public. View the archived version of the webinar here.