Farm Ops Trainings for Veterans Go Virtual for 2020

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, farming hasn’t stopped and neither has the work of our Farm Ops project. Due to current restrictions to in-person workshops, Farm Ops is offering virtual workshops through February 2021. These workshops have been adapted from our typical hands-on trainings, providing learning and engagement opportunities while participants complete the workshops remotely. Participants will have access to online resources, videos and participate in online videoconferencing to meet their peers and interact with instructors and fellow farmers.

The topics of these trainings will range from on farm fertility treatments to specialty crops, and general farm management skills. Workshops are open to all experience levels, with no prior knowledge of the specific topic required. Veterans enrolled in a VA facility in New York State (VISN2 area) are welcomed to join us for any, or all of the upcoming virtual workshops.

Upcoming Classes:

Backyard Beekeeping (July 15, August 5, August 26 and September 9)

Whether you are at the beginning of your homesteading journey, are an established farmer interested in diversifying, or just curious about pollinators, this workshop can help you achieve your apiary goals. We match curated resources with our established beginner farmer online course. Join a cohort as you are guided through an eight-week virtual classroom taught by experienced beekeepers and NYS Honey Bee Extension educators. Register by July 13.

Bokashi Soil Amendments (July 22 and August 5)

Would you like to take agency over the fertility needs of your farm, garden, or growing operation? This focused training on Bokashi production will detail how the fermented organic inoculant/amendment builds soil fertility and promotes vibrant plant growth. Production takes 15 days to complete utilizing low-cost materials and traditional farm equipment (hand-tools). When made properly, Bokashi can be a complete, stand-alone fertility solution for nearly any cropping system. Through this workshop, we will explain the principles and chemistry of Bokashi fertilizer, and demonstrate how you can produce it on your farm. Register by July 20.

Slow Tools Exploration (July 29 and September 16)

Small-scale intensive production, also known as micro-farming or market garden farming, is a tractor-less cropping strategy for high-yield production on low acreage without the need for large capital investment. This training will review how tools should be considered with regard to your operation, and whether the efficiency-savings they provide justifies their sticker cost. Register by July 27.

Community Herbalism (August 12 and September 2)

Herbalism or botanical medicine is the use of herbs to improve one’s health. It is practiced in a variety of settings, from traditional Chinese Medicine, to western doctors prescribing herbal supplements. For a small farmer, growing herbs can also be a viable path, given the relatively low infrastructure cost necessary to produce them. This training includes a demonstration and interview with Geraldine Lavin, a community herbalist and owner of Suntrap Farm. Geraldine has been studying herbalism for over a decade, as well as teaching herbal medicine making and theory at Yale University, and Bard College. Whether you are considering practicing herbal medicine, or are a small farm looking for a popular niche product to grow, this workshop has something to offer you. Register by August 10.

Registration will close two days prior to the scheduled training. You can contact Dean Koyanagi, Farm Ops program associate, at with any questions.

Anna Birn

Anna Birn is a junior studying Agricultural Science with a minor in Community Food Systems. She works as a student assistant at the Cornell Small Farms Program, supporting its communications and outreach efforts.