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March & April Workshops at Stone Barns

The Growing Farmers Initiative at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture in Pocantico, NY holds beginning farmer workshops on Thursdays from 1230 – 3:30pm. Workshops are free and open to the public. To register, contact Laurie at laurief@stonebarnscenter.org.

 

March 17
Soils 101

 

This course provides a brief introduction to the role of soil in the function of ecosystems. Function is considered across scales ranging from global to local. After considering the importance of soil in ecosystem function, we will explore fundamental physical and chemical soil properties that constrain biological activity. We will close with an introduction of Jenny’s state model of soil formation as a foundation for understanding the distribution of soils across landscapes. This perspective segues to an introduction of Web Soil Survey and its utility as a tool for accessing soils information for any particular property of interest.
Russ Briggs – State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director, Division of Environmental Science. Russ has been teaching soil science courses at ESF since 1995, after working as a research professor at University of Maine focused on site quality and forest management impacts on site quality.

 

 

March 24
Propagation

Propagation is a fundamental act of farming, yet there are lifetimes of experience to be gathered for the improvement and precision of these actions to compliment a healthy farm system. This active workshop will explore a range of crops, timing and techniques for advanced practice on the diversified farm.

 

Jack Algiere is the Farm Director at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.  He oversees the cultivation of over 200 varieties of produce year-round on 6.5 acres of outdoor fields and gardens and in a 22,000 square-foot minimally heated greenhouse as well as the Center’s extensive landscape and compost operations.  He experiments continually with innovative growing methods and seed varieties and is integrally involved in training beginning farmers. Jack graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in turf management and horticulture.  Before Stone Barns, he worked as a greenhouse manager for a family-owned nursery in Rhode Island, a park ranger in Costa Rica, restored and managed olive orchards in California, and developed an organic CSA program in Connecticut.

 

 

March 31
Soil Food Webs

In this farmer-directed workshop, Dr. Thies aims to introduce participants to the major groups of organisms that make their life in soil and the interactions between them and the plant communities they are a part of. Soil organisms break down soil organic matter, cycle key mineral nutrients important for plant production and improve soil structure and aggregation. However, the activity of soil organisms also contributes to increasing releases of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane from managed landscapes. By being thoughtful and vigilant about soil management, farmers can work to minimize negative impacts to the environment and maximize the production benefits they can derive from soil microbial communities. Dr. Thies will combine presentations, discussion and hands-on activities to introduce participants to the wonderful world of soil ecology.

 

Janice Thies is an Associate Professor of Soil Biology in Soil and Crop Sciences and International Professor of Soil Ecology at Cornell University College of Agriculutre and Life Sciences. She is a 2006 American Society for Microbiology Latin America International Professor and has led international workshops on Soil Molecular Ecology. She has served as an expert consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the National Institute for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Iran, the USDA Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program, and has served twice on Scientific Advisory Panels for the US-EPA.

 

 

April 7
Soil Testing and Fertility Management

 

The goal of this class is to have participants work through the process of drafting soil management plans. We will look at example soil tests and go through the process of calculating amendment application rates. The latter part will cover how to integrate soil mineral amendments with the management of cover crops, compost, mulches and inoculates to create a holistic soil management plan. We will talk about pasture management, but the bulk of the class is specific for vegetable growers.

 

Zach Wolf grew up working on the land with family and friends in Northwest Connecticut.  He holds a degree in Ecology from Columbia University and has done research work at Aton Forest Ecological Research Station and the Earth Institute.  He has used his background in agriculture and biological science as a consultant with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects around the US, designing integrated Conservation Agriculture (ConAg) Master Plans.  This consulting work has spanned a multitude of project scopes and scales: from 1,000 acre ranches in Texas to state of the art geothermal greenhouses to historic estates throughout the Hudson Valley.  He is the former Field Manager and Director of the Growing Farmers Initiative at Stone Barns Center.  He leads the Farm Beginnings Program at Hawthorne Valley Farm with the Center for Mindfulness and Agriculture, where he is currently building a curriculum that balances contemplative practice and practical land stewardship.  He resides in Rhinebeck, NY overseeing the Farm at Locusts on Hudson, an 80-acre diversified farm, raising vegetables, livestock, and perennials.  

 

 

April 14
Botany

Matthew Palmer is a senior lecturer in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Columbia University.   He is involved with a range of research and education projects involving urban ecology, forest ecology, and plant conservation. He has collaborated with NYC Parks, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NASA, the USDA Forest Service, and several units within Columbia University on research, teaching, and teacher training initiatives. His current research projects include evaluating the ecosystem functions of green infrastructure, studying the ecosystem consequences of reforestation in NYC, and providing scientific support for the management of both invasive and rare species throughout the region. He received his B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell – Agriculture and Life Sciences and his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers. Outside of his academic pursuits, he grows a wide variety of vegetables, small fruits, and fungi and keeps a small flock of chickens at his home in Morris County, NJ, where he lives with his wife, young daughter, and a small menagerie of pets.

 

 

April 21
Compost

We will explore the various Composting Systems in place at Stone Barns and discuss the science, experience and insight necessary to produce premium quality compost for a range of agricultural and horticultural applications.  This class will be held outdoors and will be hands on, focusing on active windrow and static aerated composting methods for all organic materials.

 

Jack Algiere is the Farm Director at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. He oversees the cultivation of over 200 varieties of produce year-round on 6.5 acres of outdoor fields and gardens and in a 22,000 square-foot minimally heated greenhouse as well as the Center’s extensive landscape and compost operations.  He experiments continually with innovative growing methods and seed varieties and is integrally involved in training beginning farmers. Jack graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in turf management and horticulture.  Before Stone Barns, he worked as a greenhouse manager for a family-owned nursery in Rhode Island, a park ranger in Costa Rica, restored and managed olive orchards in California, and developed an organic CSA program in Connecticut.

 

 

April 28
Land Assessment 

 

This workshop will take students into the field (weather permitting) for hands-on land assessment. We will conduct a soil sample, measure compaction, assess biological systems, and discuss methods of improving or degrading the existing system.

 

Crystal Stewart has long been interested in commercial and consumer horticulture. She completed both her bachelor and master degrees at the University of Wisconsin. During her studies, she worked in the Department of Horticulture as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and as a Research Associate. After graduating, Crystal became a Regional Extension Educator with the South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension providing horticulture support. She joined Cornell Cooperative Extension in 2007 as the horticulture and agriculture educator in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Today, Crystal’s areas of emphasis include organic horticulture, small and beginning farmers assistance, and basic farm business management.

Laurie
Member
11 months, 4 weeks ago

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