Organic Farming Workshops

February 20, 2007

To wrap up the recent posts about the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture and its recent organic farming conference that was held in State College, PA…

I wanted to share a little information related to the conference workshops and speakers.

Sustainable Agriculture Expertise

There was a long list of nationally and internationally known organic farmers, authors, and educators participating in this year’s sustainable agriculture conference. The speakers on tap at the event included:

  • Lee Reich, Author of Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden. I have several of Lee’s books and enjoyed the opportunity to meet and chat with him for a few minutes. A consultant and writer, Lee specializes in organic fruit cultivation and soil care.
  • Michael Ableman, founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens. This Southern California organic farm serves as an education center and a model of how agriculture can coexist right in the midst of an urban environment.
  • Brett Grohsgal of Even Star Organic Farm. Mr. Grohsgal is an organic farmer that manages a CSA and markets his produce in the Washington D.C. area. A frequent contributor to “Growing for Market,” Brett has also developed several specialized gene lines of outstanding hardy vegetable seeds.
  • Michael Phillips, Lost Nation Orchard. I learned so much about growing organic apples from Michael’s lecture that I immediately purchased his book; The Apple Grower, as well as the recordings from his Apple Growing Intensive class.
  • Joel Salatin, speaker, writer, farmer, Joel operates Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and is on a mission to share his knowledge and experience on how to make farming productive, profitable, and satisfying. Joel also strives to establish mutually beneficial connections between consumers and organic food producers.
  • James Kunstler, Author of The Long Emergency Mr. Kunstler’s books paint an alarming picture of the damage that we are currently doing to the environment and of the potential consequences of our actions.
  • Sam Fromartz, Author of Organic Inc: Natural Foods and How They Grew. Mr. Fromartz wrote his book with the consumer’s perspective in mind and examines the past as well as the future of the organic food movement.

Organic Farming and Gardening Workshops

The biggest problem that I encountered at this years conference was in deciding which one of the concurrent sustainable agriculture workshops to attend, considering there was a choice between about a dozen topics and speakers at each session.

Here are some of the organic agriculture workshop topics that sparked my interest:

  • Gardening in Small Spaces
  • Cover Crop Selection for Weed Control
  • Basic Beekeeping for Pollination and Honey
  • Five Essentials for the Backyard Apple Tree
  • Nuts and Bolts of Small Scale Microgreens Production
  • Medicinal Herbs
  • Specialized Pruning Techniques
  • Stimulating Soil Biology with Compost Teas
  • Ten Years of Blueberry Gardens: A Progress Report
  • Winter Cropping With and Without Hoophouses
  • Melons, Heirloom Melons, and More Melons
  • Weed the Soil, Not the Crop
  • Next Generation Farming
  • No Spray Fruits
  • Season Extension of Greens

You can find a complete list of the sustainable agriculture workshops along with a full description over at PASA’s website. You may be thinking; “Why bother, considering the conference is now past history?”

Well the good news is that all the workshops were recorded by Cocalico Audio and can be purchased by contacting them at 205 East Church Street, Stevens, PA 15578. I don’t have a website address for them but you can mail them and request an order form for the 2007 PASA Conference audio or video recordings.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • What a great list of Sustainable Agriculture Expertise, they are prominent. Thanks for providing the organic agriculture workshop topics, they are cool.

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