Thursday, January 23, 2020
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

These half-day courses give participants an opportunity to spend an afternoon learning from experts. You’ll go home with practical information that you can put to use right away. You must register to participate in the mini-courses. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as space is limited. Please note that mini-courses are offered at the same time as the field trips.

  1. How to Make Your Own 300-Year-Old Apple Tree: The Principles and Practice of Grafting

  2. Year-Round Hoophouse Vegetable Production

  3. Community Organizing to Build Markets and a Just Food System

Mini Course #1

How to Make Your Own 300-Year-Old Apple Tree: The Principles and Practice of Grafting

Instructors: Guy and Dagen Ames, Ames Orchard and Nursery (AR)


In this hands-on course, long-time orchardists Guy and his son Dagen will explain the basic principles of grafting and its importance in fruit tree production, and then guide you in making your own grafts. You’ll learn about rootstocks and scions, the necessity of cambial contact, callus production and healing, as well as the conditions necessary for grafting success, including storage before planting. They’ll also explain why grafting makes a branch of a tree whose roots might be in England. The second part of the workshop will be focused on “bench grafting” using the “whip and tongue” technique. Dagen and Guy will provide numerous examples and then guide you while you make your own grafts. At the end of the workshop you can take home your new trees! 

Note: course participants are required to bring their own sharp knife such as a Felco/Victorinox grafting knife or something similar. DO NOT bring a knife made for vegetable grafting as it may be too flimsy. All other necessary components will be provided including rootstocks, scionwood, tape, plastic bags, etc.

Mini Course #2

Year-Round Hoophouse Vegetable Production

Instructor: Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community (VA)


Fill your hoophouses (high tunnels, polytunnels) all year round with productive crops. In this course you’ll learn how to decide which crops to grow—with an emphasis on vegetables—how much to plant and how much to harvest by making maps, schedules and crop rotation plans. We’ll discuss which market crops are best at various times of year—cold-hardy, early warm-weather and high summer crops—and consider less common crops, such as seed crops and flowers, and cover crops for soil improvement. Learn how to maximize the use of space by clever seasonal transitions, succession planting and follow-on cropping. The course will also provide strategies for managing challenges such as extreme temperatures, nitrate accumulation in leafy greens, soil-borne diseases, pests and nematodes, salt build-up, and maintaining soil organic matter. Instructor Pam Dawling is the author of Sustainable Market Farming and an experienced CSA farmer in central Virginia.

Mini Course #3

Community Organizing to Build Markets and a Just Food System

Instructors: Rae Strobel, Barr Farms (KY), Karyn Moskowitz, New Roots, Inc. (KY) and Heather Hyden, University of Kentucky (KY)

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_14f7 horiz.jpg

A committed and empowered base is crucial to creating sustainable food systems where farmers and families with limited resources can thrive. This course will teach participants how to use community organizing to develop and mobilize a base of support. Using lessons from Fresh Stop Markets, we’ll explain how farmers and volunteers can develop and maintain relationships with key community partners to expand their market reach and increase farm profits. Farmers will explain how food justice is integrated into their business model, the importance of farmers as leaders and community organizers, and how they use community organizing skills to expand market audience, plan yearly production, harvest and distribute, and create successful markets. A market leader will explain how organizing skills are used to recruit other shareholders and committed volunteers, communicate with farmers, and create, operate and sustain their markets. This course is for all farmers, farmers’ market managers and community food systems advocates who want to sharpen their skills at community organizing for a just food system.