Wednesday, January 22, 2020 • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      through
Thursday, January 23, 2020 • 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

These 1 ½ day intensive short courses are high-value learning experiences that provide you comprehensive and in-depth information with practical lessons from some of the most experienced experts in the region. Instruction is based on practical experience and on lessons learned from years of working in this field. Each course will include excellent classroom instruction along with resources for continued learning. You must register to participate in the short courses. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as space is limited.

The four short courses we are offering this year are:

  1. Beginning Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing

  2. Raising, Finishing and Marketing Pasture-Raised Meat

  3. Expand Your “Bees”Ness by Adding Honey Bees to Your Farm

  4. Story-Telling for a Cause in the New Media Age


Short Course #1
Beginning Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing

Presenters: Cathy Jones, Perry-winkle Farm (NC) and Josh Hardin, Laughingstock Farms (AR)

Perry-winkle Farm produce for sale. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Perry-winkle Farm produce for sale. Photo by Debbie Roos.

This comprehensive course on organic vegetable production and marketing will give you the critical information needed to get off to a great start and make the most of your early farming years. Information in this course is designed for new farmers, interns and apprentices, and those thinking about switching careers to farming. It will also be valuable for farmers with a couple of years of experience who want to improve their operations. Cathy Jones and Josh Hardin have different backgrounds and experiences that defined how they arrived at their respective farms.  Josh grew up on a "conventional" family farm in Arkansas and went on to start Laughing Stock Farm 11 years ago, whereas Cathy and her husband started Perry-winkle Farm as "first generation farmers" with no previous experience 29 years ago. They will use their experience running successful, small-scale, diversified farming operations to teach you what you need to know to succeed in your new farming enterprise.

  • Organic Farming Principles

  • Soil Health

  • Crop Rotation and Cover Crops

  • Field Planning, Planting, and Variety Selection

  • Transplant Production 

  • Irrigation

  • Pest, Disease and Weed Control

  • Farm and Market Equipment

  • Harvest and Post Harvest

  • Marketing Strategies

  • Season Extension

  • Record Keeping and Crop Planning

Short Course #2
Raising, Finishing and Marketing Pasture-Raised Meat

Presenters: Lauren Stine, White Hoof Acres (AR) and James Maginot, Beyond Organics Farm (AR)

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This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the many different components of a pasture-based, direct marketing meat operation. The information is designed for new farmers, or current farmers who want to add pastured livestock to their farms. It will also be valuable for farmers who already manage some animals but want to improve their operations. James Maginot and Lauren Stine are partners in Ozark Pasture Beef, a partnership of farms who are all committed to producing beef, lamb, and goats in a natural, environmentally sustainable manner. This Northwest Arkansas-based operation has been selling grass-finished, pasture-raised meat direct-to-consumer and to wholesale outlets since 2000. James practices management intensive grazing on his farm in Northwest Arkansas where he markets pasture based meats and vegetables. In recent years, Lauren has become particularly focused on developing a meat goat herd. She is also a food and agriculture law professor and journalist. 

  • Assessing and Acquiring a Land Base

  • Selecting Appropriate Species for Your Operation

  • Establishing a Breeding Program

  • Forage Identification and Pasture Management

  • Management Intensive Grazing and Multi-species Grazing

  • Calving/Lambing/Kidding 

  • Animal Health and Wellness

  • Proper Finishing of Animals on Grass

  • Working with a Processor/Butcher

  • Marketing, Branding and Building a Customer Base

  • Business Planning and Smart Scaling

Short Course #3
Expand Your “Bees”Ness by Adding Honey Bees to Your Farm

Presenter: Jeremy Bemis, Bemis Honey Bee Farm (AR)

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Are you looking for new ways to expand your farm business and bring in more income without taking on another full-time enterprise? Honey bees may be a good match for you and your farm. Honey bees are increasingly important for pollination, but can also help diversify your farm enterprises. In this course we’ll provide a primer on the history and biology of honey bees to give you a better understanding of these amazing insects. Then we’ll explain what is involved in establishing and maintaining hives. All aspects of basic beekeeping will be covered including the equipment and skills needed to get started as well as the yearly maintenance and management required. We’ll also discuss several ways to market the honey and give you ideas for expanding your income. With over 27 years of experience, Jeremy Bemis is the second generation involved in his family farm. Bemis Farms added their honey bee business seven years ago to diversify their operation and increase off-season income.

The course will cover:

  • History of Honey Bees

  • Honey Bee Biology

  • Types of Honey Bees and Breeding Queens

  • What You Need to Get Started 

  • Making Hive Equipment

  • Pest and Disease Management

  • Swarms and What They Mean

  • Ways to Expand Your Income

  • Marketing

  • Ways to Incorporate Agritourism 

Short Course #4
Story-Telling for a Cause in the New Media Age

Presenters: Shelley Rogers, Little Bean Productions (FL), Leon Orange, OrangeIsMedia (FL), and Leah Cohen, Agricultural Justice Project (FL)

Behind the Scenes photographer Leon Orange and filmmaker Shelley Rogers in East Winter Garden. Photo taken by Leah Cohen.

Behind the Scenes photographer Leon Orange and filmmaker Shelley Rogers in East Winter Garden. Photo taken by Leah Cohen.

Want to connect with eaters directly in an increasingly consolidated and corporate controlled food marketplace? Interested in how 59 seconds can further your cause? Is your message one that would benefit from networking and collaborating with others? Are you constrained by budget limitations? If you want to learn how to craft new media messages and build community, then join us for an interactive how-to course grounded in lessons learned from our story-telling campaign, Hungry for Justice: Whose Voice is Missing? This project engages stakeholders and communicates complexities of systemic injustices to a diversity of audiences in bite-size portions.

This course will include discussions and interactive exercises on the following topics grounded in the experience of the Whose Voice is Missing? campaign:

  • Developing Goals and Strategies for an Information Campaign

  • How to Make a Big Impact with Little Money or Time

  • Networking and Building Community On and Offline

  • Using Research to Connect with Your Audience

  • Examining a Framework for Ethical Storytelling; Shaping the Story

  • Storytelling in the Context of Other Marketing and PR Strategies

  • Tools and Tips of the Trade

Bring your goals and story ideas—we’ll workshop them together to help you trouble-shoot and strategize.

Shelley Rogers has over ten years of experience as a documentary filmmaker. She has produced many short and long format video projects for both public awareness-raising and farmer training. Leon Orange is a Digital Media Strategist and the social media manager for the Whose Voice is Missing? project. Leah Cohen has 14 years of experience with the Agricultural Justice Project and spear-headed design and execution of Whose Voice is Missing?