Welcome to the June edition of the FarmStart Newsletter!
FarmStart is also starting to meet the local community and let them know what we are doing at the farm. We will be hosting a grand opening this summer for the McVean farm’s neighbours and friends. Beginning in late June, Brampton residents will be able to purchase our new farmers’ produce at the local farmers market. We also hope this season to lay the groundwork for a community gardening project at the McVean farm.
In other news, we are delighted to welcome Alma O’Connell to our team. She will be coordinating our Newcomer FarmStart-Up Project, helping new immigrants start viable farm operations in Ontario. Please read on to learn more about Alma and her exciting work. Alma and Sophie, our Resources and Training Coordinator, have been working on some new workshops and a new course for prospective farmers: Exploring the New Farm Dream. Details are provided below.
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Happy strawberry season!
Summer workshop topics: preliminary schedule
June 28th: The Dirt on Soil, with Tarrah Young of Green Being Farm
As a farmer, the most important resource you have is the soil under your feet. In this half-day workshop you will learn the basics of soil science in an accessible and hands-on way. Rather than relying on inputs for fertility, get ready for ideas on how to optimize your soil’s health, and ultimately the health of your crops, by using the biological community to unleash the tremendous potential in your soil.
July 16th: Market garden basics for newcomer growers, with FarmStart’s own Alma O’Connell
Even for newcomers with experience growing vegetables ‘back home’, learning to grow vegetables in Ontario can take some time. This workshop will introduce new Canadian gardeners and future farmers to the basics of setting up a market garden. Topics will include: understanding the Ontario growing season, drawing up a crop plan, sourcing and selecting seeds, extending the season with greenhouses and row cover, and managing weeds and pests the organic way.
August 23rd: Post-harvest handling and market readiness, with Ali English, formerly of Whole Circle CSA
Join Ali English, innovative CSA farmer and Agroecology MSc, to learn more about the ins and outs of post-harvest handling for small- to medium-sized market garden operations. From cooling and preparing for market to storing and transporting vegetables, the workshop will focus on designing post-harvest systems that ensure both high produce quality and optimal labour efficiency.
Workshops take place at the Ignatius Incubator Farm, Guelph. For more information or to register, please visit our website
We intend to run the course over five sessions – two in-class sessions, and three farm tours – held on Saturdays from late July to mid-September 2008. Dates and exact location in the GTA will be announced at the end of June.
FarmStart welcomes Alma O’Connell: Newcomer FarmStart-Up Project Coordinator!
FarmStart couldn’t be more excited about the latest addition to our team. A farmer, community leader, and agent for change, Alma O’Connell comes to FarmStart from an impressive career in community development, both in rural Guyana and southwestern Ontario.
Alma brings to our Newcomer FarmStart-Up project a deep understanding of the value of growing your own food, and a commitment to sharing these skills with a new generation – a practice which has been in her native Wapishana culture for generations. Her Wapishana values and her experience with self-sufficient living in Rupununi, Guyana, provide a unique perspective on agriculture in Canada.
Alma’s personal experience as a recent immigrant to Canada has given her an intimate understanding of the challenges faced by new Canadians wishing to farm here. In the three weeks since she has joined our team, Alma has made impressive strides towards helping newcomer farmers to realize their dreams. She has met with new farmers from China, Zimbabwe, India, South Korea, Cuba, and Ghana, several of whom will be growing at our farm facilities this year. She is also working hard to design an educational program to help equip newcomers to farm in Ontario.
When Alma is not growing her own food or helping others to do so, she can often be found at her loom. Alma is an avid weaver, a passion that she turned into a successful community development project in Guyana through her role as founder of the Rupununi Weavers Society. Alma’s outreach and coordination work with the society reinvigorated the traditional practice of growing, processing, and hand-weaving cotton among the Wapishana people of Guyana. Her efforts to promote the group contributed to the international market that their beautiful, handwoven hammocks now command.
More information about our Newcomer FarmStart-Up project will soon be available via FarmStart’s website. Prospective farmers wishing to reach Alma can do so through our contact page.
.A critical look at copper- and sulphur-based fungicides in organic agriculture
Is there a topic you’d like to see covered in this space? Please send your comments and suggestions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
FarmStart will soon be opening the McVean Farm gate to neighbours and friends, at the grand opening of this new farm facility. We haven’t set a date just yet. but will let you know when we do!
Visit FarmStart’s newswire for updated event listings.
Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture
by John E. Ikerd
Visit the FarmStart bookstore to view other essential titles in .sustainable agriculture!