Record Keeping Systems: A farmer-to-farmer discussion

February 19 – 3:00-5:00 @ Castleton Community Center

Facilitator: Becky Maden, Singing Cedars Farmstead

What information do you record on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?  How do you decide what to track?  Are you using Excel or Quickbooks?  What could be done to make your record-keeping systems more efficient and useful?

Learn about the record-keeping systems that farmer Becky Maden developed and used while co-managing Intervale Community Farm and then join the discussion to share what systems have worked for you.  Walk away with a plethora of ideas about how to streamline your own record keeping systems for this upcoming season!


School meals programs represent a big marketing opportunity for Vermont producers and suppliers, purchasing more than $15 million worth of food and supplies last year. However these programs must follow strict federal and state requirements for competitive procurement for every purchase they make. These long-standing regulations are just now beginning to be enforced in Vermont, and many schools who were not previously complying them will begin to implement competitive procurement practices in the coming year. Together, these two webinars will guide you through the federal regulations that these programs must follow, point out potential marketing opportunities for Vermont producers, and teach you how your business could be more competitive when bidding to supply school meals programs.
These webinars are for farmers, producers, distributors, and other businesses that sell (or wish to sell) directly to school meal programs in Vermont. 

February 17, 2015: Understanding Your Customers’ Needs & Regulations
This 1-hour webinar will discuss the market opportunities for various school meals programs. We will cover how the new menu requirements under the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act effect what types and sizes of foods schools are looking to purchase, what competitive purchasing requirements school meals programs need to follow, food safety requirements for these programs, and other things that school food service managers wish you knew about doing business with their programs.

February 24, 2015: Standing Out During a Competitive Procurement Process 
In this 1-hour webinar, we will go deeper into the competitive purchasing procedures school meals programs must follow, and discuss ways that local producers can compete for this business. We will focus on ways that school meals programs may be thinking about what it means to “buy local” and do “farm to school” and how Vermont producers can fit their products and services into these efforts and compete for school business on more than just price.

When: February 17 & 24, 11:30am – 12:30pm
Instructors: Abbie Nelson, VT FEED/NOFA VT & Rosie Krueger, VT Child Nutrition Programs, Agency of Education
Audience: Vermont farmers, producers & distributors who want to sell to school meals programs
Cost: Free!
For more information, contact Rosie Krueger at 802-479-1246 or

Registration Deadline for UVM Extension Produce Safety Workshop – Tomorrow (2/12)!

The last day to register for this workshop is tomorrow!  I’ve heard from a few farmers that this was well worth their time so if you’ve been considering it know that others have found it valuable.  Keep reading for details and to register.


If you work with anyone who sells fruits or vegetables, please consider attending or forwarding this information to them.

You will leave this workshop with a solid understanding of the science  and risks behind produce safety, and a produce safety plan for your farm.  Register Now – Space is Limited! To register: $18 for first registrant, $10 for each additional person from same farm.
More info/mail-in registration:
On-line Registration:

All workshops run from 8:45 am to 3:30 pm.
Poultney (Co-sponsored by Green Mountain College): Monday, February 23: Green Mountain College, Farmer, Carol Tashie, Radical Roots Farm
: Tuesday, February 24: Extension Office, Farmer: Jeremy Gildrien, Gildrien Farm

To request a scholarship or disability-related accommodation, please contact Ginger Nickerson at (802) 505-8189, three weeks before the workshop in which you are interested so we may assist you.

Biodynamic Boot Camp!

Join SAGE (Shrewsbury Institute for Agricultural Education) & Robert King for Biodynamic Bootcamp – An Introduction to Biodynamics!!

Sunday February 22nd  (Snow date March 8th)

10 am. To 12 pm. – Potluck Lunch – 1 pm @ the Russellville Schoolhouse

Cost: $20 per Person – Limit of 25

Register by Feb. 20th – email or call 492-3377 (Martha or Podge Sirjane)

Students will learn about the tools, techniques and preparations used for a small scale biodynamic garden.  Attention will be given to building quality soils and compost using Barrel Compost Preparation (BC) and readily available local organic materials.

Robert King has been involved in biodynamic agriculture for over 40 years in New England, and has been a presenter at the National Biodynamic Conference. He lives in Putney, Vt. where he has worked with “Post Oil Solutions” a regional community-organizing organization with a focus on locally grown food, food security issues, as well as food access to the underserved.  He is devoted to building a Community of Gardeners through, study, work and social activities to Heal the Earth.

Farm Employment Resources

At this time of year, the search for farm help is in full swing.  Here are a couple of resources with information about all things hiring-related.

For fact sheets from the USDA and NOFA-VT and a webinar about the legal distinctions between interns and employees, visit the UVM New Farmer page –

For a Farm Commons webinar entitled “Making Employment Law Work for Your Farm” (scheduled for 2/3/15 but recordings of all webinars are available on their website) –




Apprentice Needed for 2015 Season @ Pickering’s Greenhouse

Pickering’s Greenhouse is looking for an apprentice who is interested in learning about the vegetable production on our farm along with the landscaping/masonry and nursery/perennial production.  We are seeking this person from May through the end of the September and possibly into November.  We have about 5 acres in vegetable production and more land we work for rotational purposes.  The farm serves seven restaurants, 45 – 65 CSA members (and growing!), along with a weekend farmstand and markets.  We have potential housing for the right candidate.   Food from the farm is included along with a small weekly stipend.  The apprentice has access to learning not only from the CSA manager on the farm but her parents who both have a strong background in horticulture and the Rutland-Bennington CRAFT network.  There is access to our library and internet.  The farm borders the Battenkill river, which is used often during hot work days!

Interested?  Contact Aliza Pickering at:


Marketing Strategies Workshop

Marketing Strategies for Diversified Farms

February 3 – 3:00-5:00 @ Castleton Community Center

Presenter: Jill Perry Balzano, Little Lake Orchard

In order to make a good living as a farmer, your energy needs to be put into both the growing and the marketing of your products.  This workshop will cover key marketing strategies as they are applied to diversified farms.  Through case studies and using authentic marketing tools, we’ll examine how these key concepts- from market development and diversification to brand identification- are a work on successful farms and discuss how they may be applied to your specific operation.