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Curious? Farm better, farm smarter!

A compendium of the best and most interesting courses, conferences and resources for small farmers

By CONNIE DUIVENVOORDEN

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Assiniboine Community College
Located in Brandon Manitoba, Assiniboine Community College is offering this fall, for the first time ever, Horticultural Production, a one year certificate program focussing on the production of fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants with a strong applied research component. Classes will be held in the historic Brandon Mental Health Centre alongside the Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant Management programs, making the building a true “field to fork” initiative.
Eighteen classes will be offered including:
HORTICULTURE
This course introduces the horticulture production industry in the areas of field, nursery and greenhouse. Highlighting the theory and practice in the current marketplace, the course examines the history, industry organizations, industry trends, sustainable and conventional practice and production for direct and value-added markets. The evolution of the horticulture industry in the prairies is discussed as it relates to current crop management practices.
HORT EQUIPMENT/HEALTH/SAFETY
This course focuses on environmental regulations, health and safety regulations and certifications as they apply to the horticulture industry. Topics include WHMIS, ESH, job hazard analysis, HACCP, safe equipment operations and safe pesticide use. Students are introduced to basic machinery, common hand and power tools and equipment with emphasis on safe work procedures and basic maintenance, care and troubleshooting procedures in horticulture equipment.
WATER MANAGEMENT
This course introduces students to water quality and the physical concepts of water movement through soil and plants. It examines a variety of water use and control systems including surface and subsurface drainage, irrigation and impoundment. Theoretical and practical training in installation, operation, irrigation scheduling and maintenance of greenhouse, nursery and field irrigation systems is included.
Details: Classes will run from early September, 2011 to April, 2012. Exact dates TBA. Enrolment limited to 15.
Fees: Eighteen classes, tuition varying from $110 to $330 each. For fee schedule see: http://public.assiniboine.net/Default.aspx?tabID=84&f=CourseDescriptions&prgID=211 There will be additional costs of approximately $1200 for textbooks, supplies and field trips. Please note that this program is under development. Minor changes to courses and content may occur.
Info: www.assiniboine.net

Acorn (Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network)
In 2011 ACORN staged the first ever organic conference (that they know of) for children in Atlantic Canada. After a sold-out first run watch for its return in March, 2012. For the 16 and over crowd the 12th Annual ACORN conference, in the fall, offers small-scale farmers over 40 workshops. For Atlantic berry and grain growers the very latest production, research and marketing information from the Maritime Organic Grains Network and the Organic Berry Network is updated regularly on the ACORN website. The black currant production manual is hot off the press.
Details: Nov. 11 – 13, 2011, Dartmouth. N.S.
Fee: $80/day non-members or $60/day members (to be confirmed)
Info:
http://acornorganic.org/index.html
Phone: 506-536-2867?Toll free: 1-866-32-ACORN (22676) (NB)

Canadian Cowshare College
Well-known dairy farmer and raw-milk pioneer Michael Schmidt recently opened the doors to what he bills as the first ever Canadian Cowshare College. The college’s Level 1 one-day basics course covers information on developing a dairy operation that will safely produce milk for direct consumption, and provides practical guidance on how-to develop a cowshare program. Level II includes a half-day of instruction, round-table discussion led by Michael Schmidt and a tour of a raw milk dairy operation (optional) with question period.
Fee: Level 1: $295. Level II: $150 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Details: At Glencolton Farms, Durham, ON
Info: http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2011/05/05
& http://www.glencoltonfarms.com
Email: csca@bmts.com
Another cowshare/goatshare learning option is the . . .

Farm-to-Consumer Foundation
A U.S. non-profit charitable organization that supports farmers engaged in sustainable stewardship boasts a Cow-Share College and Goat-Share University, open to all farmers and consumers. Training consists of phone-in seminars. Choose one seminar or all four (1) Legal Aspects (2) Goat-Share Operations (3) Cow-Share Operations (4) Legal & Operations Forum (U.S. content).
Details: Register?online?or call 703-208-FARM (3276) Monday – Friday (10 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST.) Unable to participate in the live sessions? Ask about accessing the recordings.
Fee: Each teleseminar is $35. Register three participants for $95 or four for $125 U.S. plus long distance charges.
Info: www.farmtoconsumerfoundation.org?
Phone: 513-407-8899 (Vermont)

Also in Vermont, The University of Vermont
The University of Vermont launched its inaugural Farmer Apprentice Program in 2011. The Program is a five month training program for aspiring farmers with classroom and field experience. And, Green Mountain College announced this spring that it will offer a distance-learning master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems (http://msfs.greenmtn.edu/), the first program of its kind in the U.S. or Canada.

International Plowing Match & Rural Expo
See classic farm skills demonstrated in a rural setting. There are hundreds of exhibitors too, with everything from machinery to livestock and items for the home.
Sept 20-24, Prescott Russell, ON
Info: www.plowingmatch.org/ipm2011

Canada Fruit & Veg Tech X-Change
A not-for-profit fruit & vegetable horticulture trade show has broken new ground in Norfolk County. The first of its kind in North America, the show is an interactive, outdoor event where visitors can try the latest in technology. Test ride or drive a variety of small-equipment (tractors, lawnmowers, ATVs) from a variety of dealers who will be among the anticipated 250 exhibitors. The third day (Saturday) organizers welcome the weekend farmer and large property owner. The first two days are industry days, and include a speaker series. Every day there will be a massive farmers’ market.
Details Sept. 1 – 3, Norfolk County, Ont. (close to Simcoe)
Fee: Adults (17 and over) – $20. Ages six to sixteen – $7. five and under – free.
Info: www.FruitVegTechXchange.com
Phone: 226-381-0282 (Simcoe, ON)

Canadian Hereford Association – World Hereford Conference 2012
The town of Olds, Alberta is renaming itself “Herfordville’ for one week in 2012 to promote the Hereford events at the 2012 conference. Here is an opportunity to combine a trip to the Calgary Stampede with an excursion to Olds where the topic of the day, in the coffee shops and show rings, is sure to be none other than . . . Herefords
Details: July 8 – 25, 2012 (pre-conference tours start in Vancouver). Registration packages available Dec. 2011.
Fee: TBD
Info: http://www.hereford.ca/WHC2012.html
Phone 1-888-826-7242 (Calgary)

Ecological Farmers of Ontario (EFO)
New this year, are one day advanced courses held during the growing season! Unlike courses offered in the winter, participants are outside and get to see some of the principles and techniques in action, on Southwestern Ontario farms. Experienced farmer-facilitators teach these practical courses,
? July 17: Finding the Balance: Soil Tests for Organic Farmers.
? Aug.: Direct Marketing
– Review all aspects of selling at a farmers market, CSAs, road side stands. Pick-your-own operations and co-ops will be reviewed as well as marketing to stores and restaurants.
? Sept. 25: Composting
– Beyond basic composting, topics such as field application rates, vermiculture, compost teas, liquid manure, green manures and biogas will be touched on. EFO will continue to offer a wide selection of fall/winter workshops.
Details: Open to all. Reduced fees for SW CRAFT apprentices. Conditions apply.
Fee: $50/members; $70 non-members.
Info: bóng đá trực tuyến http://www.efao.ca
Phone: 519-822-8606.
Toll Free ON: 877-822-8606

Everdale Organic Farm and Environmental Learning Centre
From early May through late October, the farm serves as a vibrant, living classroom with a series of farm trip?workshops for?school kids and youth groups. Everdale also takes the farm on the road with a Farmers in the Schools program, and they run a full-slate of summer workshops with a series on back-yard chickens, the new homesteader, gardening, canning and more.
Sample workshop:
? Food Forests:
Starts with a brief overview of permaculture, and focuses on how to design and implement this productive, low maintenance system, on a small amount of land to yield food, fibre, medicines, mulch and more.
Details: Aug. 21, 2011 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Fee: $85 includes tax?
? Season Extension:
Learn how to extend your growing season into the fall without the use of electricity or a greenhouse, and discover techniques and styles for building your own cold frame. Participants plant two cold frames as a group with seeds and transplants, discuss layout, watering and venting strategies. A follow up workshop will be held in the spring.
Details: Aug. 28, 2011 (1 p.m. – 5 p.m.)?
Fee: $60 includes tax.
Info: 519-855-4859 (Hillsburgh, ON)

Farmonic
Farmonic is field management software for sustainable farms. According to software developers, it’s dead simple and user-friendly, and does crop planning, seed orders and lots more. You’ll be up and running seconds after going to farmonic.com — it’s web-based and free to use. Log on to take a tour.
Fee: Free
Info: http://farmonic.com

Sir Sandford Fleming College – Continuing Education
? Canning, Dehydrating and Other Forms of Food Preservation
During this hands-on course at a local community kitchen, participants will learn how to preserve foods by boil-water canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, vacuum sealing, freezing and root cellaring. Vegetables, meat and fruits will be prepared in the kitchen using these methods.
Details: Saturday Sept. 17, 2011, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. &Saturday June 26, 2012, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Fee: $93.75
?? Raising Chickens for Meat And Eggs
Chickens can be as easily raised on a city lot as on a rural acreage. Not only do they provide meat and eggs, but also valuable fertilizer for the garden, insect and weed control. Housing and feed needs are simple, and care only takes minutes a day. Topics to be discussed include choosing the right breed, chick care, housing, feeding, egg production, health management and butchering. There will be a demonstration of plucking and cleaning, and a tour of a chicken coop.?
Details: Saturday Oct. 1, 2011; 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. & Saturday April 21, 2012; 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Fee: $93.75
?? Growing Food in the Home Garden
This course explores the very efficient square-foot method of growing food, along with the Grow Bio-Intensive and Raised Bed methods of growing vegetables and fruits. Companion planting, composting, four-season harvesting, growing and harvesting wheat and saving seeds will also be examined. The course will include hands-on activities and field trips, and will be a good starting point for market gardeners, community leaders and food co-ops.
Details: Saturday April 29, 2012, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. & Saturday May 5, 2012; 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Fee: $93.75
Info: http://www.flemingc.on.ca
(continuing education)
Phone: 705-749-5530 ext. 2224 (Peterborough, ON);
Toll Free ON: 1-888-269-6929

Food Security Research Network (FSRN)– Thunder Bay
FSRN members (reporting to the Lakehead University Research Office) interviewed five local producers of basic foods in an effort to better understand the challenges they face farming in the rugged Canadian Shield terrain carved out of the North-western Ontario wilderness. The resulting DVD will provide inspiration and ideas to modern-day pioneer farmers struggling with similar challenges. FSRN also collaborated with marketing students at the University to explore the market potential for local poultry (some findings on the website) and are researching options for a small-scale local abattoir (the nearest one is two hours away). Watch for developments in September, 2011. For anyone aspiring to small-flock production in the area, there is a lot to be learned from their research.
Fee: Free
http://www.foodsecurityresearch.ca/index.php?pid=175
Email: weaver@foodsecurityresearch.ca (to order video)

Georgian College – Ontario
? Post Harvest Opportunities
This course will examine further processing as a means to capturing more of the food dollar.? Topics covered include various types of processing related to livestock, grains, dairy, vegetables, honey and maple syrup.? Special attention will be paid to the costs and benefits of compliance with food safety regulations by exposure to the triumphs and disasters experienced by processors in Grey and Bruce.? Upon completion, students should be able to identify and develop potential processing, distribution and/or marketing methods suitable to their farm.
Details: Fall 2011: Tuesday Sept. 13 to Dec. 13 from 7 – 9pm. Classroom delivery. Owen Sound campus with field trips.
Fee: $328.11
? Spring 2012: Marketing & Managing Alternatives
This course will examine the marketing and management skills needed to seize alternative agriculture opportunities.?The first part of the module examines alternative markets (direct marketing, cooperative marketing, contracts, innovative wholesaling etc.) and the skills required to successfully pursue them (opening your farm to public scrutiny, certification, promotion etc.).? Students should leave with a marketing
? Fall 2012: Exploring our Agri-food system and Alternatives
This course examines the mainstream agri-food system, as well as established and emerging alternatives. First, the conventional agri-food system is examined: what we grow, how we grow it and how it is marketed. Then, a survey of diverse alternatives in production, processing and marketing methods is presented. The economic, environmental, social and health impacts of both the conventional system and alternative methods are explored at various scales, from the field, farm, community, nation and world. Students will develop their ability to critically assess the agri-food system, as it currently operates and various alternatives to it, with an emphasis on the implications for their farm business.
?? Alternative Opportunities in Production – Livestock (BUSN 0153)
Explore the broad spectrum of alternative opportunities in livestock production — dairy sheep and goats, grass fed ruminants, wild stock, pastured poultry and pork and more, much of which is already underway in Grey Bruce. Topics will also include natural health promotion, diversification, marketing and a look at several niche markets. Guest speakers, case studies and farm trips will provide participants with an understanding of the array of potential opportunities. Upon completion, students should be able to assess the suitability of other production models for livestock enterprises on their own farm.
Details: 42 hours. Owen Sound.
Fall 2012.
Fee: $328.11
Winter 2012 – Farm Business Management (to follow)
? Exploring Your New Farm Dream (BUSN 0143)
This course is directed to those aspiring to start a commercial farm business for profit. You will be guided through a self-assessment of your skills, interests and resources as well as assistance to research opportunities in agriculture. One full day of farm tours on a Saturday is included.
Details: 20-hours, Lecture and off-site. Offered on a demand basis.
Fee: $290, (subject to change)
Info: www.georgianc.on.ca/part-time (search “agriculture”)
Phone: 519-376-0840 ext.2600 (Cont. Ed. Registration)

Livestock for Landscapes
? Educated Cows eat Weeds:
In 2004, Kathy Voth (land management background) invented a method for teaching cows to eat weeds and has trained over 1,000 cows! Based on decades of science, and research at the Utah State University, Voth claims her simple steps make it possible for anyone to save money and take advantage of new forage by turning their cows (and bison!) into weed managers. Her how-to book was released in 2010.
Book and DVD – $68 U.S. Book only – $35 plus shipping & handling.
? Goats for Fire Control DVD
A six-year research project explored the best ways to manage goats for fire control. The results are useful for land managers and those interested in running a prescribed grazing service.
Fee: $25 plus shipping & handling.
She recently added coaching to her repertoire. Only a phone is required. Voth will help small-lot farmers build a plan that works for their operation, and stay in touch through the training to make sure it is working.
Info: ?http://www.livestockforlandscapes.com
(Tao of Cow blog: http://thetaoofcow.livestockforlandscapes.com)
Phone: 970-663-6569 (Colorado,U.S.A)

Ranch Management Consultants, Inc. (RMC)
RMC presents a free one-hour webinar each month.? These interactive web-based seminars feature Dave Pratt sharing principles taught at the Ranching for Profit School.? RMC bills Pratt as one of the most sought after speakers on sustainable agriculture and profitable ranching in the world today. He has taught the Ranching for Profit School around the world. A recording of the latest webinar will be available to view on the website for a month following each live broadcast, along with information on RMC’s seven day schools, workshops, and products.
Fee: Free webinars
Info: http://ranchmanagement.com
Phone: 707-429-2292?(Fairfield, CA)
“Make – technology on your own time Magazine
A cheap beehive called a “honey cow” {http://makeprojects.com/Project/Your-Own-Honey-Cow/539/1}; a wind-generator in two weekends {http://makeprojects.com/Project/Make-a-Wind-Generator/9/1} or a farm foundation a.k.a. “a sculptural ecosystem you can eat”.
{http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/07/farm-fountain-edible-ecosculpt.html} — this blog site from Make magazine will stimulate the creative mind of the do-it-yourselfer to where he/she can learn how to make just about anything! Fee: Free online instructions, including video how-to clips

Manitoba Conservation Districts Association (MCDA)
Every year MCDA hosts an educational conference to highlight the successes and challenges of watershed management and sustainable landscapes within Manitoba and further afield. This conference has grown to become the largest annual conservation conference in Manitoba. This year’s theme is Inspiring Change, featuring Joel Salatin and Bruce Vincent as keynote speakers. Some topics discussed will outline challenges and opportunities for sustainable rural landscapes, watershed based projects led by Manitoba’s Conservation Districts and youth environmental education initiatives.
Details: Brandon, Man., Dec. 13, 2011
Fee: TBD
Phone: 204-570-0164 (Brandon)
Email: sboychuk@mcda.ca (Sharla Boychuk,, Exec. Director)
Info: www.mcda.ca or for Salatin’s background: http://www.polyfacefarms.com

Nova Scotia Agricultural College – Centre for Continuing & Distance Education (CDE)
Continuing Education provides the in-class training portion of the PEI Farm Technician Apprenticeship Program. This program combines classroom learning with on-farm experience. Upon completing all the requirements of the three year apprenticeship, participants will be issued a Certificate by the PEI Apprenticeship Section. Apprentices work throughout the year gaining skills on a farm with a farm mentor (employer). In addition, each year they will participate in approximately eight weeks of in-class training delivered by NSAC on PEI, which combines theory and hands-on practice.
Fee: There is no cost for Apprenticeship Training on PEI for apprentices who are eligible to receive Skills Development funding. Apprentices may also be eligible to receive Employment Insurance Benefits while attending training.
Non-eligible participants are responsible for covering all program costs. Apprentices must be employed and must have at least 1000 hours work in the agricultural industry.
Info: http://www.peiagsc.ca/training.shtml
Phone: 902-368-4460 (PEI)
Other NSAC courses and workshops include: Master Gardener Training (four on-line distance ed courses and a one-week on-site summer school); Introductory Welding; The Modern Shepherd; Nova Scotia Tractor Safety Certification Program; Integrated Pest Management Update for Farmers and a variety of courses that make up the Certificate of Specialization in Organic Agriculture and can be taken separately as credit or non-credit. Courses start in September and January. Laval Universite offers some of the courses in French. Internet connection required.
Info: at www.nsac.ca/cde
Email: cde@nsac.ca
Phone: 902-893-6666 (Truro)

Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture
So you want to be a farmer . . . ThinkFARM is a new initiative, launched August, 2010, to assist beginning farmers in Nova Scotia. Videos, printed guides, and resources all make up a one-stop web-based information centre for Nova Scotians. The initiative also includes a special one-day “Celebration of Small Scale Farming” event. Explore how today’s small-scale farmers are building on the strong foundation of traditional farming knowledge and practices with modern production technology, farm business management and marketing. A day-long event featuring a series of workshops: goat nutrition, finishing market lambs, animal-powered farming and more!
Date: July 25, 2011
Details: Northville Farm Heritage Centre, Northville, Kings Co.
Fee: $15/person, $30/family (12 & under free.) Registration includes $5 in coupons ($10 for families) for use with the local vendors selling food on site.
Info: www.gov.ns.ca/agri/thinkfarm
Phone: 902-893-5649

Okanagan College – Distance Education
? The Advanced Gardener: Fruit and Nut Trees
The focus of this course is on fruit and nut trees and many of the considerable number of varieties that are available. It is an in depth study, packed with valuable information. An extensive listing of fruit and nut trees and varieties is provided. The main fruit and nut trees grown in gardens will be covered, along with many that are not very well known, such as pluots, apricots and hickories. It includes a lot of information on buying, planting, growing and caring for your trees and a colourful photo CD of many of the plants discussed.
The course is part of the Advanced Gardener Program that also includes courses on herbs, small fruits, vegetables and more.
Details: print-based; offered continuously; two month completion
Fee: $258.93 each
Info: http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/departments/cs/distance-education.html
Phone: 250-862-5480 (Kelowna, BC); 1-888-638-0058 (toll free within BC);1-877-755-2266 (toll free within Canada)

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
? Quest for New Farm Value – Value Plus? workshop
Participants learn how to create new products or services to add value and turn their idea into reality to add to their farm business’s bottom line. The two day workshop is suited to individuals who recently bought property and are looking for ideas, current small-acreage farmers who want to diversify, or anyone looking at farming as a second career. Business plans, pricing, profit margins and financing are just a few of the subjects covered.
Details: Offered in the winter, by local demand.
Fee: $75/person (includes lunch)
Info: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/busdev/agbusdev.html
Phone: Toll Free Ontario: 1-877-424-1300 or 519-826-4047
Other provinces offer business management workshops under the Growing Forward initiative. Check with your local ag office for information.

Ontario Woodlot Association
The association is open to woodlot owners of all sizes and regional associations host numerous events. Here are a few:
? Mushroom Workshop for Beginners
– Guelph. (Sept. 23 or Sept.24) – This workshop will focus on developing your fungal identification skills and discussions on topics such as the crucial roles mushrooms play in the environment. Phone: 519-824-4120, ext. 52358 (Arboretum) to register.
? Forest Fair of Eastern Ontario: Kempville, Oct. 1
Ontario’s best log and lumber auction, forestry seminars, exhibits and how-to information for rural landowners.?
? Renfrew Outdoor Woodlot Conference: Oct. 7, location TBA. This event showcases selected private woodlots around Renfrew County and explores various themes of interest to a broad variety of woodlot owners.
? Advanced Mushroom Workshop: Taking it to the Next Level. Guelph (Oct.)
This workshop is intended for those with some prior experience with fungi who wish to hone their identification skills.? To register, call the Arboretum at 519-824-4120, ext. 52358.
? Fall Walk in the Woods: Location TBA (Oct. 22)
This annual Lower Ottawa Valley fall event is a visit to a local woodlot and is led by a forester or biologist discussing advanced forestry topics.?
Info: http://sites.google.com/site/lovowa/home
Fee: Association memberships: $40/yr.
Info: http://www.ont-woodlot-assoc.org/events.html
Phone: 613-258-0110 –ext. #223 (Kemptville); 1-888-791-1103

Organic Farming Institute of BC
OFIBC courses are designed for farmers by experienced organic farmers. The online science and technology courses provide practicing farmers with all they need to understand about the how and why of organic soil management, composting, pruning, pest management and the other practical aspects of organic farming. Field training courses on working organic farms reinforces the knowledge learned online.
OFIBC recommends novice organic farmers begin with ORG 101: Introduction to Organic Soil Management and Nutrient Cycles or ORG 102: Organic Soil Management Practices and Transitioning to organic methods. Practicing organic farmers should select courses based on needs. An Administrator can assist to select a training curriculum.
A sample of other courses includes: ORG 103 Organic Field Crop Production ($525.00);?ORG 103-F Organic Field Crop Practical Training ($325);?ORG 104 Organic Production in the Greenhouse;?ORG 104-F Organic Production in the Greenhouse Practical Training;?ORG 105 Organic Methods applied to Orcharding;?ORG 105-F Organic Methods applied to Orcharding Field Training;?ORG 106 Organic Methods applied to livestock production;?ORG 106-F Organic Methods applied to livestock production Field Training; ORG 301 Organic Farm Business Management;?ORG 401 Maintaining organic integrity and the packinghouse and processing plan.
Details: See the website for the course schedule. Selection varies. About 40-60 hrs/course. Field training in two day weekend courses. Try a sample course online.
Info: http://ofibc.org
Phone: 250- 938-7634 (BC)

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences
The publications in the Agricultural Alternatives series are designed to help both the full-time small-lot farmer looking to diversify and the part-timer looking to generate additional income. The series of publications will help evaluate all aspects of a given enterprise before the farmer commits time and money. The practical how-to information is based on university research in the U.S. but much of the information will apply to Canadian farms.
Info: http://agalternatives.aers.psu.edu/publications.cfm#HPO
(or http://agsci.psu.edu/)

Saskatchewan Goat Breeders
? Getting Started in Sheep “The Basics Workshop”
This is a two day course covering the basics of the sheep industry. It is designed for those who are looking at getting into sheep and those who are already in the business on the beginner level and covers many topics including: purchasing your flock; health management; shearing and wool preparation. An on-farm visit on the second day includes some hands-on and covers foot trimming, ear tagging, castrating, drenching, administering injections, and more.
Details: A $50 deposit is required.
Oct. 28-29, 2011
Fee: $125 plus GST per person or $200 plus GST for a couple. This includes coffee breaks and a binder filled with information on sheep production.
Email: sheepdb@sasktel.net

Seeds of Diversity
Seeds of Diversity’s national AGM will be held for the first time in Alberta. Jeffrey Casey, from Casey’s Heirloom Tomatoes, will lead a Seed Saving Workshops, followed by other workshops, exhibits, and talks. The Seeds of Diversity website is home to descriptions, stories, history, cultivation details, and real gardeners’ comments on 19,000 cultivars of Canadian garden vegetables, fruit, grains and ornamentals and the New Canadian Seed Inventory Catalogue lists vegetable and fruit seeds that were sold in recent years by Canadian seed companies.
Details: Oct. 30, 2011 at the Calgary Zoo. Register early.
Fee: Members: $5 for the workshop at zoo gate. Members of the public are also invited to attend for $25. (includes entrance to the Zoo and Botanical Gardens).
Email: office@seeds.ca
Info: www.seeds.ca

Further afield . . .
The Heirloom Exhibition in Santa Rosa, California

The “World’s Fair” of the heirloom industry. Seed company representatives will share their wealth of knowledge at workshops for farmers and growers. Nationally recognized experts will give talks, and up to 250 exhibitors will address the importance of collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds.
Details: Sept. 13-15, 2011
Fee: $10 (USD) adults
Info: http://theheirloomexpo.com/
Phone: 707-509-5171 (CA)

University of the Fraser Valley
? Agriculture and Food Processing?Resource Centre
Have?questions about?agriculture or food processing and don’t know where to start? Whether you’re looking for information on dairy industry regulations in BC or how to set up a food processing business, the Resource Centre connects people with the right agencies and information. It is situated within UFV’s Agriculture department on the university’s Chilliwack campus and has an on-site computer with internet access and bookmarked web pages of relevant information.
Details: 45635 Yale Road, Agriculture Building ‘B’ Chilliwack, BC
Phone: 604-795-2813 Toll Free: ?1-888- 504-7441 Ext: 2813
The university currently offers an Agriculture Tech diploma, Horticulture Crop Production and Protection certificate, Integrated Pest Management certificate, Livestock Production certificate and a Bachelor of Business Administration (Agriculture) degree. It recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Netherlands’ HAS Den Bosch University of Applied Sciences and has applied to the provincial government to offer a new bachelor’s degree in horticulture.

University of Minnesota – Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MIST)
This new “one-stop shop” case study format provides beginning and transitioning farmers with both a motivating story and the contextual understanding needed for integrating the nuts and bolts of sustainable farming into a real-life enterprise. In the online videos you’ll find production, marketing and financial management details married to a personal story. There are also links, in the video, to more resources. The first case-study is on an organic vegetable grower, and the second on a couple that raise pastured poultry and hogs, herbs and apples, with plans for more to come.
Info: http://sustagprofiles.info/
Phone: 612-625-8235

University of Missouri
The Missouri Beginning Farmer Program’s page has archived webinars including one on things you need to do to get started farming and three on pastured poultry. And new ones are added every month: Aug. – Direct Marketing of Beef. Oct.- Beginning Beekeeping. Sign up for a free Ag Opportunities monthly newsletter full of alternative ag ideas.
Info: http://beginningfarmers.missouri.edu/ or to sign in as user: https://extweb.missouri.edu/accountmanager/login.aspx

University of Saskatchewan Centre for Continuing and Distance Education (CCDE)
? Weed Control in Organic Agriculture
This course covers the principals and practices of weed management in organic field crop production. It highlights aspects of basic weed biology and ecology that make weeds vulnerable to various management techniques. Practical cultural, mechanical and biological techniques are considered, within an integrated weed management system.
Details: online; credit or non-credit.
Fee: $399 + GST + $10 material fee.
Info: http://ccde.usask.ca
Phone 306-966-1382 (Saskatoon)
? Master Gardener Program
Anyone can take the core courses that a Master Gardener needs to be certified. Two additional courses are being added in 2011 in a distance education format. (1) Identifying Insects in Your Yard & Garden and (2) Safe Use of Pesticides and Alternatives. Plus, there are special interest workshops in Saskatoon and Regina that vary from year to year, and are open to all.
Info: http://ccde.usask.ca/mastergardener/course_description
Phone: 306-966-5546

Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show
The largest show of its kind in Canada, the COFS features exhibits and seminars for large and small scale farmers. This year the show features a special organic and market garden section, which includes a speaker series.
Info: www.outdoorfarmshow.com

Whole New Concepts: Distance Learning
This training is for experienced and beginning farmers and ranchers, who want to improve their ability to take in the big picture, respond to change and become sustainable. The program is based on curriculum suggested by Holistic Management International and based on real life experience of the trainers. A holistic approach puts quality of life, healthy land and financial well-being on equal footing.
? Sample course: Introduction to Grazing and Pasture Management
This course covers basic information and concepts necessary to apply the tool of grazing and manage forage for the best possible outcomes. It is suited to those new to livestock production, grazing and pasture management. It may include basic irrigation water management if applicable. (Note: most of the material in this course is included in the “Holistic Decision Making Course.”)
Fee: $450 U.S.
? Other core courses: Decision Making; Management – Financial Planning; Early Warning Biological Monitoring; Land Planning
Details: A computer & internet are optional. Pre-scheduled telephone calls to your instructor/mentor. Sessions generally last one-hour and are usually scheduled on a regular basis. Some flexibility is possible. Aproximately 2-4 hrs. per week for self-study coursework and/or mentoring.?Register any time. Free consultation.
Fee: Holistic Management Grazing Planning – $450 USD.
Info: http://www.wholenewconcepts.com/holistic-management.html
http://www.arriolasunshinefarm.com
Phone: 970-882-4222 (Colorado, U.S.) Cindy Dvergsten