Posts Tagged ‘workshops’

Thinking about getting into farming? Farm Dreams is a good place to start

I meet all kinds of people who want to get into farming–whether it’s someone who wants to expand a backyard garden or cultivate a field for vegetable production, raise chickens to market eggs and meat, or get into larger pastured livestock production, organic grains, fiber, dairy, you name it! It seems like everyone has a “farm dream.”

But moving those dreams toward reality is a big step. How to get started, time, access to land, money, markets,–all those questions can cause a person with a farm dream to put it back on the shelf with a sigh–and without action.

Truth is, we need more farmers on the land to provide for an ever-growing demand for locally and regionally produced farm products and to strengthen our rural communities and economies. We need you and your farm dream!

Every year, Land Stewardship Project holds a couple of workshops that are helpful for exploring the aspirations of would-be farmers with a vision but without a clear idea of how to start down the path. The Farm Dreams workshop “…is the first step in planning an educational path toward farming and is designed to help people who are seeking practical, common sense information on whether farming is for them,” says Nick Olson, a Farm Beginnings instructor.

This year, the class is being held in Clinton, Minnesota (my fair city!) on Sunday, January 8th from 1-5pm. Class size is limited and the deadline is fast approaching, so pre-registration is required. The class costs $20 for LSP members and $40 for non-members, and it’s probably the best investment of time and money a farm dreamer can make.

Click HERE for the Farm Dreams workshop press release on the Land Stewardship Project website. For more information on the workshop (and to register), contact Nick at (320) 269-2105 or

Hope to see you there!


Extension Food Entrepreneur Workshops

Seats still available for Feb. 22, 25, and 28 Extension home-food entrepreneur

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Entrepreneurs who seek the latest information on preparing and
marketing foods they make at home can get insight at three workshops set for Feb.
22, Feb. 25, and Feb. 28.

The South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service will host each workshop. Each will
take place from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and they will be held in Montrose on Feb. 22; in
Hot Springs on Feb. 25; and in Sisseton on Feb. 28. Each workshop costs $15 and the
fee includes materials and lunch.

To take part, call the Extension office in each workshop location's county:

 *   Montrose, McCook County Extension office at 605-425-2342.
 *   Hot Springs, Fall River County Extension office at 605-745-5133.
 *   Sisseton, Roberts County Extension office at 605-698-7627.

The South Dakota Horizons project is sponsoring scholarships for participants who
want to take part but cannot afford the fee. Ask about the scholarship opportunity
when you register.

The workshops are designed for people who plan to sell foods that they have made at
home at local or regional farmers markets in South Dakota. Producers of these foods
must comply with a new South Dakota food-safety law that sets requirements for baked
goods and foods canned or processed in the home. In addition, the workshops will
help home-food producers learn marketing skills that can help them succeed in these
types of business ventures.

Among the speakers is Extension Food Safety Specialist Joan Hegerfeld-Baker. She
said the workshops are a place where  sellers can address any questions they have
about following the rules and regulations related to home-processed food sales.

"This workshop will provide critical food-safety information that producers need to
know beforethey take their products to farmers markets," Hegerfeld-Baker said.
"Extension staff at the workshops can answer their questions and be there to help
themwork through the details. We will provide the information and resources that
anyone canning, baking, or producing food in their home needs in order to meet state

Beyond learning the important aspects of South Dakota food safety standards,
participants will gain sharp insight on market feasibility, promotion, and sales.
Kari Fruechte, Extension Community Development Associate, said that newcomers to
home food preparation and sales can develop connections that can help their
home-businesses succeed.

"These workshops pack in lots of information for entrepreneurs hoping to take their
food products from their home or farm to the marketplace where they can earn extra
income," Fruechte said. "Beyond the rules and regulations, we'll take an in-depth
look at the options of available markets and the ways to best promote their

In addition to Hegerfeld-Baker and Fruechte, Extension Horticulture Specialist Rhoda
Burrows, Extension Leadership and Community Development Specialist Karla Trautman,
and Extension Community Development Educator Darah Melroe will present information
at the events.

Call Hegerfeld-Baker with other questions or to suggest other sites in South Dakota
where this sort of workshop would be beneficial at 605-688-6233.

Winter Conferences for Producers/Markets

This is by no means exhaustive, but here’s a list of the upcoming workshops and conferences scheduled in the region:

MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service) Organic Conference Lacrosse, WI Thurs.-Sat. February 25-27.  This is the “big momma” of organic and sustainable ag conferences–and not just in the region, but in the country.  There were over 2600 attendees last year (and I was finally among them).

The workshops are great and the food is outstanding.  The exhibitor hall is very cool, too–you can pick up all kinds of great samples and drool over the machinery.  Good for making regional contacts as well.  More info.

NPSAS  (Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society) Winter Conference Watertown, SD Tues.-Thurs. February 9-11.  I started going to this conference several years ago, and it has really grown.  I’m heading back this year to check out the new exhibitors and workshops.  Very good for making local/regional contacts.  More info.

Great Plains Vegetable Growers Conference St. Joseph, MO Thurs.-Sat. January 7-9.  This one’s coming up quick and looks to have some good workshops on CSA and high tunnels.  It also is fairly low-cost.  You get a discount if you sign up before December 24, so hurry!  More info.

Farmers Market Workshop Rapid City, SD Friday, February 5th (no schedule as yet–contact Rhoda Burrows for more information:

Permaculture Institute in Brookings!

What to do this summer…

From: Glacial Lakes Permaculture!

“Well-known Australian permaculturist, Darren Doherty, will be offering a two-week Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course on the campus of South Dakota State University, June 4-17. The intensive, 72-hour course will lead participants through the history, theory, and practical application of Permaculture and culminate in a formal design project of their own making. Successful completion of the course will result in the award of a Permaculture Design Certificate.

Permaculture, which originated in Australia in the 1970s, is a design system for ecological and sustainable living, integrating plants, animals, building, people, and communities. The philosophy behind Permaculture is one of working with, rather than against nature, to meet human needs.

Topics covered during the PDC will include:

History, theory, ethics, and principles of Permaculture
Nature-friendly house placement and design
Keyline Design, Holistic Management® and Carbon Farming
Energy conservation techniques for all climates
Recycling and waste management
Organic food production
Water harvesting, irrigation systems management
Waste water treatment systems
Ecological pest control
Soil rehabilitation and erosion control
Livestock systems
Catastrophe preparedness and prevention
Windbreaks and fire control
Community development
Enterprise development models
GIS/CAD design, project costing and management

Doherty, owner of Australia Felix Permaculture, is a registered teacher with the Permaculture Institute of Australia and has taught on more than 30 PDCs (more than 10 solo) across the world with renowned teachers such as Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, the two co-originators of the Permaculture concept.

Since 1993, Doherty has been a full-time Permaculture designer, involved with the design and development of more than 1,100 properties including apartment balconies to 110,000-acre ranches. He has extensive international experience in Permaculture design and management on four continents and is considered a pioneer in the field of retrofitting broadacre agricultural systems. In addition, Doherty is a qualified Whole Farm Planner (University of Melbourne), Approved Keyline Design Consultant, & Accredited Permaculture Training (APT) Trainer.

Darren’s design experience in Permaculture is wide-ranging. His work on broadacre farm design should be of particular interest to many people interested in converting some or all of their farmland into a Permaculture.

The cost of the 72-hour PDC training is $800 and will include the cost of instruction, as well as twice-daily tea/coffee breaks. As an added bonus, the course includes an evening Permaculture Film Series.

Seven (7) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for those completing the 2-week course.

This Permaculture Design Course is hosted by Glacial Lakes Permaculture Education, a South Dakota non-profit based in Estelline, in collaboration with Project Sustainability at SDSU, the SDSU Sierra Club (student chapter) and the Office of International Affairs.”


Sign up soon–space is limited–this is a really special opportunity for this area!

Upcoming Workshops, Classes, Conferences

My inbox has been filling up with announcements of upcoming events for growers and producers.  Here’s what I’ve heard about thusfar (and feel free to expand in the comments if you know of any others I haven’t listed):

SDSU classes: Organic Vegetable Production January 25-29 and High Tunnels/Season Extension February 5-19.  Both classes will be held at the Northern Plains Biostress Lab on the SDSU campus, both are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-5pm.  They’re $88 plus $106 in fees.  Add $20 if you’ve never been enrolled at SDSU.  Contact the SDSU registrar’s office to sign up: 800-952-3541.

Upper Midwest Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Workshops and Conference: January 21 (Beginning Growers Workshops), January 22 & 23 (Conference).  All at the St. Cloud Civic Center, St. Cloud, MN.  Call the MFVGA office for information and registration: 763-434-0400.  Scholarships are available.

Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society (NPSAS) Winter Conference: February 13 & 14 at the Huron Event Center in Huron, SD.  Theme is “Marketing Sustainability” with workshops on poultry and livestock production, soil fertility, IPM, and preserving food.  Full registration fees are $145 for farm or family, $125 for single person.  Register here.

SD Cooperative Extension/SD Specialty Producers Farmers Market Workshop: February 28 in Brookings, SD.  Agenda and location yet to be determined, but time will be dedicated to the Buy Fresh Buy Local program.  Contact Rhoda Burrows at 605-688-4731 or

Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Organic Conference: February 26-28 in Lacrosse, WI.  This is a big conference, with 6 workshop session and over 60 workshops to choose from.  They also hold their Organic University on February 26.  Organic University registration: $150.  Conference registration: $175.  Online registration and information here.