Monday, December 29, 2008

Workshop Announcements

Sustainable Farms to Share Insights into Innovative Food-Growing Systems at Local Food Project at Airlie Annual Conference

"Half Pint and Essex: A Tale of Two Farms", Jan. 9, 2009

The Local Food Project at Airlie will hold its third annual conference—"Half Pint and Essex: A Tale of Two Farms"—on January 9, 2009 at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Va. The full day "Winter Forum" will provide an up-close look at whole farm systems design by featuring in-depth discussions of the innovative systems that have brought success to two sustainable agriculture operations—Half Pint Farm (Burlington, VT) and Essex Farm (Essex, NY).

Presenting for the first time in Virginia, Half Pint and Essex will share a complete picture of how their farms operate—from creating a plan and producing quality products, to building and expanding a customer base. In addition to providing a detailed look at two thriving farm systems, "A Tale of Two Farms" will offer the opportunity to network with speakers and other participants.

Mara and Spencer Welton, of Half Pint Farm, grow baby greens and gourmet specialty crops for direct sale to farmer’s markets and restaurants, and wholesale to local grocery stores. Located at Burlington’s Intervale (a reclaimed urban waste site), Half Pint operates on one and a third acres, and has found its niche by selling high-quality vegetables and establishing lasting relationships with customers.

Kristin and Mark Kimball, of Essex Farm, run a unique CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) enterprise that provides community members with a full grocery bag of food each week—vegetables, orchard fruits, grains, baked goods, dairy, and grass-fed meats. Powered by a team of Belgian draft horses, Essex Farm feeds 75 families year-round.

"We are excited to offer Virginia food growers and policy experts the chance to hear from Half Pint and Essex," said Pablo Elliott, director of the Local Food Project at Airlie. "Many of our programs feature innovative projects from our own region. By bringing in farmers from another area, we hope to inspire fresh ideas in our community as we work to meet the increasing demand for locally grown food."

Backyard gardeners, small farmers, food policy experts, and other fans of local food will be interested in attending "A Tale of Two Farms" to learn about the key factors that make these two unique farms so successful. To register, send an email to A special "Early Bird" rate is available to participants who sign up before December 31. For more information, visit and click on "Local Food Project" or visit our blog at

About the Local Food Project at Airlie

Established in 1998, the Local Food Project at Airlie operates an organic garden and hoophouse which supply fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers to the Airlie Center, an environmentally certified conference center located an hour outside Washington, DC in Warrenton, Va. The Local Food Project at Airlie hosts seminars and conferences to promote sustainable food production and offers tours and educational materials to the Center’s guests to promote the advantages of local food systems for the well-being of communities. Learn more at
—Local Food Project at Airlie—

February 9th and 10th: VA Agriculture Summit. Energy: Impact and Opportunities, Omni Richmond Hotel.


Through funds from the DCR Water Quality Improvement Act, DOF has developed a Regional Grant program which is designed to restore and/or improve riparian health through the use of tree plantings or other vegetative techniques and may include non - CREP riparian buffer tree planting, stream restoration and stabilization, rain gardens and bio swales. The grants should be written by the person or organization that will receive the funds, with technical assistance and support from the local DOF. Grant applications should come from the organization to the VDOF Area Forester or Water Quality Engineer and after review be forwarded to HQ for funding allocation and final approval. The Virginia Department of Forestry will accept project proposals from private citizens, local units of government, approved non-profit organizations, civic groups, educational institutions, or community volunteer groups which meet the specific program objectives. Eligible project categories are described in detail in the attached flyer along with the proposal format. For spring 2008 projects applications should be received no later than February 22, 2008, sooner is better.Grants will be awarded as they are received, evaluated for compliance with the program and approved. Funds will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. If you have any questions about the grant contact Barbara White at 434.220. or E-mail These funds are provided by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and are administered by the Virginia Department of Forestry.


Tom Peterson will be giving a workshop for the Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF) conference on February 27 - 28 in Richmond, VA. This is always a great conference with a strong emphasis on sustainable agriculture. His workshop will focus specifically on growing and selling fresh produce at farmers markets (inc. farm planning, succession planting, pricing, display and post-harvest handling, among other topics) -- feel free to advertise this conference through your vendor lists. You can find more information at

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