Spring Beekeeping Workshop

Spring Beekeeping Workshop
Demonstration Hive

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Upcoming Workshops and Presentations

I will be participating in the following three events and I hope some of you will come and also pass the word to others you know who might be interested:
film and lecture series
Permaculture, Sustainability and Education
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Please join us for a discussion panel with
Andy Vadnais
, Headmaster, Mike Benjamin, Director of Sustainability, South Kent School,
Shifting Paradigms in education, from infrastructure to the classroom. Cultivating short and long
term visions.
Cynthia Rabinowitz
: is a soil and wetland scientist, Permaculture Design Consultant,
horticulturist and ecological landscape designer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers,
Fine Gardening and Edible Nutmeg. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at Southern Connecticut State
The topic for the evening will be permaculture and sustainability as well as educational
initiatives in the classroom and the field. Our aim is to educate and inspire people to do things
differently and to make better choices. We will address the economics of these concepts,
educating the rising generation and, providing an understanding and appreciation for the scope of
the situation. Come gain an idea of what is being done now, what are the 'next steps', as well as
longer term plans
IT MATTERS! Series is co sponsored by Kent School and supported by Housatonic
Valley Association, Kent Land Trust, Kent Memorial Library and NW Connecticut
Conservation District.
Location:Dickinson Science Building, Kent School, located on the west side of the Rt 341 bridge
For more information visit kentEdrive.org


Introduction to Permaculture - Tuesday, Feb. 28,
6:30pm to 8pm, to be held at the Woodbury Public Library; Sponsored by Flanders Nature Center

#3  (I will be speaking in Workshop 11 - Transition)
CT NOFA's 30th Annual
Winter Conference

Saturday, March 3, 2012
Manchester Community College
Manchester, CT
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Growing Together Since 1982!
Co-Sponsored With
mcc green team logojeffrey smith
Join us in celebrating our 30th Annual Winter Conference with keynote international bestselling author Jeffrey M. Smith. Mr. Smith is the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). He documents how the world’s most powerful Ag biotech companies bluff and mislead critics, and put the health of society at risk.

His first book, “Seeds of Deception” became the world’s best-selling and #1 rated book on GMOs. His second book, “Genetic Roulette” is the authoritative work that presents irrefutable evidence that GMOs are harmful. Jeffrey will be speaking on the Politics of GMOs and what may be the #1 food and health issue in the U.S. today. His non-GMO campaign has been highly successful–now at the tipping point–where the GMO industry could begin to collapse. Please save the date and join us at Manchester Community College for this important event.

NOFA Members $50
Non-Members $60
Students/Seniors $35
Volunteer for 2 hours and receive $10 off the registration price!
NEW - Introductory membership - $15 per year. For first time members, you'll get our newsletter, Farm & Food Guide, event notices and discounts, without the quarterly The Natural Farmer. Join now and take the member discount for the Winter Conference.
A printer-friendly pregistration form is available HERE.
Online registration is available HERE.
Beginning Farmer scholarship information available HERE.
Workshop Session I - 9:30 to 10:45 am
Raising Dairy Goats and Making Cheese - Paul Trubey, Beltane Farm
Beekeeping Basics– Marina Marchese, Red Bee Honey
The Dynamic History of the Connecticut Forest - Jeffrey Ward, CT Agricultural Exp. Station
Public Act 490 - Joan Nichols, CT Farm Bureau
Websites as a Marketing Tool For Farms - Patty & Erick Taylor, Devon Point Farm
Wild Bees and Pollination - Dr. Kim Stoner of CT Ag Experiment Station
Worm Composting Simplified - Nick Mancini, Organic Gardening Simplified
Growing Nuts in Connecticut - Dr. Sandra Anagnostakis, CT Agricultural Exp. Station
Raising Garlic – Farmer Wayne Hansen, Wayne's Organic Gardens
Animal Welfare Approved Certification - Brigid Sweeney, Animal Welfare Approved
Transition #1- Working Together to Build Community Resilience; Overview with Success Stories - Maria Tupper & Terry Halwes
Non-GMO Activist Workshop - Jeffrey Smith, Institute for Responsible Technology
Workshop Session II - 1:45 to 3:00 pm
Can I Eat This? Fermented Foods - Discussion and Preparation - Jane Maher
Surviving on an Acre - Wyatt Whiteman, 1760 Farm House, LLC
Small Dairy/Herdshare - Brigitte Ruthman, Joshua's Farm
Mushroom Growing on a Small Scale - Carol Brzozowy & Jim Peppin, Maggie's Farm
Biotech Threats to Organic Agriculture - Ed Stockman, Summit Farm
Benefits of Reduced Tillage– Tom Morris, UConn Plant Scientist
Organic Seed vs. Monsanto: The Lawsuit Challenging Patents on Seed - Attorney Daniel Ravicher, NYC
Permaculture & Regenerative Hillside Farming & Gardening - Keith Zaltzberg
Certified Organic Nutrient Dense Small Fruit - Julie Rawson & Jack Kitteredge, Many Hands Organic Farm, MA
Lead in Soils – Concerns and Corrections - Dawn Pettinelli, UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory
The 10 Least Wanted: Vegetable Pests and What to Do About Them - Rob Durgy, CT Ag Experiment Station
Soil Management Techniques - Bryan O'Hara, Tobacco Road Farm
Transforming our Tub full of Toxins: The Opportunity for Organics in the Personal Care Industry – Valerie Cookson-Botto
Food as Medicine - Dr. Leigh White, Natural Family Health, LLC
Root Cellars & Food Storage – Chris Chaisson, Whole Farm Services, VT
Transition #2- Permaculture and Transition - Cynthia Rabinowitz & Joan Spear
Edible School Gardens - Dan Levinson, Green Village Initiative (GVI)
Workshop Session III - 3:15 to 4:30 pm
Collards & Other Cold Weather Greens for Health & Flavor - Chef John Turenne, Farmer Wayne Hansen and Naturopathic Physician Leigh White
Engaging and Keeping Farm Staff - Julie Rawson, Many Hands Organic Farm, MA
Pasture Raised Laying Hens - Brianne Casadei, Exec. Director Terra Firma Farm
How You Can Easily Grow Fresh Greens All Winter - David Zemelsky, Starlight Gardens
Low Cost-High Energy-No Carbon Footprint: The World of Sprouting Seed - Bob Burns, Aiki Farms
Nitrogen Management on Farms – Tom Morris, UConn Plant Scientist
Science and Principles of Soil Microbiology – Joe Magazzi, Green Earth Agriculture
Brewing your Own Organic Beer - Michael Stefanowicz
CSA Crop Planning- Dina Brewster, The Hickories
Climate Change In Connecticut: What Can We Expect and Do - Jennifer Pagach, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Deer Fencing for Small and Large Farms - Rob Durgy, CT Ag Experiment Station
Winter Farmers’ Markets Are Hot! - Winter Caplanson, Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market
Small Scale Grain Production - Rodger Phillips, Grow Hartford
Co-ops Build a Better World: Co-operatives and Food Security - Erbin Crowell, Neighboring Food Co-op Association
Farm Bill - Ned Porter, Wholesome Wave
Transition #3 - Lighting the Fire for Action - Coleen Spurlock
New Farmer Show and Tell – The first 5 years! - Shannon Raider, New CT Farmer Alliance

Monday, February 20, 2012

Making Quality Soap At Home



9:30am – 12:00pm





COURSE FEE: $25, includes refreshments and a bar of soap.

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED: registration form at www.connsoil.com

Learn the benefits and ease of making safe, non-toxic bar soap right at home! This class and demonstration will cover ingredients, supplies, sources, techniques and, above all, safety. We will discuss the many varieties of oils and their best uses, as well as natural scents, dyes, herbs and other possible additives.
Erin is a registered nurse working in a natural childbirth center and is a La Leche League Leader, helping mothers to succeed with breastfeeding.  Erin is devoted environmentalist, has taken the Transition Town two day training, and loves experimenting with projects that help her lead a more sustainable lifestyle.  She is currently working on her Master of Arts degree in Integrative Health and Healing and is also interested in cycling, gardening, cooking, art and metaphysics/spirituality.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Training for Transition in Litchfield, Connecticut

Dear Friends,

This workshop is coming up soon and the price increases on Friday. Please let us know if you will be attending. This is a wonderful opportunity for community building in our extended community. No one will be turned away for financial reasons. Scholarships are available, please phone us to discuss bartering of services. (Registration form at bottom of this email.)
Transition Litchfield is happy to offer a weekend workshop for people interested in becoming leaders and participants in a cooperative, secure, and peaceful transition to the post petroleum era.

Saturday and Sunday, 25 and 26 February 2012, 9am-5:30pm Bantam Borough Hall, 890 Bantam Road, (Rt 202), Bantam, (a village of Litchfield), CT
The Transition Movement addresses the global challenges of peak oil, climate disruption and economic contraction with a positive approach that focuses on local solutions and building community resilience.
Training for Transitionis the in-depth experiential workshop created by the global Transition Network. (www.TransitionNetwork.org) It describes how to set up, run, and maintain a successful localTransition initiative. The15-hour course is packed with imaginative and inspiring ways to engage your community, and delves into both the theory and practice of Transition that has worked in hundreds of communities around the world. This is the training that enableslocal initiating groups to become internationally recognized Transition initiatives.
Who should attend? People interested in learning about the Transition Movement in depth in order to promote it in their communities.
What you can expect:
You will be part of ahighly interactive event that will connect you to your neighbors who share your concerns for positive, effective action
You will learn how to describe the triple challenge of peak oil, climate instability, and economic deterioration, and move people to action.
You will explore ways to create and strengthen your local community.
You will connect with others who share your concerns and are on a similar path.
You will become a part of a rapidly growing positive, inspirational, globalmovement.
Instructors:Tina Clarke and Alistair Lough, certified Transition Trainers
Cost: $125 for the weekend before 2/18/2012, $150 thereafter. Refreshments and materials included. Bring a bag lunch or order a box lunch with registration. A limited number of scholarships will be offered. Consider a donation towards scholarships;your generosity will help those with low incomes to attend. No one will be turned away if they are short of funds. Call us about any financial concerns.
Suggested Preparation: The Transition Primer (free pdf), The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience by Rob Hopkins.
We are on Facebook as Transition Litchfield
For more information about Transition in the US: http://transitionUS.orgThe new sequel to the Transition Handbook, The Transition Companion by Rob Hopkins, will be available for sale for $16 at the training.
In Community,

Transition LitchfieldTransition Litchfield
Building awareness about the long term health of our community with inclusive conversations about moving from energy dependence to local resilience
Kay Carroll, Andy Graves, Lynn Fulkerson, Rosemarie Greco, Barbara Putnam, Joan Spear

Registration: either email registration information to transitionlitchfield@gmail.com. or fill out registration form and mail it with your payment
Payment mail a check made out to Barbara Putnam, to Barbara Putnam, 73 Clark Road, Litchfield, CT 06759
Questions: email to transitionlitchfield@gmail.comor phone: Joan Spear at 860-567-0554, or Barbara Putnam at 860-567-4465


Phone number
Email address


You may bring a bag lunch
order a lunch that includes vegetarian soup, and a choice of sandwich for an additional $10 per day. Contact Joan or Barbara for lunch choices.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Carbon Farming Course a Huge Success

I recently attended two sessions of the Carbon Farming Course organized by Appleseed Permaculture with the support of many progressive and forward thinking agricultural organizations.  The course was held at the Pfeiffer Center for Biodynamic Farming at Chestnut Ridge, New York, and offered several workshops in regenerative agriculture featuring speakers at the top of their profession and recognized nationally, and in some cases, internationally.

I selected two out of several workshops that appealed to me.  Each was three days long and covered the topics in great detail so that participants came away with, not only a theoretical introduction to the topics, but hands-on, practical applications.

The first workshop was on the subject of Perennial Agriculture and was taught jointly by Dr. Wes Jackson of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, and Dave Jacke, author of "Edible Forest Gardens".  Both these teachers are tops in their field and gave generously of their knowledge to the participants.

Perennial agriculture is the complete opposite of what agriculture is today.  Except for fruit production, most agriculture worldwide is focused on annual crops.  Grains are at the top of the list for crops grown around the world.  These include (in order of importance): wheat, rice, maize (corn), soybeans, barley, sorghum, cottonseed, dry beans, millet and rapeseed/mustard. These crops cover approximately 80% of global agricultural land.

Along with these very important staple foods, other crops, such as most of our vegetables, are annuals and must be replanted and then harvested each year.  Dr. Jackson, plant geneticist, noticed the high costs and inputs that go into an annual cropping system each year.  Yearly applications of ertilizers, pesticides, equipment costs etc. must be factored into the costs of farming annuals.  The shallow-rooted annual plants and then the bare soil of the "off season" leads to severe soil erosion, depletion of soil fertility and also water contamination. 

One need only look on the internet for a satellite photograph of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico to see the negative effects of annual agriculture from the Mississippi River basin and the North American prairies (the "breadbasket" of the nation) to understand how much real wealth has been lost through careless and thoughtless agricultural practices since the opening of the prairies.  The phenomenon of loss of soil through erosion and contamination of water by excessive use of fertilizers and the use of pesticides, is not unique to North America but has affected every continent and every ecosystem on the planet.

Perennial agriculture seeks to return to a type of agriculture that corresponds better to ecology.  Before the settlers started farming the prairies, rich polycultures of plants grew on extraordinary soils with deep, fertile topsoils, the likes of which had never been seen by Europeans before.  The equivalent of the prairie soils had been discovered and developed in the Russian steppes too. 

Dr. Jackson and the research team at The Land Institute are breeding perennial wheat and other grains to replace the annuals now in production around the world.  The perennials would create large root systems that would hold the remaining soil and protect it from erosion, contribute to the creation of deepening and improving the fertility of the soil and reduce costs of production because of the reduced need for fertilizer and other inputs.

Dave Jacke's approach to perennial agriculture takes the form of mimicking another type of natural ecosystem - the woodland.  Woodlands and forests generally contain many layers of vegetation.  The overstory of trees, depending on the species and density, often has a shrub layer and a ground cover layer of herbaceous perennials and annuals.  The soil remains covered.  Root depths vary species to species and the variety of plants grow in their niches complementing the growth of their neighbors in various ways. 

Deep rooted plants draw moisture and nutrients up to shallower depths where roots of other plants can access these necessary ingredients for growth.  Beneficial relationships between the plants and the soil microbial populations develop undisturbed by frequent tilling.  Waste products from plants, falling leaves and branches, and exudates from roots, for example, contribute to soil fertility by cycling the nutrients into the soil where soil organisms utilize them.  Eventually, those nutrients are convered back into forms useful again to the plants.  These materials are not leaching into groundwater as agricultural fertilizers often do.

By understanding these cycles of nature, Dave Jacke teaches how to design a polycultural system using trees, shrubs, vines, perennial and annual herbaceous plants.  These edible forest gardens, when carefully designed, will become self-sustaining, needing very little effort and manipulation by the human tender.

An edible forest garden may consist of one tree, two or three shrubs and a dozen or so herbaceous plants.  Or, it may be a forest garden that covers many acres.  Whatever the size, careful selection and placement of the plants and the access paths permit the growth of food and possibly fiber and building material too, in sustainable systems that require little, if any, outside inputs of fertilizers and pesticides.

References that I recommend for more reading on designing edible forest gardens are:

"Creating a Forest Garden: Working With Nature To Grow Edible Crops" by Martin Crawford, www.greenbooks.co.uk ISBN 978 1 900322 621.

"Edible Forest Gardens" Volume 1 and Volume 2, by Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier, www.chelseagreen.com ISBN 1-931498-80-6.

"How To Make A Forest Garden", Patrick Whitefield, www.chelseagreen.com  
ISBN 13:978-1-85623-008-7

The second of the three-day workshops I attended was The Living Soil with Dr. Elaine Ingham as presenter.  Check back to this site soon for a description of this valuable workshop.