Local farms offer weekend sustainability workshops

BRISTOL — On June 1 and 2, a couple of Addison County farms will host Summer Field Days: A Weekend of Pasture Management, Livestock Integration and Agroforestry Systems.
Participants will learn about methods for building a robust soil network that supports grazing livestock, food production and biodiversity.
On Saturday, Jon Turner of Wild Roots Farm (Bristol) will host a pasture walk at his Bristol farm and with Jennifer Colby of Howling Wolf Farm (which is located in Randolph) will lead discussions about grazing/rest periods, pasture management, soil building and habitat restoration.
On Sunday, Mark Krawczyk will lead a pasture walk through Valley Clayplain Forest Farm (New Haven) that demonstrates a working agroforestry system and forest farm.
According to Project Drawdown, a nonpartisan, noncommercial research organization that serves as a source for solutions to reverse global heating, the food sector offers more, and higher impact, opportunities for fighting the climate crisis than any other sector, including electricity generation and transportation. Worldwide, the food sector’s 17 solutions represent 31 percent of the total possible reduction in greenhouse gases (the equivalent of 321.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide) by 2050.
Included among those solutions are several that intersect with Summer Field Days workshop topics on offer this weekend:
• silvopasture, an ancient practice that integrates trees and pasture into a single system for raising livestock (CO2 reduction: 31.19 gigatons).
• managed grazing, which addresses two key variables: how long livestock graze a specific area and how long the land rests before animals return (16.34 gigatons).
• multistrata agroforestry, which can, by mimicking forests, prevent erosion and flooding, recharge groundwater, restore degraded land and soils, support biodiversity by providing habitat and corridors between fragmented ecosystems and absorb and store carbon (9.28 gigatons).
Also connected to these workshop topics (though perhaps more loosely) are:
• regenerative agriculture, which enhances and sustains the health of the soil by restoring its carbon content, which in turn improves productivity — without chemicals and synthetic fertilizers (23.15 gigatons).
• conservation agriculture, whose three principles include minimizing soil disturbance, maintaining soil cover and managing crop rotation (17.35 gigatons).
• farmland restoration, which can mean the return of native vegetation, the establishment of tree plantations or the introduction of generative farming methods (14.08 gigatons).
• nutrient management, which works according to the “Four R’s”: right source (matching fertilizer choices with plant needs), right time and right place (managing fertilizer applications to deliver nitrogen when and where crop demand is highest) and right rate (ending over-application of fertilizer as “insurance”) (1.81 gigatons).
(Source: drawdown.org.)
Jennifer Colby coordinates the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, helping livestock farmers find success and lead quality lives. She also teaches grazing and livestock courses part-time at Sterling College and Vermont Technical College. She has operated Howling Wolf Farm, a diversified meat livestock farm, since 2000.
Mark Krawczyk is a permaculture designer, woodworker, natural builder and community organizer. He owns and operates the homestead/farm Valley Clayplain Forest Farm, the permaculture design/consult business Keyline Vermont and the traditional woodcraft company RivenWoodCrafts.
Jon Turner of Wild Roots Farm served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007, including two tours in Iraq. He is the founding chair of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Vermont and a recipient of the 2019 Spirit in Nature Award. He serves on the board of NOFA-VT, is a member of Vermont Farm Bureau and the Addison County Hunger Council and has offered dozens of workshops and presentations since 2015.
There will be time spent in a classroom setting as well as in the field, observing and interacting with living systems.
The cost is $20 for one day or $35 for the weekend. Proceeds support instructors and on-farm education.
There will be a potluck-style lunch both days. Please bring a dish to share.
To RSVP, call 377-1214 or email [email protected].
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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