Tuesday, March 26, 2013

EarthDance Workshops

EarthDance is a teaching farm located in Ferguson, MO.  Since 2009, EarthDance has operated a part-time apprenticeship program at the historic Mueller Organic Farm, in order to train more farmers and gardeners for the St. Louis region. To view our complete listing of classes, and to register, visit http://www.earthdancefarms.org/what-we-do/classes-2/.  Questions about classes at EarthDance may be addressed to rachel@earthdancefarms.org
April 1st, 6-7:30pm - Greenhouse and Hoophouse Growing at LaVista Farm
Tour La Vista Farm, in Godfrey IL.  La Vista is a nonprofit Community Supported Farm, in operation since 2001.  Eric Stevens and his wife Crystal manage the farm.  Their specialties include native plants, medicinal herbs, companion planting and gourmet cooking with seasonal vegetables.  During this field trip, Crystal and Eric will provide a guided tour of their heated hoophouse, where they raise their transplants in late winter.  In late spring, the structure is used as a high tunnel, where heat-loving crops are raised in the soil beneath plastic covering. 

April 8th, 6-7:30pm - Field Planning for Efficient Farming
Tour EarthDance's Mueller Farm, for a field walk focused on field planning. This class will include discussion of large equipment, including four- and two-wheeled tractors, and implements.  Learn how to determine the most efficient planting bed size and layout and choose your cultivation strategies.

April 15th, 6-7:30pm - Keeping Track: Harvest Procedures and Record Keeping
Review the basics of planning and implementing a successful harvest, as well as the necessity of keeping good records.  Rigorous record keeping is also a key to organic certification.  Learn what data to keep track of; systems that will facilitate your record keeping; and how you can use your records to improve farming practices and profitability.

April 22nd, 6-7:30pm - Keeping it Fresh: Post-harvest Handling for Quality and Safety
This class will cover food safety practices, as well as harvest procedures and equipment that will ensure high quality produce that maintains its freshness longer. Review the procedures that make for an effective harvest, gain insight into the factors that can diminish the quality of your produce, and learn how to establish a food safety plan for your farm.  A portion of this class will be devoted to cool-bot technology.  Cool-bots employ reconfigured air conditioning units to transform an enclosed space into a DIY walk-in cooler. Learn the basics of cool-bot construction, including cost, necessary materials, and assembly overview. Attendees will receive a manual with detailed instructions explaining the construction process. Light refreshments will be served.

April 30th, 6-7:30pm - To Market, To Market
This class will focus on farmers markets from the farmer’s perspective. Market “dos and don’ts” will be covered, as well as techniques for branding your products, establishing customer loyalty, and keeping your product fresh and appealing at market.

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