Classes and Farm Tours

 

2017 Class Schedule
 
Intro to Organic Farming  Class Series 
These classes are required for first year participants, and are also open to others.  They are meant to cover the basics of farming in this climate and farming organically.  All winter classes are in St. Paul from 5:45-8:00 PM at the Eastside Enterprise Center, 804 Margaret Street, St. Paul MN 55106 unless noted. 
 
 
  • Tuesday January 3rd 5:45-8:00 PM -  Intro to Organic Farming Principles: Learn the basic concepts of what it means to grow sustainably and organically and the practices involved in an Organic Systems Plan. Katie Kubovcik, Farm Consultant 
  • Tuesday January 10th 5:45-8:00 PM - POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER
  • Tuesday January 17th 5:45-8:00 PM -  Crop Plan & Plot Map: In this class, you’ll begin making your own farm production plan. We’ll talk about how to decide what to grow, and how to organize your plot to maximize production, taking into account things such as crop rotation, time of planting, time of harvest, spacing, water needs and companion planting. *Come with some ideas of what you would like to grow. Molly Schaus, Farm Director
  • Tuesday January 24th 5:45-8:00 PM - Crop Profiles: Get a better understanding of the vegetable crops you can grow here in Minnesota.  We will go over the different vegetable families and what you need to know about them, such as direct seeding verses transplanting, ideal growing conditions, fertility needs and pests and disease issues.  Katie Kubovcik, Farm Consultant  
  • Thursday January 26th 5:45-8:00 - Added Farm Business Class: Filing Farm Taxes & Business Incorporation: Learn when and how to file a schedule F and incorporate legally as a farm business. Jaime Villalaz, Greater MN Business Development Specialist, LEDC
  • Tuesday January 31st 5:45-8:00 PM - Greenhouse & Planting Schedule: Learn how to plan ahead so your crops are healthy, productive, and ready when you need them. Determine what to transplant and what to direct seed, and create a schedule for planting. Molly Schaus, Farm Director 
  • Tuesday February 7th 5:45-8:00 PM - Seed Order: Now that you have a crop plan, plot map, and planting schedule, you’re ready to make your seed order! Learn how to calculate how much seed to order, how to read a seed catalog, and how to choose the best varieties. *Bring a calculator to this class. Molly Schaus, Farm Director  

Improving Production Class Series
These classes are required for all farmers.  They are designed to introduce new ideas to beginning farmers and to deepen the understanding of basic principles, in applicable ways, for returning participants.  All classes are in St. Paul from 5:45-8:00 PM at the Eastside Enterprise Center, 804 Margaret Street, St. Paul MN 55106 unless noted. One topic from each category – Markets, Whole Farm Planning, Organic Practices, and Production Improvements – will be taught every year as part of a 3-year rotation.

  • Tuesday February 14th 5:45-8:00 PM - Markets: Decision to Diversify – Hear from MFA graduates Moses and Ronah about their decision to diversify into new markets, such as strawberries, chickens, perennial crops, and microgreens, after buying their own farm. Learn what factors they considered before adding each enterprise, and find out which ones have proven to be the most profitable. Moses Momanyi Dawn to Dusk Farm
  • Tuesday February 21st 5:45-8:00 PM - Whole Farm Planning: Planning for Profitability – Farmers have control over three basic factors that can affect their farm income. In this class, we will talk about how to make and adjust your budget for profitability based on these three areas. Dori Eder Gemini Valley Farm / Farm Beginnings Facilitator
  • Tuesday, February 28th 5:45-8:00 PM - Production Improvements: Intro to Mechanical Cultivation – Learn the basics of how we'll use a tractor and implements for more efficient weed control this year. The class will cover the tools, vocabulary, and most effective strategies for using mechanical cultivation. Molly Schaus Farm Director, MFA
The Growing Season:  Classes and Farm Tours
These classes and farm tours are required for all Basic Training Program farmers. All classes are at the farm unless otherwise noted. Dates are subject to change based on weather; call for the most up-to-date schedule. 
  • ALL Saturdays, March 4th-April 22nd 10:00 AM-12:00 PM - Greenhouse Skill Sessions - Work each week with Farmer Mentor, May Lee, to understand all aspects of greenhouse management: seeding, watering, thinning, hardening off, and more. Each Saturday May will teach about a new topic, depending on the season. May Lee, Farmer Mentor
  • Tuesday, March 7th 12:30-2:30 PM - Tour – carpool available - Organic Practices: Natural Resources Conservation Service & Farm Service Agency Tour – We will go as a group to the FSA/NRCS office to learn what services and each agency offers for your organic farming business, including funding for high tunnels, custom conservation planning, and protection against natural disaster. Katie Kubovcik Farm Consultant, Anne Robbins FSA, TBD NRCS
  • CANCELED - Friday, March 10th, 3:30-5:30 PM - Tour – carpool option - Farm Supply Store Tour – We will go as a group to three local farm supply stores to learn about what each one offers and how to set up a sales account. Visit to Jordan’s, BFG, & Carlin
  • Saturday, March 11th, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM - Greenhouse Renovation - Work as a team to repair the BRF greenhouse. We will replace the baseboards and convert the sides to roll up for better ventilation. Any hours contributed will count toward community work day hours.  
  • Tuesday March 28th 2:00-7:00 PM - Workday: Spring Clean-up (2:00-4:30 PM) Clean up farmer storage spaces and prepare for the new year. Skill Session: Small Tools & Equipment Maintenance (5:00-7:00 PM) Learn how to repair and properly care for the shared hand-tools and gas-powered equipment, including a riding lawnmower, weed-whacker, and flame weeder.
  • Tuesday April 4th 5:45-8:00 PM   Location: East Side Enterprise Center - Finding the Farm that’s Right for YOU Is it better to rent or own? How many acres is enough -- and how many is too much? When is the right time to buy a farm? How do you assess a property once you find it? This workshop will help beginning farmers find answers to some of the most important questions about farmland access. Karen Stettler, Farm Beginnings Program Organizer, Land Stewardship Project| Farmer, Longdale Farm
  • Tuesday April 11th 5:45-8:00 PM   Location: East Side Enterprise Center - Meeting: Organic Certification Walk step-by-step through your Organic Packet, an abbreviated version of the Organic Systems Plan. Wendy Paulsen, Organic Inspector from MCIA, will also be available to speak more in depth on organic certification and answer questions. **Bring all of your plans and records! Wendy Paulsen, Organic Certification Specialist and Staff Inspector, MCIA   Laura Hedeen, BRF Programs Manager 
  • Tuesday April 18th 5:45-8:00 PM Meeting: On-farm Orientation We will walk through the entire farm, and explain our systems for shared spaces, communication, and safety. Danielle Piraino, BRF Training Program Intern May Lee, BRF Farmer Mentor
  • Sunday April 23rd 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Workday / Field Day: Hoophouse Rebuild Work as a team to reconstruct and cover the BRF hoophouse to prepare it for 2017 crops. We will learn how to install greenhouse plastic, build end walls, install baseboards, hip-boards, and roll-up sides for ventilation.  Andrew Hanson-Pierre, Clover Bee Farm   *Bring a lunch and a power drill if you have one*
  • Thursdays April 27th -September 5:45-8:00 PM Skill Sessions: Intro to Field Production All season long, May and Molly will help decide the field work priorities of the week and help farmers address them. Topics will include transplanting, direct seeding, trellising, mulching, watering, harvesting, post-harvest handling, record-keeping, and more. May Lee, BRF Farmer Mentor   Molly Schaus, BRF Farm Director
  • Tuesday May 2nd 5: 45-8:00 PM     Field Day: Irrigation Learn about the different irrigation options for small-scale vegetable farming and the pros and cons of each in order to determine which method is best for your farm. We will also go through a hands-on demonstration of how to install a drip-tape system. May Lee, BRF Farmer Mentor   Molly Schaus, BRF Farm Director
  • Saturday May 6th 10:00 AM-6:00 PM Field Day: Using the Cultivation Tractor This class will provide a basic overview of how to drive the cultivating tractor and use it to remove weeds from the aisles of your fields.  We will also discuss ideal timing for mechanical cultivation and take a field walk to assess field conditions.  BRF farmers who have completed basic tractor training will have time for hands-on practice. Rodrigo Cala, Cala Farm   *Bring your own lunch*

ADDITIONAL GROWING SEASON CLASSES WILL BE SCHEDULED - CHECK BACK FOR AN UPDATED SCHEDULE! 

 
Cost to Attend:
$25 per class
$20 each for 4 or more classes
$250 for the whole season (February - November)
 
Classes run from January through November. Please note that they tend to go at a slower pace to accommodate those with English as a second language.
 
Preregistration is requested. You can register or get more information by calling 651-433-3676 or emailing Laura at laura@mnfoodassociation.org.