"The oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it."
- Aldo Leopold



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MOFGA's Organic Farming Short Course

Organic Farming: Principles and Practice

Fundamentals of Organic Crop Farming and Livestock Production

Two-part course held on March 18 and 25, 2015
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days

Viles Arboretum, Viles Room
153 Hospital Street, Augusta, Maine

Registration Fees (includes lunch)
$75 individual; $30 additional person; $50 apprentice/student;

FREE journeypersons;
$45 per single-day registration

Registration closed - Walk-ins welcome!

Our two-part course, Organic Farming: Principles and Practice, is designed to provide farmers with a strong background in soils, weeds and pest management, enabling them to make good management decisions.

It is geared for those who are looking to gain a greater understanding of the biology and ecology behind better soil, pest and disease management, weed management and hence better crops and healthier livestock.

Lectures by Eric Sideman, MOFGA's organic crop specialist, Diane Schivera, MOFGA's livestock specialist, and local farmers Dave Colson and Natalie Lounsbury.



Course Outline

Lectures by Eric Sideman (unless otherwise noted)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

I.  Properties of Soil
What is soil?
Soil texture and structure
Organic matter, plant nutrients and pH

II.  Testing soil
Taking the sample and reading the results

III.  Soil Husbandry and Sources of Plant Nutrition
Managing soil organic matter and building fertility

IV.  Farmer Presentation
Natalie Lounsbury farms River Rise Farm in Turner, Maine. She grows mixed vegetables and some small fruits. Natalie brings to the farm a masters degree in soil science where she focused on cover crops.


V.  Composting
Biology and chemistry of the pile
How to make and use compost

VI.  Organic Livestock Production
Diane Schivera, MOFGA's livestock specialist, will present the basics of feeding, breeding and healthcare of livestock on an organic farm.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

VII.  Crop Rotation & Green Manures
Benefits of crop rotation
Choosing which green manure is best for the situation

VIII.  Insects and Diseases
Understanding Pest Control
Using crop rotation, sanitation, barriers, microbial pesticides, botanical pesticides, copper and other materials

IX.  Organic Certification
Who needs to get certified and how to do it.


X.  Farmer Presentation

David Colson
now works for MOFGA in our Agricultural Services department, but before that he and his family ran New Leaf Farm in Durham, Maine. New Leaf has been in operation as an organic farm for about 30 years. They did (and still do under new management) produce a wide mix of vegetables for sale to specialty stores and restaurants in the Portland area. David will talk about the nitty gritty of organic weed control, pest management, and soil husbandry at New Leaf Farm.

XI. Weed Management
Weed Ecology
Crop rotation and cover crops to manage weeds
Cultivation tools; hand and tractor

XII.  Open Discussion and Wrap Up




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