News/Events - February 2015
Registration Now Open!
New farmers now have more options for hands-on training in east central Ontario, thanks to our roster of four on-farm mentorship programs. Following the growing season, participants work and learn alongside farmer-mentors in the fields of beekeeping, sheep farming, maple syrup production, and pasture management.
Since 2013, we've offered our Beekeeping Mentorship for apiarists eager to increase their confidence in the bee yard. In 2014, we launched our Sheep Farming Mentorship, aimed at helping novice shepherds develop their flock handling skills. Both programs are set to begin in April this year.
For 2015, we're excited to announce the launch of two new mentorship programs: pasture management, and maple syrup production. Each has been designed by long-time producers with beginners in mind, and will feature plenty of hands-on learning, complemented by one-on-one mentor support.
Beginning in April, the Pasture Management Mentorship will focus on thought-intensive management, with the goal of exploring design opportunities for post-oil farming. Starting in October, the Maple Syrup Production Mentorship will expose mentees to forest management, woodlot and production facilities, as well as successful marketing strategies and value-added production.
For each of the mentorships, participants will attend five field days on the host farm to participate in projects and field work relevant to the growing season. With class sizes between six and eight mentees, a central feature of all the programs is small group learning and collaboration, with a focus on building ties to the farming community.
2014 Sheep Farming Mentorship Year in Review
Here is what some of our Sheep Farming mentees had to say about their mentorship experiences last year:
If you are looking to increase your skills and confidence under the guidance of an experienced farming mentor, Farms at Work’s On-Farm Mentorship Programs may be for you. For more information, please visit farmsatwork.ca/mentorship-
An overflow crowd attended the 3rd Annual Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop last Saturday. The event was designed to celebrate on-farm stewardship achievements, and to inform the farming community about the many resources available to support them.
This full-day workshop featured presentations by farmers and industry professionals on topics such as: practical strategies for reducing neonicotinoid use (Greg Stewart, OMAFRA); creative options and solutions for livestock watering; the benefits of wetlands and biofilters in farm drainage; and the 4R’s of nutrient stewardship. as well as the many sources of funding and technical support available to farmers across the region from KFSC partners.
Farmers identified more than two dozen projects they would like to undertake over the next couple of years, through a voluntary project intake process and conversation with partners in the Collaborative who provide funding and technical assistance.
If you didn’t make it to the workshop this year, visit the Collaborative’s web page to get an idea of the many resources available to you. You can complete an online form at any time, and a member of the Collaborative will contact you to obtain more details and talk about support available.
The KFSC consists of eleven local and provincial partner organizations: Ducks Unlimited Canada, Farms at Work, Ganaraska Region Conservation, Kawartha Conservation, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Lower Trent Conservation and Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Otonabee Conservation, and the Peterborough County Stewardship Council. The Collaborative has worked together for the last 5 years on projects valued at close to $1million. For more information, visit www.kawarthafarmstewardship.org or call (705) 743-7671.
Ontario Farmland Trust's 11th Annual Ontario Farmland Forum
Registration is now open for the 2015 Ontario Farmland Forum
The Forum is a day of networking, learning and creative-thinking about how we expand and enhance farmland protection in Ontario.
This year's event includes presentations on:
- Tools for communicating the value of ON farmland,
- Policy that enables vibrant local farm economies,
- Agriculture in the new Rouge National Park,
- Development offsetting for farmland protection in California, and
- Pennsylvania's model farmland protection program
Who should attend?
- Land Conservation Enthusiasts
- Land Use Planners
- Provincial Policy Makers
- Municipal Councillors
Join the discussion and help shape the future of farmland protection in Ontario!
CLICK HERE to view the forum program and register.
Farms at Work is conducting a survey to improve the Find Local Food platform (a tool to help farmers and the wholesale market connect with each other). We hope to collect responses from as many local farmers as possible!
If you produce food for the local market (i.e. east central Ontario) help us know what you need by filling out this quick survey. It should only take 5 minutes and we'll use your ideas to make this free service better for you!
Need another reason to participate? If you complete the survey by Friday, February 27th you'll have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate from Lee Valley!