Courses for local

Though the busy growing season is winding down for vegetable farmers, opportunities for learning and improving operations continue. This fall, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-Vt.), with support from the University of Vermont (UVM) and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture and Research (NE-SARE) program, will be offering two courses intended to address some of the most pressing issues for intermediate to advanced farmers.

"On-Farm Energy" and "Marketing that Sells" are both three-day intensive courses that take place over the course of several weeks in November and December.

"On-Farm Energy: Saving Money through Efficiency and Renewables," beginning Nov. 4 will cover the most critical aspects of energy use on vegetable farms. Beginning with an overview of farm energy use and how to do a simple energy audit, the course will also cover greenhouses and refrigeration in detail, focusing on how equipment choices, innovations, and renewables can reduce energy consumption and cut costs. Speakers for this course include John Bartok of the University of Connecticut, Craig Metz of EnSave in Richmond and several innovative local farmers.

Beginning Nov. 16, "Marketing that Sells" features farm business consultant Rose Wilson as well as a number of successful Vermont farmers. This course will evaluate marketing options for vegetable farms; each participant will create a practical, action-oriented marketing plan tailored to their operation. Topics to be covered include displays, online marketing, branding, events, and strategies for measuring feedback.

Both courses will take place in Berlin. Registration for each is $125; those who register for both will save $25 on the total cost. Additional mentoring and enterprise analysis are available to a limited number of participants in each course. For more information and to register, visit www.nofavt.org/annual-events/farmercourses or contact NOFA-Vt. at info@nofavt.org or 802-434-4122.

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