Keynote: CR Lawn Founder of Fedco Seeds

Restoring Our Seed Commons:
The Need for Clarity about Intellectual Property Rights

About CR: In 1978 CR Lawn founded Fedco Seeds. He served on its management teams for forty years until his retirement June 2018. In his plots, CR looked at thousands of varieties for possible inclusion in the Fedco catalog. He wrote most of the seed catalog’s vegetable variety descriptions and its essays on food issues and economic policy, weather and climate, and changes in the seed trade.  He and his wife Eli Rogosa co-ordinated the NESARE-funded Restoring our Seed Project that pioneered in presenting the seed arts to growers in the Northeast prior to the advent of the Organic Seed Alliance conferences. He sat on the Board of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assn. (MOFGA) from 1993 to 2009 serving several terms as Treasurer and Secretary, and is currently on the Board of the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI).  He is a graduate of Oberlin College and has a JD from Yale Law School.

2019 Workshops

(in alphabetical order)

Ian Appleby and Jessica Kurose of Earth Path Sanctuary - Hügelkulturs: Incorporating the Hugel into Your Landscape

Hugel garden beds are self-fertilizing, self-watering, no-till, plant-growing power houses! From the simple task of burying wood and yard waste under your garden bed, comes a powerful horticultural technique. Come learn how we turned our monoculture lawn into biodiverse food and native plant gardens and how you can, too!

Louis Battalen of NOFA Domestic Fair Trade Committee ~ Seed & Grow NOFA’s Social Justice Committee

Bring your vital voice as we design & build the formation of a food justice presence, aligning our social justice values with our passions for organic & the land, expanding our agro-ecology principles to all state chapters & into our respective communities. Delight in diversity & expand the struggle!

Monique Bosch of Wiggle Room LLC ~ Healthy Soil - Healthy Food

Learn about the role healthy soil plays in growing nutritious food. We'll take a close up look at life in the soil and delve into ways to bring your soil back to life. Lessons in microscopy, worm composting and regenerative agriculture practices will be explored.

Willie Crosby of Fungi Ally ~ Specialty Mushrooms for Food, Medicine, and the Backyard Farm

This workshop will cover 4 common specialty mushrooms, their potential health benefits, nutritional benefits and ways to incorporate them into every day life. We will also cover how to cultivate some of these mushrooms in a homesteading or small production scale.

Roberta DiBisceglie of Columbine LLC ~ Landscaping with Native Plants

This talk will cover how to design and manage your home garden encouraging pollinators to help our planet as they are a crucial part of our ecosystem. Loss of habitat threatens them and choosing native plants is proven to support many life cycles of insects we care about.
We will discuss site prep, design, plant selection, planting and after care.

Daphne Dixon of Live Green Connecticut ~ Climate Reality Project Presentation - Sign Up for Local Projects & Initiatives

‘The Climate Reality Project” presentation, that was created by Nobel Laureate and former Vice President, Al Gore will show that by taking urgent, necessary and local action across every level of society, we will catalyze a global solution to the environmental crisis, Sign - up for local projects after presentation.

Cynthia Espinosa of Pulegium Consulting ~ What's in your toolbox? Resources for Ag Educators

Agricultural Education is essential if we are to deliver fair and affordable food, housing, and health for all. Participants attending this workshop will be participating in three hands-on activities to experience, reflect and decide how to use them in their work. Handouts and resources will be distributed.

Tomasz Falkowski of Cornell University ~ The Farmer Is In: Diagnosing and Solving Problems on Your Farm

We collaborated with innovative farmers to learn how they integrate problem solving and experimentation into their normal farming operations. In this workshop, you will learn about these farmer-developed research methods including how to identify research questions, test alternatives, and collect and interpret results.

Kieran Foran founder Trifecta Ecosystems ~ Demystifying Aquaponics

This workshop will detail the basics of aquaponic growing techniques and clarify the distinction between hydro and aquaponic growing. It will describe the complicated relationship to things like the organic label and organic land care rules, but dig into how it also ensures food and job security for future generations.

Timothy Frosina of Custom Meats ~ Butchery Demonstration

Breakdown of a whole lamb. Topics will include: butchery, cooking, animal husbandry, environmental impact, consumer choices etc.

Daniel Furman of Cricket Hill Garden ~ All About Pawpaws: History, Propagation and Cultivation

Pawpaws (A. triloba) are the largest North American fruit, and though not native to Connecticut, have been proven to grow well here. This talk will cover the basics of cultivation of this worthy native fruit. Pawpaws have a place on every homestead, market garden and CSA in the state.

Chelsea Gazillo and David Howard of the Working Lands Alliance and National Young Farmer’s Coalition ~ State Policy Advocacy Training

Working Lands Alliance - A project of American Farmland Trust - and the National Young Farmers Coalition will outline how to successfully advance farmland access policies in Connecticut. This workshop will demystify the public policy process and provide ways to become involved in advocating for food system policies in Connecticut.

Shuresh Ghimire and Matt DeBacco of the UCONN Extension ~ Vegetable Pest Management for Small Scale Production

Participants can learn (i) weed management in vegetable crops focusing on mulching and stale seedbed technique; (ii) suitability of biodegradable mulches in organic and sustainable crop production; and (iii) organic and non-organic management of vegetable diseases and insects focusing on tomatoes and squash.

Kristyna Hulland of Off Center Farm ~ Flower farming: The case for organics and tips for 5 annuals

This workshop advocates for organically grown flowers to complement an organic farm or garden. The benefits of organics to pollinators, the land, and health in the household will be discussed along with growing and post-harvest tips for five annual cut flowers to add seasonal color to your market operation.

Shawn Joseph of Park City Harvest ~ Integrated Organic Gardening

This workshop is designed to walk gardeners and farmers through the process of gardening in an organic manner from beginning to end. It will cover setting up and testing soil quality and how to amend it, also ways to perform organic IPM measures to ensure a good healthy crop.

Hunger Relief/Food Justice Panel ~ Hunger Relief in our Backyard: Meet the Organizations Feeding Connecticut

A panel led by Michelle McCabe of FEED Bridgeport. Panelists include Laurie Jones of Food Rescue US, Rick Nixon of Person-to-Person, and Lisa Hutchings of the CT Foodbank. This workshop is hoping to contextualize our panel in light of the recent ALICE report that 40% of CT residents do not earn enough to meet their basic needs and to consider the role that food plays in terms of survival, health, and financial stability. 

Jack Kittredge of Many Hands Organic Farm ~ The Hows and Whys of Fungal Friendly Farming

This workshop will explore the fungal kingdom and explain why fungi are so important to farming success and viability. After reviewing basic facts about fungi, we will discuss how farmers can manage their operations in ways that encourage fungi and benefit from their symbiotic relationship with plants.

Kip Kolesinskas of UCONN Extension ~ Soil Health and Nutrient Management Planning

Soils are the basis for any farm's success.. Participants will learn basic soil science principles important to maintaining healthy soils. They will develop knowledge about soil health and the common conservation practices used to manage them. Guidance on soil testing, reading soil tests, and conservation plans will be discussed.

Kip Kolesinskas of Connecticut Farmland Trust ~ The Basics of Finding Land to Farm

Beginning farmers find securing land is their greatest challenge. This session will explore topics important for success: evaluating your readiness, lease vs own, and how to assess the property. Participants will start developing a plan to find land, including tools such as Farmlink. Programs that offer funding/assistance will be discussed.

CR Lawn founder of Fedco Seeds ~ We've Got the Whole Seed in Our Hands

•Why do on-farm seed work? 
•Integrating seeds into whole farm systems
•Assessing your seed needs as a gardener or farmer
•Shopping mindfully for varieties to grow and observe
•Establishing Observation plots
•Evaluating Cultivars
•Saving Seeds:
•Observing, recording data, selecting 
•Breeding: considerations in amateur plant breeding

Dr. Ana Legrand of the University of Connecticut ~ Nuts and Bolts of Farmscaping for Beneficial Insects

This workshop will cover the basic principles behind creating farm habitat for insect natural enemies and pollinators. Topics covered include: practices and resources that help create a diverse farmscape for beneficial insects, assessment of farm features and farm practices that have an impact on beneficial insects.

Yonghao Li of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station ~ Plant Disease Prevention in Organic Garden and Landscape

Plant diseases that can reduce the yield of vegetable crops and disfigure ornamental plants. Prevention is the is a easy and effective way to control plant diseases. This talk will discuss quarantine, sanitation, protection, and disease-resistant varieties that are used in the prevention of plant diseases.

Spring Valley Student Farmers at the University of Connecticut ~ Student Farmers on Climate Change Mitigation Through Soil

Student farmers share techniques and growing practices that nurture soil health and mitigate climate change. Learn how you can bolster soil health in your back-yard garden and through careful consumption. Join us for this interactive discussion on climate change in our lives and in our gardens!

Robert Maddox of Sun One Organic Farm ~ Monetizing your Property’s Assets Through Vacation Rentals on the Farm

I will discuss how our Airbnb, a Geodesic Dome, on the farm helps diversify our income as well as build support for organic farming. I will share the opportunities and challenges of starting and operating an Airbnb on our farm.

Craig Floyd and Emma Sutphen of Coogan Farm ~ Establishing a Regenerative Giving Garden Program for a Non Profit

Learn how a non-profit built a highly successful Giving Garden that donates 100% of what is grown to help feed the food insecure. Learn volunteer operations, minerializing techniques, becoming sustainable. How to add microbiology , reduce weed pressure, improve nutritional quality. We are a no till no spray regenerative garden.

Michelle McCabe of The Center for Food Equity and Economic Development - CCGB ~ Maximizing Food Waste for Economic Development

FEED Center launched a product line and catering business that utilizes produce that would otherwise have been thrown away. Join us to learn about how we are leveraging food waste to bring economic opportunity to Bridgeport area food entrepreneurs.

Shannon Raider Ginsburg and Molly Deegan of UCONN Extension -Put Local on Your Tray ~ The Farm 2 School Test: Growing Demand Means Growing Opportunity

Schools are ready to procure local and direct! New rules and regulations make purchasing agreements simple and effective. Learn up to date information to demystify the myths, misconceptions while understanding opportunities about farm to school. As CSA subscriptions and market sales flagging get your share of the F2S market.

Mike Nadeau, Wholistic Land Care Consultant ~ The Organic Ethic and the Living Landscape

To create a truly ecological and organic landscape we must learn to “see” what the land can show us, “listen” to what the land can tell us, and “feel” what the land wants to grow and how it wishes to benefit from our actions and inactions. Come share and learn. 

Matt Oricchio of Speckled Rooster Farm ~ Raising Livestock Basics

Matt comes with much experience in raising chickens, ducks, rabbits, geese, turkeys, gamebirds, pigs, and sheep. This workshop will focus on ducks and rabbits for meat production.

SCORE Panel, Fairfield County SCORE ~ The Business of Farming

How to get free business mentoring and access to valuable resources. Start-up Guidance; Business Planning;Marketing and Social Media; finding and Retaining Employees; Funding, Taxes and Cash Flow; Buying or Selling a Business; Farm Business Themed Workshops and Webinars. Join us for a discussion of attendees’ business needs.

Mira Peck of Terra Love ~ Thrive this growing season: Wellness tips from a professional Horticulturist

Do you feel like in Spring you are literally running on light, but by fall you are heading for burnout? Learn practical tools and mindset tweaks that will give you vibrant energy to THRIVE all season! Alleviate stress and embrace the beauty of the garden and nurture your own well-being.

Sven Pihl of CT Edible Ecosystems LLC ~ 5 years as an Urban Homesteader

This presentation will be a walkthrough of speakers 5 years experience Urban Homesteading in New Britain and includes educational path, Permaculture and several projects designed and built afterward.

Julie Rawson of Many Hands Organic Farm ~ Farming for Maximum Photosynthesis

When we super charge our farming system focusing on promoting maximum photosynthesis, all else falls into place. We are utilizing no till methods, mulch, intersown cover crops, targeted mineral amendments, biostimulants, microbial inoculants, and prioritizing healthy mycorrhizal fungi, MHOF is highly diversified with animals, vegetables, and fruit. $100,000 annual budget.

Raquel Rivera-Pablo of A Pinch of Salt Catering ~ Building Bridges Food Entrepreneurship Platform

Various resources are coming together to provide new food entrepreneurs and farmers an opportunity to showcase their talents, earn income and support local small business. Students from my culinary training program have been paired with local farms and gardeners (i.e. Reservoir Community Farm) and farmers markets.

Esther Rose-Wilen of The New Haven Land Trust ~ Farming/Gardening programs for youth: Q&A with The Growing Entrepreneurs

High-school-aged participants in the Growing Entrepreneurs Program at the New Haven Land Trust will talk about their experience in the program and answer questions from the audience about how to design a successful program for youth at a farm or garden.

Laura Sandstrom of Baystate Organic Certifiers ~ Organic Certification: How To Get Certified and Get Your Questions Answered

This presentation will inform participants on the basics of the standards for organic certification. This includes the associated costs, the process, the types of operations that can be certified, and the region Baystate serves for organic certification. 
Ample time is allowed to answer questions from participants.

Adam Squire of Unbound Glory Farm ~ Regenerating our future: Fostering resilient production systems within a rapidly changing climate

This talk will examine how soil/plant health centric production models that minimize tillage and abstain from chemical interventions can buffer producers and local foodsheds from the increasing liability of climate volatility. We will examine the biological dynamics that make regenerative stewardship models resilient.

Connor Stedman of AppleSeed Permaculture ~ Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Connecticut Farms

By regenerating ecosystem patterns and processes, farms can be designed for resilience in the face of climate disruption. This workshop will explore ecological design principles and solutions for climate adaptation on Connecticut farms, including water management, crop and landscape biodiversity, productive buffers and corridors, and potential new regional crops.

Connor Stedman of AppleSeed Permaculture ~ Carbon Farming: Science, Policy, and Systems for Carbon Drawdown on Connecticut Farmland

Farms have a large role to play in the global and regional solutions to climate change. This workshop will provide an up-to-date overview of the science, policy landscape, and regional design of carbon-negative agriculture, focusing on systems and practices with the greatest production and business viability in Connecticut.

Kimberly Stoner of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station ~ Pollinator Habitats: What Does Science Tell Us?

Bees are the most important pollinators of crop plants. I will talk about bee diversity in Connecticut, which bees species are crop pollinators, factors affecting bees, and the results of research about how to create bee habitat.

Scott Thompson of the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force ~ Fairfield's Tips for Going Green

The Town of Fairfield published its first-ever Sustainability Plan in 2018. The Sustainable Fairfield Task Force performs outreach and communication to the Fairfield community. The presentation will describe actions that individuals can take to live more sustainable and have a positive community impact.

Stephen Tobin of Holistic Veterinary Medicine ~ Holistic Pet Care

This talk will cover proper feeding and nutrition of dogs and cats, along with disease prevention, vaccinations, and proper health care.

Michaela Wales of OG Gardens ~ Gardening with Children

‘Kindergarten’ – Gardening with Children. How to create a child-friendly garden at your home or school. Terms and lessons to help teach children to garden. Different kinds of planting methods that work for different ages. How to create safe spaces where children can enjoy the plants and play among them. 

Melody Wright of Pleasant Valley Botanicals ~ Growing medicinal herbs and medicine making to support the immune system

This workshop will cover growing and processing of some favorite medicinal herbs to support the immune system, focusing on home remedies e.g.: fire cider, elderberry syrup, tinctures and teas. We’ll cover seed starting, harvesting and processing of herbs such as: Holy Basil, Thyme, Spilanthes, Echinacea, Hyssop officinalis, Astragalus and more!

Victor Ziminsky of Let It Grow Landscapes ~ Investing in your property and a positive future

Investing in your property and a positive future
– Lessons from studying finance, going all in on organic farming and permaculture, and starting a "food forest"
- What is of value?
- How to start a food forest - tips and tricks effective edible plantings
- Investing in your environment