Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Free Webinar Series For Specialty Crop Producers

Registration is now open for a three part webinar series designed for specialty crop farmers. Individual sessions will address advanced production techniques, season extension, and market connections. The webinars are being offered by the Countryside Conservancy and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).

These free, web-based seminars deliver training through the internet directly to a participant’s computer. They will be able to view the presentation through their internet browser and listen to the audio portion through a call in phone number. The sessions will be interactive and allow participants to ask questions and communicate with the presenter. Each webinar will be recorded and available on the Countryside Conservancy and OEFFA websites afterwards.

• The first webinar titled, “Improving Efficiency on your Organic Farm,” will be held Monday, January 31, 2011 at from 7-8 p.m (EST). Two successful organic vegetable producers will lead this webinar: Jon Cherniss of Blue Moon Farm in Illinois and Jim Crawford of New Morning Farm in Pennsylvania. Each of these farmers has over three decades of experience growing and marketing certified organic produce. They will describe how they have improved the efficiency of their farm operations by hiring and managing labor and by carefully evaluating and investing in capital improvements like buildings and machinery. To register, go to:

• The second webinar titled, “Building Mutually Profitable Relationships with Independent Chefs and Restauranteurs,” will be led by Chef Douglas Katz from Fire Food and Drink located in Shaker Heights, Ohio. It will be held at 10 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, February 24, 2011. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and a passionate “locavore,” Chef Katz will give participants a first-hand look into how farmers can connect with restaurants in their area. He’ll take participants through the entire process, from approaching a restaurant, to providing samples, the ordering process, customer service expectations, and average volumes of produce ordered in a typical week. Chef Katz was most recently noted in Crains Cleveland Business as a “Who’s Who, 150 names to know in Northeast Ohio.” To register, go to:

• Our third and final webinar in the series titled, “Effective Weed Management Strategies for Organic Farming Systems” will be led by Dr. Matt Liebman, Henry A. Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. This webinar will be held in March; details, including the date, time, and registration link to be announced.

Registration for each webinar is limited to 50 participants. There is no charge to participate, but pre-registration is required.

Partial funding for this webinar series is provided through the Ohio Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant.

For more information, contact Rebecca Cole at (330) 657-2542 or or Mike Anderson at (614) 421-2022 or