Sunday, February 22, 2004
Developing a Right-Sized Vegetable Farm Enterprise
10 AM to 4 PM, Ballston Spa, NY (between Saratoga Springs and Albany)

        Join organic farmers Jack and Beckie Gurley as they share the secrets of their family's transition to full-time farming on a small-scale.  This innovative farming seminar is open to seasoned farmers as well as people new to farming.

        For the Gurleys, bigger isn't necessarily better. The Gurleys farm on less than 5 acres of rented land in northern Maryland.  As second career farmers, they attribute their success to targeting niche markets, producing high quality products, and managing labor and input costs.  Jack and Beckie grow vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers and market them to a 40 person CSA, Baltimore and Washington, DC, restaurants, two farmers' markets, and through a organic coop.  Certified organic for 10 years, Calvert's Gift Farm is the family's only income source.
 
       In this seminar, Jack and Beckie will elaborate on their right-sized small farm perspective regarding the labor, marketing, and value-added aspects of a farming operation.  They will explain what managing a farm using sound decision-making, rather than your gut feeling, means to them and why it has been important.
 
        The seminar will consider the process of transitioning from part to full time farmer and when to make the leap.  Marketing is intrinsic to small farmers' success and the Gurleys will explain how Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) can fit into a farm.  Introducing your customers to new foods and the art of persuasion will be another segment of the program. Cover cropping is an essential part of the Gurleys' answer to maintaining soil fertility and they will discuss how they grow and manage various green manure crops on a small scale.
 
       The Gurleys are both educators and leaders in sustainable agriculture organizations.  Beckie serves on the Maryland Organic Certification Advisory Board.  Jack is past Chair of the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association.  He was recently named a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Farmer Educator.
 
         This innovative farming seminar is open to all.  The seminar fee is $30, with a $5 discount discount per Regional Farm & Food Project membership as well as a $5 discount for additional individuals from the same farm or family.   A late fee of $15 will be assessed for anyone registering less than two weeks prior to the program.
 
         The workshop sponsor, Regional Farm & Food Project fosters new opportunities for family-scale farms and promotes new connections between farmers and communities.  Founded in 1996, this non-profit, membership organization of farmers and consumers is currently based in Troy, NY, and serves a twelve county area.
 
        For more information and a brochure, contact the Regional Farm & Food Project at 518/271-0744 or farmfood@capital.net.  To find out about other Regional Farm & Food Project activities, visit www.capital.net/~farmfood/   To register, please mail the seminar fee payable to Regional Farm & Food Project, 295 Eighth Street, Troy, NY.

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