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Pre-Conference Workshops

Program - Sponsors - Registration - Lodging - Rideshare

Join us on Friday morning for intensive workshops, on-site at UMUC Marriott, to start off your Annual Conference experience. Pre-conference workshops are free with conference registration unless a materials fee is noted. ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS. If you have already registered for the conference, and want to add a Pre-Conference Workshop to your schedule, please send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

All Workshops at UMUC Marriott, Friday, January 17 - 9:00 - 11:30 AM 


Cover Crops for Reducing Tillage and Recycling Nutrients in Vegetable Production Systems

Ray Weil, MD - University of Maryland

Are cold, wet, low-nitrogen soils an issue for you in early spring? This workshop will explore practical ways to integrate cover crops and reduced tillage into vegetable cropping systems, with an emphasis on early spring vegetable production. The effects of intensive tillage on soil health will be discussed and explored through hands-on demonstrations. Farmers will be encouraged to identify which functional, temporal, and spatial niches they need cover crops to fill, and multiple cover crop species and mixtures will be discussed with respect to weed suppression, nutrient cycling, and effects on soil physical conditions. Planting equipment for direct-seeded no-till vegetables will be discussed and some equipment will be displayed. This workshop has reached its maximum capacity and registration for it is no longer available. We are sorry about the inconvenience!

Kombucha, Kimchee and Kraut

Meaghan Carpenter, MD - HEX Ferments

This workshop will introduce you to the history and health benefits of traditionally fermented foods and beverages. As well as two hands-on activities where you will learn to make Kombucha tea and vegetable ferments. The workshop will begin with a visual presentation of fermented foods and beverages, which will include their cultural origins, processes, scientific description as well as the sacred role of fermentation culture. Workshop attendees will learn how to make kombucha tea as well as a simple vegetable kraut. Samples of kombucha and krauts from Hex Ferments will also be handed out for people to taste. Each attendee will take home a small jar of the ferment made in class and the option of purchasing a kombucha tea starter kit. This workshop has reached its maximum capacity and registration for it is no longer available. We are sorry about the inconvenience!

Goat Butchery & Respect for Older Animals

Adam Danforth, MA - Author of "Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork" and "Butchering Beef and Veal"

Today, Americans are eating animals younger than ever. Beef is produced at a quickening pace with slaughter ages getting earlier and earlier. Pigs are slaughtered before a year old, as are lambs. Kid goat is about the only thing you will see on a menu. What happens to all the older animals?

Adam Danforth will discuss the virtues of older animals, how working muscles render more flavor, the inverse relationship of taste and texture, and why we should be supporting farmers more by consuming their older and cull animals. It'll be a basic rundown of meat science and how we experience it as deliciousness, all the while breaking down an old goat into primals and cuts, answer questions along the way, and relating the goat anatomy to that of other farmyard species. Attendance limited to 20 participants - register now!

Tour of ECO City Farms

Margaret Morgan-Hubbard, DC/MD - ECO City Farms

Participants will get to visit and experience first-hand ECO City Farms - an educational, non-profit organization located in Prince George's County, Maryland designed to serve as a prototype for sustainable local urban farming. ECO envisions a just, vigorous and sustainable food system in the Chesapeake foodshed with ample fertile soil, quality environments and sustainable incomes for farmers, and access to nutritious high quality food for all. ECO focuses on the Prince George's County (MD) Port Towns of Edmonston, Cottage City, Colmar Manor, Bladensburg and surrounding inner beltway food desert areas communities with little to no access to healthy food. ECO seeks to create community where residents have greater access to affordable, healthy foods and enhanced opportunities for active living.

This tour of our flagship farm in Edmonston will highlight our season extension features that allow us to farm year-round and our composting operation, with hundreds of thousands of red wiggler worms. It will summarize information provided to students of the Urban Commercial Agriculture Certificate Course that ECO offers with Prince George's Community College twice yearly.

Making and Selling Raw Milk Cheese in Maryland

Barb Haigwood, MD - P.A. Bowen Farmstead

Demonstration of the basics of making raw milk cheese. Depending on size of class, there will be some hands-on activities. Cheese can be sampled when finished. Barb Haigwood will also show a short video of P.A. Bowen Farmstead's cheese making procedure, and she will give an overview of what is required to make raw milk cheese on a larger scale. Finally, she will share their marketing strategy and tell what works and what doesn't for them. Cheese from P.A. Bowen Farmstead will also be available to sample. Attendance limited to 20 participants - register now!

Building a Mobile Poultry Pen

Homer Walden, PA - Sunnyside Farm 

Homer combines years of metal and woodworking to build mobile pens that can be moved by small children or the not-so-strong adult. Since he moves about 30 of these every morning, it is important that this activity not cripple him. Join him as he shares 10+ years of pen moving knowledge and design/math/build skills to construct an easily moved field pen. Attendance limited to 22 participants - register now!