Join Us for Organic Fruit Tree Management – February 27, 10:00 – 12:00

Organic Fruit Tree Management – February 27, 10:00 – 12:00

At MHOF we have about 100 fruit trees with some of them as old as 40 years. They are managed in a certifiably organic fashion and both orchards are grazed at least once per year by our turkeys or chickens.

During the workshop, Jack will cover the biology of grafted fruit seedlings (including selecting root stock and variety), requirements for properly siting the orchard (including spacing the trees and digging and protecting adequate planting holes), the tools and equipment you will need, and managing the growing trees for shape, health, and light penetration as well as fruit size, quality and quantity.

In the section on fertility, Julie will discuss mulching, with cardboard and chips, dry fertility according to soil tests, foliar feeding throughout the growing season and the use of sap tests to determine in the moment nutrient deficiencies. We will also discuss care under the trees including grazing of animals, mowing, use of comfrey and undersowing of perennial pollinator plants.

In the portion of the workshop led by Clare we’ll take a walk through the orchards at Many Hands to look at the spacing of trees and work on pruning an apple and a peach tree together. We will cover identifying dead wood, making cuts for good airflow and sunlight throughout the whole tree to maximize photosynthesis, and talk about overall shaping of the tree.

The workshop will be on February 27th from 10:00 to noon, at the farm and via Zoom. Stick around for a potluck lunch if you like, right at the end of the workshop. Register below.

We offer this workshop at no charge and we truly appreciate it if you can donate on a free will basis to help cover costs. Donations can be made via PayPal at or in cash/check the day of the workshop. MHSC is a 501(c)3 and any donation is tax deductible.

Register Here

5 Risky Decisions that Defined Our Lives – Sustaining Our Homestead

43 years ago Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson were a young couple working and starting a family in Dorchester, MA. During the next few years wemade five risky decisions that changed our life paths and created Many Hands Organic Farm in Barre.

In the past year (2020) many volunteers have come from the city to work on our farm and expressed an interest in doing something similar. In this presentation we will share what we did, the difficulties it presented and the chances we took. Join us to learn about why we decided to move to Central Massachusetts, how we were able to construct an energy conscious house and homestead, build a community oriented organic farm, all while working at home and raising a family.

This is the first of our free monthly series of wide ranging and educational workshops that we will be holding at our farm. This first workshop will help you get to know Jack and Julie and our journey over the past 40 years. We feel we have a rather unique lifestyle that has allowed us to live our lives and raise our 4 children relatively unfettered by socially accepted norms.

We will be presenting our story on January 30, 2021, from 10:30 to noon, at the farm and via Zoom. Stick around for a potluck lunch if you like, right at the end of the workshop.

Register online here

Share the flyer for the event here

Many Hands Sustainability Center in the News

Loree Griffin Burns wrote a lovely piece on the Many Hands Sustainability Center for the spring issue of Edible Worcester. Read it here. Thank you, Loree (and Katie Noble for the beautiful photos, including the one above).

Please Consider a Donation to the Many Hands Sustainability Center

Each year at this time, we ask our farm customers to consider making a donation to support the work of the Many Hands Sustainability Center (MHSC).
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