Upcoming Events and Workshops

Starting Seeds and Seedlings in Greenhouse and Field- May 8th, 10:00am –  12:00pm

Clare and Julie will take you through our seed starting and planting protocols from greenhouse to hoophouse to field. We will all together start seeds inside, plant in the field and also spend some time on our theories and practice (which don’t always conform with the norm) on how to get plants off of their best footing and keep them thriving throughout the season. May 8 is a “leaf” day on the biodynamic calendar, so we might be expecting some rain that day – a perfect day for transplanting leafy vegetables. Stick around for a pot luck lunch at the conclusion.

Register here

Past Events and Workshops

Mushroom Growing – April 10th, 10:00am –  12:00pm

Tis the season for creating new life, including mushrooms! On April 10, join the cast and crew at Many Hands Organic Farm for 2 hours of hands on learning. We’ll be hefting logs, plugging them with shitake spawn, and sealing the plugs over with cheese wax. When we’re done with that we’ll start our first ever oyster totems, using poplar logs. Potluck lunch to follow, questions encouraged, comraderie required.

The workshop will be on April 10th from 10:00 to noon, at the farm. We will be primarily outside (depending on weather) and there will be no zoom option (but we will upload a recording of the workshop afterwards!). Come with or without a mask, whichever is most comfortable for you. Stick around for a potluck lunch if you like (mushroom dishes encouraged) right at the end of the workshop. Register below.

We offer this workshop for a sliding scale donation. We truly appreciate it if you can donate to help cover costs and allow others who do not have the means to pay to attend. After registration donations can be made via PayPal at https://mhof.net/many-hands-sustainability-center/ or in cash/check the day of the workshop. MHSC is a 501(c)3 and any donation is tax deductible.

Organic Small Fruit Production – March 20th, 10:00am –  12:00pm

Here at MHOF we have a plethora of small fruit that we distribute in our CSA and preserve for home use. In the workshop, we will start with a powerpoint on small fruit culture and pruning and fertility. Once we move outside we will try our hands at pruning blueberries, grapes, red raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, elderberries, etc. We will spend a little time with the strawberries also. We will demonstrate our mulching and care practices. Clare, Jack and Julie will be our presenters.

View the recording here in Part 1 and Part 2

View the slides here

Organic Fruit Tree Management – February 27 2021, 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.

Watch the recording here

View the slides 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 we made 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, and how we were able to construct an energy conscious house and homestead, and build a community oriented organic farm, while working at home and raising a family.

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.

Watch the recording here

View the slides here

NOFA Winter Conference 2021: Root Cellaring And More – Preserving Food For The Entire Year

9:00 am – 10:30 am on January 9th, 2021

We built our root cellar into our house 40 years ago and have nothing but good things to say about using this means for preserving carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips and rutabagas,apples, pears and sauerkraut, with short term storage for onions, garlic, winter squash too. We will discuss design and usage. We will also cover freezing, canning, and drying during the workshop.

View Jack and Julie’s slides here

Watch the recording here

NOFA Summer Conference 2020: Soil Carbon: Raising More, Better Food while Easing Climate Stress

A radical shift in our farming practices over the past 6 years has resulted in more and higher quality food, clamoring customers and farmer satisfaction. We’ll discuss the practices on our diversified animal, vegetable and fruit farm, all in the context of emerging scientific discovery about soil carbon.

Jack Kittredge, Certified organic farmer, editor of The Natural Farmer, and soil carbon author.

Julie Rawson, Organic farmer of 37 years.

View Jack and Julie’s Slides here

Watch the recording here

View Previous Workshops and Other Educational Content on our YouTube!

View our workshop playlist below:

View our YouTube Educational Shorts below:

View news clips we have been featured in below: