Upcoming Events and Workshops

Many Hands Sustainability Center Workshops

Keeping the soil covered: tarps, cover crops, mulch

  • Saturday, June 1, 2024
  • 9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
  • Price – free to the public; supported by a USDA TOPP grant and co-hosted by NOFA/Mass
  • Presenters –Julie Rawson, Matthew Kornn
  • Spanish Translation will be available

We aim for the highest possible fertility, a no till scenario, increased soil organic matter, and high nutrient density, disease and insect resistance, and as few weeds as possible. At this workshop we will discuss our 10 years of no till, a bit about our problems with this modality as they have evolved over the years, and the solutions that we have implemented. Always a work in progress, this fascinating journey is always full of new insights and observations.

Specifically, we will show how we use cover crops pre, post and during the season, tarps throughout the farming year, and myriad sources of mulch. We will explain the use of our bale chopper, mulch some broccoli with chopped straw or hay and leaves, take down some cover crops and use a pre-plant soil drench for planting of tomatoes in the next 2-3 days. We will remove tarps from some of our sweet potato beds and prepare the beds for planting similar to the tomato beds. Finally, we will undersow inoculated (with biocoat gold) crimson clover in our mulched collard beds and apply a transplant drench to the beds.

The Transition to Organic Partnership Program helps farmers aspiring to become certified to work with a mentor in this process. Information about TOPP will be presented by Laura Davis, Certification Assistance Coordinator for NOFA/Mass

Homestead Carpentry

  • Saturday, June 15, 2024
  • 9am-12 with pot luck lunch
  • Price: $50-$100 – sliding scale
  • Presenter: John Wilson, with some help from Jack Kittredge and Danny LeBlanc

There’s a time in every homesteader’s life when some carpentry is needed to build or repair something made of wood.  This workshop will provide a solid grounding in getting started. Very basic questions will be explored in a setting that requires no knowledge of woodworking.

Topics will include: how to select the right lumber for your task, how to measure it and cut it to size, the options for fastening it together, and making a good assembly.  Each topic will cover the tools needed, with a demonstration of technique, and how to avoid some common pitfalls.  Emphasis will be on hand tools where feasible.

While in his 20s, John Wilson was a carpenter for 10 years.  He worked on framing apartments, finish work in condos, a cabinet shop, and built two houses.  He’s kept active in carpentry remodeling work in the intervening years, and was part of the MHOF garage and chicken coop renovations the past two years.  He has always had an appreciation for tools and techniques.

Food preservation

  • September 14, 2024
  • 10am – 2 pm with a pot luck lunch at noon
  • Price: $50 – $100 – sliding scale
  • Presenters: Julie Rawson, Jennifer Peck, Marissa Gabriel and, Paula Bowie

We preserve hundreds of pounds of food each year enough to fill 7 freezers, 400 mason jars, a root cellar, and cupboards with dried foods. Join us at the height of the food preservation season to preserve our way through the day. We will freeze vegetables, can tomatoes and grape juice, make applesauce, start some lacto-fermented sauerkraut, dry some herbs and garlic and discuss best methods for canning freezing drying, and root cellaring. At lunch time we will share a pot luck lunch.

Past Events and Workshops

Many Hands Sustainability Center Workshops

Growing Shiitakes Mushrooms on Logs
May 2023

Starting Seeds and Seedlings in Greenhouse and Field
May 2021

View workshop handout here

Mushroom Growing
April 2021

Organic Small Fruit Production
March 2021

Part 1:

Part 2:

View the slides here

Organic Fruit Tree Management
February 2021

View the slides here

5 Risky Decisions that Defined Our Lives – Sustaining Our Homestead
January 2021

View the slides here

More Educational Features:

View Previous Workshops and Other Educational Content on our YouTube Channel