ACORN Conference Program

All Workshops

How to Fund the Sector

Tuesday, November 28, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM   

Description to come.

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Knowing Your Varieties: Effective On-farm Variety Trialing for Vegetable and Vegetable Seed Growers

Tuesday, November 28, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

This workshop will cover the importance of on-farm variety trailing in organic production context, designing your trial to meet your needs, and effective variety trial design and execution for small to large acreages. This session will cover how to select the right crop(s) and (check/) varieties to trial, how to randomize and replicate your variety trials, and observe and evaluate them in the field. Drawing on case studies of pepper and lettuce variety trials in Iowa, this session will illustrate the impact of good variety trailing for organic veg and veg seed producers.

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How to Have Custom Machinery Built for Your Farm

Tuesday, November 28, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

With a healthy use of technology, machinery can ease the transition to organic agriculture. Using a current case study of designing a compost spreader for Broadfork Farm of River Hebert, Nova Scotia, we'll outline all the steps from how to find design ideas, to prioritizing which features are most valuable, and how to make sure your ideas are communicated to ensure you're happy with the results. Workshop participants will also have an opportunity to ask questions related to their specific projects.

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Introduction to Permaculture and Farm Ecosystem Services

Tuesday, November 28, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

This two-part workshop will cover key concepts from Zach’s book The Permaculture Market Garden. The first part, Introduction to Permaculture and Farm Ecosystem Services, will start with a crash course in natural science, then build an understanding of ecosystem services, and proceed to techniques for mapping and designing your farm to fit within a property’s environmental reality. The second part of this workshop, Whole Farm Mapping and Holistic Planning, continues with holistic planning to balance your business and delves into routine improvement of your soil through brown brain Investment.

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Whole Farm Mapping and Holistic Planning

Tuesday, November 28, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM   

This two-part workshop will cover key concepts from Zach’s book The Permaculture Market Garden. The first part, Introduction to Permaculture and Farm Ecosystem Services, will start with a crash course in natural science, then build an understanding of ecosystem services, and proceed to techniques for mapping and designing your farm to fit within a property’s environmental reality. The second part of this workshop, Whole Farm Mapping and Holistic Planning, continues with holistic planning to balance your business and delves into routine improvement of your soil through brown brain Investment.

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Considerations for Starting Greenhouse Vegetable Production

Tuesday, November 28, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM   

Feeling adventurous? Feeling like it’s time to consider a greenhouse for your business?  With a little planning, keeping things simple, and paying close attention to experts in their fields, you can start making plans for your first greenhouse vegetable production and more with a few useful tips. This workshop will provide insight on what Mark and Fran have learned during their greenhouse site: preparation, building, orientation, and other critical elements, as well as market considerations.

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New Genetic Engineering Techniques: New and Different? Or Same and Risky?

Tuesday, November 28, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

The biotechnology industry is excited about new genome editing techniques that promise to produce new genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) seeds, pesticides and animals faster, and more efficiently - a promise of targeted precision and new designs. But are these technologies actually more reliable and predictable? Will they resolve the global controversies over GM foods? What products are being developed and what are the risks? The pressure is on for organics to accept the products of new genetic engineering technologies – but where will these technologies take us?

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Perennial Edibles for a Food Forest Garden

Tuesday, November 28, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

This workshop will cover perennial edibles available in the Maritimes including nuts, berries, roots, and herbs. Estelle will draw on her experience planting and maintaining these perennials on her homestead and will include information on propagation requirements, harvesting needs, and edible and medicinal uses. Estelle will also cover the design principles needed to grow an ecologically diverse and resilient perennial landscape, using her experience designing and implementing a Food Forest Garden in Sackville, N.B. By focusing on the seven layers of a forest – canopy trees, small trees, shrubs, understory herbs, ground covers, roots, and climbers – you can grow an edible landscape that works with nature and reduces maintenance and input needs.

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Root Cellar Design and Development - Part I

Tuesday, November 28, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

Root cellars help us extend the garden season by putting away ‘living foods’ during the cold months. After over a decade of commercial root cellaring we exam the best design tips to make a great cellar for any situation. Rife with photos and plans from different cellars, this two-part workshop dives into how to design a cellar from scratch: siting, construction details, and layout. This workshop examines all stages of cellar development from start to finish from the perspective of designing for smooth cellar construction and best cellar outcome.

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How to talk intelligently about GMOs

Tuesday, November 28, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

Everyone’s talking about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But is anyone making sense? Your customers are asking you about GM foods, what can you tell them? Your neighbours insist they know what’s happening, are they right? The biotechnology industry wants us all to feel like only scientists can discuss this technology – that’s fake news! This interactive session will provide some information, updates, and analytical tools for critical thinking on GMOs so you can sort the wheat from the chaff.

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Root Cellar Design and Development - Part II

Tuesday, November 28, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

Root cellars help us extend the garden season by putting away ‘living foods’ during the cold months. After over a decade of commercial root cellaring we exam the best design tips to make a great cellar for any situation. Rife with photos and plans from different cellars, this two-part workshop dives into how to design a cellar from scratch: siting, construction details, and layout. This workshop examines all stages of cellar development from start to finish from the perspective of designing for smooth cellar construction, and best cellar outcome.

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Program at a Glance