We are excited to release this year’s virtual meeting schedule with workshops covering a variety of topics of interest to farmers, gardeners and organic food enthusiasts. All workshops are free, but pre-registration is required. The MOFFA team is looking forward to seeing you!
Here’s the complete schedule of events:
MDA’s Organic Certification Program Update
Molly Gillingham, Food Quality Assurance Program Manager, Maryland Department of Agriculture Molly started 10 years ago as an inspector at MDA and took over as program manager of the Food Quality Assurance Program in 2021. Her department covers many bases, including organic certifications, food safety, GAP certifications, egg inspections, beef grading, etc. Molly’s interest in farming dates back to her childhood growing up on a family grain and cattle farm in Charles County. She holds a BS in Animal Science and a MS in Environmental Science. When Molly isn’t working, she’s busy with her three boys, all under the age of 8.
Urban Landscape Strategies to Support Biodiversity with Fewer Pest Outbreaks
Dr. Karin Burghardt, Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology at University of Maryland
Karin received her M.S. and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale. She specializes in understanding plant interactions in human-modified landscapes, ranging from suburban yards to abandoned agricultural fields to managed forests. In her presentation she will outline ways that personal decisions about how to manage gardens, yards, parks and other green spaces alter plant/animal interactions. She’ll suggest strategies, such as native plant selection and yard care, that will promote biodiversity and reduce pest outbreaks. Find more information about Karin and her work at https://www.karinburghardt.com/
The Future is Now: Homesteading for Sustainable Living
Christina Allen, Allen’s Heirloom Homestead
Christina lives with her husband Frank on a sustainable homestead where they grow much of their own food in year-round gardens and greenhouses. She has been organic kitchen gardening for over 40 years. The Allen’s produce large quantities of salad greens, fruits, heirloom vegetables, and unusual crops like organic colored cotton. They also raise sheep, chickens and rare Jersey Buff turkeys. Christina spins, knits and is a handweaver of natural fibers. Christina says, “When the pandemic hit, it was as if we had been prepared our whole life for the paradigm shift, and our daily lives did not change significantly.”
Cold Hardy Winter Vegetables
Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community
Pam has grown vegetables at the Twin Oaks Community in central Virginia for 30 years, helping feed 100 people from 3.5 acres. She is the author of Sustainable Market Farming and The Year-Round Hoophouse. She is a contributing editor with Growing for Market magazine, a workshop presenter, and a weekly blogger on www.sustainablemarketfarming.com.
Microbes, Ferments, & Health
Rachael Nagle, Heritage Ferments & Cultures
Rachael lives in Southern Delaware with her husband, three children, one dog, and four cats. She is an advocate for food sovereignty and social and environmental justice. Rachael believes microbial diversity is a must for health and that fermentation is the cornerstone to achieving such success. She aims to capture what is naturally occurring in nature by creating an environment that is conducive to producing powerhouse ferments to optimize health. Some of her favorite ferments include kombucha, kimchi, beet kvass, sauerkraut, and bean sprouts.
Empowering the Community Through Food Sustainability & Sovereignty
Quinton Law, Farm Zen
Quinton Law is a cinematographer and entrepreneur who recently bought a farm in Newburg, Maryland with his brother. They are planning to farm organically with the aim of giving back to the local community. Quinton says, “My grandmother taught me about farming and how to make use of the land and give back to the land. She passed away 2 years ago, and I feel her living through me. We are excited to inspire and motivate and to get more people of color into farming and understanding how to take care of the land so that it may take care of us.”
From Trash to Treasure: An Explanation of On-Farm Composting Systems
Thomas Fazio, ECO City Farms
While working at Compost Crew, the Mid-Atlantic’s largest food waste recycling company, Thomas was the project manager on the first Farm to Table to Farm compost system in Montgomery County. He is currently an employee at ECO City Farms in Prince George’s County, providing technical assistance to increase compost output to match the farm’s needs.