ACORN Conference Program

All Workshops

Irrigation How –To: Knowing when and how to apply water

Tuesday, November 27, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

This is a Farmer-to-Farmer session on irrigation scheduling geared towards producers. It will discuss basic soil and crop irrigation principles and some common ways to both measure irrigation water needs and to apply water to the crop.

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Plenary Speech: Making Good Food Accessible

Tuesday, November 27, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM   

Gillian Flies is the co-owner of The New Farm, a profitable organic farm that sells vegetables to speciality retailers and many of the best restaurants in southern Ontario. But she realized early in her farming career that she wanted to be more than just a purveyor of salad to the 1%. What started as a small fundraiser in the barnyard in 2010 has grown into a multi-faceted program to make quality organic food accessible to all, a deep partnership with Community Food Centres Canada, and a fundraising effort that has now raised more than a million dollars. Learn how increasing accessibility can grow profits for small farms and strengthen the entire food system.

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Livestock & Grazing Management

Tuesday, November 27, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

 With nearly 400 slides, Joel walks you through the farm, from forestry to water systems to pigaerating, hay, grazing management, pastured pigs, pastured poultry, portable infrastructure, irrigation, and pasture cropping. Heavily how-to with a liberal dose of why this is as close to a farm visit as you can get.

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Innovative Farming: Newest Tech & Tools

Tuesday, November 27, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

Description to come.

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  • TBA

Making Good Food Accesible: Community Panel

Tuesday, November 27, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

Description to come.

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Cover crops for resilient organic farms, from the soil up

Tuesday, November 27, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

Description to come.

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Herd & Flock Health

Tuesday, November 27, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM   

Description to come.

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Equipment Modifications

Tuesday, November 27, 11:30 AM - 12:30 AM   

Description to come.

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  • TBA

Weed Management & Economic Thresholds

Tuesday, November 27, 11:30 AM - 12:30 AM   

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Scaling Up for Wholesale

Tuesday, November 27, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM   

Brent Preston has abandoned the direct-to-consumer marketing model favoured by most small farms and built a profitable farm business by selling exclusively to wholesalers. Join Brent for a detailed description of the steps necessary to serve the

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Soil Health Management & Forage/Feed Production

Tuesday, November 27, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

Description to come.

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Rotations for Fertility Management

Tuesday, November 27, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

Description to come.

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Effective & Efficient Labour Models

Tuesday, November 27, 2:30PM - 3:30 PM   

Brent Preston has utilized a number of labour models on his farm near Creemore, Ontario - volunteer, part-time, unpaid interns, paid local staff and offshore workers. He now farms with a crew of seven full-time employees from Mexico. This workshop will explore the ethical, legal and financial questions surrounding small farm labour models, and how farmers can provide fair, safe and meaningful employment while maintaining profits.

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Ecological Design for On Farm Water Security

Tuesday, November 27, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

This presentation will begin by discussing the unique hydrologic cycle on PEI, including some natural drawbacks and benefits. Topics also discussed will include using surface water and groundwater on the farm, proper well construction and maintenance, erosion control/surface water management, and some new engineering methods to treat drainage effluent and sprayer rinsate.

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Market Opportunities & Economic Viability

Tuesday, November 27, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

Believing that a farm is not truly sustainable until it supports two salaries from two different generations, Joel starts with the couple, then adds children, then adult children, and then non-family members.  How to get along when you can't get away, how to add labour without employees, memorandums of understanding and building fiefdoms all create complementary community.  

We've all heard the adage:  "The middleman makes all the profits."  If that's the case, then why not be one?  Realizing that most farmers do not like people, Joel patiently explains how processing, marketing, and distribution add resilience and stability to production dollars.  This session addresses the assets and liabilities of different marketing venues and relationships, protocols for sales, and where trend lines in food interfaces.

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New Organic Products in the Canadian Market: Trends, marketing claims and innovations.

Tuesday, November 27, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

The presentation will look at new organic products introduced in the Canadian market and their attributes.

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Post Harvest Quality Management; A Buyer Perspective

Tuesday, November 27, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

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Program at a Glance