March 30, 2015

Federal Grant Writing Workshop: Learn Successful Strategies for Writing Winning Grants

Do you operate a local food related business, organization, or farmers market?  Are you seeking funding to expand your work and impact on the local food system?

Join the USDA for a Federal Grant Writing Workshop to learn about federal grants for local food and farmers’ market promotion projects and how to develop competitive proposals for these funding opportunities.

This grant writing workshop will walk participants through all you need to know to navigate and apply for the upcoming 2015 USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service Farm Bill grants which provide funding for local & regional food system projects including:

  • Local Food Promotion Program grant consists of two types of funding, a planning grant and an implementation grant for a broad variety of food system activities including: growing, aggregating, processing, or selling regionally produced food.
  • The Farmers Market Promotion Program grant is designed to support direct-to-consumer farm marketing activities and promotion.

WHEN: Friday, April 10, 2015 9:00 am -3:00 pm

WHERE: Hartman’s Herb Farm, 1026 Old Dana Road, Barre, MA 01005


This workshop is free and open to the public.

For additional information contact: John Berry,, 610.554.2561

USDA grant-writing workshops designed to help potential applicants understand, develop, and submit their Federal grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program are being offered in every U.S. state this spring through a unique collaboration between federal, state, and regional partners. In collaboration with the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to conduct these workshops. This effort is known as the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance (AMSTA) Project.

Fresh Fest Film Series in Williamstown!

Fresh Fest 10

QuickBooks Webinar Series from The Carrot Project

TCP_logo_color_small_web_size.21143835_logoThe Carrot Project and Julia Shanks Food Consulting are offering a webinar series on QuickBooks and farm accounting. QuickBooks is the industry-standard accounting software. At a minimum, it’s a robust, digitized system for balancing your checkbook. At its best, it can help you understand your business and make effective managerial decisions based on your economic reality.

Part 1: Getting Started
February 26, 2015
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST

Part 2: Expenses and Sales (Date and Time TBA)

Part 3: Managerial Decisions (Date and Time TBA)

Visit The Carrot Project website for additional details about the individual sessions and the presenters.

Register today!

Valentine’s Day Roast Chicken Dinners by Mt. Everett Students!

The Mt. Everett FFA & Mt. Everett Culinary program have been working on a special project this year: back in the fall the students raised 30 broiler chickens on campus in a moveable chicken tractor. Classes were involved in daily care for the chickens and learned about the many aspects of the poultry industry. Now the Culinary Program will be preparing dinners featuring those chickens on Feb.13th as a fundraiser and promotional event for this project. The project will be repeating once again this spring and with enough support, they hope to do so annually at the school.

Reserve a dinner for four for pickup on Friday, February 13.  Feast on a whole roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, garden salad and a pumpkin crunch dessert. Meals will serve 4 for just $35.  Reserve now!

 Full Details Here.

Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown seeks Baker


Cricket Creek Farm is a small, diversified, grass-based dairy farm, that processes their milk into artisanal, farmstead cheese.

The farm has a small, but well equipped bakery that they are looking to rent to a highly motivated baker who is looking for a great place to launch their business.  The rental agreement would include keeping the small farm store stocked with fresh bread 5 days per week.  All other sales outlets (wholesale, other retail, mail order) is at the discretion of the baker.

An ideal candidate is someone who is excited about launching their own business, under the umbrella of Cricket Creek Farm.  The ideal baker would come with a business plan, and expect to be able to produce breads for the farm store, as well as other baked goods for sale through other outlets, as there is not enough traffic in the small store to be able to sustain the bakery business.  The ideal candidate is highly organized, independent, and highly communicative.

The Cricket Creek farm community is small and close-knit, and the baker is expected to be part of the farm community and attend one weekly meeting.  For more information about the farm, visit them online at  Direct any inquiries to

Massachusetts Food Plan: Berkshire Regional Forum


The Massachusetts Food Policy Council is developing the first statewide food system plan since 1974. And Berkshire County has a lot to contribute! Join us in discussing how we can build on the work of Keep Berkshires Farming as part of the Massachusetts Food System Plan. All Welcome!!

WHEN: Tuesday, February 24, 3-6pm

WHERE: Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, MA


MDAR’s Exploring the Small Farm Dream 2015 course

Are you considering starting an agricultural enterprise in Massachusetts? In this course you will:

  • Test the feasibility of your idea before you invest
  • Evaluate self employment and the suitability of an agricultural lifestyle
  • Investigate markets for your proposed product or service
  • Identify regulations that will impact your planned enterprises
  • Understand the unique risks associated with agriculture
  • Determine your financial break even date
  • Evaluate the realistic contribution you can expect from this piece of your livelihood
  • Test whether others share your vision and want to join/support you in this pursuit
  • Anticipate threats to your success
  • Decide what’s next in order to get going now, do more preparation, or avoid a big


The Explorer Program is intended for those who are considering farming as a (small) business. Its purpose is to help pre-venture, aspiring farmers learn what it will take to start and manage their own agricultural enterprise. Explorer makes use of four guided group sessions and a farmer panel of those who have already done what you are contemplating. It is based on an acclaimed workbook and is presented by instructors experienced in starting ag businesses. Explorer was created to help you articulate the clear vision and goals you will need to guide a new agricultural venture.

This course is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Agricultural Business Training Program, in cooperation with the Explorer curriculum creator, the New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI) in Belchertown.

Class size is limited to 12 prospective farms to maximize group time, with the opportunity to bring another person from your enterprise if space allows. Meetings are once per week from 6:00-9:00 PM. The registration cost of $100 includes instruction, materials, guest speakers and a session of Q&A with a panel of varied-stage farmers.

You must have email , basic word processing and spread sheet software, and internet access to take this course! You must also agree to attend all 5 sessions.

MDAR encourages you to apply early because we often must defer participants to another year due to full courses. If you have vacations or other non-emergency conflicts with the dates, you will need to have an alternate attend for you on that night or wait until the next available course.

WHAT: MDAR’s Exploring the Small Farm Dream 2015

WHEN: Thursdays, March 5, 12, 19, 26 and April 2 from 6-9pm

WHERE: Amherst, MA



Introduction to Quickbooks for Farmers

WHAT: QuickBooks Workshop from the Cornell Cooperative Extension

WHEN: March 16th, 17th, 19th

WHERE: Columbia Greene Community College in Hudson, NY

This workshop series is designed and targeted to those that have little or no knowledge of using QuickBooks. During this three session workshop, you will learn how to successfully prepare a chart of accounts, better keep track of customers and vendors, automate the entry of routine income and expenses and generate reports meaningful for you. The cost is $50 per farm for up to two people. Register online here or contact Sara LaFountain at 518-765-3500or

Permaculture Design Certification Course

Gain ecological design training & experience for your home landscape. Gather sustainable living skills alongside permaculture designers and educators at a world-renowned ecovillage!


WHAT: Sowing Solutions’ Permaculture Design Certification Course

WHEN: Three weekend intensives: March 6-9, March 27-29, April 18-20  (Also available as a two-week summer intensive July 17-30)

WHERE: Sirius EcoVillage near Amherst MA


For More Information visit:


Berkshire Grown’s Annual Networking Event for Farmers, Producers & Buyers

Berkshire Grown                            Photo Credit: Ben Graver, Berkshire Eagle

WHEN: POSTPONED due to winter storm



WHERE: Baba Louie’s Pittsfield, 34 Depot Street, Pittsfield, MA

WHO: Farmers, Food Producers and Food Buyers

Our 17th Annual Farm to Table Networking event is an opportunity for farmers, food producers and food buyers in the Berkshire region to meet.  Bring business cards, wish lists, product info and samples.  Make new connections, reconnect with old contacts, grow your business and let’s get more local food into local mouths!

Light refreshments provided by Baba Louie’s, plus tastes of locally-produced food.

RSVP required to or 413-528-0041