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CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Farmer,

First and foremost, we're officially sharing the dates for the 2019 Sustainable Agriculture Conference! We're also accepting workshop proposals, so get those wheels turning and read below if you've ever thought about presenting.

We're stoked to offer two expert tips this month. The first explores which trellising method is right for your farm, including expected costs and reusable materials. The second is a video for growers interested in using crimped cover crops as a “grow-your-own-mulch” approach to weed suppression and cutting back on tillage. If you’re considering going no-till with the help of cover crops but are intimidated by the management details, this expert tip is for you. 

On that note, we'll begin a research project at Lomax Farm this fall to study the finer details of no-till cover crop management for small-scale growers – a subject grossly overlooked by researchers. We’ll compare how well we can kill rye and raise a crop using different crimping and mowing technology and techniques that are appropriate for different sized farms. More on that project next year!

Beyond that, this edition includes:
  • We're hiring! Deadline alert on our Food Safety Program Leader position.
  • WNC farms re-examine their business models after last year's flooding.
  • An important Organic Growers School survey about farming in North Carolina

Karen McSwain, CFSA's Director of Farm Services and Food Systems


Interested in no-till production, but unsure of how to manage cover crops so they don’t become a problem for the crop that follows?

The most common management concern is when to crimp your cover crop to get a good kill but prevent it from setting seed. Getting the timing right on crimping small grain cover crops like rye isn’t difficult, but it does take a little attention to its growth stage. See this three-minute video for a quick run-down on which stages to look for in order to get that timing right.

Trellising is standard on most farms for a variety of reasons. Providing plant support can decrease disease, keep plants and fruit clean, increase efficient use of space and even maximize yields. Organic standards encourage farmers to use preventative measures, like trellising, to mitigate disease and pests. Crops commonly trellised are tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, small melons, pole beans, snap peas, and flowers.

It’s important to choose the right trellising system for your crop and farm. Some factors to consider are:
  • Installation costs
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Constraints on plant growth
  • Type of production
Keep reading Gena's tip to find out more about different trellising methods and which ones are right for you.
Did you know that we've been creating Expert Tips for nearly a decade?
Don't miss our
Expert Tip index!
Save the Date for CFSA's 2019 Conference!

You're busy people. Go ahead and mark your calendars for our 2019 Sustainable Agriculture Conference on Nov. 1-3 in Durham, NC!

We'll have tons of details about our program--keynote speakers, workshops, pre-conference sessions--this summer. We'll share all the news here, as well as on the event website.

We're accepting proposals for our 2019 Conference!

At the conference, we will feature more than 60 sessions presenting practical and innovative information and research for farmers, producers, educators, activists, and foodies. We are looking for presenters who are experts in the field of sustainable agriculture to present on topics that include:
  • Advanced Topics in Organic Growing
  • Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
  • Beginning and Aspiring Farmer Resources
  • Business Planning and Finance
  • Farmer Health & Wellness
  • Food Equity
  • Foodie, Culinary, and Value-Added Specialties
  • Horticulture
  • Livestock
  • Permaculture
  • Policy
  • Research
  • Soil Health
  • Specialty Crops
Interested? See our proposals page for more info.
Severe Weather Is Changing Some WNC Farms' Priorities  

Photo Courtesy of the Citizen-Times

Farmers around the Carolinas are recovering from last year's flooding in different ways. Whether it's turning to agritourism or opening some ground to the community through a garden-share program, we thought you may be interested to know how some farmers are adapting to counterbalance the impacts of severe weather.

Read WNC Farms Re-Examine Their Business Models After Last Year's Flooding for more.

We're Hiring a Food Safety Program Leader



We want to make sure you see that we're hiring a Food Safety Program Leader. Please share this listing with anyone who you think would be a good fit. 

Read the full-time job post for more info.

Survey Says? Tell Us About Farming in North Carolina
Our friends over at Organic Growers School want to hear from farming and aspiring farmers. Whether it's sharing your biggest challenges, resources you love or need--they want to know to better serve you and the next generation of farmers.

What: 15-minute survey
  • The Organic Growers School
  • Southwestern NC Resource Conservation & Development Council
  • Carolina Land and Lakes Resource Conservation & Development Council
  • NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Why? Feedback will be released in a report and direct future programming and support for farmers. 


Tuesday, May 21 | Greenville, NC
Approved for 2 pesticide credits in categories D, N, O, X, & 3 credits for CCAs.  

Conservation Resources Workshop
Wednesday, May 22 | Elizabeth City, NC

4th Annual Lomax Field Day
Tuesday, May 28 | Concord, NC 
Approved for 2 pesticide credits in categories D, N, O, X. 

Fresh Produce Food Safety: Practical Guidance on GAP Certification
Tuesday, June 25 | Goldsboro, NC

Conservation Farming & Resources Workshop
Wednesday, June 26 | Asheville, NC

2019 Sustainable Agriculture Conference
Friday, Nov. 1 - Sunday, Nov. 3 | Durham, NC 

Want more? Stay abreast with CFSA events by subscribing to our events-only monthly digest, The Training Ground.
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The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is on a mission to bring local, organic food to your table from a farmer who shares your values – and we can’t do it without you. Together we are building a regional food system that is good for consumers, growers, and the land.
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