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Fall 2017

We connect organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families

Farmer Jimmy Hayes of Healthy Hollow Farms in Brooklet, Ga. examines a fresh bundle of Certified Organic runner peanuts.

Join us on the banks of the Savannah River in Augusta where hundreds of attendees will unite for the 21st Annual Georgia Organics Conference & Expo. Over two days, you’ll be inspired, connected, refreshed, invigorated and challenged. Farmers will share techniques, hacks and acumen that lift farmer productivity and prosperity. Educators will inspire with stories of kids loving broccoli. Advocates will rally us to fight for just and clean food. Augustans will tour us around their healthy food oasis. Exhibitors will show off the latest and greatest. And we will all eat good and beautiful food grown by the ultimate stewards of land, flavor and joy. Come see why food is the answer!

New this year!

Conference Schedule






For all current Georgia Organics member farmers, we’re offering a heavily discounted All Conference Pass that includes an all day Friday and Saturday plus a Farmers Feast ticket. Watch your email for more information and the registration discount code. Miss the email? Call us at (678) 702-0400 to confirm your membership status and receive the discount code. Are you a farmer but not a member? Join today to get the deal!


All Conference Pass



A L L - D AY


A L L - D AY





2-5 p.m. In-depth Workshops II

More educational content & options!

5-7:30 p.m. Expo Reception

This year, you’ve got more flexibility to plan your Friday schedule. Want to see more organic farming in action? Go on a farm tour on Friday morning AND afternoon. Looking for more in-depth classroom education? Sign up for two half-day workshops or a full-day workshop. Plus, we've added two new tracks on Saturday—that's eight more Educational Sessions for you to choose from!

7:30 p.m. Farmer Mixer (offsite)


director of development

CAROLINE BENEFIELD development coordinator

PERRI CAMPIS farmer services coordinator

EMILY CUMBIE-DRAKE director of programs

KIMBERLY DELLA DONNA farm to school director


community outreach manager

SARAH HART administrative assistant

ABBIE KING farm to school coordinator

KIMBERLY KOOGLER farm to school assistant

ANDREW LADD director of operations

SUMER LADD foodcorps fellow

ANGEL MILLS communications coordinator

TENISIO SEANIMA farmer services coordinator

MICHAEL WALL farmer services director


Back by popular demand!


Wondering what steps you need to take to become Certified Organic? Curious about star ting a school garden? Confused about food safety guidelines through FSMA? We’ve got an expert crew of farming and good food expe rts to lead one-on-one Fencepost Sessions all day Saturday to answer questions like these and more. Space is limited. Explore the list of expert consultants and sign up for a Fencepost Session at

farmer services consultant

ERIN CROOM farm to early care and education coordinator

KRISTI HESSE conference culinary coordinator

SANDY LAYTON conference consultant

SHANNON WILLIAMS farm tour coordinator

After a successful pilot last year, we're bringing back the conference mobile app. It’ll have all the details about conference, including maps, schedules and education tracks, plus some fun games!

7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Registration open

7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Expo open

1-on-1 Fencepost Consulting Sessions

Mobile App

Saturday, Feb. 17

7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Fencepost Consulting Sessions

conference coordinator


9 a.m. – Noon In-depth Workshops I

2-5 p.m. Drive-it-yourself Farm Tours



9 a.m. – Noon Drive-it-yourself Farm Tours

Noon – 7:30 p.m. Expo open



executive director

8 a.m. – Noon Expo load in

Noon – 2 p.m. Lunch



7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Registration open

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. All day Intensive Workshops



Friday, Feb. 16

7:30-9:30 a.m. Breakfast and Member Meeting 9:45-11 a.m. Educational Session I 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Educational Session II 12:30-2:30 p.m. Lunch and small group meetups 2:30-3:45 p.m. Educational Session III 3 p.m. Expo breakdown 4-5:15 p.m. Educational Session IV 5:15-6 p.m. Networking/Social Time 6-9 p.m. Farmers Feast with Awards Ceremony and Keynote Address


Keynote Speaker

Steven Satterfield Steven Satterfield is the Executive Chef and Co-owner of Miller Union in Atlanta and author of Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons. Named 2017’s Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation, Satterfield will deliver an inspirational keynote address at the Farmers Feast on Saturday night. He will share his personal journey discovering the links between eating seasonally, protecting our health, and safeguarding our natural environment. Saturday, Feb. 17 • 6-9 p.m. Farmers Feast and Awards Ceremony with Keynote Address by Steven Satterfield

For ticket information, see page 9 or visit our website:

Join Us For ThisYear’s Farmers Feast Join us for the Farmers Feast as we honor Loretta and Sam Adderson with the Land Steward Award and Kim Hines with the Pollinator Award at the 21 st Annual Georgia Organics Conference in Augusta. The Awards Ceremony will be followed by a keynote address from celebrated chef Steven Satterfield. Contact Jill Geraghty about reserving a table for the Farmers Feast at For single ticket rate information, see page 9 .


Featured Conference Speakers Cameron Farlow

Dr. Debra Morris

Organic Growers School

Jackson County Schools

Cameron Farlow is the Farmer Programs Coordinator for the Organic Growers School, the premiere provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians. Based in Candler, N.C., the school builds a vibrant food and farming community by boosting the success of organic home growers and farmers in the Appalachian region.

Dr. Debra Morris is Jackson County’s School Nutrition Director. Under her leadership, Jackson County is a fourtime recipient of the Golden Radish Award, achieving Platinum level in 2017.

Saturday Educational Session: Beginning Farmer Pathways

Jon Jackson Comfort Farms, STAG Vets Jon Jackson is a TEDx speaker, veteran, and farmer who founded Comfort Farms and STAG Vets to train veterans on sustainable ag production through agri-therapy. He is especially passionate about heritage breed pigs. Saturday Educational Session: Get Piggy with It

Wekesa Madzimoyo AYA Educational Institute Wekesa Madzimoyo is an educator, communicator, healer, and builder with over 40 years of experience challenging oppression and providing alternative safe and authentic communication. Friday In-Depth Workshop: Cracking the Code: Dismantling Racism and Emotional Intelligence Training Saturday Educational Session: Dismantling Racism

Cameron Farlow

Saturday Educational Session: Finding Farm to School Resources from Within Your Community

Sed Rowe New Communities at Cypress Pond Sed Rowe is a farmer with New Communities at Cypress Pond, a grassroots organization based in Albany, Ga., that has worked for more than 40 years to empower African American families in Southwest Georgia and advocate for social justice. Rowe led New Communities to transition a 50acre portion of the organization's agriculture segment to Certified Organic mixed vegetable production.

Jon Jackson

Wekesa Madzimoyo

Saturday Educational Session: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Tractor

Dr. David Shields

Dr. Debra Morris

University of South Carolina, Carolina Gold Rice Foundation Dr. David Shields is the Carolina Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina and Chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation.

Sed Rowe

Saturday Educational Session: Revival of Southern Seeds and Flavors

Brian Wheat Lowcountry Local First

Photo Sources: Cameron Farlow, via Jon Jackson, via Twitter, @STAGVETSINC Dr. Debra Morris, submitted Wekesa Madzimoyo, submitted Sed Rowe, submitted Dr. David Shields, via Brian Wheat, submitted

6 THE DIRT | FALL 2017

Brian Wheat is the Director of Sustainable Agriculture with Lowcountry Local First, a nonprofit cultivating an economy anchored in local ownership based in Charleston, S.C. Saturday Educational Session: Apprenticeships: Becoming and Being the Boss

Dr. David Shields

Brian Wheat


Announcing Our Award Winners 2018 Land Steward Award Winners

2018 Barbara Petit Pollinator Award Winner

Loretta & Sam Adderson

Kim Hines

Loretta and Sam Adderson are third generation farmers with more than 70 years of experience! The Addersons are the owners of Adderson's Fresh Produce, a Certified Organic vegetable and herb farm in Keysville, Ga. The two maintain the farm on the same plot of land that nurtured Loretta as child. Loretta and Sam are deeply committed to Certified Organic and supporting the next generation of young and beginning farmers. The Addersons have been active in three of Georgia Organics’ key programs: farmer mentoring, Georgia Food Oasis, and Farm to School. Their work exemplifies how stewardship of the land influences how we steward our own communities and our health.

Kim Hines is an indomitable force in Georgia’s Good Food Movement and the backbone of Augusta’s local food evolution. She is the founder of Augusta Locally Grown which leads Augusta’s online and weekly farmers markets and G.R.O.W. Harrisburg, which has installed over 200 raised beds in a neighborhood with little access to fresh produce. Hines continues to help cultivate future food system leaders including junior farmers market managers, culinary nutrition students at Helms College, and dietetic interns at Augusta University. We're offering two distinct opportunities to tour Augusta communities this year as a part of our Drive-it-Yourself Farm Tours and Field Trips. See page 10 for more details.

About the Land Steward Award

About the Barbara Petit Pollinator Award

Georgia’s organic agriculture community honors the state’s foremost leaders every year at the Georgia Organics Conference. The Land Steward Award was created by Georgia Organics to honor an individual or individuals who have contributed greatly towards the organic agriculture movement in Georgia. The Land Steward Award has traditionally been given to a farmer, agricultural professional or researcher who has demonstrated a commitment to the tenets of organic agriculture - soil fertility, biodiversity, on-farm recycling, and water quality - and also the larger community through leadership, education, and outreach.

In 2009, Georgia Organics established the Barbara Petit Pollinator Award to honor an individual or organization for outstanding community leadership in Georgia’s sustainable farming and food movement. The award acknowledges exceptional success in advancing Georgia Organics’ mission by spreading—pollinating—the movement throughout community life, such as the food industry, faith communities, public agencies, schools and institutions. The award is named after Barbara Petit, a committed leader, culinary professional and organizer who served as President of Georgia Organics from 2003-2009. Petit passed away in October 2015.

Past Winners 1997 • Cynthia Hizer 1998 • Norman & Bonnie Nichols 2001 • Ryan Cohen 2002 • Sharad Phatak 2003 • Skip & Cookie Glover 2004 • Andrew Stocklinski 2005 • James Dean 2006 • Shirley Daughtry 2007 • Jerry Larson 2008 • Nicolas Donck & Helen Dumba

Past Winners 2009 • Daniel Parson 2010 • Andy & Hilda Byrd 2011 • Relinda Walker 2012 • Carroll Johnson & Dan Evarts 2013 • Lynn Pugh 2014 • Celia Barss 2015 • Julia Gaskin 2016 • Will Harris 2017 • K. Rashid Nuri

Barbara Petit

2009 • Barbara Petit 2010 • Julie Shaffer 2011 • Teri Hamlin 2012 • Christine Anthony & Owen Masterson 2013 • Helen Dubose 2014 • Teri Schell 2015 • Eric Wagoner 2016 • Erin Croom 2017 • Tony & Linda Scharko


Georgia Shape is the Governor’s statewide, multi-agency and multidimensional initiative that brings together governmental, philanthropic, academic and business communities to address childhood (0-18) obesity in Georgia.

To learn more, visit: For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Sandy Layton at

8 THE DIRT | FALL 2017


2018 Registration Pricing & Dates All Conference Pass: Friday & Saturday, and Farmers Feast Friday: Includes two half-day sessions (workshops and/or farm tours) OR full-day workshop, lunch, and the Expo Reception Saturday: Includes four Educational Sessions, breakfast and lunch, AND a ticket to the Farmers Feast

Regular Rate Non-Member $





Farmer Rate

Early Bird Rate Non-Member



(for Farm members in good standing only)




Georgia Organics Members receive a 20% discount on Regular Rates. Join today to save big on your Conference Pass. Visit

Two-Day Education Pass: Friday & Saturday Friday


Includes two half-day sessions (workshops and/or farm tours) OR full-day workshop, lunch, Expo Reception

Includes four Educational Sessions, and breakfast and lunch






Miss the email? Call us at (678) 702-0400 and we’ll confirm your membership and provide the discount code.

Early Bird Rate Non-Member $


Member $


Saturday dinner that features local organic food prepared by an all-star chef team and includes the Keynote Address by Steven Satterfield and annual Georgia Organics Awards.




Includes two half-day sessions (workshops and/or farm tours) OR full-day workshop, lunch, and the Expo Reception

Includes four Educational Sessions, and breakfast and lunch

Regular Rate Non-Member $









Early Bird Discount (through Jan. 5, 2018) = Save $25 on your Education Pass



Early Bird Registration Discount Ends

Registration Ends


Jan. 5, 2018

Feb. 5, 2018

Early Bird Rate Non-Member


If you'd like to reserve a table for the Farmers Feast, please contact Jill Geraghty, at

One-Day Education Pass: Friday or Saturday Friday

NEW! Big discounts for member farmers!

Farmers Feast


Regular Rate Non-Member

All Conference Pass that includes a Farmers Feast ticket—Look out for a discount code via email.



Drive-It-Yourself Farm Tours & Field Trips This year we are changing it up a bit with tours on Friday morning AND afternoon. Farm Tours are drive-it-yourself and attendees will be provided with driving and parking info.

Georgia Navigating Farm to School: Road Bumps and Victories for the Farmer and School Nutrition in the Burke County Public School System Burke County, Ga. Michelle Obama graced the halls of Burke County Public Schools in 2016! While there, she celebrated the nationally-recognized efforts of Donna Martin and her farm-tocafeteria program, also known as “Harvest Bright,” which led to the establishment of a farmer's market run by the school system. Meet the procurement specialists, educators, farmers, and others who make this happen.

Augusta Community Tour One: Harrisburg Walking Tour Augusta, Ga. This walking tour will explore the Harrisburg neighborhood where residents are building healthier non-toxic soil at Sibley Soilworks, improving healthy food access with the GROW Harrisburg raised-bed initiative that has installed over 200 raised bed gardens, and learning how to cook and preserve their urban harvests at Icebox Urban Farm. We will round off our tour with a visit to R & R Sustainable Farms, an urban micro-farm known for their use of non-GMO seeds and sustainable growing practices.

Augusta Community Tour Two: Downtown Garden Initiatives Augusta, Ga. This tour has limited space and features short site visits at a variety of downtown Augusta garden initiatives that are increasing food access, health and entrepreneurship. Visit Master's Table, a soup kitchen and garden operated by Golden Harvest Food Bank and learn about their Healthy Plate Initiative. Explore how invests in local and urban growers through their Incubator Garden. And, see how gardens at the Dept. of Public Health and VA Medical Center are nudging clients toward healthier food choices.

Combo trip: A Healing Farm at J and L Healing Farm and Stables and Urban Grange Farm Hephzibah, Ga. J and L Healing Farm and Stables sits on 14.5 acres in the gentle hills of Hephzibah, Ga. Visitors will learn how the Ritchies have spent the last several years transitioning more of their horse and hay farm into a sustainable small fruit and vegetable operation that features an incubator component for growers with mental disabilities. In addition to blueberries, apples, brown turkey figs, and an array of seasonal vegetables, this farm also supplements their market offerings with value-added products, like pound cakes and shortbread cookies. Urban Grange Farm is a small family farm star ted by two former Army soldiers passionate about fueling their local food movement and building more sustainable neighborhoods. Visitors to this location will learn about raising a diverse number of smallscale livestock, including heritage chickens, goats, and pigs, for eggs and meat production.

Grovetown, Ga. Brown’s Place Farm is an organized 20-acre producer of a variety of Certified Organic vegetables. Visitors will learn about hightunnel production, goat production and their paddock rotation. Retired from his first career, W.B. Brown will also teach farm tour visitors about building soil fertility in the loamy sand of the Coastal Plain. White Hills Farm is one of Georgia's hidden gems. This boutique lavender and herb farm is a model of agritourism, featuring regular farm tours, on-farm markets, and other events that attract hundreds of customers to this farm. Of course, visitors will also get to see a productive herb farm and learn about marketing value-added lavender products.

Bella Luna Sheep and Wool Co. Tignall, Ga. The several different breeds of sheep and lambs raised on 10 acres of idyllic green pastures at Bella Luna enjoy an unfettered life. Visitors will get to meet the flock, learn about their care and management, and understand the process of turning their fine fiber into handspun, organically dyed wool.

South Carolina Kim Hines of GROW Harrisburg helps Harrisburg resident Lucy Patina with her raised bed garden.

Adderson's Fresh Produce Keysville, Ga. Adderson's Fresh Produce is a Certified Organic vegetable and herb farm operated by Au g u s t a l e ge n d s Lo ret t a a n d S a m Adderson on the same plot of sun-kissed land that nurtured Loretta as child. Then, it was a providing homestead site. Now, it is a diversified vegetable and herb production powerhouse that unites and inspires new and beginning growers in the region. Visitors to this farm will learn all about mixed vegetable production, the markets for fresh produce in the Augusta area, value-added products for cosmetic lines, and why organic certification is the way to go.

For farm tour and field trip directions, visit:

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Combo trip: Browns Place Farm and White Hills Farm

Happy Wife Farm Modoc, S.C. Visit Happy Wife Farm to see first hand a small, family-centric farm/homestead that sits on under 40 acres and includes an orchard of about 100 mature pecan trees, a large pond with fish, and a handful of fruit trees. Happy Wife Farm utilizes a large garden, orchards, chickens, guinea fowl, and some dairy goats to produce pecans, dairy goats, chickens, guineas, and eggs.

Herb n Berries Montmorenci, S.C. Visit Herb n Berries to get an insider's tour at one of the area’s most successful U-pick operations. This blueberry farm has approximately 1,250 blueberry bushes of nine varieties and thornless blackberries. This farm also produces specialized vegetable varieties, including Japanese eggplant, cherry and grape tomatoes, and sweet Italian peppers.


For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Sandy Layton at


Friday, Feb. 16 All-Day Workshops Cook Start: A Culinary Crash Course Members of Les Dames d’Escoffier

Talented chefs from Les Dames d’Escoffier will guide you through an all-day, hands-on cooking course of fundamental technical skills to help you become a more confident cook in your kitchen. Note: This workshop is offsite at Helms College.

Georgia Food Oasis Community Forum Suzanne Girdner, Georgia Organics; Yvonne Wagner, Atlanta Community Food Bank

Culinary Crash Course

Invitation Only: Representatives from current Georgia Food Oasis communities (Atlanta, Augusta and Columbus) will convene for a half-day training session, followed by a community tour, and facilitated peer networking. Note: This workshop is by invitation only.

Local Food Procurement for School Nutrition Laura Tanase, Georgia Department of Education; Kimberly Della Donna, Georgia Organics; Samantha Benjamin-Kirk, USDA South East Regional Office

Georgia Food Oasis Community Forum

This 6-hour training for School Nutrition Directors, Coordinators, and Menu Specialists reviews the basics of local procurement guidelines and explores more advanced farm to school activities such as school gardens, forward contracts, and working with local distributors and farmers.

PSA Food Safety Training Billy Mitchell, Global Growers; Judy Harrison, University of Georgia; Donn Cooper, Cooper Agricultural Services; Maggie Hart, Georgia Department of Agriculture

Local Food Procurement for Schools

This training is for fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety.

For ticket information, see page 9 or visit

Grow a Row is Back! 12 THE DIRT | FALL 2017

Food Safety Interested farmers can “Grow a Row” (or raise a head) for our conference meals. We need seasonal veggies and proteins in large quantity, but unique contributions may also be considered. Participating farmers will be recognized as “featured farmers” at the conference, and in exchange for your generous donation of product, you'll also receive a ticket to the Farmers Feast! For more info, email


Friday, Feb. 16 In-Depth Workshops Accounting with Quick Books Debbie Dangerfield, Dangerfield Consulting; Susan and Garry Shaw, Hickory Hill Farms

Back by popular demand, Debbie Dangerfield returns for a deep dive into the popular accounting software used by many farms, farmers markets and non-profits, QuickBooks. This workshop can be attended as a stand alone, or as a continuation of the morning session, Business Planning with SBDC.

Building Gut Health with Fermentation Tasha Alison and Dr. Steve Fountain, Icebox Ministries

In this hands-on workshop, you'll learn the ins and outs of how to safely produce fermented foods and beverages. Note: This workshop will be held offsite at Icebox Urban Farm.

Business Planning Laura Katz, Small Business Development Council

The Small Business Development Council has experienced consultants who can help small businesses create a strategy and action plan for growth that includes attention to each of the major areas of a small business: operations, finance, marketing, and human resources. This workshop can be attended as a stand alone, or as the first part in a full day of financial instruction, continuing with Accounting with QuickBooks.

Cracking the Code: Dismantling Racism and Emotional Intelligence Training Wekesa Madzimoyo, AYA Educational Institute

This workshop teaches us to "crack the code" to become emotionally authentic for honest dialogue in order to create real personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural change to combat racism and oppression.

Exploring Edible Education for K-5 Educators 101

Marketing Clinic for Food Businesses and Organizations

Jenna Mobley, Atlanta Public Schools

Integrate gardening and food activities into elementary school curriculum through model lessons that address science, social studies, math, reading, and writing standards across grade levels.

Farm Hacks 2.0 Julia Asherman, Rag and Frass Farm; Bryan Hager, Crager-Hager Farm; Scott Bentley, Bentleys Almost Organic Farm

This year, you can delve even deeper into last year's surprise hit breakout session, and see how Georgia's growers are elevating their game, one hack at a time.

"Get Fit" Farm to Early Care and Education Training Esther N. Mune, Georgia Department of Public Health; Erin Croom, Georgia Organics

The Georgia Department of Public Health presents an interactive nutrition education and physical activity training for early care providers and will guide participants in achieving Quality Rated standards and support development of strong wellness policies.

Georgia’s Large Scale Organic Operations Logan Ulmer, Generation Farms; Bill Brim, Lewis Taylor Farms

Check out this workshop to learn more about how YOU can increase your farm’s sustainability by adapting Certified Organic large scale business and production practices for small and mid-size growers.

Growing Community with Good Food

Jessi Ford and Christina Edwards, Birds of a Feather; Brooke Hatfield, MailChimp

Curious how to leverage all those social media platforms, conquer automated communications, or want advice on physical marketing techniques? We've got you covered!

Pesticides in our Environment: Current Research Fariba Assadi-Porter, PhD, and Warren Porter, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stay up to date on current research surrounding pesticides. Research scientists illustrate how illustrates how low levels of pesticides and herbicides in our environment affect human immune, nervous, and endocrine systems.

Transitioning to Organic and CAP-138s Mark Dempsey, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Mark Dempsey, farmer services coordinator at CFSA, offers his expertise regarding Organic Certification and effective tools to develop and write an Organic Systems Plan.

Soil Remineralization and Remediation Justin Duncan, National Centers for Appropriate Technologies

Geek out on the mineral nutrients in foods, what they do for the body, why they aren't in foods anymore, and how to restore them to the soil.

Charles Greenlea and Kwame Uhuru, HABESHA, Inc.; Robert Sims, R+R Sustainable Farms

This in-depth workshop will cover the fundamentals for starting a community food project in your neighborhood or residence. Note: This workshop will be held offsite. See for information.

All-Day and In-Depth Workshops fill up quickly. Please be sure to purchase your pass and register as soon as possible to secure your spot. For rate and registration information, see page 9 or visit


Saturday, Feb. 17 Farmer Educational Sessions Track 1: Cha Ching Unlocking Wholesale Markets Josh Davis, Frolona Farm; Alex Rilko, Whole Foods Market, Front Field Farm, and Collective Harvest; Jamie Lindke, PeachDish; George Frangos, Farm Burger

Wholesale buyers want your local, organic product. Come learn wholesale marketplace trends, and the best-kept secrets for how to break into the wholesale market and stay there, from helpful buyers, and veteran growers and sellers.

CSAnnovations Mitch Lawson, Rise N Shine Organic Farm; Jenny Jackson, Jenny Jack Sun Farms; Chelsea Losh, Babe + Sage Farms

Get tips on crop planning, retaining subscribers, choosing management software, and more from some of Georgia’s longest lasting and premiere CSA programs. Learn more about how new technologies, like Harvie developed by our friends at Small Farm Central, can help you manage your CSA memberships and communicate with subscribers.

Leveraging FSA Loans Julia Asherman, Rag and Frass Farm; Rodney Brooks, FSA

Come listen to Rag and Frass farm owner Julia Asherman share her story of leveraging FSA loans to purchase her farm property. She will provide in-depth details regarding the importance of efficient record keeping processes. Asherman will be accompanied by Rodney Brooks with Georgia FSA to discuss the best types of FSA loans for you.

Mo Grants, Mo Money Donn Cooper, Cooper Ag Services; Brennan Washington, SARE

Great farmers access every support program that exists, and that includes maximizing the few grants out there that benefit growers and ranchers. Hear from two pros on the best grants for farmers, and how to develop an idea that funders will want to support.

Track 2: Livestock Natural Health Care for Small Ruminants Wayne Swanson and Thomas Terrill, Ph.D., Fort Valley State University

Natural pathways to a healthy, nematodefree living for goats and other small ruminants include rotational grazing, holistic and medicinal plants, and humane treatment. Come listen to two goat experts describe tried and true ways to keep your goats healthy.

14 THE DIRT | FALL 2017

Marketing Animal Welfare

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Tractor

Callie Castel, Animal Welfare Approved

Sed Rowe, New Communities; Ashley Rodgers, Rodgers Greens and Roots Organic Farm

According to consumer reports, the Animal Welfare Approved label is one of the most rigorous and trustworthy certifications in the marketplace. Learn more about how adding this label to your products can increase market value and enhance your farm’s brand.

Get Piggy With It Jon Jackson, STAGVets and Comfort Farms

In 18 months, Jon Jackson with Comfort Farms has taken his start-up hog operation to an award-winning hub for heritage breeds and pork advocacy. At a time when commercial pork is under fire for its lackluster flavor, Jackson is arguing that flavor is found in genetics, feeding, and fat. Learn about fair pricing, hygiene, marketing and the growing trend of niche markets around heritage hogs.

Hay Ya Brett Murray, Dayspring Farm; Terri Jagger Blincoe, Ladybug Farms; Mark Vanderhoek, New Growth Management

The Certified Organic hay and commodity grains industry in Georgia is still in its infancy. We all have a lot to learn from the pioneers who are working hard to kickstart this segment of organic agriculture in Georgia. Learn more about organic grain production, livestock forage quality, and emerging opportunities for growers with the space to grow organic grains.

Track 3: Crops Pest Sounds Ayanava Mujamdar, Ph.D., Auburn University

Perennial favorite Dr. Ayanava Majumdar returns with more research (and enthusiasm) on high tunnels, greenhouses, and organic insecticides and their abilities to help manage pests on your vegetable operation.

Bridge Over Troubled Water Steve Williams, The Rain Saver; Terri Jagger Blincoe, Ladybug Farms

As the climate changes, farmers are increasingly facing weather extremes. Learn how to reduce risk in the events of drought and heavy rains. Hear about dry planting techniques that build drought tolerant crops as well as rain water harvesting and other methods of on-farm water management.

The Trifecta of Terror Ayanava Mujamdar, Ph.D., Auburn University

Learn how to win the fight against flea beetles, aphids, and fire ants based on farm and field research.

Building soil, prepping fields, and managing weeds are just a few of the toils large tractors can be used for. Learn more about how you can get the best use out of your tractor.

Track 4: In the Weeds with NRCS Gimme Five Steps: Eligibility and Your NRCS Contract Daniel Westcott, NRCS; Nuri Icgoren, Urban Sprout Farm

Farmers and NRCS agents come together to help you get to the front of the line for NRCS support. We'll unpack the five steps to assistance - planning, application, eligibility, ranking, and implementing - so you can come away knowing what to do to partner with the NRCS.

Contracts, and the Contractors Who Contract Them Daniel Westcott, NRCS; Farmer TBD

Some NRCS agents keep lists for approved contractors for things like high-tunnel installation or well installation. Some don't. Sometimes there are required licenses and credentials for contractors. Sometimes, no requirements. Get the scoop directly from the horse’s mouth about the contractors you can and can't use for your NRCS project, and take home some practical tips on how to select the best person for your farm's enhancement.

Transitioning to Organic with the Help of NRCS: TSPs and CAP-138s Mark Dempsey, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Did you know there are specialists, funds, and programs to help growers achieve organic certification? Technical Service Providers are independent contractors who help farmers with the CAP-138 conservation plan, a document that goes a very long towards organic certification - and great access to NRCS programming support.

Enriching Access Jacqui Coburn, Front Field Farm; Stephen O'Shea, 3 Forks Farm; Terri Jagger Blincoe, Ladybug Farms; Nuri Icgoren, Urban Sprout Farm

Take a seat and hear from the farmers who have successfully maximized NRCS incentives to conserve resources on their farm, while enriching their farm operations with high-tunnels, wells, rain harvest systems, rotational paddock fencing, and more.


Track 5: Sweat Food Justice Certification Marty Mesh, Quality Certification Services; TBA, Food Justice Certified Farmer

Consolidation of power, an economy driven by profit, structural racism, and the individualistic nature of our culture are among the root causes of severe injustices in our food system. The Agricultural Justice Project seeks to provide transparency to conscientious consumers who are committed to correcting agriculture with their food dollars. Learn about the certificate that guarantees just working and living conditions and pay for farm workers and their families. For ticket information, see page 9.

Beginning Farmer Pathways

Never Gonna Give You Up: Employee Retention

Cameron Farlow, Organic Growers School

Are you interested in helping new farmers build strong, viable businesses? Come learn about the collaborative Farm Pathways model for farmer training and support. We'll discuss how to make beginning farmer programs successful and how to lay the groundwork for a successful farmer training program in your region.

Belinda Bentoski, Red Earth Organic Farms; Nikki Seibert Kelley, Wit Meets Grit; Celia Barss, Woodland Gardens

Good employees are hard to find, and even harder to keep. This session will highlight tools for farmers as managers and offer case studies from around the Southeast that have implemented techniques to find and retain on-farm labor.

Apprenticeships: Becoming and Being the Boss Chris Jackson, Jenny Jack Sun Farm; Brian Wheat, Lowcountry Local First

Explore workloads, management styles, and other essential best practices to best utilize apprenticeship and intern labor on your small vegetable farm.

Did you know we're offering deep discounts for member farmers this year? If you're a member farmer in good standing, you will receive an exclusive discount code for an All Conference Pass (including a ticket to our legendary Farmers Feast). See page 9 for details.

Saturday, Feb. 17 Community Educational Sessions Track 1: Farm to School

Finding Farm to School Resources Within Your Community

Farm to School Institute: Action Planning

Misty Friedman, Georgia Department of Agriculture; Debra Morris, Jackson County Schools; Jessica O’Leary, Effingham County Schools

Nichole Lupo, Wylde Center; Jenna Mobley, Atlanta Public Schools; Kyla Van Deusen, Fernbank Science Center; deb rosenstein, Ed.D., "dr. deb", Mercer University

Georgia Farm to School Institute teams share their experiences and help participants design action plans to achieve comprehensive farm to school programs, supported by the cafeteria, classroom, and community.

Project Based Learning: Engaging Students Naturally in the Garden Tasha Gomes, Drew Charter School

Make learning objectives relevant and engaging by integrating garden and nutrition education into Project Based Learning across grade levels and subjects.

Culturally Relevant Cooking with Kids Sagdrina Jalal, Georgia Farmers Market Association; Katie Hiebert, International Rescue Committee; Jenna Mobley, Atlanta Public Schools

Develop the skills needed to teach basic food preparation in your classroom while honoring and sharing your students’ cultural heritages. We’re offering an all-day Farm to School workshop on Friday! See page 12 for information.

This session will guide participants in identifying an array of farm to school resources and funding within their school, local and state community to support comprehensive, district-wide programs.

Oh SNAP! Edda Z. Cotto Rivera, Caree Cotwright, Ph.D., RDN., Sarah Stotz, Laurel M. Sanville, Austin H. Childers, Jennine Labuzan-DeLane, UGA SNAP-Ed Program

Learn how Georgia is taking off with innovative ways to provide nutrition education through: eLearning, social marketing, face to face education at farmers markets and other community organizations, and an obesity prevention pilot for early care and education setting.

Common Market Georgia: Good Food Delivered Lily Rolader and Katie Chatham, The Common Market

Order Early Bird Discount Passes before Jan. 5, 2018. Save even more by becoming a member of Georgia Organics! Check out conference rates (and discounts) on page 9, or visit

The Common Market is a mission-driven distributor of regional farm products that launched in Georgia nearly two years ago. CMG’s operations team will share successes,challenges, and opportunities for strengthening small and family-owned farms while simultaneously improving food access and public health.

Track 2: Georgia Food Oasis Nudging for Good: Empowering More Georgians Tamara Jones, Southeastern African American Farmers' Organic Network (SAAFON); Sara Thorpe, Open Hand; Katie Hayes, Community Farmers Markets

Three community organizations from Georgia Organics’ 2017 Nudge Project will present on projects developed around behavioral economics approaches to nudge people into action.

Building a Food Oasis Suzanne Girdner, Georgia Organics; Yvonne Wagner, Atlanta Community Food Bank

An information session for community advocates looking to organize and empower residents to eat, cook, and grow local, organic food while planning their own food system future.


Track 3: Food is Medicine

Track 4: Homegrown Resilience

Gut Health: Healing and Prevention through the Digestive Tract

Grow Your Own Edibles: An Organics Primer for Beginning Home Gardeners

Tasha Alison and Steve Fountain, MD, Icebox Ministries

Icebox Farm physician Steve Fountain and co-owner Tasha Alison share how to maintain a healthy gut microbiome and connect with consumers and patients around gut health.

Prevention Kitchen: An Introduction to Culinary Nutrition Christi Hansen, R.D., Hungry Heart Farm; Kimberly Della Donna, Georgia Organics

Organic farmer and Registered Dietitian Christi Hansen uses evidence-based research to teach how the abundant antioxidants, phytochemicals, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals found in fruits and vegetables can help prevent and manage chronic disease.

VeggieRx Rachael Kane, MPH, Wholesome Wave Georgia; Christopher Hines, M.D., Harrisburg Family Healthcare Clinic; Morgan Barnes and Anthony Wilkes, Good Samaritan Health Center Atlanta; Stacie Schmidt, M.D., Grady Memorial Hospital

Healthcare providers share how they have implemented fruit and vegetable prescriptions to connect patients with local produce and improve health outcomes.

Pesticides and Health Fariba Assadi-Porter, Ph.D. and Warren Porter, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research scientists illustrate how low levels of pesticides and herbicides in our environment affect human immune, nervous, and endocrine systems.

Kim Hines, Augusta Locally Grown

Join this year’s Pollinator Award Winner, Kim Hines, for an introductory crash course in edible gardening. Learn the essential steps to creating and managing a plentiful edible garden.

Tackling Food Waste at Home Betsy LaForce, Smart Recycling; Amanda Edwards, Don't Waste Food South Carolina

Discover how you can prevent food waste in your own home through smart food prep, understanding labels, and proper storage while also learning the basics of creating and maintaining a small-scale compost pile.

Water Harvesting for Home Gardens Kim Counts Morganello, Clemson University Cooperative Extension

Learn the benefits of rain gardens and how to create simple systems to utilize rainwater for watering your home garden.

Secrets of the Sauté Chef Jenn Robbins, Good Foods Kitchen

Chef Jenn Robbins will unleash your sauté potential by teaching you the fundamentals of cooking farm fresh vegetables. She will cover vessel selection, cut size and quantity, heat and oil, knowing when to stir, seasoning, and cook time.

Interested in exploring culinary workshops available at Conference? See pages 12 and 13.

Track 5: Health, Healing & History Dismantling Racism Wekesa Madzimoyo, AYA Educational Institute

Learn about the Processed Communication Approach (PCA), a tool used to highlight and dismantle personal, interpersonal, and institutional-cultural aspects of systemic oppression as it relates to the food system.

Why Organic? Justin Duncan, National Center for Appropriate Technologies

Duncan, a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist, brings his wealth of experience to the topic of chemicals in food that accumulate and contaminate your body, and ways to cleanse our bodies and soils through organic health.

Revival of Southern Seeds and Flavors David Shields, Ph.D., University of South Carolina

Dr. David Shields, award winning author, food historian and chair of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, will explore how and why seed varieties and flavors have disappeared from Southern foodways since the 1800s and share current partnerships between farmers, nonprofits, universities, and chefs working to revive these lost flavors.

Healing Farms: Access for Unseen Growers Abiodun Henderson, The Come Up Project; Laurie Ritchie, A Healing Farm; Carla Walker, Harrisburg Veteran's Peace Garden; Sharayah Davis, Girls Inc.

Panelists share how connecting with nature heals and can develop new skills in unexpected places.

Join Us! Members receive a 20% discount on Education Passes and Farmers Feast tickets. Join today at

16 THE DIRT | FALL 2017


Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program


Developing the Next Generation of Organic Farmers in Georgia: The Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program

Across the United States and in Georgia, the average age of farmers is on the rise—the national average is 58 years old and in Georgia it’s even higher. Even as we desperately need new farmers, the barriers faced by would-be farmers when trying to launch new agricultural businesses can be formidable. Georgia Organics partners with University of Georgia (UGA) Extension to implement a comprehensive training program for beginning farmers to nurture the next generation of farmers. The program includes a Small Farm Business Course, a Small Fruit and Vegetable Course, a Small Ruminants Course, and a Hands-on Program. Called the Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program, classes were piloted in north Georgia in the fall and winter of 2015-2016 and have since been rolled out to the rest of the state Interested farmers first attend one of two Small Farm Business Courses: the AgAware program run by AgSouth or a series of facilitated webinars developed in partnership with the UGA Small Business Development Center and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. These programs assist a farmer to develop a farm business plan. Once the farmer has successfully completed one of these courses, he or she may enroll in either Small Fruit & Vegetable Production or Small Ruminant Production, which last four to six weeks. Farmers are then eligible for the Hands-on Program. The Small Fruit & Vegetable Production Hands-on Program is coordinated by Georgia Organics. Farmers with their own land will identify a mentor to help them improve their operations. Would-be farmers without access to land are placed in an internship or at an incubator farm. The Small Ruminant Production Hands-on Program is coordinated by Fort Valley State University. Farmers are assisted to find land, a farmer mentor, and/or internship positions. This project is supported by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program. It is a partnership between UGA, Georgia Organics, Fort Valley State University, UGA Small Business Development Center, AgSouth, Georgia Department of Agriculture, and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association.

Gwinnett Technical College horticulture instructor Tony Gobert, (center in hat and blue shirt) leads Journeyman students on a tour of the college’s urban vegetable garden.

Journeyman Overview: By the Numbers



classes held on farm business training

classes held on small ruminant production



students who have received farm business training

students who have received small ruminant training


classes held on small fruit and vegetable production


small fruit and vegetable hands-on students


students who have received small fruit and vegetable training


hours students spent on-farm

439 Total number of students as of Sept. 1, 2017 CONFERENCE.GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG 17


Overview: Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program

Small Farm Business Training • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Knowing your Farm’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Target Markets, Competition, and Pricing Balance Sheets: Assets, Liabilities, and Owners’ Equity Income Statements Cash Flow Statements Record Keeping Legal Entities and Incorporation Trademarks and Trade names Legal Issues: Insurance, Workers Compensation, Business Licenses, and Zoning The Importance of Business Plans Business Plans and Loan Applications Financial Projections Sales, Marketing, and Tech Dept. of Ag Permits and Licenses Organic Certification Risk Management Data Safety

Fruit and Vegetable Production Training • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Foundation, A Systems Approach Soil Health and Fertility Soil Amendments and Fertilizers Cover Crops Groundcovers for Small Fruit Crop Rotation Pest Management Seasonality Crop Selection Crop Propagation - Seeds, Transplants, Small Fruits Irrigation Equipment Tillage Post Harvest Handling and Food Safety Marketing

18 THE DIRT | FALL 2017

Ruminant Production Training • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Breeds Basic Nutrient Sources for Goats and Sheep Animal Nutrient Requirements for Different Production Stages Forage Types The Links Between Forage Height, Maturity, Nutrient Quality, and Parasite Management Predator Risks and Predator Control Types Common Goat and Sheep Diseases and Prevention Best Management Practices for Lambing and Kidding Dewormer Resistance and Immunity Issues Small Ruminant Dewormers and Common Parasites Parasite Infection Management Weight Differences: Live, Hanging, Retail Meat Quality Live Animal Markets Requirements for Marketing Meat Products in Georgia Body Condition and Scoring for Goats and Sheep Foot Trimming, Castrating, and Shots

Small Fruit and Vegetable Hands-on Training • • • • • • • • • • •

Seasonality, Crop Selection, and Propagation Management Small Farm Equipment Irrigation and Water Field/Bed Preparation Amendments & Fertilizers Pest Management Food Safety and Good Agricultural Practices Weed Management Disease Management Cover Cropping Composting @GEORGIAORGANICS

Journeyman: In the Field The purpose of the Hands-on module of the Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program (JFCP) is to provide students with: • Access to on-farm education • Technical assistance so you can get started on a farm the right way • Experience authentic on-farm workloads and gain growing experience There are many topics reviewed in this module that fosters the steps to becoming a successful farmer, doing so safely, legally, and responsibly. Many of the practices and guidelines students experience in this module come from land-owning farmers while others come from program partners’ experiences. All of the guidelines are important for students to know so that they can be successful on the farm where they train.

Journeyman: The Hands-On Program Internship No on-farm experience and no land - Track 1

Mentorship Some on-farm experience and land Track 2

Incubator Some on-farm experience and no land Track 3

The internship pairs students with a professional host site over the course of a growing season (six months). Students learn about agricultural production and marketing, food and farm safety, and soil and water conservation. The internship provides the most secure method of learning farming while experiencing all of the variables that come with the profession.

Mentee students may be ready to begin running their own farm and questions may surface which go beyond the information they received in the preliminary training modules. For this reason, mentee students can elect to receive individualized technical assistance by a mentor (32 hours).

Topics could include: • How to become Certified Organic • How to set up deer fencing, drip irrigation or other unique farm enhancements • In the field: how to trellis crops efficiently or identify and manage pests • Implementing food safety practices

The Incubator combines the best of tracks 1 and 2, providing a secure yet comprehensive experience. Incubator students learn directly from a professional farmer about production, marketing, food safety, and more, while enjoying the independence of managing their own site within an operational farm environment. Additionally, incubator students take advantage of the opportunity of sales channels pre-established by the host farm, creating the perfect balance between risk and reward. Space is limited.

Upcoming Journeyman Trainings Upcoming in 2017:

Upcoming in 2018:

Walker County Small Ruminant Production Houston County Small Fruit and Vegetable Production

Forsyth County Small Farm Business Training Forsyth County Small Fruit and Vegetable Production (Please note, the Forsyth program will not offer a paid Hands-on program.)

Exact dates for upcoming sessions are available at


Journeyman Program Mentorship and Education Chad Hunter and his brother Bishop raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved beef cattle on a pasture at Hunter Farms in Jakin, Ga. Hunter Farms achieved Organic Certification on May 4, 2015 through Georgia Organics’ 200 Organic Farms Campaign.

my experiences. Hopefully, the most important lesson I have passed on to my students is perseverance.

What did your students need to learn about?

My job as a mentor was to nurture the needs of my students. During the first meeting with each student , we sat down and discussed their dreams and goals for their farms. I have worked with NRCS, Georgia Grown, Georgia Organics, Animal Welfare Approved, American Grassfed and other organizations with my family’s farm, and I was willing to share

The Journeyman Program mentoring c o m p o n e n t i s v e r y b e n e fi c i a l f o r beginning farmers and growers. Early in the program my mentees were very apprehensive about new programs and tr ying new ideas , but with time and support things changed. Now they are very excited about the next stages of th e ir fa rm s a n d h ave n ew p l a n s for improving their farms . I see the Journeyman mentoring component as a final bit of encouragement for beginning growers and ranchers, but I also hope my mentees keep in touch with me even after the program.

What prompted you to host a Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program in Dougherty County?

What do you think makes southwest Georgia unique when it comes to agriculture?

We have quite a few small acreage vegetable farmers in the county who could benefit from the production information, as well as enhance their farm from a business standpoint.

Our water resource. The Floridan aquifer sys te m i s on e of th e worl d's m os t productive aquifers.

I am fortunate to have three students with very different farms. Beverly Everritt and her son, Justin, have an established garden and grow fruits and vegetables without the use of synthetic chemicals. Lisa Jenkins’ farm has established pecan trees, fruit trees, muscadine vines and a fishing pond. Ashley Pinkston has a flock of cage-free laying hens, an orchard, and an interesting band of rescue animals. Ultimately, all of my students wanted to know how to be successful and profitable.

Journeyman Mentor James Morgan, Extension Agent, Dougherty County

How did you find your way to a career in agriculture? In high school, I went through our four-year vocational ag program and was an active member of our FFA program. I received a B . S . and Masters of A gricultural Education from Clemson University in Clemson, SC. During my junior year of college I decided that I wanted to be an agriculture count y extension agent. I worked at South Carolina State University 1890 Extension Program in Orangeburg, SC., for two years prior to working for UGA Cooperative Extension. I have been a county agent in Georgia for 17-and-a-half years. 20 THE DIRT | FALL 2017

What do you like about the Journeyman program?

Journeyman Mentor Chad Hunter, Hunter Farms

How did you mentor them?

What aspects of the Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program did you find the most useful? The sm all b usine s s planning tra ck proved to be the most beneficial to the participants. Marketing and finding local markets to sell their produce can be problematic if they don't already have a storefront or loyal customer base. What new growing trends have you seen in southwest Georgia that made you think hosting the Journeyman Farmer program would be a good idea for your community? The desire for fresh, local produce.

Regarding Extension's role in the community, what challenges do you think you personally are best equipped to help growers tackle? Production practices, recommendations on varieties, insects disease and weed control, building up the soil and fertility issues. If there was one thing you could tell residents from other areas of the state about what makes southwest Georgia so great, what would it be? S m a l l tow n fe e l i n g , ge n e ro s i t y of others, slow pace way of life, pride in communities, natural resources, and of course, our farmers. @GEORGIAORGANICS

Journeyman: A Student’s Perspective Albert Sanders—a Journeyman Intern studying at New Communities at Cypress Pond under the guidance of farmer Sed Rowe—achieved Organic Certification on Sept. 5, 2016 thanks in part to Georgia Organics’ 200 Organic Farms Campaign. What prompted you to learn about growing food through the Journeyman Farmer Certificate program?

What has surprised you about the experience overall?

Albert Sanders, Student, Dougherty County Class of 2017

I have been surprised by the volume of knowledge I have learned. Examples are how to install pipes for drip irrigation, how to set up a greenhouse, how to manage crops from tilling the soil to harvesting and marketing, how to operate a larger tractor than the one I own (I own a 3032 John Deere), how to operate a John Deere Gator, how to operate the zeroturn mower, other equipment, and much, much more.

In 2013, my wife and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. Our daughter, who is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America was employed by the famous Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant/Farm. For our wedding anniversary, we flew to New York to have dinner at the restaurant. Prior to dinner, we toured the farm to table restaurant. I was impressed and bitten by the growing bug. Since retiring as an officer in the United States Air Force in 2010, I had additional time to pursue other interests. One of my interests was gardening. An internet search on gardening in 2013 took me to the University of Georgia webpage. I learned about the local Extension Office and an upcoming gardening class. I had no experience in any kind of gardening. In 2013, I took the Master Gardener course that was offered through the Extension Office and became a South West Georgia Master Gardener Volunteer (SOWEGA Master Gardener). It was a very good course. I had some succes s with backyard gardening but wasn’t where I wanted to be in growing produce. I needed more hands-on experience. During one of the SOWEGA Master Gardener meetings, the Journeyman Farmer Certification Program was announced, so I enrolled. What’s been the most exciting thing to learn about in the classroom portion of the program? The most exciting lesson I learned was the size definition of what’s considered a farm. I have always thought of farms as being multiple acres. I also learned of many resources available to put farmers on a road to success.

Why is learning to farm important to you?

What’s been the most important thing in the hands-on learning at the farm at New Communities? My experience at New Communities has been absolutely fantastic. I have learned so, so many things during my internship. Two learning experiences that stand out have been how to install underground pipe from a water well site to the field site for installation of above-the-ground drip irrigation. The most important lesson I’ve learned has been how to manage multiple crops. What traits have you found to be helpful in your teacher, Sed? Mr. Sed has been an outstanding mentor. He has been very willing to teach, expose me to many learning opportunities and share his knowledge about farming. He ensured that I am familiar with multiple crop management and learned how to operate multiple pieces of equipment. Mr. Donny, another farm worker, exhibited the same qualities as Mr. Sed.

By trade, I am a Registered Nurse (retired), with experience in health promotion and prevention. Understanding the dynamics of food growth is a very important part of the health promotion and prevention process. Also, I have a host of young family members that I want to pass farming knowledge to. In order for me to teach them, I need to know the right way. What’s your favorite tasting vegetable or fruit from the farm? The scuppernong/muscadine grapes are my absolute favorite fruit from the farm. How do you hope to use what you’ve learned? I plan to use the knowledge I’ve obtained on our farm. Our farm is 92 acres. I have approximately three acres that are too small for large equipment to get in. My plan is to develop that area into an organic produce site for community distribution.


Food Safety on the Farm

Food Safety and Your Cottage Food License Chris Edwards, Mayflor Farms Food Safety Directives:

Mayflor Farms is an 11-acre Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) farm in Stockbridge, Ga. We grow a wide array of vegetables and decided to explore the value-added marketplace. This led us to start a Cottage Food Business, and apply for a Cottage Food License through the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA). According to the GDA, “The Cottage Food License allows cottage food operators to produce non-potentially hazardous foods in home kitchens to sell to the end users. Cottage food operators can sell these products within the State of Georgia directly to the consumer at non-profit events and for-profit events (such as farmers markets), and through internet sales.” A big difference between a commercial and cottage operation is that commercial is off-site and cottage is on-site. We enjoy the simplicity of being on-site. It makes sense for us to harvest, wash, and then bring produce straight to the kitchen - whether we are making kale chips, pastries, or exploring new culinary adventures. There are a few steps to get a Cottage Food License: 1. Make sure there are no local ordinances that prevent you from legally operating a home-based business. 2. Get documentation that your water is tested - the same for FSMA and GAP certifications. 3. Get ServSafe Certified. 4. Pay a flat rate to be inspected. 5. Pay for any alterations you need to get your site up-to-par. 6. Follow the Food Safety Directives. 22 THE DIRT | FALL 2017

1. Use liquid soap, warm water and paper towels to clean hands before preparation and packaging, and after any unsanitary activity 2. Bare-hand contact with readyto-eat foods should be avoided. Use disposable gloves, bakery paper, or tongs.

Chris Edwards of Mayflor Farms

My co-worker, Paola, is in charge of our kitchen. Before produce comes into the kitchen, Paola sweeps, cleans and sanitizes the counters, and makes sure that our packaging is ready. To maintain high quality standards, we harvest and wash the produce the day Paola is going to use it. We take many steps like this to reduce food safety risk - Paola receives clean produce, handles it in a clean area, and wears a hairnet and gloves while processing it. And, of course, she crafts a delicious product. After Paola is done creating the product, it moves from the kitchen to our walk-in cooler. We built our cooler using the CoolBot system. We bought a brand new A.C. unit to connect to the CoolBot and have had no problems with it. If you’re interested, email Michael Wall at Georgia Organics (michael@georgiaorganics. org) for a discount code on the CoolBot system. For us, it made sense to increase our revenue by creating these value-added products and getting our Cottage Food License. If you’re already farming and following food safety principles, the transition to expanding to value added will not be a difficult one.

3. Hair restraint and clean outer garments shall be worn while processing and packaging. 4. Employees should not eat, drink, or use tobacco products while processing and packing. 5. Employees should not use a utensil more than once to taste a cottage food product. 6. Employees exhibiting illness should not process or package cottage foods. 7. No persons other than the operator employees should be in the kitchen during processing or packaging. 8. Food contact surfaces of equipment and utensils should be clean to sight and touch before processing to prevent product contamination. 9. Ingredients and finished products should be stored separate from residential supplies, and in a manner that prevents contamination. 10. Chemical Storage and Use: • Store chemicals to prevent contamination. • Spray bottles should be labeled • No pests control chemicals shall be used in the kitchen • Use chemicals according to label 11. Pests should not be present, and the kitchen should be kept clean to prevent harborage conditions. 12. Pets should not be allowed in the kitchen. @GEORGIAORGANICS

Food Safety on the Farm 1.

Samples are accepted for analysis on Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you need a next day shipping label from us, please add an extra $10 to the actual fee of $36 required for the laboratory test. NO SAMPLES ARE ACCEPTED ON FRIDAYS. Please make checks out to UGA-FEW Lab. Payment is due upon receipt of sample unless prior arrangements are made.


Samples must be accepted for analysis within 24 hours of the collection time. Therefore, collect and ship samples on the same day. If using overnight shipping, please collect and send samples on Monday through Wednesday only.


Provide the information requested on the opposite side of the form. (Form available at extension office)

Testing Our Well Water Chris Edwards, Mayflor Farms While the water rules surrounding the FSMA Produce Safety Rule continue to swirl and change as the FDA attempts to make them less murky, we continue to test our well water at Mayflor Farms. We test not only because it will soon be required but also to make sure we are providing the best for our customers with clean water. Thankfully, working with Extension makes this an easy test to take. On our farm, we test our 250 ft. deep well for bacteria and metals. We use our well for irrigation, and inside our farm house we use city water. If you are only using city water, you can go on your municipality's website and download their publicly available water report. Other farms may test surface water like lakes, ponds, or rivers. According to the University of Georgia (UGA), “Ponds and streams should be sub-sampled at various depths and positions across the body of water. Sub-samples should then be combined to create one sample.”

First, find your extension office through the UGA website or give them a call at 1-800-ASKUGA1. Once you know where your office is, you can swing by and request a water test kit for free. Your agent will be able to explain to you how to properly take the test. Once you’ve arrived back at your farm with your water test, there are a few steps you should take to ensure a good sample. As always when thinking about food safety on the farm, you should wash your hands! Then, follow these sampling tips and instructions courtesy of UGA for testing your irrigation water total coliform and escherichia coli in crop protection and irrigation water (see right).

4. Select the appropriate sampling area needed to obtain a representative sample of the crop protection or irrigation water. For either irrigation or crop protection water from either a well or surface source, collect the sample at the point of use, just prior to application in the case of irrigation or in the case of crop protection water, just prior to filling the spray tank. If you need help selecting a sampling location, contact your county extension agent or GAP auditor. 5.

Fill the bottle completely, leaving only a small air space.

6. The white substance in the bottle is a dechlorinating agent. Please do not rinse the bottle. 7.

Place sample in the same box, seal sample box, affix UPS shipping label and call UPS at 1-800742-5877 to determine your local pick-up/drop off place and time for “Next Day Air” packages. Or hand deliver to the Ag Services Lab, 2300 College Station Rd, Athens. Some agents will let you bring the sample to their office and they’ll mail it off for you. Remember, bacterial samples have a time sensitivity to them and must be mailed within 24 hours so the labs can actually identify the bacteria.

Conducting a water test may seem scary, but it’s an easy task that gives you and your customers the confidence that you are providing safe produce. If you have more questions about food safety on the farm, reach out to Farmer Services Director, Michael Wall, at


Food Safety on the Farm

Food Safety on Small Farms: Before and After Chelsea Losh-Jones, Babe + Sage Farm In the last edition of The Dirt, I wrote about the basics of how the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will affect small farms. In this edition, we’ll get into some of the nuts and bolts of food safety compliance on our small farm. In June, we hosted a public GAP Walk-Through on our farm. Billy Mitchell from Global Growers and Brenden St. John from Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association walked us and several other farmers through our farm operation to talk about what looked good, what could be better, and what we needed to change soon to be GAP audit ready. Not gonna lie, it was a little nerve-wracking airing our farm’s dirty laundry in front of a group of other farmers! But we ended up with only a few minor adjustments to make before becoming compliant.

"Our biggest take-away has been the importance of writing it down. You and and your employees are far more likely to do it correctly if you have it written down. Keep the most important information in front of you." There were a few things we needed to change to be GAP audit ready: storing chemicals in a locking cabinet, installing shatterproof light bulbs in our pack shed, creating a separate break area for employees to store their coffee and snacks, buying a thermometer to calibrate our walk-in cooler, and pestproofing some storage areas. We’re already doing a good job on lots of other stuff: washing hands in a separate handwashing sink between tasks, washing and sanitizing harvest containers, keeping animals and sitting water away from produce, logging cleaning tasks to ensure we do them every week, and storing everything off the ground (bins of harvested produce, clean bins, fertilizers, etc.). If you’re not doing these things yet and it sounds overwhelming, have no fear! Start your food safety plan one piece at a time, and remember the simplest answer is often the best. At the end of our mock audit, Brendan estimated it would take 45 minutes of work and $40 for us to be GAP compliant. We use a $20 camping sink for our hand-washing sink and Global Growers uses buckets with a spout drilled into them. We’ve lined the floor of our walk-in cooler with free milk crates to raise bins of produce off the ground. Household bleach diluted to the proper strength sanitizes just as well as a more expensive product 24 THE DIRT | FALL 2017

Chelsea Losh-Jones with her husband Bobby Jones and their son Trip

like SaniDate. Storing chemicals properly saves you time and money. Eliminating clutter from your pack shed will make you work more efficiently. Keeping better records will undoubtedly make you a better farmer. Our biggest take-away has been the importance of writing it down. You and and your employees are far more likely to do it correctly if you have it written down. Keep the most important information in front of you. Employees are more likely to wash their hands if there is a sign telling them to. You are more likely to check the walk-in cooler’s temperature if you see a thermometer and a log sheet when you walk in. You are more likely to properly dilute your sanitizer if you have the recipe written on the bottle. The only way to tackle your food safety plan is one step at a time. I hope you will learn, as we have, that food safety is about more than just passing an audit; it’s about running your farm more effectively. Also, wash your hands more often! @GEORGIAORGANICS

Affordable Health Insurance for Farmers

Bridging the Gap: Farmers and Affordable Health Insurance Farming isn’t a career path for the faint of heart; along with fisheries and forestry, farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. According to the US Department of Labor, in 2011 the fatal occupational injuries for agricultural workers was the highest in the U.S. (24.4 per 100,000 workers), and the rate of non-fatal on-farm injuries is even higher. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that in 2014 there were over 58,000 on-farm injuries, meaning over 150 agricultural workers suffered an on-farm injury daily. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the rate of work-related injuries for agricultural workers to be 5.7 per 100 workers. What’s more, farmers just like the rest of us need preventive care, prescriptions, routine check-ups and other doctor visits to stay healthy. One important tool in addressing these costs and ensuring farmers receive the health care they need is access to affordable health insurance options.

On Farm Injuries • Farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. • There are 58,000 farm-related injuries each year. • That's 150+ agricultural injuries each day. Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control The National Center for Farmworker Health estimated about 32 percent of farmer workers in 2012 had health insurance and only 14 percent had employer-provided health insurance. The largest barrier farmers point to in obtaining health insurance is cost. Because two out of three farmers and ranchers report having a pre-existing condition, the inherent dangers of the work, and narrow farm profit margins, the cost of health insurance can be prohibitive. Georgia Organics is committed to exploring how to make health insurance accessible for farmers in Georgia. This includes research in partnership with academics, such as Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, advocacy for expansion of Medicaid in the state, and innovative partnerships that can address health insurance costs in unique ways. Through a new partnership with the Kaiser Permanente Bridge Program and generous support from the Food Well Alliance and Emory University, Georgia Organics has launched an insurance enrollment pilot program.

Through a new partnership with the Kaiser Permanente Bridge Program and generous support from the Food Well Alliance and Emory University, Georgia Organics has launched an insurance enrollment pilot program. The Georgia Bridge Program is an effort on the part of Kaiser Permanente to serve uninsured Georgians with up to two years of free health insurance under their KPIF GA Gold 500/20 plan or Signature Gold 500/20 plan. As the newest community partner in the Bridge Program, Georgia Organics identifies individuals meeting the program criteria and assists in the enrollment process. Enrollment in the Bridge Program offers access to many health services with no monthly premium, co-pay or deductible for up to 24 months. While the program is limited geographically to metro Atlanta and by income level, it serves as a useful pilot as Georgia Organics continues to develop opportunities for affordable health insurance to farmers statewide. “Kaiser Permanente believes that the ability to access health care is vitally important,” says Emily Markette, the Senior Specialist in Charitable Health Care and Cover at Kaiser Permanente. "Georgia Organics ensures that the un/ underinsured population of metro Atlanta have access to health insurance while seeking training that will ultimately help in obtaining self-sufficiency. Our community partnership with agencies such as Georgia Organics is critical in the success of the Bridge Program." This program offers enrollees an opportunity to be a part of the first-ever Farmer Insurance Cohort. Along with insurance coverage, farmers will have opportunities to participate in educational workshops and provide feedback on the enrollment program which will inform future iterations. Open enrollment for 2018 coverage in the marketplace begins November 1, 2017 and ends December 15, 2017. For those interested in determining Bridge eligibility and learning more about affordable health insurance options, please visit for-farmers/health-insurance. Questions? Contact Perri Campis, Farmer Services Coordinator at or 404-481-5004.


For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Sandy Layton at


Georgia Organics Member Spotlight and volunteer events to build community. With our location in Clarkston, a refugee resettlement community town, job creation has become a big part of who we are. Of the 23 people who work at Fresh Harvest, 10 are refugees who were resettled from countries all over the world. What’s the most difficult component of your unique business model?

David Melton, Sales Director at Fresh Harvest Fresh Harvest delivers organic produce, meat, dairy and artisan items directly to customers’ doors in the Greater Atlanta area and has been a Georgia Organics Business Member since 2015. How have you noticed the market changing since you began operating in 2012? Food delivery has evolved dramatically in the last five years and has seemingly become the norm. As technology gets more involved in the food industry, it tends to decrease transparency. We hope to use technology to increase transparency. What factors or values do you see driving your customers’ buying decisions? Our customers value locality and traceability of their food. Organic produce, grass-fed meats, and pastured eggs are also contributing factors. There is an awareness and desire to support our local company and be a part of a community—not just a convenient food service.

"Food touches countless issues from obesity to modern day slavery of farm workers. That is a reality, largely because we’ve become disconnected from our food."

As we pursue our goal of expanding local farmers' sales opportunities to more consumers, we’ve had to educate consumers more than we thought. People don’t eat as many fruits and veggies as they may think, so we’re providing recipe banks, storage tips, and in what it means to eat seasonally. We offer other conveniences like home delivery, customizations, and the ability to skip or cancel anytime, but food isn’t meant to be convenient on every level. Fresh Harvest will never be the fastest and the cheapest. We really want to uphold the farmer and we have to educate consumers on how to do that. You describe Fresh Harvest as an ethical and transparent food hub. How do ethics and transparency play into food? Food touches countless issues from obesity to modern day slavery of farm workers. That is a reality, largely because we’ve become disconnected from our food. We don’t know where it came from, how it was grown, and who it has impacted. As consumers, we often think of food in terms of, “How do I get more for less?” At Fresh Harvest, we believe that food is something to steward, not simply consume. How do the farmers you work with contribute to ethics and or transparency? They are more than just a supplier; they are true partners. Each one got into farming in the first place because they care about the earth just like we do. They use sustainable growing practices to ensure the land is enriched and not depleted. How would you describe the way Fresh Harvest fits in with the larger good food community? We believe the good food movement progresses when we all collaborate (non-profit, for-profit, farmer, distributor, consumer, etc.). As a distributer, our role is by far the least sexy! We do pride ourselves, however, on making it as easy as possible for someone living in Georgia to connect with local organic food. Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say about Georgia Organics?

What makes Fresh Harvest different? What further differentiates us is our Fresh Harvest Garden and vision for refugee job creation in Clarkston. With our garden, we’re not only the distributor of your food—we’re one of the growers as well. Our garden also provides opportunities for customers to attend farm dinners, cooking demonstrations, 28 THE DIRT | FALL 2017

People regularly ask, "What if customer demand outgrows the local organic supply?" We often respond by telling them about Georgia Organics and their work to support and encourage the increase of organic certified farms in Georgia. In short, Georgia Organics provides the big-picture support that helps meet our customer’s future demand. @GEORGIAORGANICS

Farm to School

2017 Golden Radish Awards Ceremony Highlights Over 40 percent of Georgia’s Public School Districts Honored at 2017 Golden Radish Awards Ceremony ATLANTA, October 30, 2017—Georgia Organics, Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture, Public Health, Education, and UGA Extension honored a recordbreaking number of school districts at the 2017 Golden Radish Awards ceremony.

In Effingham County, high school culinary students cooked for elementary students featuring produce from Heritage Organic Farm. Farm to school in Georgia is growing and thriving!

The Golden Radish Awards is a celebration of Georgia’s farm to school leaders who work tirelessly to make sure good food is a priority in cafeterias and classrooms across our state.

Seventy-five districts collectively achieved these results during the 20162017 school year:

Seventy-five school districts were honored in 2017, up from 53 districts in 2016! This annual award publicly recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school, including purchasing local food, gardening with students, coordinating farm field trips, and more. Seventy-five school districts were honored in 2017, up from 53 districts in 2016! Farm to school programs teach academic standards in school gardens, support the local economy through local food purchases for school meals, and fight childhood obesit y as well as other preventable, food-related diseases.

District Highlights In Bartow County, the School Nutrition Cafe Manager dedicated his summer to becoming a Master Gardener to support his school garden. In Crawford County, the Farm Bureau sponsored "Farmtastic Fridays" with farmer visits to schools and field trips to local farms.

2017 Map: Golden Radish AwardWinning Districts Rabun

97,454,964 meals included locally grown and raised food


taste tests were conducted,


standards based lessons were taught, Students in Jackson County, Ga. examine pea pods.


edible gardens were tended,


hands on cooking and food activities were enjoyed,


parents and community members involved in farm to school activities

To learn more about the Golden Radish Awards, visit


New Staff at Georgia Organics Meet Angel Mills, our new Communications Coordinator at Georgia Organics. Angel is originally from Detroit but has lived in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and most recently São Paulo, Brazil. She is a newbie to the Atlanta area and is looking forward to setting down roots in the Peach State. Keep reading to learn more about Angel and her plans for Georgia Organics' Communications. What was your previous job? Prior to moving to Atlanta, I completed a State Department program called the Boren Fellowship in São Paulo, Brazil. I lived in São Paulo for one year, studying Portuguese, traveling, and participating in cultural experiences. Before starting the program, I earned my Master's of Education degree at the University of Pennsylvania and Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism at Howard University. During this time, I completed several journalism internships and and studied communicative patterns at non-profit organizations. What do you hope to accomplish at Georgia Organics?

Who/What inspired you to do the work you are doing for Georgia Organics? Growing up in a low-income community in Detroit, I lived far from stores, community gardens, or co-ops selling fresh produce. Consequently, maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a child was challenging. After self-educating myself in healthy living practices as an adult, I became a holistic health advocate and plant based diet enthusiast. I truly believe and live Georgia Organics’ motto, “Food is the Answer.” I was inspired to join the Georgia Organics team because I believe in the work this organization is doing to bring organic food to all Georgians. Georgia Organics is setting an example throughout the nation and I am proud to join this effort.

I aim to educate Georgians, specifically people of color and those residing in under-resourced communities, about the importance of supporting local farmers, increasing the number of organic farms in the state, and eradicating inequality in food production. What is your spirit fruit? Definitely Mangoes. Mangoes are my favorite! I can’t explain my connection to them. We just understand one another.

You can contact Angel Mills, our new Communications Coordinator, by email at or phone (404) 481-5017.

For more information,

please see pages 17-21 of this publication.

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

30 THE DIRT | FALL 2017


Farm to School Summit Highlights At the 6th Georgia Farm to School Summit at Helms College in Augusta, we convened over 250 teachers, early care providers, farmers, school nutrition staff, and other advocates for two days of learning, networking, and of course, local food! Plus, we recognized the national reach of Georgia farm to school programs and leaders. Betti Wiggins, Officer of Nutrition Services for the Houston Independent School District, gave an inspirational keynote speech. We celebrated our Honorary Co-Chair Donna Martin, under whose leadership Burke County Schools achieved the 2016 Outstanding Golden Radish Award. As the President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Donna is now elevating farm to school across the country. We were also delighted to introduce the new USDA Farm to School Director of the Office of Community Food Systems, Erin Healy, who attended to encourage and learn along with us.

Betti Wiggins

Donna Martin

A Total Eclipse Party with Georgia Organics and Ladybug Farms Sometimes, the stars (or sun and moon) align for us to give our members amazing experiences. On Aug. 21, Georgia Organics brought together our staff and board with our Seeds & Soil Society and Sustaining Members for an unforgettable Solar Eclipse Viewing Party on Ladybug Farms in Clayton, Ga. We joined forces with Ladybug Farms, an heirloom veggie, flower and herb farm in Rabun County, centered in the path of totality, to host 106 of our most dedicated supporters for an intimate, once-in-a-lifetime celebration of food, farms, friends, and the environment.

organic hay production, and toured the Tiny Farmhouse Terri received at the 2017 Georgia Organics Conference—the result of a competitive application process. Terri will use the tiny house to host guests for agro-tourism at “Adult Farm Camp” weekends. Terri received her organic certification through Georgia Organics’ 200 Organic Farms Campaign in 2014 and has been a mentor and mentee in our Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program. Special thanks to this event’s sponsors: Hannah Solar, LLC and GWT2Energy.

Guests were treated to a tour of Ladybug Farms by farmer and Georgia Organics member Terri Jagger Blincoe, a presentation from eclipse junkie and astronomer Ron Westmaas, and a delicious picnic lunch catered by Rabun County restaurant Fromage. After lunch, everyone spread out in Terri’s beautiful pasture to watch the skies and experience the magic of a total solar eclipse before heading out to tour the farm. During the tour, attendees learned about Ladybug Farms’ CSA program,

Georgia Organics strives to provide unique, outstanding events for our members, and especially for our Sustainers and Seeds & Soil Society who go above and beyond to support the good food movement on farms, for kids, and in communities throughout Georgia. To learn more about these special membership opportunities, email Ready to become a Sustaining Member or join the Seeds & Soil Society? Sign up today by visiting membership. CONFERENCE.GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG 31


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2017 Fall Dirt  

Check out the 2017 Fall Dirt Issue to learn more about the 2018 Georgia Organics Conference and our work with the Journeyman Farmers Program...

2017 Fall Dirt  

Check out the 2017 Fall Dirt Issue to learn more about the 2018 Georgia Organics Conference and our work with the Journeyman Farmers Program...