VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY, Va. — The Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University is offering a wide range of educational workshops and events in May for farmers and ranchers through its Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP). Here’s a list of upcoming SFOP activities for the month. Pre-registration is required for all programs. To learn more about these workshops or to register, visit our calendar at https://www.ext.vsu.edu/
High Tunnel Types and Construction (Virtual/Zoom)
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
9:00 – 11:00 AM
High tunnels can help farmers extend the growing season and protect crops from adverse weather conditions. Beginning and experienced participants will learn how to select and maintain high tunnels, costs of construction and how to successfully grow crops in the structures.
Pastured Poultry Workshop (Virtual/Zoom)
Thursday, May 6, 2021
6:00 – 7:30 PM
Thinking about raising poultry? Pastured poultry supplies eggs, meat and can also help improve soil conditions and increase crop yields, helping farms to become more sustainable and profitable with minimal capital investment. Participants will learn how to start and manage a poultry operation. Topics include breeding, building coops, disease management and protection from predators.
Small Farm Orientation (Virtual/Zoom)
Monday, May 10, 2021
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
If you’re a new or beginning farmer with five years or less experience, and you have questions about how to help your farm thrive, this workshop is for you. Participants will be guided through developing a productive and profitable operations plan by an instructor with over 40 years of experience in the agriculture industry.
Hispanic Field Day (In Person)
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Fair Produce Farm (Lawrenceville, VA)
Hispanic farmer Pedro “Ari” Lopez raises lambs, goats and poultry on a small farm, taking advantage of his limited space. Participants will take a tour of Fair Produce Farm and learn how Lopez makes the most out of small spaces when raising farm animals and strategies for selling and marketing vegetables and meat products.
Flower Field Walk and Demonstration (Virtual/Zoom)
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
9:00 – 10:00 AM
Curious about growing cut flowers? Flowers brighten up any day, and the cut flower industry is booming. New and experienced flower growers and enthusiasts will learn tips on growing cut flowers and turning a hobby into extra cash from Susan Cheek, state program assistant with the Small Farm Outreach Program. A demonstration will include installing transplants, harvesting flowers and managing irrigation systems.
Thursday, May 13, 2021
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Aquaponics combines aquaculture, growing fish and aquatic animals, with hydroponics growing plants without soil. Starting a small-scale aquaponics system may be easier than you think. Participants will learn about building small-scale aquaponics systems for hobbyists, schools, urban settings or as a farm enterprise. A demonstration is included in the workshop.
Growing Ethnic Vegetables (In Person)
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
6:00 – 8:00 PM
Bates Farm (Woodford, VA)
There is an increasing demand for healthy ethnic vegetables, like African runner peanuts, cocoa yams, African spinach and jute leaf. Growing African vegetables in Virginia is possible with the right techniques. Michael Carter Jr., who spent time growing vegetables in Africa and now grows them on his family farm in Orange County, will discuss how to plant, cultivate, harvest and market ethnic crops.
Cover Crop Field and Demonstration (In Person)
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
2:00 – 3:00 PM
Heavenly Hideaway Lavender Farm (Prince George,VA)
Cover crops are planted in off growing seasons to help prevent soil erosion or are grown as companion plants to help specific crops grow better. Learn how farmer Rob Davis uses cover crops to make his lavender crop lush. During a tour and discussion, he will share how cover crops are beneficial to habitat and soil management.
The Small Farm Outreach Program, a part of Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University, educates and empowers small, limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers to own, operate and sustain farms and ranches independently with agricultural training programs that improve farm management skills and quality of life.
If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in these activities, please contact the Small Farm Outreach Program office at email@example.com or call (804) 524-3292 / TDD (800) 828-1120 during the business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations five days prior to the event.
–Virginia Cooperative Extension