Practical Farmers Webinars

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Tuesday, January 27th, 7:00pm CST
Customer Retention for CSAs
All farminars offered by Practical Farmers of Iowa are FREE and open to everyone. Offered each Tuesday night at 7:00pm CST through the end of March, these 90 minute webinars are presented by farmers and experts on a wide range of topics.

This Tuesday we have another farminar for CSA operators. Using data from research conducted with CSA customers, tune in to hear 10 reasons why people stay with their CSA and 10 reasons why they leave. Expert Pat Mulvey will talk about how to keep your customers happy, and Wabi Sabi Farm's Ben Saunders will talk about retention successes and struggles with his CSA in Granger, Iowa.
Patricia Mulvey owns Local Thyme, an online seasonal menu planning service based in Madison, Wisc., and is a personal chef with years of experience planning menus and cooking from CSA boxes and farmers markets. As the chef for Fair Share CSA Coalition, Pat contributes to the growth of sustainable food systems through Local Thyme and her culinary publishing work.

Ben Saunders operates Wabi Sabi Farm near Granger, Iowa, which will enter its third year of production in 2015. Ben offers a 150-member CSA, and is continually exploring ways to diversify into other markets, as well as adapt the CSA program to better fit both the members and the farmer.

on Tuesday, January 27 at 7:00pm CST.
Missed a Farminar? Check the Archive!
Scale and Profitability: The Right Fit for Two Vegetable Farms
Last week, seasoned CSA farmers Dan Guenthner and Mike Racette from Wisconsin spoke about the process of piecing together the infrastructure needed for a viable small farming operation. Both Dan and Mike have over 20 years of experience running a CSA, and discussed the chronology their farms went through to get where they are today. Watch this farminar to learn about finding the right scale for your CSA.
2015 Winter Farminar Series
  • February 3 - Setting up Fall and Spring Small Grain Production for Success
    Bill Frederick, Dusty Farnsworth, and David Weisberger
  • February 10 - Oats for Iowa: Variety selection and agronomic production tips
    Bruce Roskens and Darren Fehr
  • February 17 - Cereal Rye: Stand evaluation and seed selection
    Greg Roth and Tim Sieren
  • February 24 - Custom Grazing
    Lani Malmberg and Doug Bartels
  • March 3 - Marketing for your Farm
    Gene Gage, Tyler Magnuson and Caitie Caughey
  • March 10 - Meat Pricing
    Bobbie Gustafson and Tom Cory
  • March 17 - Head to Head: Comparing two crop insurance options for specialty crop farmers
    Kevin McClure, Mark Shilts, and Emma Johnson
  • March 24 - Pesticide Drift: Prevention and response
    Andy and Melissa Dunham
  • March 31 - Food Safety Modernization Act: Implications for farmers
    Sophia Kruszewski and Chris Blanchard
Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers that seeks to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information sharing. 




Full-Time Software Developer Position

Posted on by Michael Caplan

HarvestHand is a small start-up company in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Our mandate is to participate in building a vibrant local food economy by providing new media solutions that help to bring together farmers and food consumers in mutually beneficial ways.


Software Developer

This is a full-time, term position for a minimum of six months. Starts immediately.


  • development and maintenance of HarvestHand Web based CSA software platform
  • develop innovative new features and evolve current feature sets
  • analyse software to ensure stability, availability, and performance
  • identify and implement proactive solutions to address potential issues
  • identify ideas for system improvements
  • respond to customer support needs
  • participation in preparation and implementation of  training materials
  • thrive in a startup environment and familiarity with launching “lean” software applications


experience using:

  • Linux
  • Apache HTTP server
  • MySQL relational database management system
  • PHP programming language
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript


Applicants should be graduates of a recognized  computer science training program (degree or diploma) with a concentration in web development.


  • be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons who have been granted refugee status in Canada;
  • be between 15 and 30 years old (inclusive); required by funders.
  • have graduated from a post-secondary institution;
  • be legally entitled to work according to relevant provincial legislation and regulations; and
  • be a first-time youth participant in a placement of the Career Focus Program of the Youth Employment Strategy. 
  • Read more about HarvestHand

Apply by March 25, 2015

Send resume and cover letter to


New Product Launch: What's Fresh by HarvestHand

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News ReleaseWhat's Fresh farmers markets software by HarvestHand


January 17, 2015


Launch of What’s Fresh! A new shopping list tool to help consumers make the most of their visit to the Wolfville Farmers’ Market


The Wolfville Farmers’ Market is thrilled to launch What’s Fresh!, a new first-of-its-kind shopping list software tool for Farmers’ Markets. Market customers can now browse for real-time information about Vendors and available Products for the upcoming Market day on their desktops or mobile devices. What’s Fresh makes it easier for people to browse what’s available at the farmers market market, plan meals, remember everything on their shopping list and support local businesses.


What’s Fresh was designed by HarvestHand, a community-shared software development company with a vision to strengthen food and farm communities. The HarvestHand community have lead a number of local food new media projects including HarvestHand CSA Software-  management software for Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) producers, F5://Food (Refresh)- a 48 hour idea lab for local new media and food solutions, and a World Map of CSA Farms.


“I am very proud of the Wolfville Farmers’ Market for taking this innovative step to help deliver greater service to its customers.   This tool is designed to help families plan their in-season meals and shop at the Market more effectively. We want to help them get the job done, while also enjoying the Market experience,” said Market Manager, Kelly Marie Redcliffe.


“A Farmers’ Market is a unique environment where every week there is a 4.5 hour window of time for over 60 vendors to offer their products with over 1000 people who are also neighbours with one another.   We thought it would be great to make it easier to browse what’s available at the Market from home on Friday and make up a shopping list to take with you,”  explained Redcliffe, and further to that.   “Because we have an IT community particularly interested in building community food systems, we decided to embrace this new adventure. It has been wonderful to work with HarvestHand as they built this tool; and it is our hope we can over time make it more and more effective for us and for the Farmers’ Market community as a whole.”


First time users of the tool can show their What’s Fresh shopping list at the Information Booth to  enter to win $50 Market Dollars.  The draw will take place on the last Saturday of each month for the next three months.

The url for What's Fresh is: It can be added to a home screen on mobile devices or bookmarked on desktops for easy access and use.




For More Information:

Kelly Marie Redcliffe

Manager, Wolfiville Farmers’ Market




Duncan Ebata

Food Community Builder,

(p) 902-542-5310

© 1-866-542-4305

Food Webinars and Teleconferences- January 2015

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Organic Field Crop Production & On-farm Breeding

Hosted by: The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security


This unique webinar will provide both technical, agronomic information regarding field crop production best practices and strategies, as well as an overview and results-to-date of our participatory plant breeding program. This webinar will benefit anyone interested in pursuing on-farmbreeding, as well as those looking to generally improve their field crop farming systems. We’ll hear from Anne Kirk (Participatory plant breeding project coordinator, University of Manitoba) and Dr. Martin Entz (Agronomy professor, University of Manitoba). The following topics will be covered: Crop rotations for organic crop production; Choosing the right green manure crop; Overview of the participatory plant breeding program; Results from an evaluation of farmer selected wheat populations.

Sign up here


Character Capital: FarmWorks – Investing in farm businesses

Hosted by: Food Secure Canada and FarmStart


Part of the Webinar series on the New Farmers Initiative. FarmWorks Investment Co-operative is a Nova Scotian for-profit cooperative that allows community members to invest in local farm businesses.  Linda Best will share her experience of how FarmWorks was established and how they finance new farmers.  Christie Young of FarmStart will join us to help show the applicability of the FarmWorks model across Canada.  This will be instructive for anyone interested in farm and social finance.

Sign up here


Quality Assurance in Ecological Seed Production

Hosted byThe Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security


Each seed a farmer purchases and plants is an investment in the harvest, on which their livelihood depends. Farmers need to know that their seed will be high quality, and reliable. This webinar will provide information on how to provide quality assurance. Presenters will speak to such topics as: Storage criteria, viability (including moisture content and germination tests), and seed vigour; Ethics and quality assurance. This is the last webinar in the 2014-2015 series from The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Not to be missed!

Sign up here


Lessons Learned: Effective Internship and Apprenticeship Programs

Hosted by: Food Secure Canada and FarmStart


This webinar is for everyone interested in how best to teach the next generation of farmers. Rachel Schell-Lambert from the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)-NY, Jordan Marr from SOIL and David Alexander from Everdale, all established and respected programs, will share their experiences in this panel discussion. There are myriad issues involved in designing and running training programs that truly prepare students to run their own farm business. Among others, identification of demographic and learning style, selection of trainers and trainees, training methods, suitable location, relationship management and liability are key aspects to consider when constructing or implementing training, internship and apprenticeship programs.

Sign up here

Brought to you by:

Food Secure Canada Logo

Food Secure Canada - Réseau pour une alimentation durable

3720 avenue du Parc, suite 201
Montréal, QC H2X 2J1

Peruse and watch recordings of previous FSC webinars 

Sign up to receive this monthly webinar email and FSC's newsletter directly.


Freaks of the Garden and Increasing Facebook Engagement

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People love videos. If a photo is like a 1000 words, how many words is a video? A million? Billion? Video's are a powerful tool for membership engagement and they are practical for social media too. You've likely noticed that your Facebook page posts are seen by far fewer people than 2 years ago. This is because Facebook's algorithm changed and only a small portion (16% of your fans on average) of your posts now are actually seen by people who have "liked" your page. Unfortunately, this will continue to get worse and investing in paid advertising is a must.

That said, there are a few ways you can increase the views of your Facebook posts. One of the best ways to continue to help ensure that your members see your posts is to create posts that encourage comments, likes, and shares. Other than questions which are the best for comment engagement, photos, photo albums, and videos are the best free ways to do this (see 5 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Engagement by Social Examiner).

According to Facebook, posts that include a photo album, picture or video generate about 180%, 120% and 100% more engagement, respectively.

By sharing photos and videos that people engage with (comment, share, or like), you can drastically increase the chances of your fans seeing your posts.

Here are 3 examples of different farm videos that worked to grow Facebook page engagement with video:

Freaks of the Garden from Peaceful Belly Farm

This video is what inspired this blog post.

Tomehto tomoato by Manna Farm


Tomotoe Video by Manna Farm Pemberton BC

Quirky and fun idea to show variety of vegetables. 

Is this really spring? by Tim at Strawberry Hill Farm

Simple is beautiful. Smart use of video combined with a question.

Key Takeaways for Improving Facebook Engagement

1. Every Facebook post needs a photo, photo album, or video.

2. Make a plan to invest in Facebook Advertising

3. Make a schedule to take more videos and photos on the farm

Book a Free Marketing Consultation!