Public Speaking and Workshops
- Public Speaking and Farmer Training
- Crop Specific
- Marketing Strategies for Vegetable Growers.
- Growing Customers, Reaping Profit
- Brand Name and Relationship Marketing: Tell Your Farm’s Story.
- Market Strategies That Works for You.
- Selling Produce to Retailers
- Agriculture Expert, Atina Diffley, Encourages Local Growers to Differentiate Their Product
- Wholesale Success: Farmer Training Videos, Marketing, Postharvest Handling, and Food Safety
- Post-Harvest and Food Safety
- Organic and Sustainable Farming Systems
- Mish-Mash: Organic Farming and Marketing Bash.
- Soil Health And Biodiversity In Practice: Harnessing Biology, Ecology, And Resiliency On The Farm.
- Soil Basics: Soil Building and Rotations for Vegetable Farmers.
- Organic Cropping Systems, Soil Health, and Drought
- What Vegetables Are Best For Your Farm? Clues From Your Soil, Market, Equipment, Land, And Climate.
- Resources For Organic Farmers.
- Organic Food and Farming: 101
- Organic Transplant Production.
- Sequential Planting
- Weed Management On An Organic Vegetable Farm: Bio-Systems And Tools.
- Risk Management For Vegetable Farmers
- Organic Certification and Standards
- Quality Of Life
- Writing Workshop
- Consumer Workshops
- “Our Spiritual Relationship With The Land That Feeds Us.”
- Eat, Educate, and Engage in Policy … As If The Earth Matters … Because It Does: Biological Diversity, Ecosystem Services, and Organic Farming.
- Incorporating Local-Organic Into Your Life – How And Where To Find It.
- Eating As An Earth Advocate: Why Organic Matters. Scientific Findings About Organic Agriculture.
- Local and Organic: What’s It All About?
Public Speaking and Farmer Training
Public Speaking: I speak to a wide range of audiences on our food relationship with land and nature and the impacts of agriculture.
- Calendar of upcoming book or consumer events.
- Calendar of upcoming farming workshops.
- Download images and bios for your event.
- Inquire: atina ( at) organicfarmingworks (dot) com
Farmer Training: I provide training in growing systems, marketing, food safety, postharvest handling, organic soil health and fertility, organic weed management,writing, healthy relationships, and more. Below is a list of workshops I have taught. I am happy to adjust the focus of a workshop to meet your audience’s needs or combine several or develop a new one.
Cucurbits: Cucumbers To Zucchini: Growing Organic Cucurbits.
Whether it’s squash, pumpkins, melons, or cucumbers, customers love cucurbits, but this high-demand family of vegetables provides some of the greatest production challenges in the organic market garden. Join organic farmer Atina Diffley of Organic Farming Works for a seed-to-sale look at the Cucurbit family, including fertility, rotation, cultural requirements and systems, seeding, transplanting, pest and disease managment, weed control, harvest and post-harvest handling.
Solanacous: Eggplant To Tomatoes: Growing Organic Nightshades
Come to this workshop for an in-depth look at growing the Solanacous family, including fertility, rotation, cultural requirements and systems, seeding, transplanting, pest and disease managment, weed control, harvest and post-harvest handling.
Brassicas: Broccoli To Kale: Growing Organic Brassica LISTEN
The highly-nutrition Brassica family is remarkable for containing more important agricultural crops than any other genus, and contains many of the top sellers in the produce market. Join organic farmer Atina Diffley of Organic Farming Works for a seed-to-sale look at the Brassica family, including fertility, rotation, cultural requirements and systems, seeding, transplanting, pest and disease control, weed control, harvest and post-harvest handling.
Marketing Strategies for Vegetable Growers.
Marketing is not a passive process. Market research starts long before the seed is in the ground. Learn how to actively seek buyers, negotiate contracts, build relationships with wholesalers, and consumers and other farmers. This workshop provides general guidance on strategies for marketing organic vegetables. Topics covered are: marketing methods, production decisions, pricing strategies, and merchandising.
Growing Customers, Reaping Profit
No matter what market you serve, success is built upon the strength of your relationships and the quality and consistency of your produce. Do you expect your customers to meet your needs or do you plan to meet theirs? What do you stand for? What can you do best? What is most important to your customers, price, quality or service? Can you deliver all three? This workshop presents tools and strategies to build a relationship-based farm business focused on service and quality. Learn how to adjust your marketing, production, and agronomic plans to meet your customer’s needs.
Brand Name and Relationship Marketing: Tell Your Farm’s Story.
One of the most powerful ways you can create stability in your market is through name brand marketing. It isn’t just produce your customers want and need. The opportunity to have a relationship with your farm has a value with a shelf life much longer than fresh food. It also creates goodwill and a committed customer who will support you when disasters hits. To build a committed relationship with your customers learn to tell a compelling story about yourself, your farm, and your products.
Market Strategies That Works for You.
Find the right market outlet to match your skills and personality, land, crop mix, and customer’s needs. In this class we’ll discuss trends in the food market and the pros and cons of various marketing models, from roadside stands to farmers markets, csa, agri-tourism, resaurants, pick-your-on, on-line sales, and wholesale to retail and brokers.
Selling Produce to Retailers
From bunch sizes and lot codes to sequential planting and quality control, selling to retail stores requires meeting the buyer’s needs and maintaining quality and consistency through attentive to details. Learn how to serve the wholesale market and make your farm a highly desired source of fresh produce. Learn what it takes to keep your retail buyer coming back for more.
Agriculture Expert, Atina Diffley, Encourages Local Growers to Differentiate Their Product
A Wholesale Success workshop in Leelanau County gave local food producers an opportunity to learn how to enhance their success in the marketplace. Wholesale Success program trainer Atina Diffley said it’s important for local growers to add value to their products and differentiate themselves from large producers.
Wholesale Success: Farmer Training Videos, Marketing, Postharvest Handling, and Food Safety
Louisville Farm to Table sponsored “Wholesale Success,” a two-day event focused on helping farmers learn important tips of the trade, and how to connect with buyers. Consultant Atina Diffley teaches how to pick and handle produce crops to keep them not only safe, but high quality, and how to keep records of performing these tasks. 4.5 hour training. To purchase the Familyfarmed.org, Wholesale Success Manual visit Wholesale Success: A Farmer’s Guide to Selling, Post Harvest Handling, and Packing Produce.
- Part 1: Marketing
- Part 2: Postharvest Handling and Food Safety
- Part 3: Postharvest Handling and Food Safety
Post-Harvest and Food Safety
Keep The Quality: Post-Harvest Handling For Vegetable Farms.
What you do in the pack shed often makes the critical difference between vegetables that sit around and vegetables that sell and hold their quality long after they have left the farmer’s hands. Come learn the tools, techniques, and philosophies that guide a quality packing operation.
Designing Your Packing Shed
A well-designed packing shed is a crucial component of an efficient farming operation, and is also important for food safety and post harvest quality. Some growers convert existing builds, others build new. This workshop will help look design or upgrade your pack shed and includes video tours of packing sheds of different scales.
Sorting and Packing For Wholesale Markets
Wholesale buyers selling into the retail market expect to receive high quality produce packed to USDA industry standards. Come learn about packing standards: size, shape, and uniformity, grading, proper cartons, liners, and unit packaging, are all crucial components of a well-packed carton. Learn what it takes to keep your wholesale buyer coming back for more and willing to pay a premium for your produce.
Food Safety For Vegetable Farms.
If you grow produce and sell it you are a food handler and are responsible for the “wellness” of your product. Food safety needs to be understood and implemented by every farmer, no matter what size, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all. This workshop is designed for small to mid-scale fruit and vegetable growers and provides the information needed to develop a Food Safety Plan that meets your farm’s needs.
Food Safety: Six Simple and Key Areas
Food safety is something that every farm, no matter its size or financial position, must attend to. Having a food safety mindset does not necessarily mean having state-of-the-art equipment. Seeing your farm operation through the lens of food safety, and setting up your ordinary operations and procedures so that food safety is taken into account and embedded into your daily operations, will go a long way toward reducing your farm’s risk of being the source of an illness outbreak. 1. Worker health and hygiene training, 2. Agricultural water (that contacts the produce or food contact surfaces), 3. Animal-derived soil amendments (reasonably likely to contact the produce or food contact surfaces), 4. Animals (wildlife and domestic), 5. Facilities and food contact surfaces (equipment, tools, instruments and controls, transport), 6. Record keeping and tracability.
Organic and Sustainable Farming Systems
Mish-Mash: Organic Farming and Marketing Bash.
Pick of the Crop. Atina’s top ten minutes–more or less–on key topics of organic fertility, weed, pest, and disease management, marketing, decision making and more.
Soil Health And Biodiversity In Practice: Harnessing Biology, Ecology, And Resiliency On The Farm.
Promoting biodiversity both above and below the soil provides a wide variety of ecosystem services that enhance food growing capacity. Join organic vegetable farmer and consultant Atina Diffley for this exploration of the natural processes in the environment and how you can work with them. Listen
Soil Basics: Soil Building and Rotations for Vegetable Farmers.
Discover how cover crops can provide the key to unlocking your soil’s potential. This workshop will cover rotation and fertility designs based on soil-building crops with the additional benefits of drought proofing you farm and reducing weed pressure and dependence on tillage.
Organic Cropping Systems, Soil Health, and Drought
How you manage your soil has a significant impact on water holding capacity and soil condition during drought. plant nutrition, cropping systems, tillage, and irrigation An overview of management practices to lessen the impacts of drought for vegetable growers.
What Vegetables Are Best For Your Farm? Clues From Your Soil, Market, Equipment, Land, And Climate.
Understanding what to plant, when and where, is crucial to success for a fresh-market organic vegetable farm. Each crop has most–favorable combinations of: soil, slope, climate, market, equipment, use of labor-power, and managerial ability. Learn what to consider when making these fundamental decisions.
Resources For Organic Farmers.
A quick look at agricultural books and publications, government programs, non-profit resources, online sites, soil surveys, and training programs to get you the information and support you need.
Organic Food and Farming: 101
The growth of organic agriculture has more organic farmers interacting with their local government agencies, banks, feed mills, dairy nutritionists, crop consultants, and other businesses – and they all need a basic knowledge of organic production systems. This class will provide in-depth descriptions of the diverse practices used to produce organic crops.
Organic Transplant Production.
Jump-start your growing season with farm-raised transplants from indoor greenhouses and outdoor seedbeds. Whether you are just starting or building on past transplant production experience, this workshop will provide key information including growing media and fertility, planting containers, tools, germination and growing, timing, watering, and how to produce low cost bare-root tranplants outdoors in-the-ground without the expense of a greenhouse.
Producing a steady supply of produce throughout your entire growing season is key to satisfying buyers and maximizing farm profits. Learn how to design a sequential planting/harvest plan, including when to plant, which cultivars, and how to adjust plantings based on weather and markets.
Weed Management On An Organic Vegetable Farm: Bio-Systems And Tools.
Successful weed management in an organic system requires much more than good cultivation. Atina Diffley will discuss weed physiology and management using rotations, seed bed reduction, fertility, stale bedding making, cover crops, habitat for biological life, and tillage equipment, in relation to the agronomic principles of an organic farming system.
Risk Management For Vegetable Farmers
Learn how to reduce farming risks through system design. Farming is inherently vulnerable to the vagaries of weather and markets, diseases, pests, and availability of seed. This class will help you create a resilient and resistant farm plan through sequential plantings, cool and warm season crops, extended seasons, diverse marketing, multiple growing ranges, variety trials, creating resilient and drought resistant soils and more.
Organic Certification and Standards
Organic Certification and Standards. What and why it’s crucial.
The organic movement has seen huge growth and change over the last four decades, from the early 1970s regional organic certification groups, each with slightly different standards, to today’s National Organic Program. This workshop provides a brief overview of the history of organic certification and how it protects today’s ecological farmers.
Quality Of Life
Systems And Communication Tools For A Healthy Farm Partnership
A farming business partnership can be a relationship disaster or a positive and productive experience. Farming is a demanding lifestyle; learn communication skills and systems, to balance family, farm, relationships, and self. Key components to creating a healthy farm partnership include:
- Having The Same Vision: For a partnership to be successful, all parties involved must agree on the same goal and direction for the farm. Set a clear agreed course for the farm that meets the needs of both partners.
- Meeting Personal Needs: Each person has a unique set of Personal Needs (above basic survival needs) that must be met in order to be at their best; they are critical in order to thrive. We will workshop and actively identify our personal needs, and plan for how and when to meet them.
- Defining Business Roles: A successful business partnership capitalizes on the strengths and skills of each partner. We will divide business roles and decision-making responsibilities according to each individuals strengths and other influencing factors.
- Weekly and monthly work plans. A strong team is based on a clear understanding of expectations and the work to be done. We will look at examples of work plans and discuss developing plans that meet our needs.
- Good communication skills are a key component of creating a healthy partnership. A strong business partnership is built on an open communicating relationship and meeting on a regular basis to share grievances, review roles, and provide constructive criticism. We will discuss and practice:
- Listening to understand
- Using “I” statements and advanced “I sandwiches”
- Using Healthy Anger
This is an active workshop, based on exercises, dialog between partners, and sharing with the group of participants. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and do the deep work that opens the way for healthy relationships.
This workshop is designed for farm partners — business, domestic, married — where both parties are engaged in the farm decision making and/or work activity and are committed to working on a healthy relationship. Can be attended alone but with your partner is recommended as the majority of class time is spent doing exercises specific to your operation and discussing with partner and group. This workshop is not intended or designed to address relationships that have deteriorated into a state of opposition.
True Dirt: Bring Life’s Work to the Page
Whether writing for CSA newsletters, magazines, letters to the editor, your friends, or a book deep inside you burning to be written, telling your inner story and experience serves your farm, the food and farming revolution, and your community. This hands-on workshop will include writing exercises to develop your voice and story and reach your readers on a sensory and emotional level. The intellect is engaged to understand the issues–the heart must be stirred to create behavior change in your reader. Class time will include in-class writing and participatory workshop/sharing.
“Our Spiritual Relationship With The Land That Feeds Us.”
Imagine. If you had a relationship with something that was absolutely ancient, and so precious, that life – including yours – could not survive without it. What would you do to protect it? How would you care for it? Growing food is a spiritual relationship with the life process. Eating is a spiritual act. Our daily food decisions affect the wellness of the land, and the life that lives upon it. Join Atina Diffley, organic farmer and author of Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works for an empowering conversation about our spiritual food relationships—with the earth, plants and animals, families and communities.
Eat, Educate, and Engage in Policy … As If The Earth Matters … Because It Does: Biological Diversity, Ecosystem Services, and Organic Farming.
Join organic author of Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works, Atina Diffley, for a conversation on agriculture and biological diversity that leads right to our plates and the land that feeds us. An organic vegetable farmer and activist, Atina and her husband Martin operated Gardens of Eagan from 1973 to 2008, marketing direct to food co-op groceries and their roadside stand. Consumers have tremendous power in the work of protecting land and nature and making policy change. Informed citizen input made a big difference when the Diffleys faced the threat of eminent domain by a Koch Industries owned pipeline. The Diffleys intervened as parties to the route proceeding, and created an Organic Mitigation Plan that now provides soils and certification protections for all Minnesota organic farms threatened by a public utility.
Incorporating Local-Organic Into Your Life – How And Where To Find It.
Want to start eating more local-organic food but don’t know where to find it? Learn about the many options available to you, including direct purchases from local-organic farmers, CSA’s (Consumer Supported Agriculture), food co-ops, buying clubs, urban agriculture, buying part of an animal, and grocery stores. Buying local-organic is often simpler and closer to home than people realize. There are even good options for local in winter!
Eating As An Earth Advocate: Why Organic Matters. Scientific Findings About Organic Agriculture.
How our food is grown has an impact on human health, climate change, food security, biological diversity, air, and water quality. Come hear what the scientific community has discovered about the production practices used in organic agriculture and why the President’s 2010 Cancer Panel Report urges consumers to choose foods grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
Local and Organic: What’s It All About?
Local and Organic are two of the hottest buzzwords in food marketing today: but what’s it all about? What does organic mean and who regulates it? What’s in our local food shed and why should we care?
Workshop Resources |What Is Organic? | MOSES