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Trainings, Workshops & Conferences

These webinars are available on YouTube with closed captioning, adjustable playback speed, and chapter markers in the description to help you view a certain section of the webinar.

Winter Twilight Roundtable Series

Honing Your Management Style to Recruit and Retain a Lean and Clean Farm Crew

Employee strife and high turnover increases misery, inefficiency and food safety risk on farms.  Increasingly, hiring and retaining a reliable and productive farm crew is one of the biggest challenges facing farms.  Join this small group of experienced growers to discuss self-reflective strategies and “practices” to help hone an authentic management “style” that fits your personality, and helps your crew become a well-oiled (and content) machine!

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Resources Discussed

Payback on Purchasing New Wash/Pack Equipment

Join experienced growers discussing how they determine when it is worth buying an expensive piece of equipment. Main topics will include payback for specific pieces of equipment like rinse conveyors, cost-benefit analysis and other calculus used by growers.

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Resources Discussed

Greens Spinners for Farm Use

Root Washers for Produce Farms

New Metal Building from Scratch at Hall Brook Farm

Post Harvest Case Studies

Workarounds in Washing Greens That You Can’t Live Without

For many growers, greens processing is a high-stress, pinch-point within their farms’ overall production flow. Join experienced greens growers to discuss in-the-trenches tricks and produce safety practices they cannot do without!

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Resources Discussed:

Building a Better Greens Bubbler

Hanging Hoses

Forced Air Cooling On The Farm

Vegetable Wash Sinks, Tanks, Tubs and Basins: Upgrades for Efficiency and Ergonomics

The BarnHouse: Optimized for Modern Day Vegetable Farming at Footprint Farm

Parent, Farmer, and Wash-pack Manager! – Strategies to Keep Kids Happy, Employees Engaged, and Produce Safety Risks Low

Join farmer-parents to share challenges and lessons learned from running their businesses while running after their kids.  Topics covered include:

  • Time management
  • Flow for effectiveness and efficiency
  • Food safety with babies and kids
  • Employee training to help with the new normal of kids on the farm

Farmers with and without kids are encouraged to attend!

A recording is not available for this one, as generous farmers shared very personal stories with the group and we decided it was best to be kept private.

What NOT to Do to Save Time in the Pack shed

Sometimes no action can save time, increase profitability, AND lower food safety risk. Join experienced growers to discuss benefits and timing of “dry cleaning” …and other things NOT to do (or clean) in your wash pack.

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Resources Shared: Root Washers for Produce Farms

How to Talk to Contractors About Your Farm Building Construction Project

Construction of wash, pack and cold storage facilities requires special considerations (drainage, produce safety, pest prevention, lighting, etc.) and technical terms that many contractors are not familiar with. Join this group of experienced growers and the UVM Ag Engineering team to discuss essential terms and tricks for talking to your contractors.

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  • Have patience
  • Make sure your subcontractors are talking to eachother
  • Don’t slope the floor where cooler panels will be placed or they won’t latch together easily.
  • Insulate your floor if you have the opportunity
  • Contractor expectations may be different than your needs. (not a commercial building)
  • “Free” labor comes at a cost!
  • Ask lots of questions, and be ready to answer lots of questions
  • Building projects take away time from production

Resources Shared: Top 5: Working with Contractors on a Postharvest Project
Managing Humidity and Condensation in Coolers

Building A Wash/Pack (Video Series)

Cooler Construction Options – Walls and Panels

Jericho Settlers Farm – Post Harvest Case Study

Twilight Highlight Webinar Series

Virtual workshops, called Twilight Highlight’s, have been recorded and are available to view for free, each event has a focused topics including:

  • Bins
  • Doing More with Less
  • Floors
  • Wash Water
  • Employee Management
  • Bubblers

Bin Blitz

Experienced growers and UVM’s Ag Engineering present new strategies and tools to increase the efficiency and efficacy of bin cleaning, sanitation and management practices. Lead growers show and tell their bin systems, with lessons learned. Participants leave with a plan to improve/ implement new practices.

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Resources Discussed
Cleaning Tools for Produce Farms
Bins, Buckets, Baskets & Totes

Doing more with less (Low cost, high value)

Evaluate low-cost (either money or time) improvements that make a big difference.
Experience growers show and tell the thrifty improvements they made and summarize lessons learned., including trade-offs of spending money (or not) to lower risks and increase efficiency.

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Resources Discussed
Postharvest Case Studies
Vegetable Wash Sinks, Tanks, Tubs and Basins: Upgrades for Efficiency and Ergonomics
Floor Design for Vegetable Wash, Pack and Storage Areas
Drains for Produce Farms

Wash/Pack Floors

Learn to improve or repair a concrete floor so that it is smooth and easy to clean. This workshop highlights concrete repair, cleaning and sanitation techniques, water management, products and resources, as well as show and tell from experienced growers, and Chris Callahan (UVM’s Engineering)

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Resources Discussed
Floor Design for Vegetable Wash, Pack and Storage Areas
Repairing Cracks and Pitting in Concrete FloorsVideo Series
Drains for Produce Farms
Cleaning Tools for Produce FarmsVideo Series

Wash Water Management

Experienced growers and facilitator dig into the fundamentals of managing produce wash water, including show and tell with lessons learned about wash water management, use and monitoring of sanitizers. All participants leave with a plan to improve/ implement new practice

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Resources Discussed
Doser for Small Scale Vegetable Washing with Sanitizer
Guidance on Wash Water Discharge from Vegetable Pack Sheds – Advice on System Design

Tools for Employee Management and Empowerment

Develop management strategies/systems to retain and empower high-value workers, while improving crew morale and culture.. Learn from experienced managers of loyal and reliable crews, the pros and cons of their current management systems, and how they came to be. Participants leave with resources and a plan to improve/ implement one or more new practices or strategies.

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Bubblers/Aerators for Greens Washing

For growers wanting to install or improve a greens bubbler/aerator. Get feedback from growers who built / improved their own systems. Examine designs and DYI resources, as well as perceived quality and efficiency gains from bubblers as compared to other washing methods.

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Resources Discussed
Building a Better Greens Bubbler
Cleaning Tools & Supplies for Produce Farms

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