Sat, Sep 02|
Big River Chestnuts
Agroforestry Gathering and Field Tour
Explore the ins and outs of farming & agroforestry movements in Mass at Big River Chestnuts!
Time & Location
Sep 02, 2023, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Big River Chestnuts, 195 River Rd, Sunderland, MA 01375, USA
About the event
Join us for a gathering and potluck at Big River Chestnuts!
Explore the agroforestry movement in Massachusetts, with forays into small fruit alleys, diverse crops (pawpaws, persimmon, hazelnut, and elderberry), soil health, pollinator habitat, riverside farming, and an emerging chestnut industry in the Northeast.
Bring your questions and ideas as we learn more about agroforestry and look to expand the movement on our farms and in our communities!
Throughout the afternoon, we will:
- Discuss various agroforestry systems
- Learn about the many species that grow in the Northeast and the opportunities for each
- Learn about soil health and other elements of ecosystem restoration using agroforestry methods
- Discuss the dynamics of local supply, demand and processing of agroforestry products
- Meet and network with folks who share similar interests and have discussions amongst the group
- Enjoy a potluck on the farm
1:00 Arrival, introductions
1:30 Farm and facility tour
3:00 Discussion, Q&A
4:00 Wrap up, networking & light potluck
Suggested donation of $10 - $30
Pay what you're able
No one will be turned away for lack of funds
About Big River Chestnuts
Big River Chestnuts is a Certified Organic chestnut and small fruit integrated alley crop agroforestry farm. They grow several species of nut and fruit trees on 7.5 acres in Sunderland, MA and have been leading the way in revitalizing agroforestry as a practice in the state and Northeast region. Chestnuts are the focus and the farm’s anchor, while also growing other small fruits like elderberry and aronia as supplementary crops and niche fillers: in alley-cropping systems, different species are interplanted with larger trees spaced to allow shorter plants to thrive between and beneath them. Some years they’ve also grazed chickens through the understory in mobile enclosures. A processing center is also in the works for various nut and berry crops to boost the area’s potential for market access.
About the Farmer:
Jono Neiger is the founder of Big River Chestnuts. He has 30 years of professional experience in permaculture, site planning, agroforestry, conservation, restoration and leads the Agriculture Wing of the local landscape design company, Regenerative Design Group. Jono teaches widely at colleges, workshops, and conferences, including The Conway School, and was the founding Board President of the Permaculture Association of the Northeast. Before starting RDG, Jono worked as a land manager for Lost Valley Educational Center, a Conservation Officer for the Town of Palmer, MA and a Restoration Specialist with the Nature Conservancy. He holds a MALD from The Conway School and a BS in Forest Biology from S.U.N.Y. College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and is the author of The Permaculture Promise.
We will also be joined by some of our farmers participating in our Specialty Crops Grant by way of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). A cohort of 6 farmers are working on planning and implementing their agroforestry site plans over the course of 3 years. Join us to hear their experiences embarking on this next phase of farming in the Northeast. Some of these farms include Nutwood Farm (Cummington, MA), Red Shirt Farm (Lanesboro, MA), Crabapple Farm (Chesterfield, MA).
There is a small hill/some stairs to go down to the main field. The land itself is relatively flat, with some occasional uneven terrain. We want to make sure your accessibility needs are met during the event, so please let us know if you have specific questions about accessibility. You may also share with us your needs regarding (but not limited to): physical accessibility, allergies, noise, scent, gender, intellectual accessibility, and any instructions or tips to help you fully participate.
Masks are not currently required at this location but are welcomed. If you don't feel fully healthy, we ask you to stay at home.
Parking is available on site in front of the building.
Refund/Inclement Weather Policy:
For information on our refund and inclement weather policy, click here.
Capacity for this event is limited to 50 people. Register ahead of time to secure your space!
Contact Hannah McDonald, Educational Events Manager, at email@example.com
This event is made possible by the Specialty Crops grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) in partnership with Regenerative Design Group and a cohort of 6 MA-based agroforestry farmers
- Ticket type
Suggested Donation, $10 - $30
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