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Tue, Jun 27



Farming is Life: Soil Health Field Walk

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 Farming is Life: Soil Health Field Walk
 Farming is Life: Soil Health Field Walk

Time & Location

Jun 27, 2023, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Winchendon, 683 River St, Winchendon, MA 01475, USA


About the event

Join us for an introduction to soil health and hands on training in soil health assessments at Farming is Life. 

Farm Managers Jody and Richy will guide us through the farm as we discuss the importance of healthy soil and the basics of soil science. NOFA/Mass Soil Technical Coordinator Rubén Parilla will lead the hands-on soil assessment to demonstrate various tools to assess soil health at home or on the farm.

Throughout the event we will:

  • Discuss best practices for building soil and understanding the microbial forces you can nurture and harness.
  • Learn the basic concepts of soil science.
  • Learn several methods to assess soil health onsite with simple and inexpensive tools.


12:00pm Gather and Introductions

12:20pm Farm tour and discussion

1:30pm Soil Health Indicators

2:30pm Q & A

3:00pm - Wrap Up

About Farming is Life:

Farming is Life is a family farm in North Central Massachusetts that does not use chemicals and plastics to aid in our production of vegetables for our communities.  We follow regenerative farming practices with the goal of minimizing off farm inputs.  We do this in part by using trees from our forests to build mulch for compost, using manure from cows that are fed chemical-free hay from our farm to add nutrients and harnessing biology to create the balance needed for healthy soil, happy beneficial bugs and bountiful harvests.  This is all done with a wholistic approach to the farm as a self-contained ecosystem that aims to work with nature not against it.

About the Presenters:

Before the pandemic, Richy Pena, a Grammy award winning music producer had a recording studio in Miami and was working with international celebrities through major record labels.  Jody Mendoza was a nightclub owner in the Boston area and was working in the newly legal cannabis industry to open a recreational retail dispensary. As with many families, the pandemic provided a forced pause and a reassessment of values.  They decided it was time to make a difference and do something positive to truly help our communities, not just entertain them.

When the opportunity to purchase a farm arose, they jumped at the chance to realize a lifelong dream. Now Richy  and Jody are working to identify and develop transferable practices that can be used by farmers to make farming more manageable.  In addition to all of the expected farming work, Richy also works with AI and other technologies to assist in automating tedious and difficult farming chores such as irrigation.  He is also building an AI farming assistant to record and analyze inputs, practices used and observations.  Jody is experimenting with regenerative and biodynamic techniques with a variety of crops grown from certified organic seeds to determine which work best in this region.  She is also utilizing her business background to analyze the economics of farming to identify the pressure points that prevent more people from entering the field and successfully operating a farm.

Rubén Parilla (he/him) is the Soil Technical Coordinator for NOFA/Mass and trained in microscopic soil microbial identification through the Soil Food Web School. He is a Certified Lab Tech and studied Environmental Design at the University of Puerto Rico. Rubén has 15 years’ experience working at different capacities in the environmental laboratory industry. He has been performing soil carbon proxy testing, soil health assessments, soil chemical analysis, and soil microbiological evaluations for NOFA/Mass for over the past year and has extensive experience farming and working with farmers, including beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. Rubén performs soil health related outreach and education events for NOFA/Mass by leading monthly farmer learning calls, providing hands-on workshops and instruction at soil health education events, and networking with farmers and individuals in the agricultural industry. He is a fluent and native Spanish speaker and fully English/Spanish bilingual.

About the Project:

This event is supported by an Agricultural Soil Health grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) in partnership with American Farmland Trust.


Portions of our farm tour will cover uneven terrain.  We want to make sure your accessibility needs are met during the event. Please 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.

Refund/Inclement Weather Policy:

For information on our refund and inclement weather policy, click here.


Contact Doug Cook, NOFA/Mass Interim Educational Events Coordinator, at or 603-969-8195


  • Free (Donation Appreciated)

    Pay what you want
    Sale ended



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