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Mon, May 15


Appleton Farms

May Soil Health Field Day: AFTERNOON Session

Farmers! Join soil health specialists on one of the nation's oldest operating farms for a deep dive into soil properties + techniques and practices for dealing with compaction. AM/PM Sessions require separate registration. Come for just one, or come for both: register accordingly!

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May Soil Health Field Day: AFTERNOON Session
May Soil Health Field Day: AFTERNOON Session

Time & Location

May 15, 2023, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Appleton Farms , 219 County Rd, Ipswich, MA, USA


About the event

Are you a medium to large scale farmer concerned about soil health, especially soil compaction? 

Join us just for the morning, just for the afternoon or both!

Site: Appleton Farms in Ipswich, MA

In the afternoon session, 

Farm Manager Andrew Lawson will lead a tour of the farm, along the way we will examine and discuss several areas of the farm to learn more about their soil building practices.  Guest Presenters Julie Fine, Climate and Agriculture Specialist at American Farmland Trust and Ruben Parilla will both add their expertise to the discussion of soil health in our region and demonstrate several tests we can perform on site to evaluate soil health. Throughout the tour,

  • Learn about Appleton Farm’s use of various cover crops and combinations
  • Discuss various practices for improving soil health
  • Discuss soil compaction and tools for mediation
  • Learn several methods to assess soil health onsite with simple and inexpensive tools


If you'd like to join us for lunch at noon, you're welcome to:

Bring your own lunch or purchase a local lunch on site for $15

AM Session requires separate registration.

Come for just one, or come for both, but please register accordingly!

PM Session

1:00pm - Soil Health Farm Tour

2:30pm - Bed Preparation Demonstration

3:00pm - Break

3:15pm - Julie Fine: Selecting Cover Crops

4:00pm - Carbon Proxy Soil Tests

4:45pm - Q&A

5:00pm - Wrap Up & Social Time in the Barn


Equitable Sliding Scale: 

Base Price: $40

Reduced: $20

Supporting: $60

Consider Paying More On The Scale If You:

  • Own your home(s), have investments, retirement accounts, inherited money.
  • Travel recreationally, work part-time by choice, have access to family money and resources in times of need.
  • Have a relatively high degree of earning power due to level of education, gender and/or racial privilege, class background, etc. Even if you are not currently exercising your earning power, we ask you to recognize this as a choice.

Consider Paying Less On The Scale If You:

  • Are supporting children or have other dependents.
  • Have significant debt, have medical expenses not covered by insurance, have tuition/educational expenses.
  • Receive public assistance.
  • Have immigration-related expenses.

About the farm:

Appleton Farms is one of the oldest continually operating farms in the country and is managed by the Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts nonprofit land conservation organization. They grow certified organic vegetables on 35 acres for a 650-member summer CSA and 200-member winter CSA. The property totals 1000 acres and features a grass-fed beef operation, education and public programs, and trails throughout a diverse grassland, wetland, and forested landscape.

Managing soil health is a key aspect of their crop production system. They focus on building soils by reducing soil disturbance, promoting biodiversity, and keeping the soil covered with plants. Cover crops are strategically used in rotations with vegetable crops to negate the effects of tillage and improve soil health. They are intentional about how cover crops are integrated into these rotations and continuously strive to minimize the time soil is exposed throughout the year.

About the Instructors:

Andrew Lawson is the CSA Manager at Appleton Farms of The Trustees of Reservations. His passion for farming started as a child on a family dairy farm in upstate New York. Before joining the farm in 2017, he had the privilege of working for several talented vegetable growers in New York, Maine, Western Massachusetts, and Washington State. His educational background includes a master's degree in soil science. A key focus of his research looked at nitrogen release from winter cover crops, which has helped inform and inspire the way he approaches evolving best practices for crop rotation, nitrogen fertility, and soil health on the farm.

Julie Fine is the climate and agriculture specialist at AFT New England. She has experience in agricultural research, organic farming, and as an agricultural service provider. In 2018 Julie earned an MS in plant and soil science from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst researching the effects of winter-killed cover crops on nutrient cycling, weed suppression, and soil health. Through relationships with farmers across the Northeast, Julie has seen the agricultural and climate challenges that food producers face and is dedicated to working together towards site-specific solutions for climate risk, soil health, and sustainable food production.

Julie has worked on dairy and vegetable farms in MA, CA, and New Zealand over the last 20 years before settling with her family in western Massachusetts. She has served on the Northeast SARE technical committee, as a Climate Adaptation Fellow, and as the founding director of Harvest Against Hunger in Seattle, WA. Prior to that, she taught organic farming and gardening at the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. In her free time, you can find Julie drinking coffee, keeping her kids busy, or fighting back the weeds in her family’s garden.

Rubén Parrilla is the Soil Technical Program Director 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. The USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program provides grants to organizations for education, mentoring and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers and ranchers. NOFA/Mass is providing this programming through a partnership with the Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust.


Portions of our farm tour will cover uneven terrain. Handicap accessible bathrooms available.  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


  • Afternoon Session

    This ticket is for the afternoon session only! Please register for the AM session separately, and pay for lunch on-site.

    From $20.00 to $60.00
    • $20.00
      +$0.50 service fee
    • $40.00
      +$1.00 service fee
    • $60.00
      +$1.50 service fee



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