In their responses to a questionnaire circulated by Mr. de Graff and his associates at NOFA, organic growers in New York indicated that their greatest needs, as far as professional training is concerned, were: 1) more information about soil and its management, and 2) instruction on mechanical cultivation. To address these expressed needs, Mr. de Graff obtained a SARE grant to conduct a workshop on each of these two subjects. Both workshops were advertised through the Cornell Cooperative Extension newsletter and in the local press. The one on mechanical cultivation was held May 17, 1997 at Cornell’s Freeville Experiment Station, and was attended by approximately thirty people. The session included viewing of a videotape, discussion of equipment and its use, and demonstrations of various pieces by Dr. Robin Bellinder of Cornell University.
The workshop dealing with soil fertility was held December 9 at the Cooperative Extension office in Auburn, New York, and was attended by about 75 people. Will Brinton of Woods End Agricultural Institute, in Maine, addressed the gathering on soil fertility, soil biology, and compost, and demonstrated a field test kit for soil fertility of his own device.