Our 2023 Agricultural workshops are presented by Southern SARE.

2023 Workshops:

10 AM

Backyard Poultry

Eggs sure have gotten expensive! Learn how you can produce eggs and meat on a small scale with very little input of money, time, and effort. Geoff McPherson of Good Life Ranch is here to show you that it is easier than you think! One of our most popular classes each year, so don’t miss out!

Edible Wild Fungi

Professional mushroom farmer and forager Tim Hensley will be sharing his experience as a professional mushroom forager, taking us on a virtual tour of the various fungi he regularly wildcrafts. Along with fantastic tales of fungal abundance, he will share practical tips on how to safely identify a wide variety of the edible wild mushrooms that grow in our area. For more info on Tim and the educational workshops & retreats he & his wife Jane Post offer at their farmstead near Berea, you can visit their website:

IRA 2022, Farm and Business Solar Funding 

If you’ve been thinking about solar but feel overwhelmed by the financial costs, join John Cotten of Wilderness Trace Solar as he walks you through the federal and state grants and tax credits currently available for renewable energy and storage.

Reading and Discussion of Landings: A Crooked Creek Farm Year (Presented by the Berry Center Bookstore)

Join celebrate Kentucky author Arwen Donahue a reading and discussion about her book Landings: A Crooked Creek Farm Year. To quote Wendell Berry, “This is a distinguished book that puts you into the company of Aldo Leopold, Harlan Hubbard, and David Kline. Anybody who passes attentively through its pages will love it.” After the reading, Arwen will discuss the joy of and approaches to nature journaling with time for questions and answers at the end.

11 AM

Is There a Grant For That?

Join Cara Stewart of the Kentucky Center for Agricultural and Rural Development to learn more about agricultural grants. This session will go over the basics of preparing for funding research and how to be ready to apply when you find funding.  Mrs. Stewart will also review various funding opportunities for farmers and where to find them. 

Grow Your Own Gourmet Mushrooms

Tim Hensley will discuss the cultivation of a variety of edible mushrooms, which he has over 20 years of experience in. Along with the traditional “drill, plug & wax” method of inoculation, several additional methods will be demonstrated. Participants will take home an information-packed catalog from his favorite mushroom cultivation supplies company. For more info on Tim and the educational workshops & retreats he & his wife Jane Post offer at their farmstead near Berea, you can visit their website:

Animals of the Cumberland Plateau

As a former National Park Ranger and Naturalist for Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Olivia Immitt of Soul Song Solutions has developed programing that she offers to schools, libraries, summer camps, church groups, festivals, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and residential living facilities. Come learn about the incredible biodiversity of this region in her program about the Animals of the Cumberland Plateau. At the end of this program you will have a deeper understanding of why certain animals have particular names. For example, do you know why the box turtle is called a box turtle? Come find out! 

Handbuilding Mugs

Join Tara Sellers of Earth & Wind Collective as she demonstrates the process of handbuilding mugs. This is a great introductory clay project that anyone can do!

1 PM

Beekeeping 101

Learn the basics of beekeeping from experienced beekeepers. Bring your questions too!

Death with a Doula

Lauren Hunter-Smith of Bluegrass Death Doula shares insights and perspectives about the modern death care industry and the end of life choices we can make for a more personal and environmentally conscious good-bye 

Felting 101

Learn from Aimee Russillo about the most ancient form of textile art, felting, which predates weaving and spinning techniques.  Felting has also been an essential element for shelter, clothing, hats, saddles, rugs, and other daily necessities as early as 6500 BC!  In this workshop we will cover the different types of felting and fibers used.  Participants will get a chance to practice felting using local alpaca fiber from Owsley Fork Farm.   

Off Grid Permaculture Farming

Learn to transform poor land into healthy, living, productive soil  Produce food without tillage, mechanization outside inputs or irrigation. Utilize renewable resources and energy in building and living off-grid.  Implement permaculture practices such as contour swales,  no-till polyculture vegetable beds, hugelkultur and more.. For over 2 decades, Salamander Springs Farm has produced nutrient-dense vegetables, grains, dry beans, fruits, nuts, herbs, flowers and forest foods for local markets, CSA, stores & restaurants, and an online store.  A pioneer in farm-scale permaculture, Susana self-built a passive-solar tiny house & farm buildings from scratch using local and recycled materials and natural building.  The farm operates totally off-grid with gravity-fed spring water, a small solar electric system, and few outside inputs. Susana uses polyculture cornfield systems learned during 8 years in Latin America. Continuous (cover) crops of no-till grain & dry bean fields were inspired by the late Japanese rice farmer, Masanobu Fukuoka.  See the website FARM SYSTEMS page for a preview of systems this workshop will cover. (

2 PM

Rotational Grazing

Have a plot of land in need of management? This discussion with Geoff McPherson of Good Life Ranch will focus on selecting and utilizing animals to harvest and improve plant biomass, add nutrients to the soil, and maintain your acreage at the desired successional stage. 

Introduction to Drystone Masonry

This session with Drystone Joe will cover best practices in stone landscaping. It will include the  topics of safety, design, building methods, budgeting, stone selection, and tools. We will discuss building a retaining wall, steps, and flatwork such as walkways and patios. If you have a project you’re considering building, bring dimensions and photos. 

Worth More Standing: Climate Forests (half session)

Climate Forests are essential to remove climate pollution and storing carbon, safeguarding wildlife, and providing clean drinking water to our communities. Join Whitney Hamblin of Kentucky Heartwood for a quick look at Biden’s executive order to protect our old-growth forests and how time is ticking to creating lasting protections for our public lands. 

2:30 pm

Making Benches from Pallets with Dave Cooper (half session)

Dave Cooper will be doing a quick demonstration following Kentucky Heartwood’s Climate Forest presentation about creating a bench from a discarded shipping pallet. This is a great way to reuse wood that would otherwise go to waste and avoid using new materials for a project!


Planting by the Signs (presented by The Berry Center Bookstore)

This workshop with Sarah Hall author of Sown in the Stars will be an interactive presentation in which participants will hear brief excerpts from the newly released book as well as hear audio recording samples from the interviews done for the project. In addition, illustrations from the book will be examined to gain background information. Content covered may include: basics of the practice (such as the moon’s cycle, the Zodiac/signs, astronomy vs. astrology, the almanac man), discussion of some signs and recommendations for activities within them, and activities outside of planting (for example surgery, spreading gravel, building fences, etc.). Participants will also have an opportunity to interact with various almanacs and calendars to begin the process of deciphering how to use one and to examine differences in formats. Those who attend will leave with a solid understanding of what “planting by the signs” means, and will be able to begin using a calendar or almanac to start doing so themselves.

Home Composting for Busy People

Composting is taking organic trash and turning it into a rich end product that can be used as a soil amendment. However, what if you just don’t want to throw organic stuff in the trash but still want to do the right thing, bypassing the landfill?  Lake Cumberland Master Gardeners will show you a very uncomplicated, manageable method of composting. We’ll also touch on vermicomposting, using worms to compost kitchen scraps.

Citizen Advocacy

Individual citizens can have a significant impact to create the political will for change. You do not have to be an issue expert or professional lobbyist— you simply need to be passionate about the issues you care about. Lane Boldman of Kentucky Conservation Committee can give you constructive tips and skills to be an effective citizen advocate for Kentucky and the planet.

Greening Up Your Lifestyle

In today’s society “green” is used to describe everything from household cleaners to cars.  What does “green really mean?  Simply put “green” is environmental responsibility. Join Edith Lovett of Pulaski County Extension for a discussion of some simple steps you can take to get started on your own green journey!

4 PM

Beekeeping 101

Learn the basics of beekeeping from experienced beekeepers. Bring your questions too! This will be a repeat of our 1 pm session for those that missed it.

Agricultural Impacts of Urban Sprawl — Locust Trace FFA (half session)

This workshop is a short presentation on the benefits and consequences of urban growth specifically in Fayette County. Students will discuss how urban sprawl can be detrimental to certain groups in Lexington; but also how urban development will help some of our Lexington communities. We’ll hear the point of view of housing developers, social workers, environmentalists, economists, and farmers. Though we are often asked to “pick a side”, this presentation aims to present a multitude of pros and cons so that the decision of what is the “right” decision is left up to the audience—not the presenters. This half session is presented by a group of sophomores and juniors at Locust Trace Agriscience Center, an agriculture-focused half day CTE program in Lexington. Students at LTAC can specialize in 2 of 7 pathways including animal and food science, pre-veterinary studies, equine science, natural resources and environmental science, plant science, and agricultural engineering.

Ask a Farmer

Join this discussion with OAK Staff members Katie Harvey and Robin Verson from Hill and Hollow Farm for a lively talk on organic farming and gardening in Kentucky. Everything from “what tools do you use to bed prep?” to “where do you source greenhouse supplies?” to “what’s the craziest thing that’s happened on your farm?” We might not have all of the answers, but we will field all of your questions. There will be no power point here, come with your questions and let’s enjoy the time of conservation.

A 20 Year Look at Living Sustainably

In 2000, as scientists began building consensus that human behavior was having a negative impact on global warming, Margie and her husband joined a group of people to discuss the ramifications of climate change. From these discussions, two intentional communities emerged in Madison County. They built homes that incorporated technologies such as thermocollection, photovoltaic systems, passive solar design, rainwater collection, grey water gardens, and composting toilets. Margie will share her experience of walking through this process, how the groups engaged local and state regulators to build non-traditional homes, what lessons she learned along the way, and how the work may continue into the future. Margie Stelzer and her husband Rob Weise reside in the Curtis Pike Intentional Community in Richmond, Kentucky where, along with two other families, they collectively purchased land, built eco-homes, and raised their families. Currently, Margie works on behalf of small family farmers with Community Farm Alliance and her husband teaches Appalachian History at Eastern Kentucky University. They continue to explore ways that they can more deeply integrate their daily lives into the natural world.

5 pm

Seed Saving 101

Open-pollinated seed is one of Mother Nature’s greatest inventions. Large (and even small) seed companies try to convince you that you must buy seed from them each year, but it’s just not so. Come learn seed saving basics with the Pulaski County Extension Office and Lake Cumberland Master Gardeners. Aside from saving money, you’ll also be adding to the genetic diversity of the seeds you save. When people know how to save seed, they become a resilient society, immune to global or local disruptions in the food system or environment. Learn to save seed and we hope, in turn, share your knowledge with the next generation.

Home Diary Sheep

Known as ‘The Champagne of Milks’, sheep milk is relatively unknown in this country but quite popular overseas. Rachel Hester of WhoopsyDaisy Farm will go over the health benefits of sheep milk, how it is different than other milks in the market, what sheep you can milk, and basics to start up your own small scale sheep dairy operation. 

Night Sky Orientation

The mission of Soul Song Solutions is to guide people to their True North by Connecting With Nature, Opening Creative Outlets, Sharing Our Voices, and Facilitating Safe Places For Healing. The founder of Soul Song Solutions, Olivia Immitt, has developed programing to accomplish this goal. Come enjoy one of her most popular programs about the Night Sky. In this program you will learn why we see different stars at different times of the night and different times of the year. You will walk away with an understanding of where and when to look for certain constellations. This program is fun and insightful for all ages. 

IRA 2022, Farm and Business Solar Funding 

If you’ve been thinking about solar but feel overwhelmed by the financial costs, join John Cotten of Wilderness Trace Solar as he walks you through the federal and state grants and tax credits currently available for renewable energy and storage. (This is a repeat of our 10 am session for those that missed it in the morning round.)

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