The Business of Farming
Thursday, February 24 —8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. FREE
The Business of Farming: The recognition amongst consumers of the importance of local food production has generated an innovative and expanding agricultural sector in Massachusetts. With growing interest in the pursuit of agriculture as a lifestyle, this session will feature a panel presentation and discussion with local area producers and technical assistance providers related to the business aspects of farming for those interested in pursuing agriculture as a viable career path. Guest speakers will include a dynamic panel consisting of an established grower, a grower who just recently started with his own business, and a technical assistance coordinator with the Tufts University who works to help farmers develop viable business plans. Anna Waclawiczek will be moderator. Anna is Chief of Staff at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). MDAR offers over 30 programs and services across the state to help promote a sustainable and vibrant agricultural future in the Commonwealth.
Moderator Anna Waclawiczek -- Before coming on board to MDAR, Anna worked at a number of start-up software companies on strategic marketing initiatives. Her marketing background and city roots add a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the agricultural community. Suffice to say she’s hooked on “Ag” and everything locally grown! Anna oversees day-to-day operations of a staff of 75+ and is responsible for coordinating outreach efforts of the Department at the local, state, and federal level. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Salem State College. She loves hiking, writing, and eggplant.
Richard Bonanno Ph.D. is the owner of Pleasant Valley Gardens in Methuen, Pleasant Valley Gardens, started in 1910, produces 50 acres of fresh-market vegetables, 2 acres of field-grown flowers, and ¾ acre of greenhouse bedding plants and vegetable transplants. He is also Extension Weed Scientist with UMass Extension and is responsible for vegetable and small fruit weed management recommendations. He teaches the USDA Good Agricultural Practices trainings in New England. Currently he is President of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation.
Dave Dumaresq operates Farmer Daves in Dracut. Dave grew up working on the Brox Farm in Dracut learning the intricacies of New England farming from John Brox who had been tilling that land since the 1920s. In 2003 he was asked to offer his fresh products to a neighboring community and began also leasing the East Street Farm in Tewksbury. Working closely with those trying to preserve farmland for future agriculture, in 2006 he finally purchased his own farm in Dracut from the Leczynski family. This became known as Farmer Dave's Dumaresq Farm, or simply Farmer Daves.
Mckenzie Boekholder is Technical Assistance Coordinator with the Tufts University New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. She works directly with New Entry program farmers and staff, helping to develop New Entry's pilot Transitioning Farmer Program. McKenzie, together with New Entry staff, is responsible for coordinating and developing this new initiative that works to help farmers begin their own viable farm business over the course of 3 years.
Co-sponsored by the Small Business Development Center