We often offer workshops from June through October.  There are none yet scheduled for 2022.

To find out what’s in the works, or with any questions, email us at or call 413-369-4616.

Past Workshops Descriptions:

Soil Fertility with Emmet Van Driesche

The progressive farming community is now looking beyond organic to the core question of nutrient density.  Depending on soil, seed and weather, organic produce has widely varying nutritional value!  Emmet walks us through how to get your soil reliably tested, and how to read the results, what seasonal and annual amendments your particular soil may need, where to buy such amendments as inexpensively as possible, how to measure them and distribute them.

Emmet owns a coppiced Christmas tree farm in Ashfield, and spends the rest of the year editing scientific manuscripts, scything properties and teaching wood carving.

Our Endangered Native Pollinators with Tom Sullivan

In recent years there has been an alarming decline in insect populations worldwide. Honey bees (from Europe) have suffered huge die-offs.  Tom will share knowledge acquired over decades about New England’s almost four hundred varieties of native bees  —  the five main families, the habitat they need, and the colors, varieties and seasonal plantings that will best support them.T

Tom, a much sought-after speaker and consultant, can be reached at

Homesteading in a Time of Climate Change  with Jono Neiger

Jono designed and sited Wildside’s seven specialized gardens ten years ago, and he and his team have offered invaluable help and advice ever since.  In this popular day-long workshop sponsored by NOFA  (Northeast Organic Farmers’ Association), Jono will discuss evaluating land, identifying appropriate microclimates for specific plantings, and planning for climate change.

Jono is a senior practitioner of permaculture, a principal of the Regenerative Design Group, a faculty member at the Conway School of Landscape Design, and author of The Permaculture Promise (2016).

Basket-Weaving with Mary Lauren Fraser                  

In three short hours, Mary will discuss the kinds of supple, non-branching willow she uses to weave useful  —  and exquisite  — baskets for home use.  The class will inspect Wildside’s small coppice willow grove, clip off slips for home propagation, and in the course of the workshop, each participant will weave a simple, utilitarian basket to take home.

Mary, now in her twenties, grew up in the Valley and was home schooled.  She is an expert weaver of willow baskets destined to serve a variety of uses, from home and garden use to pet burial.

Scything: A Newly-popular Art with Emmet Van Driesche   

Emmet is a master of the ancient art of scything  —  a practical and fun way to cut back on using fossil fuels in small farms, gardens and homesteads.  He also makes snaths (handles) from common native saplings found in our forests.  He will teach how to create the dance-like rhythm needed to cut back a field, or even, as skills advance, a lawn.

Emmet owns a coppiced Christmas tree farm in Ashfield, and spends the rest of the year editing scientific manuscripts, scything properties and teaching wood carving.

Seed-Saving As If Our Lives Depended On It with Danny Botkin  

Double session, 9-12 noon and 1 to 4:00 pm; bring your lunch, drinks supplied

Last year Danny’s workshop was so enthusiastically received, running well over the allotted time, that we will offer both a morning and an afternoon session this year.  The morning will cover xxxxs and the afternoon will be for yyyys.  Danny is full of contrarian observations about about seed-saving and gardening, and he is very generous about sharing his own precious seeds.

Danny, proprietor of Laughing Dog Farm, is an icon of sustainable farming in the Valley.  He knows what we all need to know about selecting and saving heirloom seeds, hoop house season extension, raising and taming goats, the practical art of gleaning  —  and the politics of food.

Food preservation: Lacto-fermentation with Luc Bodin         

Lacto-fermentation, a time-honored approach to pickling, is one of the most creative and healthful ways to preserve food, short-term and long-term.  Assisted by partner Trudy, Luc makes this mysterious art seem simple, explaining the basics of macro-biotic nutrition, demonstrating how-to  —  with an elegant use of spices, and generous samples for all.

Luc, originally from France and a master of many trades, moved from Boston to the Valley 25 years ago.  He has studied at the Kushi Institute, and draws on decades of practical experience with varieties to lacto-fermentation.

Respectful Tool Maintenance with Jerry Axelson     

An end-of-season favorite, Jerry instructs us home gardeners, small farmers and fellow wood-workers on how best to clean and sharpen tools, introducing a variety of files and filing techniques and advice on cleaning and oiling.  Bring tools of your own, and under Jerry’s watchful eye, learn hands-on, in the doing, what tender loving care your tools want.

A builder and carpenter by trade, Jerry has lived in the Valley for 40-odd years.  Now retired,he makes high-end, one-of-a-kind furniture using local woods — and he knows the value of a sharp tool!