Growing Healthy fruit with michael phillips
Orchardist and author Michael Phillips is the nation's leading scholar advancing "organic's final frontier” and uncovering how to effectively grow good fruit without harmful chemicals. His books include “The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist (1998),” “The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way (2012),” and “Mycorrhizal Planet: How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils (just released in 2017).” Phillips shows us that is possible to grow fruit without toxic chemicals using methods developed by modern scientific research and innovation. “Prospects for growing healthy fruit are excellent when you understand how Nature works, which also means the fruit we grow will be that much more flavorful” says Phillips. In addition to two public talks (Growing Healthy Fruit and Biological Alchemy - one each day), Phillips will teach four specialized workshops (Orchard Ecosystem, Tree Fruit Cultivars and Rootstock for Western New York, Taking on Pests Organically, and Holistic Disease Management) at the festival that can help homesteaders and small diversified farmers get started growing holistically.
You can purchase tickets to Michael Phillips' workshops one a one-by-one basis, as a daily package (two workshops), or as a festival package (four workshops). One workshop is $10; two workshops are $15; and all four workshops are $25. Admission to the Wild America Nature Festival is required and must be purchased separately.
The Holistic Orchard: Growing Healthy Fruit (Lecture)
Saturday 10:30am - 11:45am - Free w/ Admission to Festival
Our primary role as orchardists is to build system health. Embracing forest edge ecology is critical when it comes to getting a leg up on fruit tree diseases and addressing pest challenges. Equally telling is the nutrient density—and flavor!—of the apples we then harvest for our families and communities. Come learn about fungal allies, root relationships, and the biodiversity that makes good fruit possible. Holistic orcharding involves a wide breadth of knowledge and timeliness, yet one fact stands clear—we can have beautiful apples, peaches and the like, all grown without chemical intervention. This whirlwind tour touches on a broad range of alternative approaches to meet the challenges at any site.
Biological Alchemy: How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils (Lecture)
Sunday 10:30am - 11:45am - Free w/ Admission to Festival
This lively exploration of soil biology and healthy plant metabolism will rouse every gardener and fruit grower to think deeper. How mycorrhizal fungi enhance plant health is absolutely stunning. Nutrients are delivered by means of “fungus-root” synergy. A boost to green immune function helps keep disease at bay. Expansive fungal networks bring resiliency to ecosystems. Soil aggregate formation addresses carbon flow. Yet for the longest time, we have ignored basic soil biology and instead disturbed ecosystems at our own peril. Time to change all that, and fast!
Orchard Ecosystem (Workshop)
Saturday: 1:30pm - 2:30pm - Sign Up Now (Below)!
Our stewardship role with fruit trees and berries begins with building system health. We’ll examine orchard dynamics like fungal food webs, fertility ratios, beneficial accumulators, and living mulch plants. Home orchard design based on ecosystem advantage leads to important health connections which in turn make for fruiting plants better able to stand up to disease challenges and pests.
Tree Fruit Cultivars and Rootstock for Western New York (Workshop)
Saturday: 3:30pm - 4:30pm - Sign Up Now (Below)!
Which are the best apples and other tree fruits to grow in this bioregion that will “knock your socks off” with incredible flavor? Michael will share decades’ worth of insight in answering that fundamental orcharding question. We’ll delve into planting systems, the right number of tree to plant for a homestead or community orchard, and growing considerations for specific cultivars from an organic perspective as well.
Taking on Pests Organically (Workshop)
Sunday: 1:30pm - 2:30pm - Sign Up Now (Below)!
Insect pests can do a number on harvest hopes. Damage is either to the foliage or the fruit itself. Some of this consists of adult feeding, but more often than not it’s the egg hatching out a very hungry caterpillar or grub. Looking at family groupings within the insect world is a quick means of getting a handle on potential pest situations. Safe spray tools to deal with all this require that we understand righteous timing and appropriate mode of action. Nor will we forget the helpful allies in the orchard ecosystem which keep balance to the fore.
Holistic Disease Management (Workshop)
Sunday: 3:30pm - 4:30pm - Sign Up Now (Below)!
Fruit tree diseases, unchecked by holistic understanding, can wreak havoc in the orchard. We’ll take an in-depth look at how the organic grower can keep apple scab, rusts and rots from developing on the fruit to a reasonable minimum. Utilizing pure neem oil, liquid fish, effective microbes, and fermented herbal brews allows us to leave behind the mineral fungicides of “Old School Organics” for the most part. These are exciting times to be growing healthy fruit!