Virtual Events

Virtual Connecticut Master Gardener Association Symposium

flower in pot on porchOn Saturday, March 20th starting at 9:00 am, Connecticut Master Gardeners, guests and the public will have the opportunity to hear national and regional experts talk about  “Gardening Any Time, Any Place”  by virtually attending the Connecticut Master Gardener Association (CMGA) 28th annual garden symposium.   Registration and information about the virtual event is available at  The cost for the two featured  speakers and a choice of two of five breakout session speakers is $60 for CMGA members and guests; $90 for non-members and includes a “virtual event bag” with coupons, promotions and special offers from symposium sponsors.  Contact:

2021 Tri-State SARE Webinar Series

2021 Tri-State SARE Webinar Series – Improving Pasture Management for Sustainable Livestock Production

The first webinar in the series is next Friday, February 19th!

Register here:

The link to access the webinar will be sent a few days in advance of the webinar. If you have previously registered and no longer plan to attend, please contact Rachel Bespuda with any questions

Certificate of Participation

This 2021 Program will offer a Certificate of Participation issued through the University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, Department of Extension.

To be eligible for the certificate:

1. A participant will attend all four grazing plan webinars (February – April)

2. A participant will also do at least one of the following:

a. Attend one of the 2021 summer field training webinars

b. Have a one-on-one follow-up conversation about your participation in the program, what you have learned, or what more guidance you would like with one of the program staff: Rachel Bespuda, Jean King or Sam Corcoran

*Participants need to attend the live webinars (rather than preview the recording) in order to be eligible for the certificate.

2021 Tri-State SARE Project Webinar Series information


UConn CLEAR Webinars in February

Registration is open for all three February webinars!

wetlands with blue sky and clouds
Wednesday, February 10, 1:00 – 1:30 PM
Long Island Sound Report Card: Grading the Urban Sea
Peter Linderoth, Save the Sound
What is this map telling us? Join Peter Linderoth from Save the Sound as he discusses the latest release of the Long Island Sound Report Card. The Report Card grades the ecological health of the open waters of the Sound in addition to numerous embayments. Peter will present an overview of the water quality data sources, grading process, and then dive into the grades and general findings.
Wednesday, February 17, 1:00 – 1:30 PM
Using the New CT Zoning Atlas to Envision CT’s Transit-Oriented Development Potential
Sara Bronin, UConn Law School & Cary Chadwick, UConn CLEAR
In January,Desegregate CT, a coalition of over 60 organizations focused on land use and zoning reform, released its groundbreaking interactive map, the Connecticut Zoning Atlas. This first-in-the-nation planning tool allows the public to easily explore zoning regulations that govern housing in each of the state’s 2,618 zoning districts and two subdivision districts without having to sift through and decode thousands of pages of written code. This webinar will focus on one particular aspect of the Zoning Atlas: the areas within a half-mile of train stations and CT fastrak stations. It will start with a broad overview of Desegregate CT and its platform as it relates to TOD, and it will show how you can use the Atlas to assess how your community already permits TOD. The webinar will conclude with some information about the Desegregate CT’s TOD proposals and how they have worked in other states, including neighboring Massachusetts.
Wednesday, February 24, 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Why Connecticut Needs GIS Coordination
Emily Wilson, UConn CLEAR
Learn about how GIS is done in Connecticut, how we compare to our New England neighbors, and what might be done to make GIS operations more efficient and effective.

Build Your Network Grow Our Future Expands

Words over tomatoesOnce the grueling work of summer comes to an end for farmers throughout the state, there are often opportunities for them to network, build skills, and seek out resources for their farms during the colder months. For Beginning Farmers, one of these opportunities is just around the corner. On December 12th from 2-4pm, the New Connecticut Farmers Alliance (NCTFA) will be hosting it’s semi-annual Build Your Network Grow Our Future event.

Going virtual this year, the zoom event will be an opportunity for farmers who have been in agriculture for 10 or less years to come together to share challenges and strategies, be in community, and connect with service providers that can support their work. Though this typically takes place in person, Will O’Meara of the New Connecticut Farmers Alliance, is still looking forward to participation in the event.

“It’s been a tough year for growers overall – from pivoting our markets to cater to the new needs of Covid, to abrupt changes in land tenure and access, to late and early frosts, and drought to top it off, this season has given us plenty of new challenges. I’m looking forward to connecting on a personal level with other farmers, hearing about how different farms tackled these hurdles, and learning from the community.”

Adding a new component to their gathering this year, NCTFA will be introducing a new peer-learning and peer-leadership opportunity called Farmer Circles that will launch in early 2021. “We seek to strengthen peer support systems among farmers. These professional learning communities can form around content areas, geography, demographic, or anything else – with the belief that a fortified culture of farmer-to-farmer mentorship will strengthen our agrarian resilience,” says Dina Brewster, farmer at The Hickories and Executive Director of Northeastern Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CTNOFA) and one of the team members helping launch the effort.

Modeled to help facilitate community this will be an opportunity to share obstacles and strategies in small, semi-structured, supportive environments during a nine to 12 month period.  Each Circle will choose an issue to focus on that is proposed by the farmers themselves; such as getting clear on farm financials, identifying vegetable disease and pest management during the season, farming during a natural disaster or public health emergency, starting an urban farm, finding and maintaining a strong farm crew, and mental health/wellness for farm families.

A largely autonomous effort, Farmer Circles will have five to eight members with a designated leader and will choose their preferred meeting style. Each leader will continue to connect with NCTFA and CTNOFA throughout the year to obtain resources (like hiring an expert/practitioner to present) and any leadership training they might require. Ideally, these Farmer Circles will help build durable social networks that will support farmers well beyond the one year commitment.

The Farmer Circle concept blossomed through a partnership between NCTFA, CTNOFA, and UConn Extension. Jiff Martin, UConn Extension Educator in Sustainable Food Systems, noted “Our collaboration in launching the Farmer Circles recognizes that our three organizations have overlapping yet slightly different capacity to reach and support farmer communities of Connecticut.”  Funding for the three year project comes from USDA through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, a grant led by Jiff Martin and her team at UConn Extension.

To find out more about Farmer Circles, visit the NCTFA website at To register for the upcoming Build Your Network Grow Our Future event visit For more information on the beginning farmer grant and other resources available visit

Virtual Painting Event For Individuals With Phenylketonuria

Sherry Gray & daughter holding paintings

Sherry Gray, from our Expanded Food and Nutrition Program, coordinated a virtual painting event sponsored by Ajinomoto Cambrooke on June 30 , 2020 for individuals with Phenylketonuria at the Metabolic clinics at CT.  Children’s Medical Center and Albany Medical Center. Cambrooke is a company focused on low protein modified products and formulas for individuals with metabolic disorders and is in Ayer, MA. This event consisted of a low protein food demonstration, formula tasting and painting. Painting supplies were provided from Painting with a Twist located in Albany, NY.  Patients had an opportunity to connect with other patients via Zoom.