On a chilly, almost-spring day in March, a group of new and beginning farmers gathered at The Seed Farm in Emmaus, Pennsylvania to learn about a versatile machine that could help them get growing.
Two-wheel, walk-behind tractors like the BCS are a powerful tool-of-choice for many small scale growers, and also play a role in larger operations. In addition to safe operation and basic maintenance, attendees got to hear from established farmers about how they’ve really put these machines to work in their production plans.
“It was so helpful to learn from another farmer who started from where we are now,”
shared participant Brittney Pheobus of trainer Dean Buttacavoli of Cabbage Throw Farm, which uses a two-wheel tractor as an integral part of their minimum tillage operation.
“We have been trying to make a decision about whether or not a BCS would be a good fit for getting our operation started.”
Now Brittney says, “I have a much better understanding of the size, scale, and handling of these machines… as well as an idea of what kind of planning to do around incorporating a two-wheel tractor into our farm design.”
The 19 participants at this full-day, interactive training included several of Pasa’s Diversified Vegetable Apprentices and Pre-Apprentices, incubator farmers at The Seed Farm, and apprentices in the Rodale Institute Farmer Training program.
After learning about overall safety—and warming up in the greenhouse over lunch from Wonder Kitchen— each participant got the chance for some supervised hands-on practice using the tiller and flail mower attachments. They did great!
Like many Pasa events, this was truly a community effort. The Seed Farm not only hosted, but helped coordinate and plan. And along with myself and Dean from Cabbage Throw, Dan Kemper from Rodale Institute and several Seed Farm incubator farmers pitched in to share advice—and wound up picking up tips from one another.
While the weather and the clocks could have been kinder to us (did I mention we inadvertently scheduled this for the first day of Daylight Saving?)—seeing this community come together to teach and learn always makes for a great day in my book.