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Homesteading Academy

Rutgers Cooperative Extension introduces the "Homesteading Academy"—a once monthly lunchtime webinar series for anyone curious about home-grown sustenance and self-sufficiency. We invite you to join us on the second Tuesday of each month for live sessions with our invited speakers. The webinars will take place from noon to 1 p.m., so bring your lunch!

The series will be ongoing, with potential future topics of sheep/beef/goats, seed saving and heirloom varieties, troubleshooting for two-cycle engines, fruit and nut crops, cut flowers, food preservation, small-scale grain milling, and more.

Have a topic idea? Need help with Zoom? Send all your questions to Kate Brown, Program Associate in Commercial Agriculture with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Burlington County: or 609-265-5050.

Missed a session? Webinar recordings will be posted below when they become available.

Upcoming Webinars

The are currently no upcoming webinars.

Webinar Archive

  1. Getting Started with Backyard Poultry (10/12/2021)
    Hank Bignell, Senior Program Coordinator with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Warren County, discusses the basics of getting started with backyard poultry including housing, care, nutrition, breed selection, and raising chicks.
  2. Fun with Fungi: Grow Your Own Mushrooms! (11/9/2021)
    Brendon Pearsall, Program Coordinator with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, shares insight on mushroom production at home including common methods for indoor and outdoor production as well as the types of mushrooms that can be cultivated.
  3. What to Do to Get Started Keeping Bees On Your Property (12/14/2021)
    Tim Schuler describes the basics of preparing to keep honeybees including the ideal location for hives, the resources bees need to stay healthy, and the expectations for upfront costs and honey output. He shares advice on how to keep bees in a residential area and provides many resources for beginning and continuing education essential for successful beekeeping. Tim Schuler is the owner of Schuler’s Bees and Honey and a former State Apiarist with the NJ Department of Agriculture.
  4. Woodland Management for Private Landowners in NJ (1/11/2022)
    Brian McDonald, a regional forester with the New Jersey Forest Service, discusses opportunities for woodland owners to qualify for reduced property taxes through woodland management and forest stewardship plans. Brian also provides an overview of practices that can fulfill the requirements for income generation or ‘active devotion’ such as tree planting and reforestation, hazard tree removal, invasive brush control, wildlife habitat improvement, and more.
  5. Planning Your Backyard Vegetable Garden (2/7/2022)
    Cecilia Diaz, Program Associate with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Passaic County shares insight on the basics of planning and designing for the installation of your small-scale vegetable garden at home. Including site selection, methods to maximize space, and crop production to make the most of your garden space.
  6. Beginner's Guide to Sheep and Goats (3/8/2022)
    Dr. Michael Westendorf, Rutgers NJAES Extension Specialist in Livestock and Dairy, provides an overview of feed, water, housing, and space requirements for sheep and goats. He discusses the most common breeds for meat, dairy, and fiber production and marketing considerations for each type of enterprise.
  7. Introduction to Solar Photovoltaic Systems: Feasibility and Economics (4/12/2022)
    Solar electric systems are increasingly popular due to dramatic price declines in recent years and robustness of the technology. Solar electric systems can work in tandem with the electric grid or part of an off grid system. Our special guest speaker, John Hay, an Extension Educator in Energy with the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, covers overall solar electric terminology, components and basic design elements.
  8. Preventative Practices to Support the Health of Small-Scale Poultry (6/14/2022)
    Dr. Linda Detwiler from the USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services discusses symptoms of common poultry diseases and explains how to implement biosecurity to keep poultry healthy on all scales of production.
  9. Canning Fruits and Vegetables at Home: An Overview for Beginners (7/12/2022)
    Are you ready to preserve your bounty of summer fruits and vegetables? This session with Sandra Grenci, Family and Community Health Sciences Educator from Rutgers Cooperative Extension, will provide an overview of safe methods for home canners. Evidence-based resources will be shared.
  10. The Mysteries of Pasture Management: Revealed (9/13/2022)
    Bill Bamka, Agricultural Agent with RCE-Burlington County, describes the role of soil testing, soil fertility, stocking density, pasture species, rotational grazing, and weed control in establishing and maintaining pastures.
  11. Fishing for Sustenance (10/18/2022)
    Doug Zemeckis, Marine Extension Agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, describes the value of New Jersey recreational fisheries and shares insight on recreational fishing opportunities. Common fish and shellfish species are discussed as well as where and when to fish for these species. Recreational fishing regulations and an introduction to fisheries management for conservation are also featured.
  12. Warm Remembrances of 50 Years Heating with Wood (11/15/2022)
    Jason Grabosky, Rutgers Professor of Urban Forestry, describes the pros and cons of firewood and wood pellets for home heating. He explains how to choose and maintain a wood stove, and how to store and season firewood. Safety aspects of cutting your own wood plus safe installation and operation of wood stoves are also discussed.
  13. The Bread Tree - The Basics of Planting, Growing, and Processing Chestnuts (12/13/2022)
    This talk covers some information about the current market for domestically grown chestnuts and establishes some basic knowledge for growing chestnut trees. The basics of planting and growing chestnuts, along with recommendations on how to get information for other nut trees and join the growing community of nut growers in the eastern US are also discussed.
  14. Planting Fruit Trees (4/11/2023)
    Planning is key to success with planting fruit trees. This presentation will provide an overview of site selection and field preparation as well as orchard design, discuss considerations for rootstock and scion combinations, detail trellis and irrigation options, and explain fertility and pruning requirements for trees in year one. Establishment of both pome and stone fruit trees will be included in the discussion. Our speaker will be Kate Brown, Program Associate in Commercial Agriculture with RCE-Burlington County.
  15. Rainwater Harvesting for Homesteaders (5/9/2023)
    Rainwater harvesting can supplement irrigation and enhance overall environmental stewardship on the homestead through reduced runoff and conservation of potable water. This presentation covers rain harvesting systems and components, how to determine water quantity, as well as considerations for quality and safety of harvested rainwater. The presenter is Dr. Christopher Obropta, Extension Specialist in Water Resources with Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Director of the NJ Water Resources Research Institute.
  16. Native Plants for Every Garden (6/13/2023)
    Did you know that many of our local nurseries and garden centers carry native plants? Selecting plant species for your landscape that are native to New Jersey can help to support populations of pollinators and songbirds. Many native species are pest and disease resistant and do not require much fertilizer or water to grow well because they are adapted to the environmental conditions in our area. This presentation will discuss low-input, native ornamental plants that are suited to various site conditions and can be found this spring at your local garden centers.
  17. Weather Forecasts, Resources, and Services (7/11/2023)
    Sarah Johnson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) Philadelphia/Mt. Holly, discusses various short- and long-range weather outlook products from NWS as well as factors that influence weather in New Jersey and methods to receive severe weather warnings and alerts.
  18. Tips for Navigating Tick Bite Prevention with Confidence (9/12/2023)
    Emily Fontaine, Project Coordinator at the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology, describes ticks of significance in NJ as well as a detailed overview of how to identify these species. She also explains strategies to mitigate tick bites such as proper clothing, use of repellents, tick checks, and landscape modifications. Lastly, Emily introduces the NJ Ticks 4 Science! program and educates attendees on how to participate in this citizen science project.
  19. Raising the Steaks: Is Beef Production for You? (10/10/2023)
    Joanne Powell, an Instructor and Co-Chair of the Animal Science Department at Delaware Valley University, delivers practical information on housing, fencing, and handling facilities for beef cattle as well as breed selection, safe handling, breeding and calving, processing, and marketing.
  20. How to Prevent Wildlife Damage - Wildlife Management for Homeowners (11/13/2023)
    Chris Boggs, Wildlife Biologist and District Supervisor with USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services, provides a summary of state and local regulations that govern management of mammals and both migratory and nonmigratory birds. Chris explains the damage commonly associate with each wildlife species and provides specific recommendations for an integrated approach to management of each species.
  21. Introduction to Home Canning of Meats and Seafood (12/12/2023)
    Sandra Grenci (Family and Community Health Sciences Educator, RCE-Hunterdon County) and Cindy Schlenker Davies (Retired Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences) discuss food safety basics, explain differences between water bath and pressure canning, describe features and functions of pressure canners, and provide an overview of how-to pressure can meat, fish, and seafood. Key takeaways are the importance of appropriate equipment and evidence-based recipes.
  22. Profiting from the Homestead (1/16/2024)
    The Rutgers Homesteading Academy hosts two speakers to discuss opportunities to earn supplemental income from your homesteading endeavors. Ed Masker, Content Creator for @MyClutteredGarage, details his experience running this monetized social media platform and offers advice for how to get started. Suzanne Fajgier from the Burlington County Health Department provides an overview of the cottage food operator law, how to obtain a permit in New Jersey, and explains allowable products.
  23. Im-peck-able Guide to Poultry and Egg Sales in New Jersey (3/12/2024)
    An overview of the intergovernmental regulations impacting sale of eggs and processed poultry in New Jersey is discussed in a roundtable format by representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NJ Department of Agriculture, NJ Department of Health, and the Burlington County Health Department.