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2017 NOFA Summer Conference keynoters announced, propose a workshop by 2/15

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2017 Feburary Issue Newsletter

By Jason Valcourt and Hannah Blackmer

All across the northeast each NOFA state chapter hosts its own winter conference. There may or may not be snow on the ground depending on where you’re from, but you can bet that farmers and gardeners across the region are welcoming 2017 with the educational opportunities these conferences offer. Some are one, others two days, some are even three days; all provide the learning that is so critical for those with more or less growing/advocating/consuming experience. And after each conference, attendees trek home to nestle back into their winter routine, brains buzzing with newfound knowledge and inspiration.

Conferences are kind of like caffeine: you arrive sleepy but full of anticipation, and you walk away truly jazzed. Relationships are made, ideas are hatched, and on the drive home you can’t stop thinking about all the places you could grow mushrooms. And it’s not just the attendees that leave feeling this way. Internally, our conference staff surf that conference energy wave all the way to August. Because most NOFA staff work remotely, those high-fives and intense ideation conversations carry us through the next seven months, at which point we caffeinate ourselves with the real stuff and do it all over again. So, with our own NOFA/Mass 2017 Winter Conference now in the books, we take a second to catch our breath, get a good night’s sleep, and refocus on planning the next must-attend weekend: the 43rd annual NOFA Summer Conference, August 11-13.

2017 is an exciting year for the NOFA Summer Conference as we head back to Hampshire College, where it had many years of success from the early 90s to 2007. The change of scenery may be familiar to some, and entirely new to others, but we are confident that the campus at Hampshire will provide an all-inclusive environment for our NOFA community to gather together.

We hear a collective sigh of relief resonating throughout the NOFA-verse when thinking about how easy it will be to park, navigate, and join the conference festivities at Hampshire. You can look forward to mastering the campus with ease, and you will always be within napping distance of your accommodations or a stone’s throw from your next workshop! Another obvious bonus is Hampshire’s incredible commitment to local and organic based food sourcing, which is perfectly aligned with NOFA’s lifelong efforts to bolster the local organic food economy. The passion for sustainable food production and food sovereignty is a prominently common trait between NOFA and Hampshire, and we are excited to celebrate this commitment together.

To compliment our big move (back) to Hampshire, we have decided that there couldn’t be a better time to shake things up in our Saturday schedule! We are moving the Saturday keynote address, usually slated for 7:30pm, to 3-4pm in the afternoon; from there you can roll out into the conference’s annual country fair, followed by dinner and evening festivities. The flow feels right, and we can’t wait to test it out with our community.

Our 2017 keynote speakers bring a dynamic combination of topics to the conference for us to explore together. On Friday night of the conference, master organic orchardist Michael Phillips from Groveton, NH will illuminate the inner workings of the world of fungi and its role in plant health. He will draw from his upcoming book Mycorrhizal Planet, due out Spring 2017. Michael’s commitment to achieving a balance between production and the natural ecosystem is evidenced in his commitment to the natural world and achieving harmony with it.

On Saturday at the conference, we have Emeritus Professor Don Huber from Purdue University. Mr. Huber is the nation’s leading Glyphosate researcher and has been a major thorn in Monsanto’s side for many years. Mr. Huber has dedicated himself to researching Glyphosate in an attempt to fully educate consumers on its dangers and the extent of its prominence in food production and household applications. He has been under attack by Monsanto’s minions for decades but has unwaveringly focused on revealing the dangers of Glyphosate at the expense of his own reputation in certain circles.

Michael Phillips and Don Huber will both present all-day intensive seminars on Friday, August 11 for those interested in delving deeper into their respective fields.

With our deadline for workshop proposals approaching on February 15 at an impressive rate, the countdown is on and there is much to do! On our end, that is. You only have one task: don’t miss out on our early bird registration discounts. Visit www.nofasummerconference.org to propose a workshop or for up-to-date conference news. 

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