The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

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From the Executive Director: Winter conference reflections, new staff hires, board and committee openings

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

By Julie Rawson

2016 NOFA/Mass Staff and Board at Annual Retreat

A new year has begun at NOFA/Mass, and it has started very nicely. 800 folks attended the 30th Annual NOFA/Mass Winter Conference. Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser shared their success with their family-size no-till farm in Sebastopol, CA. There were plenty of good takeaways for anyone who grows vegetables and wants to improve your farm ecosystem. Thanks to the presenters of the other 70 workshops and the 70 or so exhibitors who shared their expertise and wares with participants. And also a hearty thank you to Worcester State University for being such quintessential hosts to us. They make conference arrangements easy!

At the conference we welcomed two new staff members to NOFA/Mass. Marty Dagoberto has accepted the role of Outreach Coordinator. He will replace Sharon Gensler in this role. We sent Sharon off with the NOFA/Mass Person of the Year award for her oh so many years of service to us. She has truly been the face of the organization. Marty most recently worked with MA Right to Know GMOs and many anti-gmo organizations in the state and region in our unsuccessful coalition bid to get a GMO labeling bill passed in Massachusetts. He brings a wealth of contacts, energy and savvy for organizational collaboration to the table. He will also be putting new energy into The Organic Food Guide to make this a more vibrant publication of organic food in our state.

Liz O’Gilvie was also hired for a new position (development associate) in our development department. A main goal of her job will be to work with us to better convey what we offer members and to increase our active membership, in part by bringing back members to the organization. She will be working closely with Kristin Brennan, returning Development Director. Liz is a racial and social justice advocate and educator and urban farmer in Springfield with a wealth of development skills garnered from her activist work in cities all over the country.

Finally, we say goodbye to Bob Minnocci, who held the NOFA/Mass Marketing Director position for almost ten years. Bob, you were one of a kind and we so appreciate what you built for and with us. With the new title of Corporate Sponsorship Program Director, Chris Zorn has taken over this job and did a fine job of getting his feet wet and running a successful conference on January 14. He looks forward to the day the people will not call him “the new Bob.”

Looking for one more board member

Richard Robinson answered our call to be a board member at the annual meeting. From Sherborn and on family land, he farms a CSA and Christmas trees. He is also a neurological science writer and former high school science teacher.

We are looking for one more board member to round us out at 11 members. Board members are asked to attend two in person board meetings/retreats, the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference and the regional NOFA Summer Conference, participate in the NOFA/Mass run in November, attend four phone board meetings and participate in at least one standing committee. Right now we most need someone who would enjoy working with our personnel committee. This committee stays abreast of HR needs, helps to oversee employee evaluation, looks for ways to enhance employee benefits, and considers employee happiness and longevity.

Our board members are farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, activists, and/or professionals with an active passion and interest for organic farming. If you are at all interested, give me a call at 978-355-2853 or email me at Julie@nofamass.org. NOFA/Mass is a big 30 person family of folks. It is a place where lasting friendships are made.

Looking for a lesser level of involvement?

We have a number of standing committees in NOFA/Mass that are populated by board and staff members. Except for the policy committee which has an active membership base from the NOFA/Mass grassroots, these committees don’t have any participants from the general membership. We are looking for NOFA/Mass members to volunteer on one of these standing committees. They meet no more often than once per month (often less) and the meetings are generally one hour or less, and are always on the phone. If you are interested in checking us out and helping us to better run the organization, give me a holler (as above). The committees in question are personnel, finance, development, strategic planning, education, board development, and policy.

And enjoy the rest of the winter – it will be over sooner than we can imagine. 

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