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

Growing Organically Since 1982

Celebrating our interconnectedness at the Summer Conference – August 11-13!

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

By Jason Valcourt

The NOFA Summer Conference is the gathering place for those that make up the collective fabric of the organic movement in the Northeast. The seven NOFA state chapters (NY, NJ, VT, NH, RI, CT and MA) all play a role in this coming together to celebrate and further the work we’re doing individually and as a movement. The collection of over 70 exhibitors, 130 workshop presenters and over 900 enthusiastic growers and activists creates a powerful atmosphere to share innovation, community and knowledge. And this year we’re especially proud to host a handful of collaborative organizations doing great work.

The newly formed North American chapter of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) will hold their first North American chapter retreat at Hampshire College in the days leading up to the conference. We are very happy that Elizabeth Henderson, from NOFA-NY, represents NOFA on the N.A. IFOAM board. We welcome them all to the Summer Conference and look forward to the work IFOAM is doing across the globe and here in North America!

We also welcome New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) to the conference. NCAT and New Entry will host a meet and greet of Veteran farmers as an extension of NCAT’s “Armed to Farm” program, supporting armed force veterans wishing to enter the world of farming.

The Lexicon of Sustainability is also providing a collection of amazing infographics on food and farming. You can browse the art collection installed at the conference and hopefully learn a thing or two. A word about their work: “By illuminating the vocabulary of sustainable agriculture, and with it the conversation about America’s rapidly evolving food culture, the Lexicon of Sustainability™ educates, engages and activates people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system in America.”

You won’t want to miss this year’s Friday keynote session featuring master orchardist Michael Phillips! Michael’s warmth, humor and deep experience with the natural world will be on showcase as he leads us through an exploration into understanding the role mycorrhizal fungi play in supporting healthy plants – the true agents and modelers of interconnectedness. And, as an opening act on Friday evening, a collection of willing thespians will perform a fun and snarky skit – complete with band and chorus – entitled “Everything’s Organic” authored by Jack Kittredge. We will also award this year’s NOFA Person of the Year 2017 to another outstanding mover and shaker from the organic movement and our first NOFA “Man With A Beer” award to one of our invaluable volunteer conference staff members.

At Saturday’s keynote session Dr. Don Huber will present his in depth understanding of the dangers that Glyphosate and GMOs pose for living beings. Before Dr. Huber’s keynote, we will have a brief statement and update from Abby Youngblood the Executive Director of the National Organic Coalition (NOC) to update us on the work of NOC, the perfect introduction to Dr. Huber’s presentation.

It’s not all about intense educational experiences, though! While the bulk of your days at the conference will be spent networking and learning, we hope you will join us in letting loose come evening. Complementing the incredible lineup of keynotes, intensives, and workshop presenters that fill our program, we have live bands lined up for both Friday and Saturday nights. Pack your dancing shoes and lively patterned shirts and skirts for the Friday night contra dance! A double bill on Saturday night gives you the option to join in the drumming circle with Steve Leicach, or sit back and enjoy live music and libations. Steve has been a conference staple for many years and provides an inclusive musical atmosphere for you to dive into and enjoy.

August brings the heat, and to combat that we encourage you to bring your bathing suits! The Hampshire pool will be open from noon-1pm on Saturday for you to take a quick dip and get back to the workshops. Other local swimming spots, such as Puffers Pond in Amherst, afford a-not-as-quick refreshment, but could be enjoyed for an evening swim before or after dinner.

We want you to join us, no matter your budget. If you or someone you know could use financial assistance to attend, consider applying for a scholarship or work exchange. Group discounts are also available!

Whether you join us just for a day trip or attend all three days of the conference, we know you will come away with a memorable experience, connections and a boatload of new ideas to apply to your land and food projects.

Learn more and register at www.nofasummerconference.org

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