Please take a minute to give NOFA/Mass your input for our strategic plan. Your opinions will help us plan for the future of organic farming in Massachusetts.
The Boston Globe just launched the Globe Readers and Non-profits Together (GRANT) program. This week, the Globe mailed vouchers (like the one pictured) to all subscribers, that can be designated to any certified 501( c ) (3) non-profit (meaning organizations like the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.!).
Mark Shepard, perennial agriculture and permaculture design expert, presents the 2014 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference keynote speech.
NOFA/Mass is supporting two petitions started by David Chapman, organic tomato grower in Vermont, urging the National Organic Program to adopt a recommendation of the National Organic Standards Board and refuse to allow hydroponic growing to be considered “organic”.
If you are a certified organic farm, or can affirm our sustainability pledge (see below) , you can list in our searchable online guide of local, organic and sustainable products at theorganicfoodguide.com. Click this link and fill out the short survey. Questions? Contact Rebecca at Rebecca@nofamass.org.
Great news! Thanks to the generosity and vision of many, the initial $7000 Fall
Appeal Matching Fund has already been reached! But the largesse of the season has
not ended! Inspired by the tremendous response to this appeal, several additional
NOFA/Mass members have stepped forward to expand this awesome opportunity for
Organic Food and Farming in Massachusetts by offering $3000 more to the Matching
Fund. With 3 weeks left to go in the Challenge, donations still have at least twice
the impact, up to the $10,000 match!
Mark Shepard joins us as keynoter and will lead an all-day seminar. We also have an amazing line-up of workshops and vendors from across the state. Register today!
The NOFA/Mass Raw Milk Network today said that the state of Massachusetts, through the Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), handles licensing and regulation of raw milk sales well, and the towns that are home to the nearly 30 raw milk dairies in the state should continue to entrust that role to the professional inspectors and scientists at MDAR. The statement was issued because the town of Foxborough has proposed additional regulations for raw milk dairies operating in that town.
First held in 1975, this is the NOFA Summer Conference’s 40th year. We will be celebrating with an exciting program of workshops, pre-conferences, and a keynote designed to empower participants with knowledge to transform their local food systems for the better and to transition this world toward organic. For the 2014 NOFA Summer Conference, we’re condensing the main conference from three to two days: Saturday and Sunday, August 9-10, 2014. We’ll still have eight total workshop slots by adding a workshop slot from 3-4:30 p.m. on both days, making a total of four workshop slots per day.
Note: you need NOT be a full-time farmer to qualify for a scholarship. Students with some farming or gardening experience qualify! Backyard chicken keepers qualify! Avid gardeners qualify! Don't hesitate to apply!
Erik Andrus reported on his findings from a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NESARE) Farmer Grant to explore the market possibilities for production and sale of turbinado sugar from non-gmo “sugar beets” on his farm, Boundbrook Farm in the Champlain Valley in Vergennes, Vermont. Although the project did not ultimately yield a sugar product worthy of marketing, Andrus believes there is potential for profitably raising field beets in New England.
Brix Bounty farm is a $100,000/year vegetable operation in Dartmouth, MA with a market emphasis on vegetable quality. Beets are among the top 10 crops the farm produces. “Old timers” and first generation foodies alike, who appreciate the superior taste of a quality beet, make up a large portion of the farm’s beet customers. He says Eastern European customers also account for a great number of beet sales.
Shiitake mushrooms are among the most widely grown mushroom in the world, second only to the common button mushroom. Log-grown shiitake mushrooms are relatively easy to raise, certify organic, and use to create a small-scale commercial operation if you have the basics: space, shade, access to hardwood logs and water. Shiitake growing is a great way to make use of forest or marginal land, such as steep hillsides that may not have other uses.
This workshop explored the rapidly expanding institutional market (schools, colleges, hospitals, etc.) for locally grown foods. The presenters addressed how farmers can evaluate whether sales to institutions fit into their business models, the unique characteristics of this sales channel, and how to begin with institutional sales.
Brian O’Hara has been growing vegetables at his one-plus acre farm, Tobacco Road Farm, in Lebanon, Connecticut for 22 years. In those years he has applied many techniques toward growing potatoes. Recently, he moved from rough tilled fields toward no-till methods. During the 2013 NOFA Summer Conference, Brian outlined Tobacco Road’s potato production techniques. Starting with soil fertility, he went on to identify his best practices for planning, seed selection, planting, hand and tractor tools and management techniques.
Dan Kaplan has been the lead CSA farmer at Brookfield farm for 20 years. According to Dan, Brookfield was the third CSA in the country and he considers himself a part of the second generation of CSA growers in the US. He says in the early days CSAs were mainly market garden scale and were not taken seriously by the farming establishment. The goal at that time was to expand the availability of organic vegetables and improve the financial viability of organic farming. These days though, the popularity of CSA is growing to the point where some even wond
Atina Diffley is an organic farmer, consultant and author. She stresses that, “Marketing is about bringing the right product, at the right price, to the right customer.” After farming for more than 20 years, Atina has come to learn that incorporating one’s values into the branding and sale of farm products and finding one’s competitive advantage among one’s peers is essential to the success of any farm marketing plan.
Off-loading supplies at New England Small Farm Ins
Baystate Organic Certifiers
Source for certified organic food
Buy fresh, unpasteurized milk from a local farm.
August 8-10, 2014, UMass, Amherst, MA