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

Join NOFA/Mass

Membership is not just for farmers.

 

Farmers

"[Organic farming] ... for anyone who likes to feed others and play in the dirt."

- Julie Rawson
Executive Director, NOFA/Mass

NOFA/Mass offers a tremendous number of resources for farmers and growers of all stripes: the Organic Food Guide, the NOFA Summer Conference, the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference, Advanced Growers' Seminars, a variety of Education Events, the annual Spring Bulk Order, a Beginning Farmer/Journeyperson Program, the Raw Milk Network, and our ongoing Policy work to improve conditions for farming in Massachusetts by supporting appropriate regulations to assure safe access to markets as well as freshness and maximum nutritional value.

The most recognized "father" of organic farming is Sir Albert Howard. Howard was trained in the Justus von Liebig "school" of conventional agriculture in the late 1800's. Von Liebig's paper titled "Chemistry in its Application to Agriculture" in 1843 was the signature event that moved the world into the N-P-K fertility mindset. While working with indigenous farmers in India in the early 1900's, Sir Albert Howard came to realize that traditional methods of farming were necessary to keep crops and people healthy. These passages from The Soil and Health (published in 1947) sum up the organic system quite beautifully.

"Mother earth never attempts to farm without livestock; she always raises mixed crops; great pains are taken to preserve the soil and to prevent erosion; the mixed vegetable and animal wastes are converted into humus; there is no waste; the processes of growth and the processes of decay balance one another; ample provision is made to maintain large reserves of fertility; the greatest care is taken to store the rainfall; both plants and animals are left to protect themselves against disease."

He argued that all farming must not fall pray to the temptation to turn the reserves of humus into a short term profit at the expense of later generations. He saw the variety of life above and below ground as emblematic of the great "Wheel of Life" that through "the successive and repeated processes of birth, growth, maturity, death, and decay" feeds and sustains the life on the planet. In a departure from the conventional thinking of the day, he thought of diseases and insects not as a scourge to be wiped out with poisons, but as teachers and friends that show him where the processes of growth and decay are out of balance.

Events Of Interest

August 26, 2017 -
10:00am to 4:00pm

You can help mitigate the impacts of climate change while growing vitally rich foods. By using simple and earth-friendly materials and techniques like cardboard mulching, occultation, leaf mould, cover cropping, and urine reclamation you can turn marginal land into a highly-productive garden without fancy tools.

In this workshop veteran grower Ricky Baruc, co-creator of Seeds of Solidarity, will provide low cost, easy to implement, minimal maintenance techniques to sequester carbon and build life in the soil.

August 29, 2017 -
7:00pm to 8:00pm

Scott Muhammad will demonstrate double digging methods as a space saver for urban gardeners and will give information about SEED’s work in fighting food insecurity in Tuskegee County, Alabama.  Mr. Muhammad will also give information on the history of Tuskegee University and the early organic farming of Dr. George Washington Carver.

September 2, 2017 - 9:00am to September 3, 2017 - 5:30pm

Earth, a fundamental building material, is very accessible to a backyard builder. It is incredibly versatile in form and provides the thermal mass for excellent performance. Building an earthen oven is an excellent way to begin your foray into working with earth, cob, adobe, and other earthen materials. These ovens are not only beautiful, but also deeply functional for making breads, pizzas, roasted vegetables, or any other baked goods. They provide a natural centerpiece for a yard, garden, or community center through their aesthetic beauty and ancestral associations.