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

June 26, 2016 -
1:00pm to 4:00pm

Learn the ins and outs of commercial medicinal herb production, from field to drying room. Participants will get an overview of the production and planning methodologies that Full Kettle Farm uses. The workshop will also focus on post production handling and herb drying for teas, oils, and other value added products.

June 28, 2016 -
7:00pm to 8:00pm

When growing on small acreage is it critical to maximize yields of high value crops to create a profitable business. This workshop will include some growing techniques and some business strategies used by Curtis on his farm, Green City Acres, which grows $80,000 worth of produce on less than an acre of land each year.

July 10, 2016 -
2:00pm to 4:30pm

Spend the afternoon in the goat yard with farmer Allison Houghton and Halé Sofia Schatz, who has over 40 years of experience with holistic human nutrition. We will explore preventative and holistic approaches to goat health and lactation, with a focus on high quality nutrition and behavioral care. This focus supports a healthy herd, longer lactation periods, higher levels of production, and a higher quality product, whether milk, yogurt or cheese.