"[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.
During this mid-summer workshop, Lynda Simkins, Executive Director of Natick Community Organic Farm and long-time organic flower grower, will welcome participants to the farm to learn about all aspects of organic flower production. The workshop will explore harvest and post-harvest of certified organic cut flowers, weed management, marketing and selling, and strategies for season extension. This is fantastic opportunity for those who are just starting or those who would like to transition to organic flower production.
August 14, 2015 (All day) to August 16, 2015 (All day)
2015 Keynoters confirmed: Consumer activist, Ronnie Cummins & Nutritional Consultant, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride
This year’s conference will focus on the theme “Healing the Climate, Healing Ourselves: Regeneration through Microbiology.” 2015’s keynote speakers are Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, medical doctor and nutritional consultant, and Ronnie Cummins, consumer activist and regenerative agriculture advocate.
March 22, 2015 - 2:00pm to 5:30pm, June 14, 2015 - 2:00pm to 5:30pm, September 13, 2015 - 2:00pm to 5:30pm
Learn about profitable, small-scale vegetable production throughout the 2015 growing season at Brix Bounty Farm. Participants will see and experience how Brix Bounty’s production evolves from early season fertility and plant propagation to mid-season management and fall harvest rhythms. The wo