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

March 11, 2017 -
8:00am to 5:00pm

This all-day, hands-on workshop is ideal for the beginning cheesemaker. Using fresh grass-fed pastured milk from Upinngil farm, Cliff Hatch, veteran farmer and cheese artisan, will guide you through the process of making a number of simple cheese such as Camembert, Chevre, Brie, and Blue cheese. Along the way, we’ll talk about the process and history of cheese making and how different cheeses are made. With your palette sharpened and techniques honed, you’ll be ready to make your own artisanal cheese.

March 25, 2017 -
8:00am to 5:00pm

Using grass-fed, pastured milk from his family farm, Cliff will take you on hands-on journey through all the stages of making favorites like Cheddar and lesser-known hard cheeses like Caerphilly, Dunlop, or Wensleydale.

This class, suitable for the beginner and advanced cheese-maker, will give you a new appreciation for the ancient art of making complex, nutrient-dense, and obnoxiously delicious cheese.

April 24, 2017 -
3:00pm to 5:30pm

By now, most farmers know the importance of minimizing tillage: better soil structure, more water retention, carbon sequestration, and enhanced soil biology. But, for organic farmers the theory is often easier than the practice.

Over the years Mike Raymond at First Light Farm has tried a number of strategies to maximize their soil biology and minimize their soil disturbance. Mike has tried a wide variety of practices to keep soil structure intact and organic matter as high as possible, including strip tillage, permanent pathways, cover crop mixes, and trialing a wide assortment of tillage and cultivation implements.