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 28, 2016 -
1:00pm to 4:00pm

In this workshop, Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge will show participants two ages of meat birds, two ages of layers, and brand new turkeys. Participants will learn about the management of these different types of poultry and their relationships to each other, the vegetable (2 acres) and fruit (1 acre) operation, and to the farm’s 8 pigs and 2 cows on this tightly organized and rotated farm system. They will discuss the role and opportunities available with poultry in Soil Carbon Restoration. The workshop covers feed, housing, pasturing, rotations with crops, sprouted grains, brooding, marketing, and finances.

September 11, 2016 -
1:00pm to 4:00pm

As the harvest becomes more bountiful, it is time to think about how to preserve summer in jars. This hands-on workshop will focus on lacto-fermentation including sauerkraut, pickles, dilly beans and salsa, all of which will be made with fresh garden produce. During the workshop, attendees will learn the science and health benefits of lacto-fermentation, a process using beneficial microorganisms to preserve and enhance the nutritional value of vegetables. Everyone will have an opportunity to engage in this hands-on workshop by selecting ingredients, weighing, chopping, mixing, preparing jars and packing them. Learn how to fill your own pantry with delicious and nutritious lacto-fermented vegetables so you can enjoy summer all year long! All participants will come away with a beautiful jar filled with kraut or pickles of their own making.

September 18, 2016 -
1:00pm to 4:00pm

How can you improve your pastures and soils while also increasing the size of your herd?

Rotational grazing is a system that mimics the ecology of natural grasslands. By rotating large herds through fenced off portions of your pastures, your cattle will eat more tender grass, gain more weight faster, AND sequester considerable amounts of carbon in the soil. But to accomplish these goals requires a well-designed plan.