"[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.
As the harvest really increases, it is time to think about how you are going to preserve all of those wonderful vegetables. The first workshop in our Fall Food Preservation series will focus on lacto-fermented pickles, dilly beans and salsa. These have long been a staple of Beth Ingham and Noonday Farm’s pantry.
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
Join us for a fall farm dinner at the working farm home of the NOFA/Mass Executive Director and Policy Director, Many Hands Organic Farm (MHOF). Participants will savor a fresh, healthful, organic and uniquely delicious dinner, lovingly grown and prepared by Julie Rawson, Jack Kittredge and the MHOF staff. Enjoy an intimate pre-dinner tour of the MHOF fruit operation - large, small and minor certified organic fruit, led by Julie and Jack.