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.

 

Homesteaders

"Homesteading is a way for me to fully LIVE the life I love; a joyful immersion in a whole, sustainable system."

- Sharon Gensler
Outreach Coordinator, NOFA/Mass and long-time homesteader

In a world that is becoming increasingly more complex and inaccessible, people are taking charge of their own lives through homesteading. Homesteading represents the utmost expression of self sufficiency and self determination, and is practiced by New Englanders in a wide range of surroundings. Homesteaders across MA are raising chickens and livestock, keeping honeybee hives, planting vegetables and fruit trees, and finding ways of preserving, fermenting, and drying food to keep throughout the year. They are spinning their own fiber, constructing their own homes and furniture, implementing new forms of sustainable energy solutions and finding ways to renew, re-use and recycle natural resources.

At NOFA/Mass, we believe that opting out of an industrial food system by growing food for yourself and for your family is amongst one of the most empowering decisions a person can make; an act which is simultaneously a strong contribution to food security. Our homesteaders are bold dreamers. They step out of societal norms and create intentional communities, where simplicity, self-reliance, and hard work are core values. This is true whether they live on 20 acres of land or in urban apartments. Whether you are a homesteader because you’re not quite ready for the next smartphone, or because you are trying to make a political statement, our classes on cheese-making, lactofermentation, and other DIY workshops are designed for the homesteader or serious hobbyist. At NOFA/Mass you’ll also find a strong homesteading culture among our members – among folks who have been homesteading since the 70’s. If you’re a homesteader, come learn from the generations of MA residents who have successfully transitioned back to a simpler, land-based lifestyle.

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.

October 2, 2016 -
10:00am to 4:00pm

Do you raise your own pigs, goats, sheep? Want to gain independence from the slaughterhouse while learning how to humanely and skillfully harvest your own livestock? Come learn with The Roving Butcher, aka Jake Levin, as he leads us through whole hog processing. Starting with dispatching, bleeding, scalding, evisceration, Jake will then break down the pig into various pork cuts along with your help. He will also share tips and tricks on how to use the odd bits and respectfully make best use of the entire animal.