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

Outreach

On Earth Day 11 homes throughout the state hosted more than 170 folks – gathered at homesteads, farms, and gardens to share food and conversation. The purpose of the NOFA/Mass sponsored event was to promote connection around a vision of organic food, community, soil and land health, ecosystem vitality, and building a restorative future.

At 91, Mrs. Anderson still sells her garlic at the Farmers' Market behind Thornes in Northampton. She is also a part of a group of gleaners who clean up farm fields in the Amherst area, ensuring that good food does not go to waste. She cooked up fine Tennessee ribs to bring to the NOFA/Mass Earth Day potluck in Hatfield, held on April 22. When at the table, she struck up a conversation about soil, about the difficulty of assessing one's farm as a whole when there are so many variations from spot to spot and, of course, variations in what each crop needs.

On April 22 individual farms, homesteads, gardens, and homes throughout Massachusetts will host potlucks to build connection and community between us – sharing a meal, walking land, discussing the topics that are critical to our region and world, and inspiring one another with practical ways that we can create a restorative future.

Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser were keynoters at 2017 Winter Conference

Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastapol, California, were the keynote speakers for the 30th annual NOFA/Mass Winter Conference. On January 14 at Worcester State University they spoke to 800 farmers, gardeners, soil scientists, extension agents and others involved in New England food systems.

They came with a message – that agriculture has been one of the greatest contributors to climate change in human history, but it is also our best hope for mitigating climate change. The Kaiser’s assert that by adapting their practices to sequester more soil carbon, farmers can simultaneously improve the health of their crops, soil, and finances.

Sharon Gensler received 2017 NOFA/Mass Person of the Year award

Sharon Gensler received 2017 NOFA/Mass Person of the Year award

Julie: What has NOFA meant to you?

Sharon: It has been a home of my heart where I have learned much and hoped to have given much skill and energy. Our members are people who care about the Earth, the food that we eat, and how it is grown. It is not just about getting good food. It is about who is raising it and how they are treated, and the animals and the soil. It is about having people around in the organization that care about the same things that I do, and gives me hope and inspiration.

Events have slowed down but I do want to thank some of our volunteers. Brittany Overshiner represented us on a panel at the Green Careers Conference, Nicole Belanger tabled at Food Day in Worcester, and Christine Rainville joined me at the WSU Sustainability Day. Thank you so much for the help and for spreading our NOFA/Mass ideas to the public.

We encourage you to be involved and to support this vibrant, grass-roots organization, helping us to fulfill our mission:

In the past month, we attended some fabulous events and advocated for your favorite organic farming organization! The Big E was as hectic with throngs of people in attendance. We tried to talk with as many as possible and to interact with “government” folks too. Thanks for the help, Mary DeBlois! Mary also helped at the North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival, as did Leanne Limoges and Bob Banning. Again, thank you trusty volunteers, one and all!

I’ve been working to enhance our volunteer program and would love to hear from those of you who have volunteered with us before (or if not, why you haven’t). We welcome any ideas, observations and suggestions as we plan ahead for 2017.

Well, there are two events to report about for May. Thanks to Lorrie Dahlen and the folks at the South Shore Nature Center for having our literature available for their Spring Festival. Lorrie is also taking our materials to her local Marshfield Farmers Market.

Dan Bensonoff & Leslie Cox at Ag Day at the State House

We started out April with member Heidi Barra volunteering at the Holyoke Master Gardeners Symposium. Then we were on to a very big event – Ag Day at the State House. Our intern, Amirah Mitchell and two board members, Leslie Cox and Jane Bindley, talked to many legislators and legislative staff at the table. In addition, our two policy staffers, Amie and Dan, took time from their legislative advocacy to help with the NOFA table too. Plus, they worked their magic to have samples of Robinson cheese and Equal Exchange chocolates available. I attended the Amherst Sustainability Festival and the Greenfield Better/Greener Living Show where I presented a workshop: Cover Crops for the Home Garden. Kate Kennedy represented us at an Earth Day Festival/Urban Growers Gathering at UMass Lowell. Sam Perkins, board member, represented us at Lincoln Labs/MIT and Douglas Frink attended the Charlton Earth Day Festival. Amirah also attended the Biodiversity For a Livable Planet Conference at Harvard.

It’s spring and invitations to share NOFA/Mass with the world are popping up faster than my daffodils! Check out the list of upcoming events below and let me know how you want to be involved. We love to have member/volunteers represent us.

We’ve been very busy in the month of March and want to say THANK YOU to the following people:

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