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

Winter Conference

Ben Burkett on his farm in Petaluma, Mississippi, with his great-nephew. Photo courtesy of Grassroots International.

Ben Burkett, our January 16, 2016 Winter Conference keynoter, is a 2007 Farm-Aid Hero. The following is excerpted from his award page.

“The Burkett family has been putting down roots in the soil of Petal, Mississippi for over one hundred and twenty-one years. ‘I can remember delivering watermelons to the market in New Orleans when I was just a little fella,’ says lifetime farmer and farmer advocate Ben Burkett. On a family farm that was once fluffy-white with cotton, Ben now grows sixteen varieties of vegetables ranging from okra to sweet peas as well as organic herbs.

by Derek Christianson

Thank you to everyone who submitted a workshop proposal for the 2016 Winter Conference. We received over 100 workshop proposals; a testament to the desire of farmers, gardeners, nutritionists, educators, and the like to partner with us to host a conference that is relevant and informative for so many.

 Ben Burkett will deliver keynote and seminar on Jan 16
Ben Burkett will deliver keynote and seminar on Jan 16

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives grew out of the Civil Rights Movement. It was organized in 1967. So, it’s almost fifty years old. It’s got members from Texas to South Carolina. You have to be a cooperative in order to be a member of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives.

My cooperative was organized the first time in 1964 with a $250 grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity. Most people don’t even know that office existed. But the cooperative only functioned for about three years. Then it was reorganized in 1978.

Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary
Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary

It’s been a busy summer lining up an exciting and enriching workshop selection for the 2016 Winter Conference. Among the many others, don't miss Dan Conlon who will be presenting a workshop titled, Honey for Food, Medicine and Energy at Worcester State University on January 16. I hope you’ll be able to join Dan and his wife Bonita in unwrapping the mysteries, benefits, and myths of honey.

Save the date for the 29th NOFA Winter Conference, January 16 at Worcester State University. The conference features 70 workshops and exhibitors; children and teen conference, a keynote speech by Ben Burkett, family farmer and coordinator of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives; and much more.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Worcester State University, Worcester, MA

The Winter Conference features 70 workshops, children’s conference, and many exhibitors. Ben Burkett, family farmer and coordinator of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, will give this year’s keynote.

Before September 1st, we are taking workshop proposals on these topics

We are now taking workshop proposals for the 29th annual NOFA/Mass Winter Conference on Saturday January 16, 2016, at Worcester State University.  Submit one before the summer gets away from you! Proposal deadline is September 1. 

As 2014 draws to a close, I am excited by what 2015 will bring. For many, December is a busy time chock full of celebratory events. January typically offers us a bit more solitude, and some time to reflect and set goals for the new year. The Winter Conference takes place at a very fitting time. Leading up to the conference, conference goers can reflect on the year past, take some time to learn new concepts and techniques, and begin to set goals for the coming year.

January 10 is less than a month away but you still have time to register for all of the fun.  We’ve extended the day until 6pm, so you can network more, catch up with old friends, and visit all of our wonderful exhibitors. Greg Judy, a truly inspirational grazier, will be enriching everyone’s day with his keynote address “Managing Our Farms In Sync With Nature: Heal Land And People.” Judy says: “By focusing our daily management on the patterns of nature, our farms will become a mirror of nature and thrive.

At the 2015 Winter Conference, you can get up-close and personal with grazier Greg Judy. Hear his keynote, learn grazing techniques at his all-day seminar, or get your book signed at the post-conference dinner.  

Find more details at or call 413-387-2316. 

I interviewed Greg to find out what he’s up to and what experience he’ll share on January 10at Worcester State University.


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