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

Group gathered at 2016 Winter Conference

This year NOFA/Mass’s Winter Conference convened the first ever summit of grassroots activists and organizers to discuss Massachusetts’s pending GMO labeling bill (H3242). The gathering brought together a consortium of farmers, consumer advocates, and interested citizens who are concerned about the risks and lack of transparency associated with genetic engineering of our foods.

Children's Conference
Thanks to the more than 900 of you who attended our Winter Conference. Enjoy this photo slideshow of photos from the event.



Greens grown in mid-January in unheated greenhouse at Clay Bottom Farm

Our new online workshop series, “Inspiring Ideas from Experts in the Field,” attempts to make quality education easily accessible to all. On the last Tuesday of every month anyone can call or go online to join a one-hour workshop focused on farm management issues. Remote learning will never surpass the value of on-farm, in-person workshops, but our online series removes the added burdens of travel time and cost, increasing the likelihood of participation from beginning and experienced farmers alike.

Worcester’s YouthGROW leads Gentrification in the Food System workshop in 2015

We hope the whole family will join us for our 29th annual Winter Conference on January 16, 2016 at Worcester State University. This 1000 person conference features over 80 workshops for adults, children and teens, a broad array of exhibits, and an all-day seminar and keynote by Ben Burkett, fourth generation family farmer and cooperative business advocate. All workshops are approved for Accredited Organic Land Care Professional (AOLCP) credit and a select number of workshops are also approved for Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credit.

Tara Whitsitt presents ‘Fermenting by Season’ at 2015 Winter Conference

January 16 is fast approaching, but you still have time to register for all of the fun. Register by the December 15 early bird deadline to save on your registration price at!

Bring your kids for the day and together the whole family can learn how to be part of a smarter, healthier planet. We’ve added lots of great presenters to the children’s and teen conference line-up, so children of all ages will learn how to be better stewards of our planet.  

Christine McClusky leads a workshop in 2014

Now that it's fall, it's time to get you registered for the 29th annual Winter Conference. Click here to register now. This year's workshop line-up will be better than ever, with 70 workshops to choose from throughout the day. Scholarships are available for beginning farmers. Discounts apply for all adult registrations purchased before the December 15th early bird deadline. The Winter Conference takes place at Worcester State University, on Saturday, January 16, 2016.

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.


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