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

Introduction from NOFA/Mass’s New Policy Director

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2016 January Issue Newsletter

By Dan Bensonoff

If we pause for an instant to consider this historical moment in agriculture we come across the following findings: Based on the New England Food Vision, we have lost 63% of all American farms since 1900. In New England, we are currently left with roughly 30,000 farms, down from a high of 250,000 just 100 years ago. And even though, according to the Economic Research Service of the USDA, the average American farmer now husbands roughly 500 acres of land, 85%-95% of a farmer’s income derives from off-farm sources. This dramatic change in the scale of land that farmers are working has brought with it a variety of shortcuts, from increased herbicide use to insubstantial animal welfare standards.

Such appalling truths, coupled with my admiration for the beauty of complex ecological systems, have led me to become an advocate for sustainable organic farming for the past seven years.  After initially apprenticing at an off-grid eco-village farm, I’ve worked on several diversified vegetable farms in eastern Massachusetts, most recently at Newton Community Farm.

It is with great respect for farmers and their invaluable service as land stewards that I arrive as the new NOFA/Mass policy director. As of December, I have been working alongside our long-standing policy director, Jack Kittredge, as he transitions into his new role at NOFA/Mass as our soil carbon analyst Starting in 2016, Jack will focus his efforts on advancing the case for biological carbon sequestration in soil while I continue to forward NOFA’s policy work in keeping with our basic values: respect for the land and solidarity with organic farmers. We will continue the fight to keep organic farming true to its principles, and we will campaign for legislation that minimizes unnecessary government regulations while enhancing a thriving local food economy.

As a voice and advocate for our local organic community, I welcome all questions and conversations. You may contact me at dan@nofamass.org

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