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

Organic to Heal the Planet Run/Walk November 5, 2017

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2017 October Issue Newsletter

Kristin Brennan, NOFA/Mass Development Director

The Organic to Heal the Planet Fundraiser Run/Walk is fast approaching!  We are still looking for folks - runners, walkers, and individuals to donate to the participants' campaigns - who care about local, organic food and healthy soil to join us.  There are so many ways to do so: joining the team, sponsoring a member of the team, volunteering to be part of the event on the day.  Choose the one that works the best for you and visit to get all the information you need! Want to know about one of the amazing people you could be running with? Read on to meet Paul our spokes-Chicken!

Paul Bertler is an outdoor enthusiast - a rock climber, biker and cross-country skier.  But over the past 4 years, Paul, a Board member for NOFA/Mass and the Education Manager at Heifer International, has perfected his running gait for the good of organic food and farming.  His finance, Hilary Mislan, a Worcester physician, notes that, even though she is a 8 time marathoner, Paul has gotten to the point where she just can't keep up with him. Hilary takes comfort in the fact that, even if he leaves her behind, she can find her way.  A native to Lexington, the race covers part of her high school cross country course.  Just to keep it fresh and fun, this year Paul will be dressing up as a free-range organic chicken to show his devotion to local food and farming and communicate to others what NOFA/Mass advocates for.  Although supportive of this message, Hilary is secretly hoping that the increased wind resistance and the fact that the chicken costume is slightly small for Paul will finally give her the speed advantage that she has been waiting for.  "Usually, we have started out together until Paul decides he wants to embarrass me and kick my butt. I’m hoping the chicken costume will slow him down this year," she says.

It is true that Paul and Hilary trace key developments of their love affair to the Organic to Heal the Planet Run.  But, when asked why she keeps coming to the NOFA/Mass Run every November, Hilary says, "It's a really great cause."  She continues on, "NOFA/Mass supports and advocates for organic farming in the northeast and also works to advocate at the national policy level.  Organic foods and practices are healthier for people, for ecosystems, and for our planet."  Getting married this October, Paul and Hilary work on a homestead together in Paxton, MA, inspired by the principles that NOFA/Mass embodies.  Their place is her favorite of all local "farms."  "Paul and my operation on our homestead is getting close to qualifying as a farm.  We have a big garden, fruit trees, chickens, pigs, and sheep. It’s so rewarding to put in work on a day to day basis and see the fruits of our labor in almost every meal we eat! Our goal is to live off our land as much as possible, and we come closer to that each day."

A family physician, Hilary understands the connection between food and how our bodies function. Thus, when she is participating in the Organic to Heal the Planet Run, she knows the Run could also be called Organic to Heal Human Bodies. "Food is such an important part of human health," Hilary shares. Her exposure to local, organic products and her participation in cultivating them makes her a passionate advocate for fresh, whole foods grown without chemicals for her clients in Worcester.  "I feel that I am well equipped to encourage and empower my patients to eat organic, healthy foods."

Food connects us all.  That is why NOFA/Mass's work - and the Organic to Heal the Planet Fundraiser - is for everyone and we NEED everyone!  And, what better way to celebrate at the end than to share in food and fellowship?  When asked her favorite part of the event, Hilary says, without hesitation, "The NOFA potluck in the field house after the run! Because eating after a run is always a good feeling, and the NOFA folks have a deep connection with food that makes them great cooks!"

Come join Paul and Hilary on November 5. NOFA/Mass needs you!



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