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

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The NOFA/Mass Fall Appeal Matching Challenge: Let's rise to it together!

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

By Kristin Brennan

It is not every year that a couple of lifetime members approach us with an offer like they have this year. Two dedicated donors, inspired by their belief that NOFA/Mass is relevant, cutting-edge, and critical for the future health of humans and the planet, have offered $10,000 of their own resources to match every donation that comes in to NOFA/Mass until January 31, 2018.

It goes like this: A donation of $20 becomes $40, a donation of $50 becomes $100. But, if someone gives at or above $100, their amount will not only be matched, but doubled. For example, a $100 donation brings in the original $100 plus an additional $200; thus, equaling a total of $300. And so forth. How blessed we are! Thank you to these generous individuals AND to each of you who stretches your finances to donate this year.  

special giftSuch a special gift deserves a special touch, of course. That special touch is that every appeal letter that was sent out has a personal handwritten "shout-out" message, in bright colorful letters. The notes, not surprisingly, are simple. When there are hundreds of letters to send, one opts for brevity. "Thanks for your support!" or "Help us to keep this work going!" or "Let's keep the organic movement growing!" But let me tell you a bit about the scene in which those notes were written, and the folks who wrote those words, and that might reveal the depth of the message sent to each of your homes in November.

There were seven of us that gathered in the Gardening the Community office in Springfield, MA on a cold day in early November. We were young (11 years!) and old (83!); we were farmers, gardeners, food enthusiasts, environmentalists. We were mostly urban folk, with an exception of our Berkshire member. We spoke of methods of preserving the abundance of greens from our gardens or our farm shares. We discussed our favorite ways to prepare broths and squash. We reviewed end-of-season garden closing techniques - cover crops, leaves, straw. We munched on homegrown popcorn, a mixture of organic pears and apples with honey harvested in Springfield from hives that hadn't been treated with chemicals. We told stories of rote, repetitive work that we had done in the past. We talked about our children, our grandchildren, our mothers, our pets, our Thanksgiving meal plans. We laughed that our eyes were getting a little blurry as we wrote yet another "thanks for your support!" but, even then, our energy was renewed by the positivity of the group, by the mission of NOFA/Mass, by the beautiful future that we see as connected to organic. It wasn't until the end of our session, the last 30 minutes or so, when the vibrancy of the gathering calmed, and we were quiet, peaceful, working side by side. And the focused and productive atmosphere that that quiet provided, that too felt beautiful.

So, look at that letter once again that you opened last month. As you see our handwritten notes, remember the above images and know that those words are infused with a serious love of soil, food, land, community, and planet. If you are a member, thanks for being part of the NOFA/Mass family. If you are not a member, come and join us as we work toward a better world. If you are able to donate this fall to ensure that we can continue to provide high quality education and policy work throughout the state and region, we give you our greatest thanks. The organic movement is all of us, tending to our gardens and farms, supporting local agriculture, connecting with our neighbors, working on policy for chemical free playgrounds, reducing our car use and carbon emissions, choosing to live in sync with our ecosystems, despite the temptations to do otherwise. Let's give each other strength for this wonderful journey!

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