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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Kickoff enthusiasm and optimism for upcoming season at Winter Conference

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2018 January Issue Newsletter

By Caro Roszell, Winter Conference Workshop Coordinator

The first snows have fallen, the ground is frozen, the hoop houses are buttoned up and the root veggies stored – and the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference is nearly here!

In less than two weeks (January 13) we will see each other at Worcester State University for the 31st Annual NOFA/Mass Winter Conference. The time has come again for growers of all sizes to gather together in the midst of winter to share the collective wisdom of our shared experiences and intentions as cultivators of the land.

Last season is fading already into memory, and whatever fatigue overcame us by November has hopefully begun to subside. The seed catalogues have arrived, inspiring the first flutter of anticipation for spring. Let’s hone our mental tools, renovate our recordkeeping, dust off our creative thinking, and kickoff this new season with renewed enthusiasm and optimism.

With keynote speaker Gabe Brown at the forefront of our program, three full-day intensive seminars to dive into, 60+ exhibitors at our trade show, and over 60 workshops, the conference is sure to be an energizing force in the dark slow days of winter.

We are elated to host Gabe Brown and to showcase his remarkable work on cover crops and his integrated approach to profitable, regenerative land management. Gabe will provide our keynote address as well as a full day intensive seminar titled The Farm as an Ecosystem. This intensive is appropriate for those interested in exploring the finer details of his regenerative practices. Check out this video posted on the SARE website and re-visit our October newsletter to learn more about Gabe’s inspiring work.

We are also offering an advanced farmer intensive workshop, Refining Fertility Programs: Adjusting Mineral Based Fertility Throughout The Seasonwith Derek Christianson, owner of Brix Bounty Farm in Dartmouth, MA. This workshop will help growers reduce costs and increase crop quality with carefully planned seasonal fertility interventions. Participants are invited to bring their soil test results. A few soil tests will be selected as case studies and workshopped by the whole class.

For those who are more inclined toward the permaculture approach, we are pleased to present Edible Forest Gardening: Theory, Design and Implementation with Aaron Guman, from Walking Onion LLC in Montpelier, VT. This workshop will take participants from the theoretical foundations of agroforestry to the practice of species selection and installation for multiple design scales.

Workshops

You can find variety and depth in our workshop programs with presenters form all over the state of Massachusetts and from farther afield in neighboring states. Topics will include No-Till Farming, Native Plant Propagation, Season Extension, Pasture Management (including silvopasture), Suburban Homesteading, Garden Design, Cooking with Ghee, Making Bone Broths, Permaculture Design, Urban Farming, Mushroom Cultivation (both edibles and mycoremediation), Farm Recordkeeping, Beekeeping (from getting started to raising queens) and so much more! Workshops are listed by track and by timeslot. Check out the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference Page for additional info.

Youth & Children’s Conference

Do you have young ones? Bring them! Teens are welcome at all main-program general workshops, and for younger kids, age-appropriate sessions will be offered, including Winter Wonders, What’s the Buzz? (Beekeeping for kids) and nature-themed arts and stories. Parents can attend the conference while their children learn and play.

Cross-Pollination

There will be plenty of opportunities to make connections during the lunch session. Enjoy your catered organic lunch while visiting the Seed Swap (see below), joining Congressman McGovern for a lunch conversation, perusing the trade show, listening to live music or joining a topic-guided conversation at specially-designated tables.

Seed Swap

Seed lovers and savers are welcome to bring seeds to swap during our lunch time seed swap. Please label your seeds with a source name, year, and variey notes. You may include contact information if you want to invite folks to get in touch about growing this variety. Seed savers may also wish to attend Advanced Seed Saving with farmer & seed saver Bill Braun.

Register online now!  Scholarships are available here, and we have a carpool rideboard for you to join here.

 

 

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