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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Honoring Our Roots, Tending Our Future - NOFA Summer Conference 2018

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

By Jason Valcourt, Summer Conference Coordinator

As winter begins to thaw, the fields call us back to tend and cultivate another season of healthful bounty. And as the USDA organic standards degrade even further in the face of the National Organic Standards Board allowing Hydroponics into organic certification and animal welfare regulations taking a huge step backward, the need for conscientious local food producers becomes more necessary than ever. What a time for organic farmers and gardeners to get better at doing their part to infiltrate the food system with the healthiest, most conscientious food possible!

Mark your calendar for August 10-12, 2018 when we will gather on the campus of Hampshire College for the 44th NOFA Summer Conference as a community set on maintaining transparent and upstanding food production methods consumers can rely on in good faith. Each summer the NOFA community looks toward its regional summer gathering to help keep the fabric of healthful organic practices in tact and to learn from the successes of many amazing people doing their part.

This year NOFA will host keynote speakers Rowen White and Eric Holt-Giménez, over 120 workshops from all seven NOFA states, live entertainment, our annual contradance and country fair, as well as many family friendly activities. We gather together in 2018 to deepen and enliven our awareness of how all success in the organic movement is deeply connected to the wisdom of various cultures that have utilized and honed agricultural techniques that paved the way for organic farmers today.

From the nitty gritty of running a prison garden, to intercropping your garlic with faba bean, this year’s workshop program has – very literally – just about everything. Get outside and hands on by grafting and pruning fruit trees, or by heading out on a guided mushroom walk. Tour the Hampshire College heritage pig breeding program, learn how to make your own fermented wild sodas, dig into balancing the soil nutrient food web, explore the concept of lean farming, create a vision for the future of organic, join dialogues on reparations and advancing the rights of farmworkers, and rediscover the indigenous crops of the far northeast. Looking to learn about different cultures of the world? Dive into Kaitiakitanga, the Maori concept of “guardianship” in regenerative agriculture; or the ancient Mexican Tetzkatlipoka diet of balanced nutrition. The conference is shaping up to offer a packed schedule, and we hope you take advantage of it!

Our Saturday foodie experience is growing more flavorful by the minute! We are excited to welcome the African Alliance of Rhode Island to offer their delicious fare. You’ll be able to try some of their famous Joloff and other delights, as well as purchase their carrot, apple or bitter ball jams to add some African flavor to your own dishes at home.

Summer Conference registration opens on May 1st! Scholarships and Work Exchange opportunities will be available on a first come first serve basis. We also have additional scholarships available to marginalized communities who would like to join us. Please be in touch if your group is interested. 

Find out more about the conference at www.nofasummerconference.org!

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