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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Summer Conference Registration is Now Open – Satiate Your Appetite for Learning!

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

By Hannah Blackmer, Michelle Cruz, Jason Valcourt – Summer Conference Committee Members

Farm Tour During 2017 Summer Conference

Things are finally warming up. Maybe spring has sprung? It may not look like it should just yet, but the robins are busy, buds are on the trees, and farmers and gardeners all over the Northeast are nurturing their seedlings to health in greenhouses, on window sills, high tunnels and under row cover. A celebration of new life and a renewed sense of wonderment that is another growing season in our NOFA states are awakening.

Another thing to celebrate is that registration for the 44th Annual NOFA Summer Conference is now open! This year’s conference is shaping up to be an amazing weekend with depth and variety. Organizations and individuals alike will find benefit in attending the wide range of workshops held over the three days of August 10-12 in Amherst, MA. Building a successful conference program is not unlike hosting a successful dinner party; there has to be something there for all of your guests to enjoy, and (hopefully) while leaving at the end of the evening craving just one more bite.

Our workshop tracks represent delectable main courses for each segment of the NOFA-verse. Vegetable and plant crop growers will pick up new skills from Bryan O’Hara’s “Crop Health Improvement Through Foliar Spray Application” workshop, or from Jen Salinetti’s “Systems and Methods of Regenerative Farming for Lettuce and Carrots” workshop. Animal husbandry workshops include “Cow/Calf Profits with a Grass-Only Diet” by Ridge Shinn, “Starting a Goat Dairy” with Leonard Pollara, and the hands-on “Complete Sheep Butchering” with Felix Lufkin.

Home gardeners can learn about planting the ideal chef’s kitchen garden, or best practices for growing field crops such as wheat, rice, corn and beans on a small scale. Food activists have much to choose from this year, with a full track representing food justice and farming within the prison system to “Advancing the Rights of Farmworkers Within a Sustainable Dairy Industry” by the Milk With Dignity organization.

For health and nutrition advocates, learn about making fruit and beet kvasses, fermented wild sodas, how to approach and heal Lyme disease, and much more. For everyone, workshops on fruit and trees, seed saving, organic land care, cooperatives and business management, mushrooms, soils, fertility, and carbon serve as a plentiful self-serve appetizer and dessert bar. We hope your appetite has been whetted, and we know you will leave satiated!

Fun and Food

Our conference entertainment lineup is going to provide an amazing compliment to workshop programming. The Dale Perkin’s Horse Show RETURNS! We are excited to have Dale and the majestic beauty of his horses in this very engaging show. We are also happy to welcome Raffini of the RI Black Story Tellers to our fair. V. Raffini, a self-made artist, actress, and teacher has long been committed to the community, teaching Black History, and theatre, telling stories and nurturing the spiritual and creative abilities of youth. See Raffini sharing a story of soil and gardening here.

On Saturday at the conference, you’ll be able to expand your palette with talented Chef Georgina Sarpong’s “Layers of Taste”, whose dishes aim to introduce African ingredients from various countries on the continent and the Diaspora. A beautiful blend of AfroFusion/African-American cuisine awaits your taste buds!

Registration

We want everyone to have the opportunity to join us this August and we’ve got a multitude of ways for you to attend. You can take advantage of Early Bird rates that allow you to save 20% off registration through June 27th. There is also a 15% discount for groups of 5 or more so please tell your employer or come as a group.

If you are seeking alternative ways to join the conference and are interested in working off some of the registration fees, you can take advantage of our scholarship opportunities. Options to work for a single shift, or become part of the crew for the entire weekend are available.

If you are a Farm Worker or Apprentice we have a special opportunity to apply for free conference registration. Apply for any of these opportunities through our scholarship application.

Collaborate With Us

If you are part of an organization that would be interested in partnering with NOFA to help get your members to the conference at special rates we would love to discuss ways to make that happen. In organizational partners we are seeking help raising awareness of the NOFA Summer Conference. If you are able to use your media channels to spread the word, we’d love to collaborate, and get your members to this amazing conference.

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