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

2019 Winter Conference: Uniting for a Thriving Food System and Ecology

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

By Jason Valcourt, Winter Conference Coordinator

Biochar workshop. Photo credit: Alicia Luhrssen

The roots of our food system are embedded in soil. Hopefully, that soil is rich, fertile, full of nutrients and alive with microbial life that will be mirrored in the fruits of the harvests that reach our tables. As NOFA/Mass explores the theme Food As Medicine throughout 2019, we will kick off the year with the 32nd Annual Winter Conference on Saturday January 12, 2019, headlined by keynote speaker John Kempf.

Regenerative practices breathe life into our soils. These practices also bring nutrition, flavor and redemption to a landscape of food systems born from artificial methods – ones that fake nature’s majesty fairly well, but at great cost. Human health, environmental health and the health of our communities are all tied to our food system, and our soils. Nutrients in our food and carbon in our atmosphere meet in the realm of our soil. We as farmers, gardeners and land stewards can make a significant impact and contribution to the regeneration of depleted soils and systems. We hope you can join us for the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference where together we will learn methods of growing and preparing healthy and heathful foods at any scale – from fire escape containers to production-scale acreage.

John Kempf, founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture (AEA), is deeply knowledgeable in soil science, plant nutrition and agricultural methods on a small and large scale. The moment John begins speaking about soil and plant nutrition the literal depth of knowledge he possesses is impossible to miss. He backs up his claim that “healthy crops do not require chemical treatments or genetic modifications” with a deep base of farms thriving by employing his methods and relying on AEA’s guidance.

Highly regarded by his peers, John is in a busy speaking phase, taking a leading role in regenerative/restorative practices. A highly sought after speaker, John is headlining many agricultural conferences and workshops for both organic and conventional organizations across the country and world. And you can get a taste of what he has to offer by searching the AEA Website for his many podcasts and webinars on the topic of plant nutrition.


As always the conference will be loaded with talented and experienced growers presenting workshops and exhibiting at our trade show. Workshop tracks this year will include Farming, Gardening, Homesteading, Season Extension, No-Till Farming, Beekeeping & Pollinators, Agroforestry & Perennial Crops, Food as Medicine, and Farming & Climate Change. Here is just a small sample of some of the great workshops that will be on this year’s schedule:

  • The Evolving No-Till Farm with Julie Rawson (Many Hands Organic Farm)
  • The Climate Battery Greenhouse: Planning, Installation & Resourcing with Jim Schultz (Red Shirt Farm)
  • Winter Sowing with Carrie Novak (Partridgeville Farm)
  • Systems & Methods of Regenerative Farming for Carrots & Lettuce with Jen Salinetti (Woven Roots Farm)
  • Small-scale Propagation of Native Plants from Seed with Adam Kohl (Kohl Gardens)
  • Emerging Perennial Crops for New England Farms & Making New Perennial Crops Profitable with Connor Stedman (Appleseed Permaculture)
  • Integrating Nitrogen Fixing Plants in an Edible Forest Setting with Dani Baker (Cross Island Farm)
  • Balancing Vegetable Growth in a time of Climate Disruption with Bryan O’Hara (Tobacco Road Farm, New Lebanon CT)
  • Adapting to Climate Change on Vegetable and Berry Farms, with Alissa White (University of Vermont)
  • Tune In to the Secret Garden of Your Gut Microbiome with Heather Wise (Author of the book A Gut Feeling)
  • The Power and Opportunities of Allying with Medicinal Mushrooms with Willie Crosby (Fungi Ally)
  • Histories of Health Foods: Learning from the Past with Cathy Stanton (Tufts University)
  • Learn To Make Herbal Tinctures & Salves with Diana Phillips (Holistic Healer)

Check back at soon to see the list grow!

Registration opens on October 15. There will be scholarships available until funds are exhausted. We hope you’ll mark your calendar and join us on January 12 for another amazing Winter Conference! Find out more at


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