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

Food As Medicine - Winter Conference Registration Now Open

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts November Issue Newsletter

By Jason Valcourt, Winter Conference Coordinator, and Caro Roszell, Winter Conference Workshop Coordinator

If our soil could talk, what would it tell us this year? Have we taxed it for yield, or helped to build a thriving ecosystem that naturally supports a bountiful harvest? Have we become more skillful in fostering the plant-soil-microbe connection this year? Did our plants push through the yo-yo temperatures and the soggy August and the fungal pressure and the days without sun-- or did they succumb to rot and disease? These are the natural reflections of us garden dwellers that are nourished by our love of plants, soil, animals. and the community it draws us near.

The season of gathering is upon us; those lessons we’ve gathered this year, held in the back of our mind, or captured on scrap paper crumpled in the bin of tomato clips or under the pile of seed catalogs-- it’s time to collect our thoughts and bring them to share with others. Some will aid the biological wellness of our systems, and others will assist us in keeping peace of mind amid next year’s dry weather or inundation, the late frosts or unseasonable warmth that brings the garlic up early. The connections we make, the tips and tricks and hacks that we glean-- these will help us weather the storms that are to come.

Please join us at the 32nd Annual NOFA/Mass Winter Conference on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at Worcester State University. The annual NOFA/Mass Winter Conference is a rich and fertile place to process the lessons of your season and learn across production scales, growing styles, and disciplines to build skills, share ideas, and make new connections.

Conference Updates

  • Keynote and Intensives
  • Workshops
  • Family Alert!
  • Farmer’s Marketplace
  • Job Fair
  • Seed Swap
  • Registration and Scholarships

Our keynote speaker, John Kempf, is guiding farmers and gardeners all over the globe in deep soil management. We are excited for his keynote and all-day intensive seminar alongside Christie Higginbottom’s Planning a Traditional Four-Square Kitchen Garden and Alex Dorr’s Mushrooms as Medicine: Growing Culinary and Medicinal Fungi.  Learn more about our intensive seminars here.

In our general program, we have over 60 workshops on a wide array of farming, homesteading, gardening, permaculture and herbalism topics. This year’s theme, Food As Medicine, is represented in a robust track with at least two workshops per session on this topic. Workshops on Food As Medicine include:

  • Home Remedies from Common Garden Plants (Anna Muhammad)
  • Making Bone Broth and Tallow for Health and Taste (Joan Walker)
  • Tune In to the Secret Garden of Your Gut Microbiome (Heather Wise)
  • The Power and Opportunities of Allying with Medicinal Mushroom (Willie Crosby)
  • Herbal Ghee: Debunking the Myths of Fat & Realizing its Medicine (Hannah Jacobson-Hardy)

We will also offer a full track on Soil Health & Fertility, which of course deeply impacts the quality and nutrient density of the crops grown-- just a few of the workshops in this track include:

  • The Evolving No-Till Farm (Julie Rawson)
  • No-Till Tomatoes in the Intensive Small Farm (Joy Gary)
  • The Hows and Whys of Fungal Friendly Farming (Jack Kittredge)
  • Balancing Plant Nutrition in a Time of Climate Disruption (Bryan O’Hara)
  • Systems & Methods of Regenerative Farming for Carrots & Lettuce (Jen Salinetti)
  • Tuning Up Nature with Trace Minerals - Advanced Workshop (Derek Christianson)

We will also have tracks on Agroforestry, Permaculture, Season Extension, Food Justice, Herbalism and Beekeeping & Insect Conservation. Check back at the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference webpage for a full program.

Family Alert! If you are a parenting farmer/gardener, the conference just became more cost friendly as we’ve reduced the cost of admission for children and teens to $10, which includes lunch! We want you to bring your entire NOFA family of all ages to experience and enjoy the conference together. Our youth conference is a vibrant experience for young ones 3-12 with games, crafts, activities and actual workshops with garden/farm educators. Teens are welcome to enjoy the adult workshops, films, live music and the conference atmosphere. They’re going to love it!


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