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

Policy Update, January 2019

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2019 January Issue Newsletter

Farm Bill Passes and it’s not terrible

On December 20th, the President signed the long-awaited 2018 Farm Bill. After the hyper-partisan House version was rejected, the final compromise was much closer to the bipartisan Senate version: a win for democracy and for the organic movement! As our partners at the National Organic Coalition explain, “The boost in funding for organic research and the provisions enhancing organic import enforcement are cause for celebration in the organic community. The bill also continues funding and authority for the organic certification cost-share program, a program that provides partial reimbursement for rising organic certification costs and is especially important for small and mid-size operations.

“The bill, however, contains deeply troubling provisions that impose statutory changes on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the USDA advisory board responsible for keeping toxic substances out of organic production and processing. NOC stands in strong opposition to these NOSB provisions,” The NOC statement continues. You can read the full press release from NOC, here.

Also of particular note: included in the massive 2018 Farm Bill was a provision which legalizes industrial hemp across the country. This is big news for farmers across the country who may benefit greatly from entering this potentially lucrative market.

NOFA/Mass helps launch the Northeast Sustainable Hemp Association

At our all-day seminar “Farmscale Hemp Production for Flower, Grain & Oil” at Hampshire College on Nov. 19th 2018, several of the attendees connected and came up with some fantastic ideas for collaboration in an effort to scale up CBD hemp production in the region. NOFA/Mass is proud to work with this growing coalition of individuals and groups to form the Northeast Sustainable Hemp Association!

Hemp will soon be legal nationwide, and Massachusetts already started a hemp program in April 2018. Unfortunately the current program limits the participation of Massachusetts farmers in this growing economy. This coalition of sustainable hemp advocates is calling on supporters to contact their state legislators to urge bold leadership to help Massachusetts farmers grow hemp in 2019.

Please visit this website to learn more and to contact your state legislators to urge them to be a leader for hemp regulations reform in Massachusetts.

 

 

“All ‘Cides” local organizing network launches across the state

 

More than 50 local leaders from communities across the state joined us on our two launch calls on December 13th to talk about how we can work together to support local organizing to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides (more generally termed “biocides” - “destructive of life”) and to promote pollinator habitats. NOFA/Mass is excited to partner with the Toxics Action Center, Beyond Pesticides, Friends of the Earth, Regeneration Massachusetts and the Western Mass. Pollinator Habitats Network on this collaborative organizing campaign.

 

This partnership is all about equipping local activists with the tools they need to pass town resolutions to reduce or ban pesticides and protect pollinators in their communities. Our monthly calls will help us share resources and ideas and pair up mentor/mentee relationships with groups across the state. As a network, we can leverage our collective genius and coordinate our efforts.

 

When one of us wins, we all win. We’d like to celebrate the most recent victory: Congratulations to local leader Laura Kelly of POCCA (Protecting our Cape Cod Aquifer) and the town of Chatham, for it’s recent move to eliminate the use of glyphosate on municipal properties!  Check out this interactive map of earlier victories won across the state and the country (achieved in several cases with the help of NOFA members like you). We have so much good work to build upon with a new sense of momentum.

 

If you’d like to get in on the action and join or start organizing efforts in your community, contact NOFA/Mass Policy Director, Marty Dagoberto at marty@nofamass.org

 

New legislative session starts on Beacon Hill!

Please stay tuned for action alerts about our policy priorities for the 2019-20 Massachusetts state legislative session, which starts on January 2nd, 2019. We will need your help to ask legislators to sign on to our two top priority bills once they are filed: the Pollinator Protection Act and the Healthy Soils Bill, as well as other coalition efforts which will arise in coming weeks.

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