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

April is Membership Month at NOFA/Mass. Three NOFA/Mass Membership Coordinators share their thoughts on membership

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

By Christy Bassett, Ryann Malone and Julie Rawson

Spring returns to Massachusetts this month and as we gear up for the busy growing season, we are also ramping up our annual Membership Drive at NOFA/Mass.  Last year you enthusiastically answered our call to make the commitment to become members for the first time, to renew your membership that may have lapsed, or to share the gift of membership with someone who could benefit from a relationship with the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter.  We added 33 new members to our community last April, bringing our community to a total of over 1,000 farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, landscapers, conscious consumers and food activists. 

We are grateful for your support and inspired by the rising number of citizens who are concerned with the health of the soil, our communities and the planet.  Perhaps even more of you will choose to join us as official members, sustaining donors, and/or active participants in our work this April.

To commemorate this second celebration of our members, we would like to share with you three perspectives from three of our current staff members- each who has assumed the role of Membership Coordinator at one point during their career here at NOFA/Mass, and each who is a current member and supporter of NOFA/Mass.

Left to right: Christy Bassett, Julie Rawson and Ryann MaloneJulie Rawson ~ NOFA/Mass Membership Coordinator 1985 – 1989

I found NOFA/Mass soon after Jack and I had moved to our land with our 4 very small children. Hungry for a farming community that believed in an organic agriculture, and hungry for any information we could get our hands on, we went to the annual meeting in 1984 and I got elected to the board! I took over management of membership as a volunteer, along with the bulk order. Now as the Executive Director of NOFA/Mass I still feel NOFA is my “university” where I connect with those who have the most breaking analysis on furthering the movement, my “playground” where I learn alongside of others how to be the best farmer possible, and my “church” where I go for inspiration on how to best navigate my daily way forward with integrity and appreciation for all living beings.

Christy Bassett ~ NOFA/Mass Membership Coordinator 2017 - 2019

The draw of the 2015 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference first brought me to NOFA.  We had a young family and wanted to feed our children better food than what we were used to.  We also felt the parental weight of needing to expand our knowledge in order to answer the many questions that our 4 year old had for us, like “where did this carrot come from?”, “how did it get there?” and “why does it help me grow?”  Parenthood can certainly make you question your abilities, but it also makes you more aware and invested in the state of the world.

So, for me, I came to NOFA for knowledge.  I wanted education on how to grow food, how to care for our new dairy animals, how the different species of plants and animals work together, and how to care for the land that our children played on.  I wanted to be able to provide for our family and ensure that the environment was stable enough to support their health into adulthood.

I found these things at NOFA/Mass.  I also found a community of people who wanted the same things.  It takes collaboration to form a movement, collect information and to share it.  NOFA/Mass has held strong to these beliefs and continues to educate and advocate for us.  It’s only right for me to pledge my commitment to this cause while I continue to learn, experiment and grow.

During my time as Membership Coordinator for NOFA/Mass I came to see how many different lives this organization has touched, how much it has meant for people in different ways, and also how much the members give back.  For many of us membership is not a burden or a bill to be paid.  It is a silent vow to support the organization that holds our best interests to heart and a reminder to make time to come to conferences, educational events and calls to action that empower us and the organic movement.

Ryann Malone ~ Membership Coordinator 2019 – present

I joined the NOFA/Mass team at the end of February 2019. I am very new and green with NOFA/Mass in both my personal and professional life. I am extremely excited for the benefits it will bring to my health, mind and soul. I am eager to learn as much as I can start to reap the benefits of an organic/healthy lifestyle.  In my few weeks here, I am in awe of the teamwork that is in place to keep this organization up and running. I witness such hard work, dedication, and people who really care about what they do. In addition, NOFA/Mass could not run the way it does without our members. Our members play such an intricate part in our organization. I look at our members as the hub of our organization that allows all of the things around the hub to take place. Because of our members, we are able to have numerous workshops and educational events to teach people just like me the value and benefit NOFA/Mass brings to the public. I say thank you to all of our current members, and encourage anyone who is not a member yet, to come join and be a part of something special.

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