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

Summer Conference Planning Progress Update Food, Live Music and Workshops Oh My!

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

By Jason Valcourt, NOFA Summer Conference Coordinator

August will be here before we know it! Will you be at Hampshire College August 9-11, 2019 for a rejuvenating and fun reprieve from farm work to sink into a weekend of quality time, live music, great food and amazing workshops with your NOFA family?

If you’re ready now you can register for the conference workshops, housing and meals online. Early bird rates are in effect until June 30th! Remember, all NOFA members save 20% at checkout with the code sent in an email from your chapter approximately May 1st. Check your inbox (and spam folder) for the discount code! Fees for registration, housing and meals can be found on our Registration Page.  

Conference Updates

The new and improved NOFA Country Fair will be packed with food, fun and activities for all agesWe are pulling together a perfect way to spend Saturday afternoon at the conference with our NOFA Country Fair. The fair is full of FREE games and activities for the entire family.  Highlights of this family fun event include a kids parade, storytelling and activities with The Eric Carle Museum, music by Valley Rebirth Soul band, visiting with the animals, food trucks from Holyoke Hummus, Crooked Stick Pops and Sun Kim Bop Korean street food, plus old fashioned games, food and farm demos. Make plans to come out and join the fun--there is something for everyone to enjoy!!!

Meal planning at the Hampshire Dining Commons run by Bon Appetit has begun as they prepare to feed roughly 800-900 of us hungry farmers the second weekend of August. Bon Appetit does a fantastic job sourcing locally and organically for our weekend and always delivers delicious and creative fare.

The final workshop scheduling of over 130 workshops has been polished off by our workshop coordinator Hannah Blackmer, a process that began at the Request for Proposals deadline on 12/31/18. This year’s lineup will highlight our theme Nutrition Matters from the wide-ranging perspectives of soil nutrition to animal and human health. Our keynote speaker, Wild Fermentation author Sandor Katz, leads us into the world of the microbiome and the nourishing, practical strategies of fermentation. Sandor’s decades of experimentation and his fascination with all things fermented has brought him around the world to learn, as well as teach, about the value and importance that fermentation plays in our diets and our wellness. Enjoy this recent article featuring Sandor for an endearing story of one person’s family fermentation lineage.

Also highlighted at the conference is the progressive world of Hemp cultivation after 80 years of exclusion as a legal crop in U.S. agriculture. Huge tongue in cheek thanks to Sonny Perdue for pushing that through and beginning the process of regenerating the healthy hemp market that once dominated the landscape of U.S. agriculture. And, did you know that Hemp History Week is recognized from June 3-9? Check out this article from Education Director, Caro Roszell.

IFOAM Summit

Have you heard of IFOAM? Well, now is the time! IFOAM is International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, better known as “IFOAM - Organics International”. It has positioned itself as the worldwide umbrella organization for the organic agriculture movement, which represents close to 800 affiliates in 117 countries. NOFA has joined as a member of the recently formed IFOAM North America chapter.

We are looking forward to hosting the IFOAM - Organics International community as they hold their IFOAM awards summit at the conference as part of our workshop program. The Summit will be comprised of two interactive panel discussions, each preceded by an introductory presentation from a keynote speaker, which will address the ‘Role of Innovation’ and ‘Nurturing a Culture of Improvement’, looking at how innovations can address increasing health and environmental concerns, whilst factoring in the needs of farmers and consumers.

IFOAM - Organics International will be leading activities during several workshop slots at the Conference on Saturday, which all conference attendees are welcome to attend (no special registration pass is needed).

Read more about IFOAM at the conference here.


On Saturday we will be offering two half-day intensives. Keynoter Sandor Katz - fermentation revivalist, author, and James Beard award recipient - will be offering up the simple secrets behind creating your own delicious fermented products, such as kimchi and kraut. Whether you want to add value to produce from your farm or are interested in having a steady supply of homemade healthful fermented foods, you won’t want to miss joining Sandor for this workshop.

Also on Saturday, explore the art of flower farming with Luke Franco and Jenny Elliot of Tiny Hearts Flower farm, a 15 acre cut flower operation in Copake, NY. Discover ways to incorporate cut flowers into any farm, no matter the size or style! They’ll cover the nitty gritty of what plants can be started from seed versus what and where to get starts, planting and maintenance, and even how to cut flowers for the most blooms and best stem length.

On Sunday there are two more deep dives to choose from. Guido Mase (RH, AHG), a whole plant herbalist from Burlington, VT and chief herbalist at Urban Moonshine, will provide an in-depth introduction to herbal medicine through lecture and practical work. Harvest, storage, extraction, and processing for basic internal and topical preparations will help provide you with a foundation for herbal medicine as a component of homestead gardens and self-care.

Alternatively, choose field to market CBD hemp cultivation with Brendan Beer, a cannabis grower out of Greensboro, VT. Be on the forefront of production as this crop gains more traction in the region. Brendan will offer insight from genetics to harvest and extraction, and everything in between. Again, you can read more about Hemp History Week (June 3-9) in this article from Education Director, Caro Roszell.

You can find more details about the other exciting activities offered at the NOFA Summer Conference this year (like The Teen Summit, Children’s Conference, Saturday evening plenary with Kris Nichols, and more) on our website.

Register Now!
If you’re ready, you can register for the conference online and take advantage of our Early Bird rates until June 30th.

Own a Business?

We are accepting applications for weekend long vendor spaces, advertisers for our conference program book and sponsors for the entire event!  Download the vendor/advertiser/sponsor application or contact for more info.

Registration Scholarships

Through the massive generosity from our grassroots community- offering donations of small and large amounts- we have the great good fortune to offer 10 weekend registration scholarships to first time conference goers. If you know of a new farmer that would like to attend the conference for the first time, please share this newsletter article with them!

We are also able to offer partial scholarships for Beginning Farmers (under 10 years farming) that want to come enjoy the weekend. Please apply on our scholarships page now!

Happy summer!


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