By Jocelyn Langer, NOFA/Mass Executive Director 

sillouhettes of a group raising their arms against a sunsetForty participants making up five teams joined forces last month for our first ever virtual Human Health and Climate Action Challenge. Teams included Healthy Soils, Food as Medicine, Pollinator Protection, Become and Activist, and Physical Feat, and each member chose a goal relating to their team’s theme. With the challenge open until November 15th, we’ve met and even exceeded our $20,000 fundraising goal, but if you’ve been meaning to pitch in with your donation, now’s the time to visit our site and contribute whatever amount feels right for you. 

Our most popular and successful team this year was Team Healthy Soils, with eleven participants raising a total of $15,042. No wonder this team was such a powerhouse; it included NOFA/Mass President Laura Davis, along with last year’s champion fundraisers Mary DeBlois and retired Executive Director, Julie Rawson. Laura chose to focus on the “little farmers” that live in the soil: Last fall Laura applied a fall primer on half of her acreage at Long Life Farm in Hopkinton. This year her challenge is to apply the fall primer to her entire farm in order to increase biology in the soil. This will in turn increase the amount of carbon drawn down from the atmosphere, enable nutrients to be released, while at the same time promoting healthier food for the community. 

The five teams in this year’s challenge each represent different areas of interest to NOFA constituents, but at the same time each branch is interrelated. Laura’s healthy soil goal ties into the health goals of Team Food as Medicine. According to the team’s co-captain and Communications Director Christy Bassett of Barefoot All Natural Farm, “This challenge has really highlighted the ways that we can make food choices that foster a stronger, healthier future for ourselves and our world.” Executive Director Jocelyn Langer co-captained the team, with a goal of integrating local, organic greens into her diet three times per day, and Registration Coordinator Marjorie Bailey aimed to eat a diet of at least 80% organically, ethically, sustainably and/or locally grown food. Find Jocelyn’s recipes in her online photo album, and follow our hashtag #humanhealthandclimateaction to learn more about Marjorie and Christy’s favorite recipes 

Pollinator Protection team captain, Education Director Caro Roszell, summed up a key understanding within the NOFA community, explaining that, “Insects are the cornerstone of the visible realm of healthy living systems. Robust, biodiverse systems support more life. As we lose biological diversity, we lose ecosystem complexity– and ecosystem complexity is part of what helps ecosystems on earth absorb, convert, and hold carbon as biomass in the course of the global carbon cycle. The more we support rich, life-supporting, diverse landscapes wherever we live and work, the more carbon those landscapes will convert from CO2 to living things! 

Caro’s team drew on the resources that NOFA/Mass has built over many years educating about this topic, working closely with legislators to support the Pollinator Protection Act. Of course, this aspect of Pollinator Protection overlaps significantly with the goals of our Become and Activist team, captained by Policy Director Marty Dagoberto. To learn more about the Pollinator Protection Act, as well as other NOFA/Mass policy initiatives, visit our website. 

When we set out to reimagine our fall crowdfunding initiative under the realities of the pandemic, our goal was twofold: To raise funds for NOFA/Mass and to raise awareness of the many crucial issues that we educate and advocate for throughout the year. We’re still working on our fundraising goal at, and we’ll continue working to raise awareness on all of these important topics throughout 2021. We hope you’ll join in our 2021 programs!