Newsletter Introduction – February 2021

Christy’s cow, Shine, at full term pregnancy

By Jocelyn Langer, NOFA/Mass Executive Director 

With a successful online Winter Conference behind us, a policy victory with the passage of the Healthy Soils Bill, and what looks to be a banner year for the NOFA Tri-State Bulk Order in full swing, 2021 is off to a strong start for NOFA/Mass. This is good news for us as an organization, and especially helpful to me personally as I prepare to step back a bit for a maternity leave in March and April. For the past week I’ve been following NOFA/Mass Communications Director, Christy Bassett’s updates on her pregnant cow, Shine’s impending delivery and feeling a certain affinity for the animal. Fortunately, I know I’ll be leaving NOFA/Mass in good hands during my absence, with six highly capable department directors, a devoted staff, and an active and attentive board of directors.

The new NOFA/Mass Resilient Garden Online Series begins Tuesday February 16, 2021.

Looking ahead to the year’s educational programming, our Summer Conference plans await feedback from all of you, and hinge on pandemic trends, but we’re aiming for a hybrid event that offers both an in-person gathering and remote programming. In the meantime, we are confident that the NOFA community is ready and eager for our online Resilient Garden series this spring. This free series of practical, seasonally relevant gardening guidance was tremendously well received last year, and we expect it to be even more popular this year, as last year’s upswell of pandemic gardeners seek advice to launch an even more successful growing season heading into year two of COVID-19. If the recent spike in Bulk Order participation is any indication, Massachusetts farmers and gardeners are already building momentum and ambitiously planning ahead for new growth during this season of hibernation and reflection.

I am especially excited that plans are underway for offering more bilingual educational events this year: Our first step is the translation of some of our

Shine meets her new baby, Mouse, on Tuesday February 2, 2021.

Winter Conference workshop videos into Spanish for our YouTube channel, at the request of a bilingual farmers’ cooperative whose members are particularly interested in soil health. Step two will be to offer some upcoming virtual events with live Spanish interpretation via Zoom, including an Intro to Soil Health with Caro Roszell in February, and Choosing Mineral and Biological Amendments with Laura Davis and Marco Thomas in MarchOur ultimate goal will be to offer conference workshop tracks directly in Spanish, led by members of our Spanish speaking networks. I don’t often get to put my background in translation to work for NOFA/Mass, but I’m glad to see this long-term dream coming to fruition!

As I start making checklists in the countdown to my maternity leave, I am pleased that my first 6 months as Executive Director at NOFA/Mass have felt smooth, productive, and inspiring, and have paved the way for plenty of room for growth upon my return. Still feeling empathy as I look back at last week’s Facebook photos of Christy’s pregnant cow, I am uplifted by her follow-up documentation of her new calf. Christy is pleased to announce that Shine gave birth to an adorable calf named Mouse on Tuesday, February 2nd.

NOFA/Mass Executive Director, Jocelyn Langer