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

Join NOFA/Mass

Membership is not just for farmers.

 

Farmers

"[Organic farming] ... for anyone who likes to feed others and play in the dirt."

- Julie Rawson
Executive Director, NOFA/Mass

NOFA/Mass offers a tremendous number of resources for farmers and growers of all stripes: the Organic Food Guide, the NOFA Summer Conference, the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference, Advanced Growers' Seminars, a variety of Education Events, the annual Spring Bulk Order, a Beginning Farmer/Journeyperson Program, the Raw Milk Network, and our ongoing Policy work to improve conditions for farming in Massachusetts by supporting appropriate regulations to assure safe access to markets as well as freshness and maximum nutritional value.

The most recognized "father" of organic farming is Sir Albert Howard. Howard was trained in the Justus von Liebig "school" of conventional agriculture in the late 1800's. Von Liebig's paper titled "Chemistry in its Application to Agriculture" in 1843 was the signature event that moved the world into the N-P-K fertility mindset. While working with indigenous farmers in India in the early 1900's, Sir Albert Howard came to realize that traditional methods of farming were necessary to keep crops and people healthy. These passages from The Soil and Health (published in 1947) sum up the organic system quite beautifully.

"Mother earth never attempts to farm without livestock; she always raises mixed crops; great pains are taken to preserve the soil and to prevent erosion; the mixed vegetable and animal wastes are converted into humus; there is no waste; the processes of growth and the processes of decay balance one another; ample provision is made to maintain large reserves of fertility; the greatest care is taken to store the rainfall; both plants and animals are left to protect themselves against disease."

He argued that all farming must not fall pray to the temptation to turn the reserves of humus into a short term profit at the expense of later generations. He saw the variety of life above and below ground as emblematic of the great "Wheel of Life" that through "the successive and repeated processes of birth, growth, maturity, death, and decay" feeds and sustains the life on the planet. In a departure from the conventional thinking of the day, he thought of diseases and insects not as a scourge to be wiped out with poisons, but as teachers and friends that show him where the processes of growth and decay are out of balance.

Events Of Interest

February 26, 2018 - 1:00pm to 4:30pm

Join NOFA/Mass and Berkshire Agricultural Ventures for this workshop spotlighting innovations in season extension and connect growers with appropriate grants, loans, and technical assistance providers in the Northeast. Topics include planning and installing a Climate Battery (an innovative heat transfer system) under a greenhouse, using renewable fuels to heat greenhouse benches via hot water cycling, and efficient and effective methods for constructing and moving caterpillar tunnels.  Participants will also receive an update from NRCS representatives on application process and status of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and other resources available to support farmers in extending the harvest season.  

February 27, 2018 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

At the heart of the organic movement is a continued effort to sustain and regenerate our natural resources.  In this webinar we'll discuss the role of soil testing for making informed fertility decisions on organic farms and gardens.  We'll review the role of soil mineralization and organic matter, including "ENR" (Estimated Nitrogen Release), as you develop a Nitrogen Budget for your fields this year.

March 3, 2018 - 9:00am to 1:00pm, March 10, 2018 - 9:00am to 1:00pm

In this two-part series, seasoned beekeeper Angela Röell will provide a strong grounding in organic beekeeping. From bee anatomy, social structure and nutritional needs to hive equipment and annual tasks, participants will learn everything they need to know to integrate honeybees into their homesteads or farms. Participants may attend one or both sessions.

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