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

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Summer Conference

Event, Summer Conference

April might have been a cold, slow month, but May came running in like a freight train! Here we are in June, summer upon us, trying to make heads or tails of what happened this spring. Unpredictable weather patterns – from record temperature lows to record temperature highs, from droughts to freak wind storms – raise the difficulty level of farming a notch every year. It’s easy to feel isolated in these challenges; it seems that every farm has its own individual micro-climate throwing us all into our own siloed chaos.

The good news is that there are folks out there, from every corner of the Northeast, willing to share their experiences in battling this chaos. New techniques are debuted, and old techniques are also demonstrated to be tried and true. Resilience comes from building soils through regenerative farming practice, dedicated cover cropping, and an improved knowledge of what happens beneath our feet. You can learn all of this, and much, much, much more, from our presenters at the NOFA Summer Conference!

On the precipice of summer getting into full swing, things are warming up quickly, plants have doubled in size since mid-May and we are about to set sail across the hotter months. As we know, this means something different altogether these days: summer is becoming a wild card alike for the humans, animals, and bacteria and fungi that support our ecosystem. So many growers are making headway with fruitful systems that support life on all levels; microscopic, local and global. If we take a step back, we see ourselves building upon the work of the original organic movement, taking that momentum and moving far beyond the now tired and banal discussions of climate change and chemical usage. NOFA and its allies charge forward in the race to reduce and reverse the effects of carbon emissions on earth.

Greg Disterhoft

Greg will be running a NOFA/Mass education event Growing and Processing Medicinal Herbs on June 25 in Sunderland, MA. In preparation for his workshop, I interviewed Greg back in April to find out a little more about him and his operation. 

The demand for local, organic herbs is rapidly growing with the revival of herbalism and integrated medicine. This workshop will provide an overview of what it takes to grow and manage a successful herbal market garden. Full Kettle Farm’s Greg Disterhoft will walk us through soil, light & water requirements, cool and warm season herbs, annuals vs. perennials, transplanting, harvesting, fertility, and the maintenance of a variety of herbs. Greg will demonstrate how he propagates and cultivates a wide array of herbs (including high value herbs like ashwagandha, astragalus, tulsi, and clary sage).

Jack, Ronnie and Rattan Lal

In late February a number of us received invitations to a May 3 – 5 conference outside Paris titled, “Sequestering Carbon in Soil – Addressing the Climate Threat”. The invitations came from a small consulting firm called Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions that had been tracking individuals and groups active on the carbon sequestration issue. They had put together funding from several non-profit sources for a gathering to:

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