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

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Events

Increasing Production by reducing tillage

On July 14, NOFA/Mass held a Soil Health Field Day in collaboration with Gaining Ground in Concord Mass. It was the first of six on-farm workshops to be held over the next three years as part of a project entitled “Organic No-Till on Northeast Farms: A Practical Exploration of Successful Methods.” This project is funded by a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant Project. Led by NOFA/Mass in partnership with CT NOFA and NOFA-NJ, the project involves 9 farmer-innovators in three states who are working assiduously to trial and establish effective, scale-appropriate tillage reduction methods on their certified organic farms. (For more information about the project and the other farmers involved, check out the Project Webpage).

2019 SC logo

Starting onions in the heated tunnel seems like ages ago and the row covers have now been stowed away till autumn. With the Solstice now passed, summer has fully blossomed to bring this cherished season of long days for working in the garden deep into the evening. It is in this season that all the early mornings, the heavy lifting, the logistical irrigation and production puzzles we constantly solve for come full circle and we get to reap the rewards of our effort.

Aaaand, we absolutely love it. We love to see our nutritious, hard-earned products getting scooped up for dinners and weekend parties. So much has gone into the production it is now time to reap the rewards. The fruit is ripening. The plants are in full expression of their character and the land is teeming with diversity and life that we have helped steward. With every sale and every zucchini and tomato gifted to neighbors throughout the season we add to the momentum of putting reliably good food into the world -each farm and every garden fully functioning to do its part as one straw in this enormous broom of the organic movement.

Farm Manager Steve Munno explains his BCS-mounted implements for tillage-reduced farming

Farm Manager Steve Munno explains his BCS-mounted implements for tillage-reduced farming

Last month, CT NOFA held the first in a series of Soil Health Field Days to be held during the growing season of 2019 by NOFA Chapters across the Northeast. These on-farm events feature farmers who are innovating in organic approaches to increasing soil health and fertility.

Steve Munno, Farm Manager at Massaro Farm and Board member of CT NOFA, led participants on a tour of the farm, providing detailed descriptions of his cover cropping experiments and challenges. He also discussed and showed off his fields where he is trialing the use of silage tarps as a stale-seed bedding method and showed each piece of equipment used in his reduced-till fields, and explained the rationale behind a switch from plastic to the many-times-more expensive Weed Guard Plus for his tractor-mounted mulch layer.

Summer Conference Planning

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.  

Summer Conference 2019 Update

It’s getting warm and Spring has officially sprung here at the NOFA Summer Conference headquarters. We have a fun, educational and exciting weekend in store for you for this coming August. With Sandor Katz as our keynote speaker and offering an intensive workshop on Saturday morning, a deep lineup of talented presenters, and an incredible group of local artisans and musicians, we are in for a very dynamic conference once again. With our new two-day format, the weekend is sure to be a potent experience.

This year you can join us for a mixer on Friday night to kick off the conference weekend, relax with live music and take the opportunity to shake your booty or just have some good ol’ friendly conversation. Our Friday night music will be brought to you by local superstars The Gaslight Tinkers and there will be local adult beverages for your taste buds. Some of you might remember this band from a few years ago as the contradance band. There will not be a formal contradance this year, but no one will stop you from grabbing a partner and spinning around the floor.

2019 summer conference

New two day conference schedule packs a punch

Each year, as the organizer of the NOFA Summer Conference-- the conference that serves the seven chapters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association-- I travel to as many of the NOFA chapter Winter Conferences as I possibly can.

For the last two months I have been lucky to enjoy the amazing education and positive vibes at each of our sister chapters’ winter gatherings. I’ve caught up with many folks that will be presenting at the NOFA Summer Conference this year, had interesting discussions with farmers and food activists and have made many new friends. I had a great conversation with Jim at Land For Good about the serious business of farm transitions and how many in our NOFA community are currently deep into that difficult work on their own farms. I left with the hope that over the years, farmers of all ages will begin to build their farm transition into their farm vision as much as they are building their soil health and production capacities.

Doug Cook, NOFA/Mass Education Events Coordinator

Please join NOFA/Mass in welcoming Doug Cook to the staff as the new Education Events Coordinator.

Doug brings ample and diverse experience and knowledge to this position, having worked previously as an experiential educator, program manager, farmer/gardener and permaculture designer.

For several years, Doug served as the Education Director for Land’s Sake Farm where he grew the educational offerings of the non-profit farm, increasing community participation and providing a varied array of on-farm learning for all ages.

Healthy Dinner

Mid-Summer CSA share from a Massachusetts Organic Farm. Enjoy a local, organic dinner with fellow organic activists

Join NOFA/Mass community members at the Post-Conference Dinner following a full day of workshops at the Winter Conference! All proceeds from this event go to support NOFA/Mass.

Starting at 6pm, the Annual Post-Conference Dinner will begin with a keynote address from Scott and Erica Muhammed, Co-Directors of SEED (Students for Education Development in Tuskegee, Alabama). This will be followed by a delicious, locally sourced, organic dinner created by the chefs at Worcester State University. Take this opportunity to continue conversations from the conference and network with like-minded individuals over food and drink.

Field of Hemp

Dr. Heather Darby, inspecting a hemp crop ready for harvest at the UVM research field. Image by Monica Donovan for Heady Vermont.

The knowledge of agricultural hemp production, once a common and lucrative crop in Massachusetts, has skipped over more than a generation of farmers. For the past 81 years it was illegal to grow, leading to the loss of local strains of crop genetics, regionalized cultural practices, and an interruption in the handing down of crop knowledge from parent to child and farmer to apprentice. With a new Massachusetts policy authorizing the commercial production of sun-grown agricultural hemp in the state, local farmers are interested in integrating agricultural hemp into their farm businesses.

This is why NOFA/Mass is presenting a full-day intensive workshop on growing agricultural hemp in the Northeast on November 19 in Amherst. The focus of this particular workshop is growing a hemp crop through flower into the seed phase for farmers wishing to produce an oil, seed or grain crop. We will cover genetics, soil preparation, fertility needs, pest and disease management, harvesting and extracting CBD oil on the farm with an eye to what the proper harvest windows and crop quality should be for a legal, marketable product.

crops in field

Rows of crops at Woven Roots Farm.

On November 4 NOFA/Mass folks of all sorts will be gathering to walk, run, cheer each other on, and share in a delicious farm food potluck to raise money for our high-quality organic food and farming educational programming and policy work. We are looking for team members and hope you will join us!

Your support will help us continue to bring in experts in agronomy, herbalism, nutrition, and food preservation and preparation, as we work to further our organizational literacy around soil carbon sequestration and its relationship to human and planetary health , all accomplished in our unique grass-roots, each one, teach one way.

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