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

As the Four Tops sang in their epic and iconic song, I’ll be there/Reach Out, the NOFA Summer Conference is planning to be here in spite of this COVID-19 disruption and we are happy to be bringing the conference online. We know it is important that you have access to up-to-the-minute resources this year to keep your self-sufficiency skills tuned up and stay connected throughout the summer.

As you may know, this year’s conference will be held as a series of webinars via Zoom and other platforms. The new Summer Conference dates are July 20 - August 9, 2020 and registration is open at this link. Registration options are available for those who wish to attend live and in person, as well as for those that would like to purchase the video recordings only and watch post-conference, on your own time.

In celebration of the Massachusetts dairy farmers who dedicate their early mornings to milking, spend the hottest days of the year in the hay field, and slip their mud boots on at midnight to deliver new calves, we’d like to thank them for their tireless efforts. 

If you have cow fever too, and are thinking about improving upon your existing dairy operation, trying your hand at cheesemaking, or are simply curious about what our local dairy farmers are doing to care for the earth while feeding our community, we have some exciting educational opportunities coming up for you. 

Members are the heart of our organization, and we are celebrating you all month this April. If you’re currently a member of NOFA/Mass, thank you! Perhaps you’d consider giving the gift of membership to a friend, family member, or farmer you know. Or, perhaps you would like to donate a membership but don’t have someone specific in mind. We can quickly find a home for your generous gift. In addition to inviting others to join as NOFA/Mass through gift memberships, this is also a great time to think about upgrading your own membership to a higher level, if you’re able.  See the many available options on the membership page of our website.

 

Why Do We Graze?

Humans literally evolved to follow other animals around and participate in their environmental systems. There is no wonder we have devoted a huge portion of our society to domesticating animals; we are holding on to the partnership that has historically provided sustenance.  Unfortunately, we are currently working in a system that displaces the true meaning of our relationship with livestock by reducing it to an economic transaction. 

Many livestock farmers know-- and the research is increasingly backing them up-- that animals thrive when they have access to quality pasture and are managed in a manner that stimulates their natural behaviors. Moved regularly through diverse pastures, livestock can transform the landscape.

Looking ahead to August 7-9, 2020- at the 46th Annual NOFA Summer Conference we will celebrate the theme “Climate Solutions are Grown in Soil” with keynote speaker Tim LaSalle. Tim is the Co-Founder of The Center for Regenerative Agriculture at the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico, CA.  

In the winter issue of The Natural Farmer we interviewed Tim and are enthusiastic to follow his exploration into why biology and No to Low-till systems seem to be the most efficient and profitable and also have great abilities to capture carbon on small and large scales. As Tim told us, “we need every farmer to solve the crisis we find ourselves in”. This is our belief as well, and we look forward to having Tim join us in August. 

New Webinar

Inspiring Ideas from Experts in The Field is entering its 4th season.  This year, the education menu for our viewers continues to grow and bring new presenters and exciting topics.  This year NOFA/Mass will focus on pollinators, the connection between healthy food and healthy bodies, and the repair of damaged soils in urban settings.  Here are some of our spring webinar offerings:

Butterflies enjoying native flowers Photo credit: Caro Roszell

Communities across Massachusetts are standing up and taking action against toxic biocides and the dangers they pose to all living things-- from the smallest insect to those of us at the top of the food chain. Local leaders and concerned citizens are mounting a defense of the vulnerable members of our ecosystems, from the Statehouse to the schoolyard. 

With a raft of bills on pesticide reduction and pollinator protection before the state legislature (Pollinator Protection Act (Neonic Restrictions), Neonic Ban, Local Option on Pesticides, Protect Schoolchildren from Pesticides, Restrict Glyphosate use on Public Lands, Glyphosate Ban, Protect Groundwater from Pesticides) and with 29 Massachusetts communities that have already established some level of municipal action on pesticide reduction/pollinator protection, there is no better time to join the movement to protect our ecosystems and our health!

Register now and save $10 off walk-in rates!

What’s in store for the most amazing conference of the New Year?

One amazing keynote speaker. 

Award winning journalist, Carey Gillam’s daily actions to expose the corruption of the Bayer/Monsanto conglomerate are so astoundingly brave and forthright we can’t wait to hear from her at our keynote address. If by chance you don’t approve of the Bayer/Monsanto behemoth, you’ll be glad to know that Carey is a relentless watchdog, calling out the lies and deception at every turn. Her Twitter feed is stacked with fact checking and general calling out of the barrage of misinformation Bayer/Monsanto has continuously promoted in the face overwhelming public health concerns and a growing line of illnesses and lawsuits. We hope you’ll join us for the latest insights from Carey’s work!

If you are a farmer, you have probably looked down an endless row of weeding to be done and sighed. Never-ending and daunting tasks pop up all over the farm and garden. As a matter of fact, they pop up in everyone’s life, no matter if you have an apartment in the city or 30 acres in the country. Washing dishes, folding laundry, putting up cans of tomatoes- heck, even long drives can leave us feeling lonely. Now think of the times that you have set out to finish a chore or a drive and had a few good friends along. When you are talking and laughing, sharing stories and knowledge, it can make the time you are elbow deep in the dishwater or at the beginning of a long row of weedy onions fly by. Well, guess what? If you subscribe to the NOFA/Mass Podcast you will have fabulous farmy friends in your headphones whenever you want!

Listening to a podcast is a great way to pass the time when you are working solo, and if you choose to listen to the NOFA/Mass podcast you will get to hang out with some of our favorite people as they chat about all sorts of farmy topics. 

Dan Kittredge, Founder of the Bionutrient Food Association, will give a short keynote speech at the Food for Thought Dinner

As an organic farmer that grew up in the organic movement, Dan Kittredge is well-versed in growing food without the use of chemical pesticides and biocides.  But is food that is grown organically inherently healthier than conventional food?  Dan’s on a mission to find out.

“When I started trying to make a living farming, I realized that one of the reasons we [as farmers] were struggling was that our plants were unhealthy.” recalled Kittredge.  Unhealthy plants produce a limited quantity of edible food and the quality of the food from these unhealthy plants does nothing to inspire consumers to buy more of it.  But what deems plants “healthy” and what causes them to be that way? 

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