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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Food Access

Home City Housing, Inc, a part of Housing Management Resources, provides low income housing to over 140 families in Springfield, MA.  Two of their developments; Tapley Court Apartments and Twiggs I and II are nestled within the Mason Square Community, an area in Springfield that is made up of several neighborhoods (Old Hill, Upper Hill, Bay-Mcknight and a portion of Maple Six Corners).  This section of the city is mostly Black and Brown and the families of these two housing sites represent the makeup of these neighborhoods.

In 2017, The Tapley Court Apartment Complex, one of the main Home City Housing sites, started a community garden for the families.  Tapley Court is home to 40 families, mostly of low income.  The Old Hill Bay area where it is located has a few small bodegas and a small store, but not a Stop and Shop, Shaw’s or Shoppers for families to purchase groceries.  Instead, the nearest stores are a 20 to 30 minute bus ride to another part of the city.  The families at Tapley Court wanted a place to grow some of their favorite foods and to shorten the drive/bus ride to the supermarket.  With help from the local community garden coordinator (from the Springfield Food Policy Council) and a generous grant from a construction contractor, the Community Garden was started with great fanfare and a large party.

Nutrition, Diabetes Management and Organic Gardening

Friends of the Homeless, located at the Worthington Street Homeless Shelter in Springfield, Massachusetts, held their Diabetes Initiative Workshops for shelter members every Tuesday at 755 Worthington Street last spring.  This season, the group wanted to include a garden; so, the sessions began outside with the small, impromptu garden created by the participants.  During the meetings, the group learned how organic gardening, healthy soil and healthy food can assist with controlling diabetes. During this class, the members were very excited about the budding cucumbers and small, green tomatoes that were appearing in the plot.

In this issue:

Hearing scheduled for multiple pesticide bills - November 12th

Concerned about the aerial spraying for mosquitoes? Let’s organize for solutions.

Seeking input on farmer access to HIP program

Hemp flower ban got you down? Seeking comments from farmers and advocates

To all those participating in the ongoing #ClimateStrike, we thank you!

Franklin Community Co-op has been a Silver level sponsor of NOFA/Mass since 2012 and has greatly supported our work of educating about and advocating for organic agriculture in Massachusetts.  Thank you!

For a local food lover, few places are as comforting to enter as a community co-op.  Bright vegetables highlight the shelves of the produce case, bulk coffee and grain bins line up in order at eye level, and familiar brands promise purchases that you can feel good about.

Sarah Kanabay, Outreach and Communications Manager for Franklin Community Co-op, shares the sentiment that community owned grocery co-ops are more than convenience stores to pick up necessities.

NOFA/Mass advocates for policies that bring us closer to our vision of healthy landscapes that feed our communities and restore our environment. Working with our statewide network of ecological farmers and gardeners, we organize for progress at the local, state and federal level. Our policy committee is working on a variety of issues, yet we need more active participation from our organic movement (that’s you)! To get involved, please contact marty@nofamass.org 

As the state legislature comes back from summer and the harvest season begins, our advocacy work to promote organic landscapes and healthy communities really picks up. We are grateful to have people across the state educating and organizing their communities to reduce pesticides and we have several state policy efforts that need your help.

 

ifoam logo

NOFA is honored to be hosting this year’s Organic Farming Innovation Award (OFIA) Summit on Saturday August 10  at the 2019 Summer Conference!  Founded in 1972 and with around 800 members in over 127 countries, IFOAM - Organics International represents the global organic movement. Its main activities include facilitating capacity development for sustainable production; raising awareness and acting as a resource center for organic communications; advocating for and supporting the creation of a policy environment conducive to positive change.

We are looking forward to hosting IFOAM - Organics International community members and are excited to learn from their organizers. IFOAM - Organics International will be leading activities during several workshop slots at the Conference on Saturday, which all conference attendees are welcome to attend (no special registration pass is needed).

Anna Gilbert-Muhammad inspecting the crop

This year, NOFA’s Food Access program has continued work in the Boston area with the MDAR Urban Specialty Crops grant with Groundwork Somerville and Trustees Boston at their Mattapan Site, City Natives.  The MDAR Specialty Crops grant has assisted NOFA/Mass with providing soil health education to increase crop yields for culturally appropriate produce that is often difficult to grow in the Northeast.  This is a 3 year project, which began in 2017. 

We’ve redesigned www.TheOrganicFoodGuide.org, offering consumers, restaurants and farmers a fresh take on a great selection of the best food and products in Massachusetts and surrounding areas. Our long-standing guide to organic and sustainable food in Massachusetts is ready for its new debut!

Green Team staking the tomatoes in test plot #1

Though the word “farming” is in its name, NOFA does more than just work with rural farmers. Much attention is paid to ways more traditional, production farmers can use techniques like cover cropping and mineral amendments to enhance their yields, but there are few resources and little knowledge for using these tools on smaller scale and urban sites.

NOFA/Mass is partnering with The Trustees Boston Community Gardens and Groundwork Somerville on a three-year project to improve the fertility and production of compost-based soils, funded by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). Compost is often free and used-widely by many city growers. Though considered non-toxic and safe for growing in, compost does not provide all that soil needs to produce healthy and sustained crop growth.

On November 6th NOFA/Mass will be coming together for our largest fundraiser of the year, our 4th annual 5k run/walk - Organic to Nourish Our Soils and Ourselves. This event is a great way to join with NOFA/Mass board, staff and members to ensure the continuation of these innovative and important NOFA/Mass programs:

  • Restoring carbon to the soil from the atmosphere through organic land management practices
  • Training the next generation of organic farmers
  • Advocating  for public policy in the interest of farmers and consumers at the state and national levels
  • Strengthening connections with marginalized populations to improve their access to organic farming resources

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