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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As NOFA followers know, the future of healthy food and climate stability depends on the life below our feet. The seven state NOFA Chapters have been working with farmer leaders in our states to educate the farming community about innovations in tillage reduction for organic farms.

If you’re looking to learn more about tillage-reduction and other healthy soils practices in organic farming, NOFA has a lot to offer this fall. Here’s a roundup of the new season’s tillage reduction events across the northeast— most are online (a great opportunity to find out what growers in other states are up to) but some chapters will be allowing a small number of people to register for in-person field days.


Perhaps because we are still happily basking in our accomplishment of shifting 45 years of much-loved NOFA Summer Conference tradition to an online platform with 4 months’ notice, our team is approaching this year’s fall fundraising plans with a sense of optimism and creative collaboration.

In a typical season, NOFA/Mass would kick off the year-end fundraising with our annual Run/Walk fundraising campaign. Each fall staff, board members, and friends normally gather pledges and then meet up in Lexington, MA to walk or run a 5k or 10k course. We typically raise $20,000 from this event, but with large public gatherings out of the question this year, our development team had to come up with an alternative way to raise this crucial part of the budget.

Julie Rawson’s memories of her Milledgeville, Illinois, childhood include pulling weeds in the garden with her mother, canning and preserving vegetables for the winter, and slipping in a pile of pig manure and getting covered in the mess from head to toe; “but it never really grossed me out,” Julie elaborates.  “My brother and sister and I spent hours in the summer down in the creek in the mud. I’ve always loved the tactility of the earth.”

Undaunted by a tumble into pig manure— that is unsurprising to those of us who know Julie, a woman who has built a non-profit organization and a diversified farm that includes fruiting trees and shrubs, several acres of vegetables, forest-raised pigs, pastured cows, laying hens, broilers and turkeys—a place where the movement of nutrients from gut to soil to plants to mouth are managed and directed and mediated by fencing, time, season, plant growth, and community of creatures – but the system is seen as living and whole and in concert, and not segmented.

We at NOFA/Mass are so fortunate to have had the strong leadership of Julie Rawson for 36 years.  How does one run an amazing farm, produce nutritious organic food, train new farmers, and also run a 1200-member non-profit organization that continues to thrive and innovate after all these years?  She continues to amaze all of us who know and love her.

With a goal of $100,000 the NOFA/Mass Healthy Future Fund is the biggest fundraiser that our organization has ever taken on. It is coming at a time when the world is in turmoil, but planning and seeing the future enables all of us to think about the bright future that we can have.


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? 

2019 run

We are an organization that survives and thrives because of our community. This past weekend a group of NOFA/Mass staff and board members came together for our annual walk/run event in Lexington, Massachusetts. We collectively raised $18,303 for the organization thanks to all of you: our supporters and our members.

That $18,303 didn't come from 1, 2, 5, or even 10 donors. It came from over 150 generous people who each gave a modest gift. That is the power of community. 

2020 run

On November 3rd, 2019 a cohort of NOFA/Mass staff, board members, and supporters, will join together in Lexington Massachusetts to walk and run for the climate, our health, and the health of our land. We have done this run/walk every year for the past 7 years, and each time it is a little different.  Some years we have a slightly different group of people join us. Some years a few participants decide to run instead of walk—running a 5k and 10k are options in addition to walking the 5k. Some years the sky is blue and the sun is warm, some years it is grey and the air reminds you that it is indeed already November. The constant through all these years is that the purpose of the run/walk is to bring attention and funds to the important work that NOFA/Mass engages in all year. Each year we ask all participants to do a bit of fundraising for the organization in advance of the event, we are all doing our part in helping to sustain the organization that is addressing some of our most pressing societal needs of food production and soil/climate/human health.

the power of small

Being a small nonprofit gives us many strengths. Our small staff allows us to know each other well and build meaningful relationships with our collaborators. Our small central infrastructure (an office at Many Hands Organic Farm) and remote staff gives us flexibility and connections to all parts of the state. Our fearless Executive Director, Julie Rawson, is able to be involved in all facets of our work from on-farm workshops to policy and communications. We are nimble, can respond to farmers' needs quickly and efficiently, and can operate a lean yet effective organization. We would never want to grow into a big clunky organization.



Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

The second annual spring Membership Drive at NOFA/Mass came in with record numbers. Fifty three new members joined our community of conscientious growers and consumers between April 1 and May 15, 2019. This number is over 50% higher than the number of new members that found us last year at this time, confirming that NOFA/Mass is continuing to grow and thrive.

Our membership now consists of over 1100 individuals, families, farms and businesses that have united with a common interest in organic agriculture in our home state. This community has functioned as the heart of the organic movement in Massachusetts for over 35 years and with this renewed collective energy we continue to educate and empower everyone who seeks to engage in the charge.

Your Gift - Your Voice - Your Impact

We all know the feeling of simultaneously being compelled to support an organization that is doing important work but also being unsure of what our donation will actually accomplish. At NOFA/Mass many donations get designated to projects as soon as they come in, and others go wherever the funds are needed most. Some of our supporters specify where they want their donation to be used. This ensures that we are putting your gift toward the projects and initiatives that are most important to you!




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