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

Members

It is not every year that a couple of lifetime members approach us with an offer like they have this year. Two dedicated donors, inspired by their belief that NOFA/Mass is relevant, cutting-edge, and critical for the future health of humans and the planet, have offered $10,000 of their own resources to match every donation that comes in to NOFA/Mass until January 31, 2018.

It goes like this: A donation of $20 becomes $40, a donation of $50 becomes $100. But, if someone gives at or above $100, their amount will not only be matched, but doubled. For example, a $100 donation brings in the original $100 plus an additional $200; thus, equaling a total of $300. And so forth. How blessed we are! Thank you to these generous individuals AND to each of you who stretches your finances to donate this year.  

The Organic to Heal the Planet Walk/Run in Lexington every November is NOFA/Mass's main annual fundraiser.  It's a day in which members, staff, and board get together to celebrate organic, hit the streets with our message, and share in an amazing potluck with –of course! – organic food! 

 

Christine and Marty

Christine and Marty (our Outreach Coordinator) mailing out Summer Conference postcards as well as 575 “What You Can Do About Climate Change” brochures to farms and businesses around the region.

Q: Hi Christine! You are the NOFA/Mass Membership & Registration Coordinator so, I want to ask you a little about what it means to be a NOFA/Mass member. First, how much does it cost?
 
A: There is a nominal annual fee involved with being a NOFA/Mass member that ranges from $25 up to $250 depending on your personal financial comfort, and commitment to a local non-profit organization. NOFA/Mass also offers a $1000 Lifetime membership for those that are able to make a larger contribution.

On October 22, NOFA/Mass will be hosting a seed breeding and sovereignty workshop at Round the Bend Farm in Dartmouth. Bill Braun, seed grower and farmer, is a main organizer of this, and there will be a number of seed breeders at the workshop. Read more about this workshop and learn how to register here

Bill and his partner Dee Levanti, and now their new son Bernard, grow vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit on about five acres at Ivory Silo Farm in Westport, MA, using sustainable practices and with great respect to biological diversity. When I interviewed him for this issue we were both in the throes of July and all that means – lots of heat (though less this year), lots of weeds, lots of pie in the sky dreams of the spring dashed as the reality of all of the challenges of the farm year have set in, but also looking forward to August where a lot of the early work starts to pay off in heavy vegetables, cooler nights and the calm that impending fall brings. We ran into one another again at the Summer Conference and shared a brief moment being chauffeured in the golf cart to Bill’s seed intensive. August was here and all was right with the world.

"You guys walk the walk," one NOFA/Mass member told us this spring when she sent her annual donation. "I am in love with NOFA. The whole organic world would be different without you."

On November 5, 2017, we will be walking (and running) the walk of the organic movement in Lexington, MA. The Organic To Heal the Planet Run is NOFA/Mass's yearly fundraiser and it makes our work possible! We need team members to run or to walk – please join us! Find out how to join the team here. Read more about it on our website: www.nofamass.org/teamnofamass.

Each year for the past five years, we’ve gathered together a team of runners, walkers, farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, sustainable living folks, eaters, and families for our annual NOFA/Mass Fundraising Walk/Run.

During the months leading up to November, team members reach out to their family and friends to ask for their support. All proceeds raised go to fund NOFA/Mass’s work.  On November 5, we gather together again, moving our bodies together, having awesome conversations, sharing in a delicious potluck, and connecting on the things we care about.  It is an event for all.  We welcome you to join us!

In my monthly search for interesting stories amongst our NOFA network, I came upon Elizabeth Daniels. Elizabeth is an urban gardener in Springfield who signed on with NOFA/Mass staff member Anna Gilbert-Muhammad as one of six gardeners who will build their gardening skills with an eye to sharing what they learn with others in their community. I asked Elizabeth how she got into gardening.

Elizabeth Daniels: I grew up with my grandparents. They always had the idea that you can grow it yourself. They grew the collard greens. When I moved to Springfield and I saw people gardening outside, I said: “I need to be a part of that.” I want to go to the yard and get some greens and tomatoes and it tastes so much better.

One of Jeuji’s nutritious wild salads

Julie Rawson has worked with lots of beginning farmers over the years. But this year is her first time being partnered with a permaculture mentee. Jeuji Diamondstone of Worcester, with her urban backyard of Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnut bushes, and dandelions, is developing something quite unique. In the third season of the developing of her permaculture oasis, Jeuji, a NOFA/Mass member and avid learner, sought out some help from the NOFA/Mass beginning farmer mentorship program. Over the winter, we looked far and wide for the right fit for Jeuji, not an easy task. Yet, with 40 years of growing experience and experimenting with "a lot of things on her farm," Julie offered. Jeuji says, "I wasn't sure about it at first because Julie admitted that permaculture wasn't her strong suite, but it has been awesome getting to know Julie and her farm, and any time that I am in a place that is growing things, it is beneficial. I am learning."

On Earth Day 11 homes throughout the state hosted more than 170 folks – gathered at homesteads, farms, and gardens to share food and conversation. The purpose of the NOFA/Mass sponsored event was to promote connection around a vision of organic food, community, soil and land health, ecosystem vitality, and building a restorative future.

At 91, Mrs. Anderson still sells her garlic at the Farmers' Market behind Thornes in Northampton. She is also a part of a group of gleaners who clean up farm fields in the Amherst area, ensuring that good food does not go to waste. She cooked up fine Tennessee ribs to bring to the NOFA/Mass Earth Day potluck in Hatfield, held on April 22. When at the table, she struck up a conversation about soil, about the difficulty of assessing one's farm as a whole when there are so many variations from spot to spot and, of course, variations in what each crop needs.

Jen Salinetti farms with her husband Pete in Tyringham, MA in the Berkshires. They have been farming for 16 years together, the four years spent on their almost 5-acre farm. In recent years they have not been using tillage to grow their vegetables. Jen feels that by not disturbing the soil they have a considerable positive impact on carbon sequestration on their land. They have experienced a significant increase in quality and yields which has enabled them to create a viable business on a small amount of land.

“Pete and I started experimenting with no-till 13 years ago, and we are now going into year 11. Our initial experimenting began when we were looking to increase greenhouse production. We started looking into ways to do prep without the tiller. We saw some really great results after the first season. And then we expanded it out to our market garden. Through the process, we were able to set up permanent beds and maximize our earnings and outputs through proper spacing of plants. It was right around when our son Diego was born. We wanted to commit to farming, to be available for family life and to be home.”

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