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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solar for farm


A new state program regulating incentives for solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays is expected to be up and running this summer. Under the 2018 Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program, incentives are structured to promote a range of on-farm PV applications, including systems installed on farm buildings, canopy systems built over vehicle parking areas, and systems sized to meet on-farm demand. If you own land either in Chapter 61A or with Prime Farmland Soils (as defined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, NRCS), financial compensation is also available for dual-use systems, in which ground-mounted solar PV panels producing electricity are interspersed with crops or livestock on agricultural land. Additional incentives are available for projects that incorporate energy storage, or that feed energy to certain types of consumers through net metering. These types of consumers include community-shared solar projects, low-income housing, and public buildings.

Marty Update

This is the first policy update from our new Policy Director, Marty Dagoberto. Marty has been the Outreach Coordinator since January 2017 and now also wears the Policy Director hat (and sometimes a suit). While he’s still getting oriented on the policy work for NOFA, Marty does have significant experience in the State House, having served as the Campaign Coordinator for MA Right to Know GMOs. Want to get involved in policy work? Have a tip or suggestion? Marty can be reached at

By the time you read this, the annual “Ag Day” will have just happened at the State House (check our Facebook for pictures!), and the state legislature will soon be focused on the budget (and nothing else). Now is the time to contact your state legislators to push for active legislation. NOFA’s current top priorities are broken down for you, below.

Guy Steucek

Back in the era of the Salem witch trials most of the residents were farmers and farming was a primary use of the landscape. Today, the only farm in Salem feels almost as if it’s on trial, struggling to gain acceptance as a commercial agricultural operation. Maitland Mountain Farm has been producing agricultural products for about a decade without issue. Now they are in a pickle, navigating the future of small farm viability in Salem as they encounter roadblocks in their need to build a packing house on the property to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act and grow their business.

Civil Eats

We’ve compiled this list of stories to help keep you up to date on issues impacting food and farming.

The integrity of the USDA Organic label has been taking some major hits lately. In November, prompted by farm-state Members of Congress and agrochemical/biotech corporations, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the withdrawal of the GMO labeling rule (as weak as it was) put in place under the Obama Administration. A little later in the month the Department of Agriculture also announced a decision to further delay the implementation of the final rule for the long-awaited standards on animal welfare for organic livestock operations.

pesticide free zone

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that “the government closest to the people serves the people best.” Had he lived into the 21st century, he would assuredly have been appalled by the distance between the American citizen and the policies that directly affect their life and well-being. A few weeks ago, the citizens of Warwick, Massachusetts took one small, but significant step toward collapsing that dangerous distance.

In an effort to protect the townspeople from the increasingly well-known health impacts of glyphosate, a popular herbicide, the citizens of Warwick passed an ordinance that bans glyphosate use on public and private land. The effort was led by Selectman Lawrence “Doc” Pruyne, a retired reporter who’s resided in Warwick for six years.

Photograph by Joe Raedle, Getty

We’ve compiled this list of stories to help keep you up to date on issues impacting food and farming.



Rows of hydroponically grown crops, should they be considered Organic?

Harvest season is just about finished, but the season of policy-making is in full swing now that Summer is over. While the news cycle continues to be dominated by Trump’s latest foibles and scandals, we continue to work on the issues that impact our local food and farm ecosystems. Here’s a run-down of what we’re focusing on and how you can get involved.


Immagrant farm workers harvesting sweet potatos (photo creadit USDA & Lance Cheung)

Five years ago, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was initiated as a temporary measure to protect individuals who came to this country as children from deportation. DACA allows recipients to attend school and apply for employment authorization. It has provided hard-working young people and their families with a measure of stability in lieu of actual reform to the immigration system.

Since 2012 when DACA took effect, recipients’ hourly wages increased by 42 percent. Six percent started their own business (compared to a national average of 3.1 percent), 21 percent purchased their first car, 12 percent purchased their first home, and 90 percent received their driver’s license or a state identification card. These young people are a critical part of our country’s social and economic fabric, particularly in rural areas.

European Parliament Votes to Ban Glyphosate in 28 Countries (photo credit: Campact / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0)

We’ve compiled this list of stories to help keep you up to date on issues impacting food and farming.




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