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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This workshop will cover from basic through more advanced principles of soil microbiology, and the multiple benefits of building soil microbiology for growers and turf care professionals. We will cover the methods for measuring and increasing soil biology (the soil food web) from bio-stimulation to bio-supplementation.

Using the local ecosystem and nature’s processes as a starting place, I’ll teach the most important aspects of soil health: what it is, where it comes from and how to achieve it. I’ll focus especially on the role of leaves in building a healthy soil.

The presenter of this workshop, Derek Christianson, runs Brix Bounty Farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts and has twelve years of farming experience in the Northeast.  He farms on six acres of leased land, and sells at one market, a successful farm stand, and through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Throughout the year, we have numerous opportunities for effective covercropping, and a much greater possibility of covercrop species than most Northeast farmers realize. We will discuss different cropping strategies, identify reasonable covercrop goals, and how to develop a year-round covercrop plan for your farm.

Silicon, a beneficial nutrient, increases mechanical strength, suppresses disease, and increases yield of pumpkin, wheat, and other crops. Harvest can remove over 100 pounds of silicon per acre. Return of crop residues to the land, along with mineral supplements can help to sustain soil fertility in an organic farming system.

Many materials that should not go into the kitchen compost can still be used to enhance the organic homescape. We will talk about the highest and best uses of some odd materials such as bark, weedy hay, old potted plants, animal carcasses, guinea pig bedding, dog poop, fish bones, and leaves.

Building clean soil is critical for local food security! Come learn how the by-products of green businesses can be used for affordable, “low-intensity” soil bioremediation. Examples include mushroom production, community composting, vermicomposting, compost tea, phytoremediation, and mycorrhizal remediation. Emphasis is on urban applications, however these techniques are applicable in a range of environments.

Organic agriculture distinguishes itself from "conventional" by its approach to soil fertility, yet people working within an organic system have divergent ways of thinking on the subject. Panelists will discuss their preferred approach and how the practices and paradigms they promote address the urgent global crisis of soil depletion, or "peak soil."

This workshop will cover the subtle and less well understood realities that are foundational to comprehensive understanding of biological systems, including geometry of minerals, quantum coherence, and vibrational communication in cells. Understanding these concepts in relation to our crops can inform more effective, efficient, and cost appropriate management choices.

As I race through my 39 pages of notes in order to make the
newsletter deadline, I will pull out some memorable portions
of the incredibly long list of lessons that I learned this year
during the weekend of Jan 31 –February 1.
Our young presenters who range in age from 25 to 35
– John Kempf, Derek Christianson, and Dan Kittredge –
poured out the information. The rest of us – approximately
125 souls – wrote, listened and watched as fast as we could


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