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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Summer Conference

Climate solutions will be grown in the soil of the NOFA Summer Conference August 7-9, 2020 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. Our keynote speaker, Tim LaSalle, was the first CEO of Rodale Institute and served as the Executive Director of the Allan Savory Center for Holistic Management. We are excited to hear his latest insights on carbon sequestration, no-to-low input systems and how biology is the foundation of our regenerative work. You can learn more about Tim through the links at the bottom of this article. 

As we pine for the summer warmth and enjoy stealing moments outside to do occasional farm work as weather permits, now is the time for farmers and gardeners to put finishing touches on seed orders, get spreadsheets tuned up and build farm plans for the new season. It is also time to simultaneously build the 2020 Summer Conference workshop program in the hope to continue to fuel the growth of more farms and farmers throughout the Northeast to keep this movement thriving and capturing more and more carbon through food production. 

Looking ahead to August 7-9, 2020- at the 46th Annual NOFA Summer Conference we will celebrate the theme “Climate Solutions are Grown in Soil” with keynote speaker Tim LaSalle. Tim is the Co-Founder of The Center for Regenerative Agriculture at the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico, CA.  

In the winter issue of The Natural Farmer we interviewed Tim and are enthusiastic to follow his exploration into why biology and No to Low-till systems seem to be the most efficient and profitable and also have great abilities to capture carbon on small and large scales. As Tim told us, “we need every farmer to solve the crisis we find ourselves in”. This is our belief as well, and we look forward to having Tim join us in August. 

Register Now! Our $99 registration is available January 1-31.

There are two special things about the Summer Conference that we think you should know as of the new year. Our keynote speaker will be Tim LaSalle, the Co-Founder of The Center for Regenerative Agriculture, Director of Outreach & Development and Adjunct Professor at the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico, California.  

We are excited for Tim to bring his enthusiasm for carbon capture to the forefront of the annual NOFA Summer Conference.  He will also discuss the regenerative farming methods that particularly tie in fungal components of soil composition to farmer profitability and ecosystem health.

Tim has a deep wish to bring our full attention to the capacity of soil to do carbon sequestering work and to wake up the world to this underappreciated and understated solution to the climate crisis. We share his enthusiasm and are grateful to partner with Tim to amplify the message.

We Need Your Recommendations

The NOFA Summer Conference Request for Proposals is open until 12/31/19 and we hope you’ll recommend your favorite farmer to present at next summer’s conference. Send us your recommendations or forward the link to them so we can highlight their work next year. See below for specific needs we have and read on for more information.

The Current State of Affairs

As much as we would prefer not to admit it, here we are, staring down 2020. Perhaps some of us are facing it with trepidation? Nay, most of us? An unstable political climate is reflected in an unstable environmental climate, and every day it seems our world is at a greater risk than yesterday. How can we present a path for mitigating destabilization across the board? Fundamentally, every organism on this planet eats to live. And humans, well, we all live to eat. 

2019 SC logo

Starting onions in the heated tunnel seems like ages ago and the row covers have now been stowed away till autumn. With the Solstice now passed, summer has fully blossomed to bring this cherished season of long days for working in the garden deep into the evening. It is in this season that all the early mornings, the heavy lifting, the logistical irrigation and production puzzles we constantly solve for come full circle and we get to reap the rewards of our effort.

Aaaand, we absolutely love it. We love to see our nutritious, hard-earned products getting scooped up for dinners and weekend parties. So much has gone into the production it is now time to reap the rewards. The fruit is ripening. The plants are in full expression of their character and the land is teeming with diversity and life that we have helped steward. With every sale and every zucchini and tomato gifted to neighbors throughout the season we add to the momentum of putting reliably good food into the world -each farm and every garden fully functioning to do its part as one straw in this enormous broom of the organic movement.

Summer Conference Planning

August will be here before we know it! Will you be at Hampshire College August 9-11, 2019 for a rejuvenating and fun reprieve from farm work to sink into a weekend of quality time, live music, great food and amazing workshops with your NOFA family?

If you’re ready now you can register for the conference workshops, housing and meals online. Early bird rates are in effect until June 30th! Remember, all NOFA members save 20% at checkout with the code sent in an email from your chapter approximately May 1st. Check your inbox (and spam folder) for the discount code! Fees for registration, housing and meals can be found on our Registration Page.  

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).

Summer conference

Your summer schedule is filling up fast and our NOFA Summer Conference program is filling out nicely. The second weekend in August will be alive at Hampshire College with fun lively bands, dancing, workshops (of course), youth programming, panels, and meetups.

Even as Hampshire College is going through a tumultuous period, exploring ways to keep their doors open and maintain a sustainable future for the school, their summer schedule is business as usual. We are grateful that they are sticking it out, even while things are rocky, and we have constant communication with them as they manage their way forward. We hope that they find a solution to their woes that gives them long term stability and allows their cutting-edge culture of creativity to continue to thrive. Read the most recent updates from Hampshire College here.

Summer Conference 2019 Update

It’s getting warm and Spring has officially sprung here at the NOFA Summer Conference headquarters. We have a fun, educational and exciting weekend in store for you for this coming August. With Sandor Katz as our keynote speaker and offering an intensive workshop on Saturday morning, a deep lineup of talented presenters, and an incredible group of local artisans and musicians, we are in for a very dynamic conference once again. With our new two-day format, the weekend is sure to be a potent experience.

This year you can join us for a mixer on Friday night to kick off the conference weekend, relax with live music and take the opportunity to shake your booty or just have some good ol’ friendly conversation. Our Friday night music will be brought to you by local superstars The Gaslight Tinkers and there will be local adult beverages for your taste buds. Some of you might remember this band from a few years ago as the contradance band. There will not be a formal contradance this year, but no one will stop you from grabbing a partner and spinning around the floor.

2019 summer conference

New two day conference schedule packs a punch

Each year, as the organizer of the NOFA Summer Conference-- the conference that serves the seven chapters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association-- I travel to as many of the NOFA chapter Winter Conferences as I possibly can.

For the last two months I have been lucky to enjoy the amazing education and positive vibes at each of our sister chapters’ winter gatherings. I’ve caught up with many folks that will be presenting at the NOFA Summer Conference this year, had interesting discussions with farmers and food activists and have made many new friends. I had a great conversation with Jim at Land For Good about the serious business of farm transitions and how many in our NOFA community are currently deep into that difficult work on their own farms. I left with the hope that over the years, farmers of all ages will begin to build their farm transition into their farm vision as much as they are building their soil health and production capacities.

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