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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Winter Conference

In case you missed it, or would like to revisit the talk, please enjoy the video of our 2020 keynote address with Carey Gillam as well as 15 audio recordings from workshops at this year’s winter conference now available on our YouTube channel. Check out the 2020 Winter Conference Playlist to see them all, or skim through the list below to skip straight to your favorites.

Looking ahead: Our 2021 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference Request for Proposals is now open. If you’d like to propose a workshop to present at next winter’s program you can do so through this form.

Butterflies enjoying native flowers Photo credit: Caro Roszell

Communities across Massachusetts are standing up and taking action against toxic biocides and the dangers they pose to all living things-- from the smallest insect to those of us at the top of the food chain. Local leaders and concerned citizens are mounting a defense of the vulnerable members of our ecosystems, from the Statehouse to the schoolyard. 

With a raft of bills on pesticide reduction and pollinator protection before the state legislature (Pollinator Protection Act (Neonic Restrictions), Neonic Ban, Local Option on Pesticides, Protect Schoolchildren from Pesticides, Restrict Glyphosate use on Public Lands, Glyphosate Ban, Protect Groundwater from Pesticides) and with 29 Massachusetts communities that have already established some level of municipal action on pesticide reduction/pollinator protection, there is no better time to join the movement to protect our ecosystems and our health!

Register now and save $10 off walk-in rates!

What’s in store for the most amazing conference of the New Year?

One amazing keynote speaker. 

Award winning journalist, Carey Gillam’s daily actions to expose the corruption of the Bayer/Monsanto conglomerate are so astoundingly brave and forthright we can’t wait to hear from her at our keynote address. If by chance you don’t approve of the Bayer/Monsanto behemoth, you’ll be glad to know that Carey is a relentless watchdog, calling out the lies and deception at every turn. Her Twitter feed is stacked with fact checking and general calling out of the barrage of misinformation Bayer/Monsanto has continuously promoted in the face overwhelming public health concerns and a growing line of illnesses and lawsuits. We hope you’ll join us for the latest insights from Carey’s work!

Gratitude 

As we all strive to create a vibrant future in which our food, medicine, and necessities are crafted in harmony with-- instead of at the expense of-- our living environment,  we look to those in our communities who carry the skills and knowledge to help us on this path. It is with deep gratitude that we turn to our Winter Conference presenters, who serve in so many ways: as watchdogs leading the charge against Monsanto/Bayer; as experienced farmers with intimate knowledge of soil, water, and the changing seasons; as medicine-makers and medicine growers; as foragers and wild plant knowledge-keepers; as scientists and change-makers; as landscape planners and nut growers and grass growers and tree planters; as tenders of our soils and our souls. We are grateful for the burgeoning understanding of the connections between the soil and the gut, between the earth and the atmosphere, and for our collective work restoring the health our families, ecosystems, and ourselves.

Climate Change Mitigation

With mornings now increasingly rimed with frost, we are looking ahead to the 33d NOFA/Mass Winter Conference! All through the hot months we have been reaching out and organizing this program for our January winter gathering, and we are proud to tell you about all the knowledge that lies in store!

As always we will have a wide array of farming, gardening, animal husbandry, self-reliance, herbalism and permaculture workshops (over 60 classes!)—and, as always, we have organized some special tracks for those who want to dig into a specific topic.

In particular, our program will focus in detail on farming and food production practices that offer climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions.

Winter’s chill is just around the corner which naturally means our community of farmers and gardeners are about to go into hibernation to review the season’s notes and process the past year’s successes and failures in order to greet Springtime with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Maybe that means lots and lots of reading, or many group conversations or maybe it means a whole season’s worth of contemplation and reflection.

Whatever your style of winter study is, we hope the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference is part of your curriculum. This year’s conference will be held on Saturday January 11, 2020 on the campus of Worcester State University. It is our 33rd annual Winter Conference.  Save the date, mark your calendar to register early and make plans to bring your inquisitive nature, wisdom and joyfulness to celebrate your community of earthy, progressive, soil loving, like-minded friends and neighbors. Everyone is welcome and we hope the program suits your needs.

Carey Gillam named 2020 NOFA Winter Conference keynote speaker

Carey Gillam named 2020 NOFA Winter Conference keynote speaker

We at NOFA/Mass are thrilled to announce that our 2020 Winter Conference Keynote Presenter will be the award-winning journalist Carey Gillam

Gillam is a former senior correspondent for Reuter’s international news service and veteran journalist with over 25 years of experience covering American corporations and agribusiness. She specializes in biotech, pesticide development, and the environmental impacts of food production in the United States. Her articles appear regularly in The Guardian, the Huffington Post, Environmental Health News and the US Right to Know. 

 

Jason Valcourt

What an amazing day 1/12/19 was. The 32nd NOFA/Mass Winter Conference was a lively and engaging affair with an intimate and warm family vibe. We spent the day together with 850 enthused soil and plant lovers, had so much fun and felt many warm vibes on another cold January day. The theme of Food As Medicine was explored and discussed from many angles and the notion of Food As Medicine has taken root in our minds and vocabulary.

We would like to extend huge gratitude to all that attended, exhibited, presented, played music, promoted and made the day so powerful. We are looking forward to processing your evaluation feedback and beginning the journey to next year’s Winter Conference on Saturday January 11, 2020.

wc dinner

The 32nd Annual NOFA/Mass Winter Conference was enjoyed by more than 800 attendees from across the region. We spent the day learning together and networking, and after the Conference wrapped up, more than 100 people came together for the Post Winter Conference Dinner. The Dinner is a fundraiser for the NOFA/Mass Scholarship Fund, which supports farmers, homesteaders, gardeners and food lovers with limited income so that they can attend NOFA/Mass educational events at a discounted rate.

Winter Conference attendees with rapt attention

Winter Conference attendees with rapt attention

With the darkest days of winter behind us, we slowly march toward the exciting and exhilarating prospects of our farming and gardening missions. Like a moth to the flame, we collectively turn our attention to strategizing our approach to the upcoming growing season. And with a familiar delight, we relish the winter’s ruminations on those perennial questions that will determine our individual approach to this growing season. These questions that have been reverberating inside our minds, filling our notebooks and populating spreadsheets, now become slightly more urgent. We begin to work our calendars backward to the origins of the upcoming working of seed and soil. Some of those timelines seem imminent already.

For this reason, we curate 60+ workshop presenters and 60+ vendors to come together at the epicenter of our NOFA calendar of events, the annual Winter Conference.

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