April, 2012 
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GLEANINGS: n. 1. That which has been acquired by gleaning. 2. The monthly eNewsletter of CT NOFA. [Glean:v. 1. to gather relevant information or material by patient effort, bit by bit; to find out. 2. to gather grain or other produce (often: left by reapers); to harvest.]

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In This Issue
From the ED
Events
Spotlight
CT NOFA Board Treasurer
Announcements
Featured Members
In the News
GMO Activist Program
From our Blog
Community Board
Winter Food Project
Your Favorite Tool
Volunteer With Us!
Go Organic when you Shop!

 
The NOFA Organic Lawn and Turf Handbook details methods for growing and managing beautiful, healthy, organic turfgrass.

 
Are you involved with a conservation organization in your community? Hand out these attractive brochures and get the neighborhood talking! Sold in quantities of 50 or more, $.50 each.

 
Grab your copy of the Standards for Organic Land Care today!


 
Urban & Suburban Meadows addresses the problems caused by the extensive planting of non-native grass lawns across America.

 
Purchase your Introduction to Organic Lawns and Yards booklet to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy, and ecologically sounds lawn or garden!
From the Executive Director

bill duesing CT NOFA GMO Update

The last week of March was an especially exciting one for those of us working on GMO issues.  

 

Connecticut's bill (HB-5117) to label foods produced with Genetic Engineered ingredients was voted out of the Environment Committee by a vote of 23 to 6 and now heads to the floor of the House. 

 

JustLabelIt's national campaign presented over one million signatures on a petition to the FDA asking for GMOs to be labeled.  However the FDA said it needed more time.

 

Connecticut's Senator Richard Blumenthal signed on to a letter from Congress asking FDA to label genetically engineered food.

 

Even The Packer, which has been covering the fresh produce industry since 1893, last week published a prominent opinion piece titled GMO food labeling: Resistance is useless.   

 

CT NOFA joined NOFA chapters in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, as well as the Maine Organic Farming and Gardening Association, organic farming organizations from California, Iowa, Ohio and Florida, the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, and many organizations, individual farms and seed producers a host of the plaintiffs in signing on to continue in the Public Patent suit against Monsanto.

 

And most everyone I talk to about the GMO issue is on board.  They realize that GMOs are a big problem that needs to be addressed and are very happy that CT NOFA is involved.There is lots of new information about the lack of precision in GMOs. A list of unintended effects of Genetic Manipulation published by the Nature Institute seems endless, and each issue links to an in-depth report about the consequences of biotech research. 

 

This week

Monsanto threatened to sue the state of Vermont if it passes a labeling bill.  The labeling bill in Vermont has received overwhelming public support from consumers and Vermont's Agriculture Committee. Monsanto has used threats and lawsuits to intimidate lawmakers, farmers and activists for decades, and even sued the state of Vermont in response to a law requiring labeling of milk and dairy products from cows injected with Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).

  

Read more to take action> 

 

CT NOFA and OLC Events
May 5, 2012
Common Ground High School 
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Humane and Sustainable Livestock Farming Workshop
Monday May 21
4:00 -7:00 PM
Footsteps Farm
Stonington
, CT 

 

Events Where we will be Tabling   

Friday, April 20

10:00-3:00pm 

Yale Peabody Museum  

New Haven, CT  


Hamden Earth Day
Saturday, April 21
9:00-3:30pm
Please let us know if you would like to come volunteer for this event!

Woodbury Earth Day
Saturday, April 21, 2012
11:00-4:00pm
Hollow Park
Woodbury, CT

Ansonia Earth Day
Saturday April 28
10:00am-4:00pm
Ansonia Nature Center

Screening of Farmageddon
Saturday April 28, 2012
5:30-8:45pm
Barnard Environmental School
New Haven, CT
Come visit the school garden, enjoy a delicious pot luck meal, and join our Executive Director, Bill Duesing and film editor Cob Carlson for a discussion following the screening.

Girl Scouts 100th Jubilee
May 19, 2012
10:00-7:00pm
Durham Fair Grounds
Durham, CT 

Media Events

March 19th NPR Podcast
Listen to our Executive Director, Bill Duesing, on NPR's Where We Live talking about Food, Farms, and Sustainability.  Tune in here for the exciting broadcast! 

For other area events check our our events listing page.

Spotlight 
 
Johan and his wife Barbara at an area farmers market.

We are saddened by the passing of Johan van Achterberg, a long time CT NOFA board member and treasurer. He was awarded a lifetime membership for his service to the organization, which included obtaining the 501c3 non-profit status in 2000. Johan was an organic farmer at his Hidden Meadow Farm in Easton, raising eggs, turkeys and vegetables, especially spinach, for sale. Johan van Achterberg's passing cultivated fond memories in the hearts and minds of other CT NOFA members, past and present. Johan recently passed away, but his legacy will live on through the thoughts of others.  Online, he took a moment to describe his story:

It wasn't until the 1990s that "ORGANIC" foods really started to catch on and gain wide acceptance by more than just a small segment of farmers and consumers. When that happened, I joined "Connecticut NOFA," the statewide branch of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. I also became Certified Organic by Connecticut NOFA, and sold Certified Organic vegetables for many years until the USDA took over the certification process.

The following are some anecdotal memories that current and past members have of Johan.  As you'll see, he was a big part of a lot of people's lives.

I think that Johan was the only person who ever joined the Board of Directors of CT NOFA without being persuaded, cajoled, or even asked. He just up and volunteered. At the annual meeting one year, when the president presented the slate of Board members for election and ritually asked if there were any other nominations, Johan grumbled, "Well, maybe I just ought to do it," and put his hand in the air. He was on the Board for many years, serving as Treasurer, and straightened out the haphazard record-keeping and finances that had prevailed up to that point. 

 

He told me stories about when he would go to Martha Stewart's estate, bringing a turkey, to be on the show just before Thanksgiving. I never saw Martha Stewart's TV program, but I would love to see Johan and Martha Stewart together. I think it would be priceless. It's probably out there on the Internet somewhere. 

 

 

Continue> 

Want to be a part of CT NOFA? 

We're looking for a CT NOFA Board Treasurer

 

Duties Include 

1. Carries out responsibilities of a member of the Board Of Directors.

2. Understands financial accounting for nonprofit organizations.

3. Works with Executive Director and bookkeeping staff to ensure that financial reports are made available to the board on a timely basis.

4. Provides Treasurer's Report for all board meetings and the Annual Meeting.

5. Assists in preparation and monitoring of the budget.

6. Presents annual budget to the Board for approval.

7. Ensures development and board review of financial policies and procedures.

8. Oversees preparation of any required financial reporting forms.

9. Reviews the annual compilation or audit with the board.

10. Chairs the finance committee.

 

Inquiries go to John Turenne. Please put "CT NOFA Treasurer" in the subject line of the email.

Announcements & Alerts

 

Take action to oppose a bill that could lift the school Pesticide Ban

The Connecticut law that made history in 2005 when it banned pesticide use on school grounds (grades K-8) is now under attack by chemical company interests in the state legislature. Opponents are pushing a weak IPM bill (Bill 5155 - an act modifying the ban on pesticide applications on school grounds) to overturn the landmark legislation.

 

Take Action: Beyond Pesticides is joining CT-based activists in asking supporters of the original school pesticide ban to make their voices heard by emailing your members of the General Assembly. Use these easy steps to let your voice be heard:

 

1. Click here 

2. Enter your zip code

3. Enter your contact information and edit the form letter as you see fit

4. Click send

 

And that's it! What an easy way to let your members of the General Assembly know that you support keeping our children away from harmful chemicals.

To learn more about the ban and the legislation in place to lift it, check out this article.

 

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Connecticut Poultry Association Poll

The Connecticut Poultry Association (CPA) is polling producers to learn about their interest in local poultry processing. Let your voice be heard and participate in this online survey. All responses will be kept confidential.

Featured Members 

 CT NOFA is collaborating with Knox Parks in Hartford, CT, on their Peoples Garden project, but that's not all that Knox Parks is about. Knox Parks was started by Betty Knox in 1966 when she established a trust fund to help improve the city. Following her death, during its first decade, Knox developed two areas of focus - funding community development and operating "greening" programs. In 1976, the organization split, with the Knox Foundation continuing the funding function and the Knox Parks Foundation focusing on horticulture. From 1978 to 2000, the Knox Parks Foundation was located in the caretaker's cottage in Hartford's Elizabeth Park. In 2000 Knox moved its entire operation to Laurel Street when the city of Hartford undertook renovation of the cottage and its conversion to a park visitors center.
 
Knox Parks uses horticulture as a catalyst, working in partnership with residents, businesses, and government to build a stronger, greener and more beautiful community.  Since its founding, Knox has been a key partner in improving the City of Hartford and is a nationally recognized leader in the field of community greening. Knox Parks' mission is primarily environmental, but the fulfillment of that mission has a much broader reach encompassing community development, economic improvement and health and wellness initiatives.
 
Principal services include neighborhood beautification and reforestation, park improvement efforts, development of greenways, and the oversight and maintenance of both community gardens and public green spaces.  Volunteer, resident, and community participation are an integral part of every Knox project.  Knox mobilizes and manages 2,000 volunteers annually, and has become one of the community's experts at applying volunteers' goodwill where it is most needed. 
 
In the News

Hartford City Council Introduces Resolution Supporting the Labeling of GM Foods

New chapter begins at Ambler Farm
The Friends of Ambler Farm recently started a new chapter in their 200-year history by appointing Jonathan Kirschner as director of agriculture at the Hurlbutt Street farm. More> 

A subtropical grass might one day be grown in yards across North Jersey as an affordable way to deal with a lingering childhood health concern - lead contamination. However, once the lead is in the grass, it becomes hazardous waste. More>

Between the short, mild winter and more Connecticut farmers putting up polyethylene hoop structures to grow vegetables year round, traditional spring crops are ready about a month ahead of schedule, according to Deb Marsden, owner of CT Farm Fresh Express (CTFFE), based in East Haddam. More>

A taste of nature: Juice shop brings farm freshness to Darien
A mention of our Winter Conference and some great quotes from our Organic Land Care Program Director, Jenna Messier. More>
 
GMO Activist Program
 
You have the opportunity to let your state legislator know that you want to know what is in your food. 
It is important to share your concerns about GMOs and the importance of labeling with conventional farmers. Especially if you can do it farmer to farmer. The perception at the Capitol is that it is only organic farmers who support the labeling and that the conventional farmers are against it. A few conventional farmers calling their legislators would go a long way.  
Connecticut has the potential to become the first state to pass a mandatory GMO labeling bill and your support is critical to its success. Right to Know CT and the Organic Consumers Association are wonderful resources for information on the bill and ways to take action.  To learn a lot about the issue quickly, check out this GMO Fact Sheet

Use these 4 easy steps to contact your representative
1. Click here
2. Enter your zip code
3. Select recipients and edit text as you see fit
4. Click "Send Message" at the bottom of the page

It is not only incredibly important but also incredibly easy to let your representative know that you want to know what is in your food.  Thanks in advance for helping our mission by letting your voice be heard!
 
In the meantime, The Label It Yourself campaign empowers people to make educated decisions about what is in their food, without waiting for government or corporations to do it for them.  After contacting your representative, why not take part in this community-based initiative to let our friends and families know what's in our food?

UPDATE: as of Wednesday 3/21/12 the GMO Labeling Bill has passed in the CT Environment Committee in Hartford.  The time is now to let your state representative know that you want to know what is in your food so that the bill can continue to progress. 
 
From our Blog

 



Check out all our blog posts here.

Community Board       

 

There are many new farm and apprenticeship openings posted on our Community Board, so if you are looking for a position check them out today!

 

Classifieds and Community Board notices are now maintained on our website.  If you have a notice you'd like to add, send it along to the office here. 

Winter Food Project       

 

Discovering Kohlrabi (It's a Vegetable)
It may be the start of planting season, but that doesn't mean that you can't still enjoy (or discover) some winter food favorites.  Kohlrabi is member of the brassica family, those nutrient-dense cabbages whose phytochemicals are highly regarded for their antioxidant properties.  The taste and texture is reminiscent of a cross between various root vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and turnips, and it performs well either raw in a salad or cooked in the oven or a stir fry.  In fact, kohlrabi is a very versatile vegetable that you can do a lot with, so it's worth checking out if you haven't had a chance to yet.  To learn more about this winter delicacy, and for some recipes like kohlrabi fries, Greek style kohlrabi pie, and kohlrabi spring rolls, check out this article by the NY Times.

 

Your Favorite Tool       

 

This month's favorite tool comes from David Zemelsky's Starlight Gardens, where our recent Greenhouse Workshop was held on Tuesday, March 20, the first day of spring.  It's called a six row seeder and, pictured with another seeder on the right, are David's two favorite seeding tools. They greatly lighten the work load of planting farm or garden beds because the seeders plant seeds at fixed intervals by first making a hole, placing the seed, and filling in soil on top.  This allows for the nicely planted beds in the image on the left. 

 

If you want to learn more about our upcoming educational workshops, check out our events page.  

 

We Need Your Help!

This spring we have many upcoming events that require volunteer staffing.  Earth Day is coming up this month, so if you like meeting great people and helping out in the community, consider volunteering for CT NOFA.  If there is an Earth Day event in your area that you'd like to represent CT NOFA at, let us know and we'll arrange to send you some of our materials.  For more information, and to register as a volunteer, please email us
here.  

Go Organic when you Shop!  

 

Sign up for a NOFA credit card to support NOFA's important policy work to build a strong, regional organic food system.  It's easy! Just shop for things you buy every day and NOFA gets a $50 donation upon first use and at least 1% of all purchases.
If you have any stories, articles, notices, or suggestions for this newsletter, please send them along.

Many thanks,

CT NOFA Staff

203-888-5146

ctnofa@ctnofa.org