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From the Director
CT NOFA Friends,
We've had several victories in the past few years on the Policy level but there is so much else to be done.
Thank you for responding to our recent Action Alerts. This has been a busy legislative season, and it is gratifying to receive your emails letting us know you have contacted your legislators and have made your voices heard. We'd like to say we're done, but we're not. Please keep responding! Past actions have shown us that our opinions do count and can produce positive results.
Right now we still need action on Connecticut SB 443. The Environment Committee passed it with a vote of 17 to 11 and it will be voted on in the Senate next week. Senators will be meeting TOMORROW to discuss their support for the legislation. If you have already asked your senators to support the bill, thank you. If you haven't, please ask your Senator TODAY to support this bill to expand the existing ban on pesticides to high schools, parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and municipal greens, and also to ban the sale and use of genetically-engineered lawn or turf seeds. To read more about contacting your senator please click here.
It is highly encouraging that in Connecticut there is a bounty of local USDA Certified Organic and CT NOFA Farmer's Pledge food. But our food system overall has extremely serious issues. In response to this, on Saturday July 19, 2014 Winvian resort in Morris and CT NOFA are teaming up to host A Summer Gathering: Growing Food, Farms & Community.The all day educational program will be a high energy, interactive and fun yet serious event targeted at the grassroots, with a focus on the fusion of food, sustainable agriculture and related issues with a call to action. The goal is to have a wide audience, including children and young adults, leave knowing about the critical issues in our food system, and what they can do about them. Our featured presenters are Joan Dye Gussow, Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, long time organic mini-farmer and author; Richard McCarthy, Executive Director of Slow Food USA; Tara Cook-Littman, GMO Free CT and ConnFact; and Taylor Cocalis-Suarez, co-founder of Good Food Jobs.
In order to help fund CT NOFA's mission and our ability to hold events like A Summer Gathering Winvian is once against hosting A Special Culinary Fundraiser on Friday night July 18, from 6:30 - 9:30 pm.
Please save the dates above. We hope to see you at one or both of these events....and sooner than that at one of our upcoming on-farm workshops or maybe even tonight at the Organic Lawn and Yard Care Workshop at Audubon Greenwich!
Eileen Eileen HochbergExecutive Director
CT NOFA's Organic Advocate
Who will feed China?
What does it mean for us?
By Bill Duesing
April 2, 2014
Lester Brown's Who Will Feed China?: Wake Up Call for a Small Planet
was published nearly 20 years ago.
He noted that in an integrated world economy, China's rising food prices become the world's rising food prices. China's land and water scarcity become the whole world's problems.
It looks like he got it right.
As the New York Times reported
this morning, "A large, growing and increasingly affluent population, worsening soil and water pollution and rising urbanization rates have combined to reduce China's arable land and put immense pressure on the country's ability to meet its food needs domestically."
CT NOFA agriculture and Organic Land Care Events
Next workshop is April 12 or 13, 2014
158 Nagy Road
TODAY-April 3, 2014
7 - 9 pm
Sunday, April 27, 2014
The Community Farm of Simsbury/Gifts of Love
1 pm-3 pm
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Massaro Community Farm
1 pm-3 pm
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Community Farm of Simsbury/Gifts of Love
News, Announcements and Alerts
Interns wanted at CT NOFA. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Looking for a CSA Share for the upcoming growing season? This from one of our members:
Spring has sprung! Farmers all around you are starting seeds and planting the earth. Share in this season's harvest! Join the Serafina Says Farm CSA farm share and get 18 weeks of delicious, nutritious vegetables. Pick-up locations in Canton and Coventry. Serafina Says Farm is a vegetable, superfood and wellness farm that has signed the CT NOFA Farmer's Pledge. Check us out HERE.
You'll find them and many more on our CSA webpage>
2014 Farm Bill Programs and comparisons to the previous Farm Bill. More>
FoodCorps is hoping to expand their program as funding becomes available. If your school or organization is interested in hosting a FoodCorps service member, please fill out this Service Site Capacity Form.
The Connecticut State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service announced the agency is currently accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Agricultural Land Easements portion (formerly Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program-FRPP). Details here>
Check out buyctgrown's Season Top Ten activities.
School Garden Network News
Growing and Learning
Vermicomposting For many schools, composting may not be an option. Vermicomposting can be a great alternative for these schools. Vermicomposting is done indoors, is easily managed in a controlled space, is a simple DIY project, and teaches children about the cycles of nature and reducing landfill waste. For a how-to on getting started, see this article in Organic Gardening magazine, and visit Cornell University's webpage for more information.
2014 Connecticut AgriScience Award Grants
The Connecticut trustees to the Eastern States Exposition (ESE) awards grants for special projects. Their AgriScience award is a $500 grant, payable in September, to an elementary school teacher to fund a special project involving agriculture in any form as part of his or her class curriculum during the school year. Funds are also provided to bring one school bus of students to the Big E, where the teacher and students will receive their award. For more information, email Eleanore Provencale. Applications are due May 2, 2014.
16th Annual Fairfield Earth Day Celebration
The purpose is not just the event in April but to build community relationships between students, families, community groups, local universities and businesses to focus on the environment and sustainability, to make every day Earth Day. For more information, see FEDC's Facebook page.
This year, the Food for Thought Expo and Fairfield's Earth Day Celebration (FEDC) are joining forces and becoming one at the 16th annual FEDC on Saturday, April 26th, from 10am - 4pm, at Fairfield Warde High School, 755 Melville Avenue. With the major addition of the Food for Thought Expo exhibitors and programs running at FEDC this year, healthy food and healthy eating is the theme for the event.
Along with cooking demos, we are planning loads of entertainment, including two stages where professional musicians and children entertainers perform throughout the day. We will have a reprise of the popular Legislative Roundtable with our local representatives.
USDA Announces 2015 Farm to School Grants
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the release of a request for applications for the third round of USDA's Farm to School grants, including the addition of a new funding track. These grants help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers. .
Three different kinds of grants will be available, as well as a separate funding track to support trainings and events. Planning grants are intended for schools just getting started on farm to school activities. Implementation grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts. Additionally, eligible non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers may apply for support service grants in order to conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop supply chains, among other activities.
Proposals are due at 11:59 p.m. EST, April 30, 2014. For more info, see the USDA's news release.
We'd love to share your school garden with our readers! Feel free to send me any articles, news, photos or any questions you may have.
New Business Member Profile
Wellscroft Fence Systems, LLC - Harrisville, NH
For more than 35 years, Wellscroft has been the Northeast's foremost agricultural fence provider specializing in the containment and protection of livestock and crops. Wellscroft researches and tests the products it sells on their own New Hampshire farm and if a product fails the quality test, they don't sell it. It is this methodology which has crafted a line of high quality products, many of which are proudly made in the USA. Wellscroft stands by their entire inventory with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Wellscroft's experienced and creative staff designs custom fencing systems that provide customers with exactly what is needed for each unique situation. Thousands of farmers, gardeners, educational institutions, and homeowners throughout the Northeast have benefited by Wellscroft's knowledgeable and trusted personnel. Wellscroft Fence Systems is the "go-to" fence supplier, second to none, for all your fencing and trellising challenges.
Go Organic when you Shop!
Sign up for a NOFA credit card through Capital One 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.