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NOFA Organic Land Care Program Needs YOU and your expertise!

 

This Fall the Standards Committee will reconvene and revise the Standards. We want your input, and it is as easy as a click away!

We have an online form, where you list a subject and a section which you think could be reviewed and updated.  You can suggest the change to be made as well.  As a working AOLCP, we know your on-the-ground knowledge is valuable and will be extremely helpful to the revision process.  Two areas which we plan to address are the Emergency Non-organic Rescue Treatment - should it stay or should it go?- and defining qualifications for high-quality organic compost.

Click here for the online form.  Thank you!

Sarah Holland

Out and About With AOLCPs 

Longtime AOLCP Sarah Holland Raises the Bar in Vermont 

By Kathy Litchfield
 

VERMONT -- Driving by the Red Hen Baking Co. along rural Route 2 in Middlesex, one might notice something unusual towering above the cars filling the parking lot - nine-foot tall broom corn (Sorghum spp) growing alongside amaranth, quinoa, millet, wheat, oats, sunflowers and barley. Toss in a little parsley and basil and one has the ingredients necessary for a wonderful loaf of freshly baked herb bread.

 

Showcasing these grains, carefully and organically grown in handmade hemlock raised beds adjacent to the popular eatery, is the brainchild of Sarah Holland of Moretown, one of the NOFA Organic Land Care Program's original accredited professionals and one of just a handful of AOLCPs in the state of Vermont.

 

Read More...  

 

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Upcoming Events

Advanced Workshop 2
Growing your Organic Land Care Business with Frank Crandall and guests
November - date, agenda and location to be announced
An 8 hour intensive workshop focusing on how organic land care practitioners - and those transitioning their business - can take their business to the next level.

Annual Gathering  
December 11, 2013, snow date December 12, 2013
Crown Plaza
Southbury, CT
Our annual event discussing hot topics in organic land care, with vendors and exhibitors, and a social environment where folks can discuss the past business season while meeting old friends and new.

Call our office to discuss exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities for our premier event!

PA Accreditation Course - Philadelphia, PA
in-partnership with Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Tentative dates - December 2-5, 2013

New England Regional Accreditation Course
Co-sponsored by Three Rivers Community College
February 10-13, 2014 - Norwich, CT
NOFA Organic Land Care Program's flagship program - its 30 hour course focusing on soil health, compost, stormwater management, pest management, planting and more! Day 4 now offers the choice of two tracks - turf or organic landscaping. You can take the exam, pay an annual fee and start marketing yourself and your business as a NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional or an AOLCP!

NOFA Winter Conference - Workshops to Earn AOLCP Credits 
March 8, 2014 - Save the Date!
Wilton High School
Wilton, CT

Member Benefit Program - AOLCPs - receive discounts when shopping with participating businesses.  Businesses- reach new customers by offering discounts! New businesses will be added monthly.
 

                     

Click here to see the full list of participating businesses.

If you want to become a participating business, click here. 

 

Participating Businesses

 

Osborne Organics 

25% discount on consulting fee for first time AOLCP clients.

 

Tech Terra Environmental 

$25.00 Off 44 Lb. Bag of A.D.I.O.S An EPA Exempt Natural, Selective Post-Emergent for Weeds

 

10% off all compost tea supplies and turf/garden products (minimums apply). Bulk earthworm castings, Compost Tea Microbe Food, Turf Rescue, liquid fish hydrolysate, and our garden barrels are our best sellers.

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In The News  

Butterfly House Sets Flight at Project Native    

Great Barrington -  Promoting the connection between native habitats and local wildlife, Project Native has opened a Native Butterfly House open to the public at its native plant nursery on North Plain Road. An open house to unveil the new facility will be held Friday, August 16, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

"People see a beautiful butterfly but they don't connect it to their landscape," Project Native Education Director Karen LeBlanc said. "With the butterfly house they will understand that caterpillars need certain plants to live and eat. If you don't have the plants, you're not going to get the butterfly."

For more information click here.

Emerald Ash Borer  

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been found in another CT town! So far the CT Agricultural Experiment Station has reported the EAB in Prospect, Naugatuck, Bethany, Beacon Falls, Waterbury, Cheshire, Oxford, Middlebury, and now, Hamden. Surveys for this invasive insect were done with the help of UConn Cooperative Extension and CT DEEP. EAB only attacks ash trees, especially stressed specimens. Because this insect feeds on the phloem and cambium of the tree and also tends to feed in groups rather than individually, infected trees usually die.  

 

For more information on this insidious insect, click here.  

  

Armillaria Root Rot   

Armillaria root rot caused by the fungus Armillaria mellea and other closely related species can occur on many woody and some herbaceous hosts in the northeast. Symptoms of dieback or decline may start to appear within one year after infection.  Most often, infection occurs when roots of a plant reach the fungus where it is already established in a decaying stump or other organic matter. A. mellea is capable of growing through the soil for a distance of several feet per year in the form of rhizomorphs, black root-like structures that give the fungus one of its common names 'shoestring fungus'.  Signs to look for in declining trees or shrubs include white mycelium growing between the bark and wood at the base of the stem or trunk, the presence of rhizomorphs in the soil or between loose bark and wood, and small to large clusters of tan mushrooms in the fall at the base of the trunk near the soil line. This disease is most common on host plants stressed by other factors and on sites that were previously forested.

 

For more information click here.    

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Current AOLCP Credit Opportunities 

The following classes and events have been approved for OLC credits.  In order to see a complete description of an event and the number of credits that will be awarded for attendance, please go to the credit opportunities page of our website. When you click on an event title, a complete description, including time, place, registration information, and number of credits will open.   

 

Turfgrass Selection and Identification Workshop - 8/13/13  

 

Best Management Practices for Pesticide-Free Athletic Field Management - 8/15/13

 

The Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects presents  
"Diving Into Swimming Pools"  
A Continuing Education Program and Expo for Landscape Architects, Architects, Builders, Swimming Pool Contractors... and Anyone Involved in Watershape Design and Construction

Date/Time:  Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Location:  Audubon Greenwich
Address:   613 Riversville Road, Greenwich CT

Learn about:
   *  Vanishing Edge and other Water-in-Transit Designs
    *  Swimming Pool Finishes
    *  Chemical-Free Natural Pools
    *  Working With Difficult Site Conditions
    *  Swimming Pool Code
 

For more information click here.

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NOFA Standards Review
  
This month, we'll focus on Water Use and Water Quality. Unprecedented fresh water shortages, declining stream levels, and degraded water quality are serious and growing problems in the United States, as they are in much of the world. The following excerpt on preferred organic lawn maintenance practices can be found on page 12 of the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care.

Prohibited
  • Irrigation practices that waste water, such as causing water to run-off onto hardscape (e.g., sidewalk, driveway, nonvegetation areas), puddle, or foster disease or fungal growth on lawns and plants
  • Use of broken or leaking irrigation systems. Broken systems include improperly wired or installed systems and improperly scheduled irrigation runs (e.g., irrigation during rain, for excessive run times, etc.).
  • Automatic lawn and landscape irrigation systems that are not adjusted as needed to account for changes in seasonal temperature and rainfall patterns and plant demands
  • Any misuse of water that causes flooding or erosion problems (e.g., improperly designed or maintained irrigation systems, water features, or rainwater harvesting systems)
  • Gray water or other reclaimed water that does not meet local, state, and federal water quality and public health and safety standards

  • Addition of synthetic chemicals of any kind to the water used on an organically managed landscape or property

  • Draining or filling of wetland areas

  • Synthetic turf, plants, or mulches. Synthetic materials, such as recycled tires, may contain lead, cadmium, and other hazardous compounds that can contaminate surface or groundwater.

      

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Pouder photo July 2013
Leonard Pouder and his wife
Out and About With AOLCPs 

Back to the Basics with Leonard Pouder

By Kathy Litchfield  

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Respecting Mother Nature and working within her parameters is a choice  Leonard Pouder made over 30 years ago. Growing up on a small scale hobby farm in the then-agricultural suburb of Bedford, N.Y. and working for his father in the nursery business, gave him a secondhand knowledge about the benefits of a farm-based lifestyle.

            "Being exposed to the soil, planting, growing and eating what you grow is very normal for me," said Pouder, owner of Lieb's Nursery & Garden Center. "When I was a teenager, I worked on a farm for three to four years picking vegetables. It was an amazing experience."

When he first moved to New Rochelle after college, Pouder yearned to create a semblance of where he grew up so he started raising pigs, sheep, chickens, meat rabbits and goats - a couple of each a year - to feed his family. He butchers and processes the animals and makes his own sausage. He grows a large organic vegetable garden, loves to hunt, fish and loves the simplicity of this lifestyle. "I would way rather eat what I raise or hunt, than buy it in a supermarket, there's no comparison."

"I've always been organic because it just makes sense and it's so easy," said the father of two grown children whose wife is a professional chef.

            

Read More.... 

 

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Upcoming Events

NOFA Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course
July 26, 2013, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Naugatuck Valley Community College
Waterbury, CT  

Do you want your clients to value you as an industry expert? The February 2013 issue of Lawn & Landscape Magazine reports that 42% of homeowners think they can do a better job than their landscaper! Do you want to be viewed as a trusted contractor who recommends products that work because you know it works? That same issue of L&L Magazine reports that 58% of homeowners don't trust their landscapers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment in this industry is expected to grow 18 percent between 2008 and 2018 (View the full report). Don't get lost in the crowd! Become an expert who your clients can trust. Come learn trade secrets from trusted industry leaders, so deeply committed to the organic land care movement that they want to share it with you to grow your business. Learn more and register here.

 

NOFA Summer Conference - 45 Workshops to Earn AOLCP Credits 
August 9-11, 2013
Umass Amherst
Amherst, MA

OLC track workshops announced for NOFA Summer Conference!

Expand your knowledge of the trade and practice of organic land care and many other topics related to organic agriculture at the NOFA Summer Conference. For each OLC Track workshop attended from the list here, NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals can earn 1.5 AOLCP credits. This year it is easier than ever to report your credits, just fill out our online form naming the workshops you attended, and attach or forward your receipt of payment from the conference. Click here for the online form. If you prefer printing a form, filling it out, and sending it in by mail, you can still do that.  Click here for the printable form. Please note, your fees are due by January 1st, 2014, not when you submit your CEU credits.  Call the CT NOFA office, 203-888-5146, if you have any questions.  

Member Benefit Program

                     

Below is the current list of discounts. You can also click here to see the list online. If you want to become a participating business, click here. New businesses will be added monthly - stay tuned for more discounts! 

 

New Participating Businesses

 

Osborne Organics

25% discount on consulting fee for first time AOLCP clients.

 

Tech Terra Environmental

$25.00 Off 44 Lb. Bag of A.D.I.O.S An EPA Exempt Natural, Selective Post-Emergent for Weeds

 

10% off all compost tea supplies and turf/garden products (minimums apply). Bulk earthworm castings, Compost Tea Microbe Food, Turf Rescue, liquid fish hydrolysate, and our garden barrels are our best sellers.

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Announcements 

 

You can Help Revise the Standards! 
We are getting ready to print a new edition of the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care, and will be making revisions and updates for the new version. You can get involved - send us your suggestions for revisions by filling out the online form here. Your suggestions will help inform us as we move forward to revise the new edition of the Standards. We plan to revise the Standards this upcoming winter, so submit your suggestions this spring and summer so that we will have them by the winter.

In The News

   

Natural step forward for Provincetown, MA municipal lawns

It's not easy being green, but the town has begun an organic land management plan that will make its lawns toxin free. The board's action voids the town's contract with Scott Lawn Services, which has been using chemicals to grow grass at Motta Field, the Bas Relief, Town Hall, the Provincetown Library, Jerome Smith soccer field and the fire station. All of the other town-owned lands are already organically maintained. More> 

 

Manitoba cosmetic pesticide ban to start in 2015

The Manitoba government has announced plans to ban synthetic pesticides for lawn care in the province. Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced on Friday that legislation would be introduced in the fall session to ban the pesticides.Under the ban, which would take effect in December 2014 but allow for a one-year grace period, synthetic, chemical lawn pesticides would not be allowed on lawns, driveways, sidewalks, patios, school grounds, playing fields and playgrounds. More>

 

Oregon restricts use of certain dinotefuran pesticides

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is restricting the use of 18 pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran while it continues the investigation of a large kill of bumblebees in Wilsonville and Hillsboro this month. By adopting a temporary rule, ODA is taking action, in an abundance of caution, to avoid the potential of similar large bee kills this summer due to specific pesticide applications. More> 

 

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Current AOLCP Credit Opportunities 

The following classes and events have been approved for OLC credits.  In order to see a complete description of an event and the number of credits that will be awarded for attendance, please go to the credit opportunities page of our website. When you click on an event title, a complete description, including time, place, registration information, and number of credits will open. 

 

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will be offering pesticide credits (3.75 hr, all supervisory categories and private applicators) for _Plant Science Day 2013 _(please see attached). As in the past, there are no fees to attend and no pre-registration is required.  JULY 10?   

 

 

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NOFA Standards Review
  
Last month we reviewed basic organic lawn care principles.  THis month, we'll focus on how to maintain an organic lawn throughout the season. The following excerpt on preferred organic lawn maintenance practices can be found on page 34 of the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care.

Preferred
  • Reducing the size of lawn areas to what is absolutely necessary
  • Lawn seed mixtures consisting of law-maintenance grasses, broadleaf plants, and/or legume varieties appropriate for the site
  • Lawn alternatives, such as "no-mow" lawns, native grasses and wildflowers, native or low-maintenance perennials, herbs, shrubs, and trees
  • Allowing lawn to grow unmowed
  • Covering high-traffic recreation and pedestrian areas with mulch, sand, etc., instead of trufgrass. Note: Recycled rubber tire mulch is prohibited in these Standards, and for playgrounds, there are Child Safety standards and Americans with Disabilities Act standards to consult.
  • Disease - and/or - insect-resistant grass cultivars
  • Mowing to maintain a height of 3 inches or more
  • Irrigation by natural rainfall only
  • Seeding or overseeding in fall to minimize the amount of water needed for germination and the establishment of young grass plants
  • Leaving grass clippings on the lawn
  • Returning shredded leaves to the lawn in the fall
  • Having soil tested to determine nutritional needs prior to the application of amendments or fertilizers
  • Thatch removal using thatch-reducing soil amendments

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