From the Executive Director
At this time of year, CT NOFA asks for your generous support
as we finish out our 30th anniversary year and plan for 2013.
We believe that the local and organic food system that CT NOFA has been advocating and educating for over the last three decades is a powerful way to address not only the most serious environmental and health problems we face, but also to achieve the fair, sustainable and just food system that is needed for healthy communities.
CT NOFA is the only statewide organization which has this focus. We collaborate with many other organizations and institutions, but often are the main voice promoting organic methods and the widespread importance of local production.
Those of you who are members can read, in The Natural Farmer
newspaper that just arrived, about two important aspects of our work and how they come together, in an article on pages B-17-18 by our beginning farmer program
coordinator, Kristiane Huber.
For over a decade, CT NOFA has nurtured and encouraged the state's Community Farms
with conferences, talks, political support and collaborations. Currently at least three of these farms are certified organic and a fourth is getting close.
For even longer, CT NOFA has sponsored an annual Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference
(in 2013, on January 26 at Goodwin College in East Hartford). We are currently in the fourth year of the Beginning Women Farmers Whole Farm Planning Course and in the second year of the Beginning Farmer Program in collaboration with other NOFA chapters. Besides on-farm and conference workshops, this program supports two to three promising new farmers each year as Journeyperson farmers with a mentor and educational resources. (Applications for the 2013 Journeyperson Program
are due December 31.)
Kristiane's article highlights the Incubator Farm at the Community Farm of Simsbury
and community farms in general as places for beginning farmers to get training, experience and a chance to operate a farm. Become a member
to receive timely issues of The Natural Farmer.
If we are to have a healthy future here, we need more farmers in Connecticut growing good food, and more consumers who understand the role of local and organic food in the future.
CT NOFA's long term support for Community Farms and beginning farmers plays a key role in getting us to that healthy future. Your memberships and donations
are essential for us to continue this work. They also let us know that you appreciate how important our work is.
I hope you have wonderful holidays and that we see you at one of our events in 2013.
PS: be sure to check out our NOFA Organic Land Care site, organiclandcare.net
, to see the exciting work we are doing to protect Long Island Sound from excess nutrients and pesticide runoff with our new Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course
in collaboration with several community colleges and the Long Island Sound Futures Fund
. This is in addition to our reinvigorated four day Accreditation Course in Organic Land Care
to be held in Philadelphia in early January and in Connecticut in February.
CT NOFA and OLC Events
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Wilton High School, 395 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT
8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Growing Together Since 1982!
Join us in celebrating our 31st Annual Winter Conference with
keynote David W. Wolfe Ph.D., the Faculty Fellow and Chair of the Climate Change Focus Group, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and Professor of Plant and Soil Ecology, Department of Horticulture at Cornell University. CT NOFA's Winter Conference is our largest event of the year - packed with workshops, hands-on demos, engaging speakers, and a wide array of vendors all promoting sustainable farms, gardens, food, and land care. Learn more here
Check out our updated list of Confirmed workshops:
Farm and Landscape Managment for a Changing Climate - Dr. David Wolfe, Cornell University
- Growing Nut Trees - Sandra Anagnostakis, Connnecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
- Birds Do It, Bees Do It - Pollination, That Is - Dr. Kimberly Stoner, Connnecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
- Organic Worm composting/Vermiculture/Bokashi - Nick Mancini, The Organic Gardening Workshop
- Partnering With the Next Generation - Robert Maddox & Loren Pola, Sun One Organic Farm
- Probiotics for Plants and Turf: Using Soil Biology to Grow Better Plants, Trees and Turf - Joe Magazzi, Green Earth Agriculture
- Self Sutainable Living - Wyatt Whiteman, 1760 Farm House, LLC
- Growing Great Garlic - Max & Kerry Taylor, Provider Farm
- Farming your Inner Bugs with Food - Jennifer Boyd, Boyd Wellness
- Aquaponics-The Sustainable Garden - Tyler Cote, Cote's Naturals
Many more to come!
Interested in becoming a sponsor? Email Melissa for sponsorship package options.
Other CT NOFA and NOFA Organic Land Care Events
Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference - Speaker Schedule Released!
Saturday, January 26, 2013Goodwin College
East Hartford, CT
This conference helps aspiring organic farmers develop successful farming careers. Our schedule for the 2013 conference has just been released! Learn more about the conference here
, and check out these resources
from CT DOAG to get started learning about organic farming. Soil is the foundation of organic farming, so start learning about the soil here
before attending.This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
January 14-17, 2013
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
New England Regional
February 11 - 14, 2013
Norwich, CTManchester Community College
January 24 (January 25 snow date)
February 26 (February 27 snow date)
GMO Free Rally
December 12, 2012
Meet at the park in front of the Armory (across the street from the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave)
Join us as we demand the right to know what's in our food with GMO labeling.Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference & Trade ShowMaking "Cents" in Today's Marketplace
February 27 & 28 2013
This conference draws hundreds of farmers and farm industry members. Attendees will find 26 workshops on topics such as marketing, agri-tourism, social media, financing and more. There will be a panel discussion with the agricultural chiefs from each of the New England states. A New England Farmers Market managers Workshop will also be held in conjunction with the conference. Learn more and register here
For other area events, including additional farmers markets that we will be attending, check our our event listings page.
2013 Bulk Order - Become a Member for 10% Discount
Do you buy cover crop seed, fertilizers, mineral amendments, compost, potting soil, potato and allium seed? Would you like to save money on those items? If so, the bulk order might be perfect for you. Each spring, NOFA/Mass organizes a bulk order with popular suppliers for distribution at sites in western, central, & eastern MA, central CT & RI. Take advantage of significant savings through group purchasing power and collective shipping, while helping NOFA support organic practices throughout the Tri-State region. The order is open to both members and non-members, but members receive a 10% discount. Become a member today to save! The spring order will be available to download on the NOFA/Mass bulk order program page January 1, 2013. You'll only have a month to get your order in, so start planning now! To be prepared, we suggest getting your soil tested, with recommendations. Questions? Contact Cathleen O'Keefe, Bulk Order Coordinator, (413) 387-2316, or click here to learn more.
2013-14 Farm and Food Guide Farm/Business Listings
We're starting to compile our Farm and Food Guide listings for the 2013-14 issue! If you already have a listing in the 2012-13 Guide, expect a letter in the next couple weeks that confirms your listing and allows changes to be made to it. If you're a member, own a farm or supporting business, and don't have a listing or would like one, or if you have any questions about listings in the Farm and Food Guide, contact Debbie, our administrative assistant. You can view a PDF of the 2012-13 Farm and Food Guide here.
2013 CT NOFA Membership Fee Changes
For many years CT NOFA has kept its membership rates consistent in order to provide the greatest value to our members. However, in order for us to continue offering the most up-to-date programming and have the greatest possible impact in the community, next year we will finally be modestly raising our fees. We have done our best to keep the increased membership rates at affordable levels so that anyone can participate.
Our new rates are as follows:
- Digital only new member: $25 (This is a promotional price for first-time members - for your first year, this membership level provides you with all our digital publications.)
- Student/Senior: $30
- Individual: $50
- Family: $60
- Business: $125
- Lifetime: $1000
If you would like to become a member or renew your membership before the rates increase, join by December 31, 2012.
Want to Get More Involved with CT NOFA?
CT NOFA Board Members Sought!
CT NOFA is looking for board members with Fundraising, Legal and/or Volunteer Coordination Experience.
The Board member will:
- Attend in-person meetings approximately every other month
- Participate in conference call meetings on the alternate month
- Participate or lead the appropriate committee of the Board, with separate meetings for committee
- Attend CT NOFA events, have fun, eat great food and advocate for local, organic food and organic land care
Please contact John Turenne, Vice-President of the CT NOFA Board. You can learn more about the current CT NOFA board here.
Kerry and Max Taylor
CT NOFA is accepting applications for the Journeyperson program
up until December 31, 2012. The journeyperson program provides two years of stipend and mentor support for a farmer in their first (and second) growing season as an independent farmer.
In 2012 CT NOFA selected Kerry and Max Taylor at Provider Farm and Joe Listro at Sullivan Farm for the Journeyperson Program. You can read about our visit to Provider Farm and to Sullivan Farm at the CT NOFA Blog. Both Provider and Sullivan Farms will continue to benefit from Journeyperson stipends, mentors and free admission to NOFA events for another year. It has been really exciting for CT NOFA to get to know some of Connecticut's beginning farmers through the Journeyperson program. Kerry and Max have already been nice enough to discuss their first year with
a CSA at The UConn Extension's CSA School on November 28, and Joe provided a lot of helpful information for an article in the Natural Farmer.
For 2013 we are able to have 3 Journeypeople, and are looking for applications! You can learn more at the Journeyperson website and apply online.
There are a number of other opportunities for beginning farmers coming up! You can apply for a scholarship to the 2013 Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference or a scholarship to the 2013 Winter Conference.
Remembering Russell Libby
CT NOFA stands alongside other NOFA chapters and the rest of the agricultural community in mourning the death of MOFGA's longtime Executive Director, Russell Libby. Russell was a pioneer in the sustainable agriculture movement, and has been an inspiration to us all. His leadership and expertise will continue to positively influence the future of agriculture for years to come. Russell's legacy will remain in our hearts and minds as we continue working toward our mission to build a robust, sustainable, and healthy farming community. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
Announcements & Alerts
CT NOFA Added to PAMTA's List of Endorsers
Since September, more than 50 farmers, 150 scientists, and half a million consumers have spoken out against the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. PAMTA, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, is designed to end the routine use of antibiotics on healthy animals and curb the growing threat of superbugs. CT NOFA is now on the Union of Concerned Scientists' list of PAMTA endorsers, adding our voice to this movement. As PAMTA's voice becomes louder, the pressure for change continues to build. You can learn more about PAMTA here.
Cornell Online Farmer Courses - Get Your Ducks in Order!
Winter is the season for farm planning! What better way to use the long dark evenings than to snuggle up with your computer and join an online course from the Cornell Small Farms Program? You'll build your skills, be inspired by successful farmers, and develop plans to help you hit the ground running when the growing season begins. Each course features weekly live webinars to introduce concepts and examples, followed by online discussions, readings, and homework assignments during the rest of the week. All courses are taught by Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, farmers, or other ag service providers, and typically include presentations by successful farmers detailing aspects of their operations. These 6-week courses each cost $200. Registration closes when the courses fill up, or by one week before the course start date, whichever happens sooner. So don't delay, click here to register. Learn more about how the courses operate on our Course Logistics and FAQs page here.
The Farmers Market Federation of NY and the NY Farm Viability Institute have partnered with USDA Northeast SARE to present a series of webinars on marketing. These webinars have been designed with the assistance of regional and national marketing experts to provide critical marketing insights for farmers and farm markets throughout the northeast. The webinars are free, are approximately an hour and a half long, and easy to access with a basic internet connection. This winter, 6 webinars will be held and interested participants are encouraged to register TODAY for the webinars they think they will attend. Learn more here.
Baystate Organic Certifiers Clarifies BioTelo Mulch Issue
Baystate is finding that there is a lot of misinformation about BioTelo biodegradable mulch and whether it has been approved for use on organic farms. BioTelo is not yet approved by the National Organic Program (NOP) for use by organic farmers. At their meeting in Providence, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommended that synthetic biodegradable mulch be added to the National List of Allowed Substances. In order for BioTelo mulch to be approved the following has to happen:
- The NOP has to accept the NOSB Recommendation and change the National List by posting the change in the Federal Register - that has not happened.
- BioTelo, and any other synthetic biodegradable mulch, has to provide proof that they are compliant with the requirements of the NOSB recommendation. The NOSB did not say all biodegradable mulch is approved; they said mulch that meets a certain criteria can be approved. BioTelo has not yet provided proof that they are compliant with the NOSB recommendation.
In the News
The Connecticut branch of a major Protestant church alliance last month adopted a resolution calling for education about genetically modified foods, which a Ledyard farmer said has strengthened his efforts. The Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ overwhelmingly adopted the resolution at its Oct. 20 annual meeting in Middletown, according to the group's website. The measure calls for the conference's 254 member churches and 97,000 individual members to learn about the health, environmental and ethical concerns surrounding production and consumption of genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs. More>
Sustainable Food Systems LLC, a Wallingford business that once provided consulting chefs for ABC's "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," has made it his mission to promote healthy, sustainable food to schools and organizations. More>
Many people might be surprised to learn that the average contribution to the food stamp program is a little over 10 cents, or one thin dime, a day. Let's look at the numbers. More>Kaiser Permanente advises members against GMOs
Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed healthcare organization in the United States, is advising members to limit exposure to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In its Northwest Fall 2012 newsletter, Kaiser warns of the potential danger GMOs pose to the national food supply. More>
Look Out Monsanto: Campaigns to Label Genetically Engineered Foods Are Heating Up
Organizers in more than 30 states have begun building labeling campaigns, under the banner of the Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO labeling. More>Did You Eat Today? Thank a Food Worker
The most under-reported and neglected aspect of the good food movement is the 20 million workers who toil every day-often under inhumane conditions-harvesting fields, killing and cutting up animals, packing boxes, driving trucks, cooking meals, ringing up orders, serving tables, and cleaning up the mess. More>
From our Blog
Working Together for a Sustainable Future in ConnecticutTogether we've made important strides and have had a great impact creating a strong demand for locally-produced organic foods in Connecticut. More>Happy Thanksgiving! All of us in the CT NOFA office sat down for a Thanksgiving Potluck with local pumpkin pie, corn-bread with local peppers in it, local potato-leek soup, quinoa-stuffed squash rings, and some probably not-as-local-brownies. More>A Successful Organic Land Care Business WorkshopOn Friday, November 9, 2012, the NOFA Organic Land Care Program hosted its fourth advanced workshop, titled Business Essentials: Pricing and Marketing your Landscaping Services for Success. The half-day workshop was held at the Connecticut Forest and Park Association in Rockfall, CT. More>
Love our blog? Want a chance to get more involved?
For the first time ever, we are now accepting guest articles to feature on our blog. If you have expertise and passion for organic and sustainable food issues, and experience with writing either on a blog or in another journalistic outlet, you can become a guest blogger for CT NOFA! Interested? Send us an email detailing your relevant experience with writing and sustainable food and, if our needs match, we'll set you up as either a one-time blogger, or a scheduled guest writer.
December is the heart of the holiday season, and it's a great opportunity to share delicious hearty winter foods with friends and family. It's not as hard to have a sustainable holiday dinner as you might think - in fact, buying local in-season foods (part of what having a sustainable meal entails) will help make your holiday feel more festive and authentic. Not surprisingly, many traditional New England holiday recipes call for ingredients that can be grown and stored in this area at this time of year. So buy from a local food store, farmers market, CSA, or local farm. You can see a listing of our member farms and farmers markets (all of which are either organic or have signed the Farmer's Pledge
) in our Farm and Food Guide
. Of course, buying organic is another great way to keep your winter foods as healthy and sustainable as possible, so if you buy local, organic, and in-season, you'll really be getting the most ecologically sound, delicious, and healthy options for your holiday treats. To learn more about the different ways to keep your winter and holiday meals sustainable check out the Guide to a Green Christmas Dinner from The Guardian
|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.
|If you have any stories, articles, notices, or suggestions for this newsletter, please send them along. Please also note that classifieds and community notices are maintained on our community board. If you have a notice you'd like to add, send it along to the office here.|