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From the Director
CT NOFA Friends,
In this season of giving and receiving, our CT NOFA family has many gifts to be thankful for.
First and foremost, we thank our local family farmers who work so hard to supply our families with the best organic and sustainable food throughout the year.
We are grateful to our accredited organic land care professionals who help ensure that the landscapes that surround us do not poison us, our water and our food.
We value our partner organizations who work with us to make possible the critical work we do to support our farmers, gardeners, land care professionals, and ALL of our citizens - we all eat, we all play on the land, we all drink our water!
Thank you to our longstanding partner, Farm Credit East, for this month's Gleanings advertisement. We appreciate this new initiative.
This past month we were fortunate to partner with Audubon Greenwich on The Importance of Pollinators in Farming and Gardening workshop given by Kelly Gill, a Pollinator Conservation Specialist from The Xerces Society and USDA-NRCS. We filled the room and got rave reviews.
On Saturday, March 1st we will be working with a new partner, Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, who will be hosting our 32nd annual Winter Conference, which has been growing exponentially over the past few years. Please mark your calendars and join us on March 1st for excellent workshops and exhibits, and to hear the keynote address by Fred Kirschenmann, a Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, and President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York.
We also partner with NOFA/MASS on a bulk order of seeds, fertilizers, mineral amendments, compost, potting soil, and more. Please look out for the order form which will be available January 1, 2014. The prices are terrific and even better with a 10% discount for CT NOFA members.
Speaking of members, why not consider the gift of CT NOFA membership this holiday season? Mike Papa, one of our accredited organic land care professionals (AOLCPs) is doing just that - he is buying CT NOFA memberships as gifts for his clients. To do the same for your friends, family, co-workers and customers, go to "CT NOFA For The Holidays", which is front and center at ctnofa.org
It's time to wrap up and express our thanks to YOU, our CT NOFA family who support us throughout the year in so many ways. We appreciate all you do to enable us to do our critical work in support of organic food, farming, gardening and land care. Please consider being as generous as you can with a year-end gift to CT NOFA. You can read our annual appeal and donate here.
Best wishes for the holiday season and a healthy and happy new year!
Forty years ago, I already had read enough to know that food is a critical issue and that how we grow our food and what we eat have important effects on human and environmental health and on the sustainability of civilizations.
From CT NOFA's Organic Advocate
The Boulder in the Road or Kellogg Drives Pringles Deeper into Asia
By Dill Duesing
I responded to that knowledge in what seemed like simple and sensible ways. I bought a little piece of land and started raising plants and animals and planting trees. I connected with like-minded people through the just-formed Northeast Organic Farming Association, sold produce to a store in New Haven and eventually meat and eggs to neighbors and beyond. I found ways to recycle food waste from restaurants and produce markets for animal food and compost. I invited children onto our Old Solar Farm to learn about natural cycles and farming.
Long time organic farmer George Hall receives an Education Leader award
George Hall, of George Hall Farm in Simsbury, has been an organic farmer for well over 40 years and has been involved with NOFA since 1972. Each week George added his tomatoes to the truck of frozen apple cider and other Vermont and New Hampshire produce that NOFA members were sending to day care centers, food coops and women's shelters in New York City.
George has hosted several CT NOFA tours of his farm. Congratulations to George on his well-deserved 2013 Farmland Preservation Pathfinder Education Leader award from the American Farmland Trust.
The award was presented at the Connecticut Capitol as part of the Working Lands Alliance's Annual Meeting in November.
The award notes that "Throughout his long farming career, Hall has been an outstanding mentor and teacher to countless interns and apprentices who come to learn about the importance of farming, the meaning of hard work, and the love of the land.
Using a unique approach to preservation, Hall will also sell the development rights on 12 highly developable acres of farmland in exchange for the rights to 40 acres of farmland he has been leasing; a transaction that will, in the end, provide him little financial gain. Through this example, Hall is showing the community that securing his lands for the future outweigh monetary considerations."
For more information on the Hall Farm, click here
CT NOFA Events
January 18, 2014
Bad weather date: January 19
East Hartford, CT
Save the Date!
Planning your Garden
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Common Ground Garden Workshop Clinic
New Haven, CT
March 1, 2014
Western Connecticut State University
Save the Date!
Soils, Compost and Mulching
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Common Ground Garden Workshop Clinic
New Haven, CT
Wendell Berry is speaking at YALE this Saturday!
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 at 2:30pm
A public conversation in the Shubert Theatre, 247 College St. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available from the Shubert Theatre box office. CT at Work conference at Wesleyan University
It is open to the public. Registration and more information (including a session on farming and the premiere of our "A Day in the Life at Sweet Acre Farm" documentary can be found here.
Want to Get More Involved with CT NOFA?
CT NOFA Board Members Sought!CT NOFA is looking for board members with a variety of skills, including recordkeeping, paralegal, technology, fundraising, marketing and finance.
The Board members will:
- Attend in-person meetings approximately every other month
- Participate in conference call meetings on the alternate months
- Participate in or chair the appropriate committee of the Board, with separate meetings for this 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.
School Garden Network News
Growing and Learning
Redwing Pond House Preschool in the News
Our second issue
of Growing and Learning
back in February of 2012 featured Redwing Pond House Preschool
, a nature-based preschool in Ansonia, CT, on the grounds of the Ansonia Nature Center. The school had just opened in their new building, and planned a curriculum intent on integrating the natural world around it into the daily learning and activities of the children.
Redwing completed its first full year last spring, and is continuing to immerse children in the natural world, incorporating a school garden, hikes in the woods, and visits to the pond into the lessons (and fun!) that the children participate in daily. The school was recently featured in the Connecticut Post
. Congratulations to Director Jackie Lema and her staff for introducing children to nature and encouraging a lifelong relationship with and appreciation of the natural world.
USDA Announces Additional Support to Help Schools Buy Local Food
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced grants for 71 projects spanning 42 states and the District of Columbia which support the USDA's efforts to connect school cafeterias with local farmers through its Farm to School Project. Included in the awards is Ledge Light Health District in New London, CT. Read more about the recipients and projects, and get more info about the Farm to School Census and other related USDA initiatives.
G.I.V.E. Keeps Going Despite End of Gardening Season G.I.V.E (Green Initiative for Vegetables in Education) hasn't stopped their work in Stamford-area schools just because the gardening season has ended. After getting the school garden beds cleaned up and prepped for the upcoming cold season, G.I.V.E.'s winter activities revolve around cooking with vegetables, mindful of the ones they grew in their school gardens. Recently they worked with students at Dolan Middle School to prepare, cook and enjoy a meal together. Visit the G.I.V.E. website for more on this project and all the other great work they do in the Stamford-area schools.
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.
News, Announcements & Alerts
CT Humanities is conducting a request for farmers to do a blogpost for their upcoming Connecticut at Work initiative.
CT Humanities, CT's state affiliate to the National Endowment for the Humanities, is about to launch our yearlong initiative called Connecticut at Work. This is an exploration of how work has impacted the lives of people in Connecticut through the past, present and into the future. Contact Here
CT NOFA is now accepting applications from beginning farmers to participate in our Journeyperson Program!
The Journeyperson Program is a two year program that will provide the selected farmers with stipends supporting education, business planning, a paid farmer mentor and admission to all of CT NOFA's workshops. ~ More
Submit your online application here
The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Connecticut is looking for a few good men and women to become Technical Service Providers (TSPs).
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) supports payment for practices involving the development of certain plans called conservation activity plans or CAPs. Only certified TSPs may be hired to complete these plans.
Details on becoming a TSP are here.
Big Food Wants to Crush the GMO Labeling Movement
-By Tom Philpott
A pre-eminent U.N. and World Bank assessment concluded that GE crops have very little potential to alleviate poverty and hunger.
The Year the Monarch Didn't Appear
a story on habitat destruction, loss of native vegetation, pesticides and conservation-destroying ag economics -- contributing to the decline of insect populations with effects on ecological foodwebs and our food security...Here is the story.
Farmers Get 'Smarter' with New University of Florida Apps
They make the grower's job easier and simplify the process to determine the best irrigation schedule
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
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.