December 2014

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Many thanks to our Annual Bronze Sponsor

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Join our Board!
Open Volunteer Positions on the CT NOFA Board
and Fundraising Committee!

The CT NOFA Board of Directors is accepting applications for Board Members, as well as for Fundraising Committee Members.

Interested? Please contact John Turenne, President of the CT NOFA Board. You can learn more about the current CT NOFA board here.

Click HERE for the Board Fundraising Chair description.

Click  HERE for the Volunteer Fundraising Committee Members descriptions.
Today is #GivingTuesday
If you love CT NOFA's work, please donate!

Dear CT NOFA Friends,

Our 32nd year has been a proud one! With your financial support CT NOFA introduced important new initiatives, and continued our flagship programs.

CT NOFA's work makes a huge difference in strengthening our local food system, adapting to and curbing climate change, and preserving our environment. Our impact is felt by tens of thousands throughout Connecticut and neighboring states

We look forward to continuing our important work but our success in 2015 depends upon your financial support now. We will enter 2015 increasingly unsure of government funding, and must rely heavily on individual support. Your donation is critical to our ability to deliver first rate education for Beginning Farmers, including beginning women farmers and journeypersons, Organic Land Care Professionals, Gardeners and Consumers.

Our advocacy for sound food and environmental policy issues must continue in 2015 and needs your financial support now. CT NOFA works to ensure the integrity of our food, water and landscapes. We monitor and address issues related to National Organic Program standards, GMO Grass, antibiotics in agriculture, and FDA's food safety regulations. We must continue to focus on these ongoing concerns, and important new ones, such as proposed federal legislation to BAN state laws requiring labeling of GMO foods.

Your donation is necessary to help CT NOFA bring to the forefront organic agriculture's powerful potential to slow Climate Change and even reverse some of the damage already done, a topic being addressed by our 2015 Winter Conference keynote speaker, Dr. Kristine Nichols, Chief Scientist at Rodale Institute. It is a vital topic for our workshops, 2015 Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference and Accreditation Courses for Organic Land Care Professionals.

Exciting NEW initiatives launched in 2014 need your support for 2015:

* Technical Assistance Program for Beginning Organic Farmers - Coming Together: Connecticut's Beginning & Experienced Organic Farmers provides quick turnaround 1-on-1 consultations to beginning organic farmers from experienced organic farmers, and is building a social community of organic farmers.

* CT NOFA's Entry into Online Professional
Education - The NOFA Online Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course, with Three Rivers Community College, provides online education and a certificate for lawn care providers.

* Consumer Information All In One Place - Healthy Farms, Healthy Food, Healthy People provides comprehensive information on healthy eating and sourcing local food in Connecticut to keep our farms and families healthy. It's funded in part by matching funds from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture through the Community Investment Act, 05-228 and needs additional support.

Please be as generous as you can - please donate here or mail a check to 126 Derby Ave, Derby, CT 06418

All donors of $100 or more will be placed in weekly drawings through December for prizes including T-shirts, manuals for organic growers, lunch with Eileen and CT NOFA's President John Turenne, free Winter Conference registration, gift certificates.

Thank you for your continued support of local and organic food, farming, gardening and land care,

Eileen Hochberg   

Executive Director       

Food Safety Modernization Act  Supplemental Revisions Information Session
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 9:30 am to noon
Middlesex County Extension Center, 1066 Saybrook Road, Haddam

Responding to the first round of comments on the Food Safety Modernization Act (and there were many, prompting revisions and further opportunity to comment), FDA has significantly revised several key proposed regulations affecting all farmers. Come learn about the revisions and how they may affect your farm operation.

There are important changes to:
* Testing of agricultural water
* Timing of manure use
* Definition of harvesting, holding, and packing as activities covered by Produce Rule or Preventive Controls Rule
* Withdrawal and reinstatement of Qualified Exemption
* Wildlife and conservation practices
For information/registration, contact:
CFBA at: Cathy at or 860.768.1100 or UConn Extension at: or 203.407.3163
Organic Advocate

The Food Safety Modernization Act, Round 2; Your comments are critical, again!

We all want our food to be "safe." We expect those mixed greens we buy for our salads to be free of microbes that could make us sick. That's the case whether we pick up a plastic package of conventional mesclun which comes from the other side of the country or our organic CSA share, freshly mixed from produce of several neighboring farms. 

In September, as part of its implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the second versions of the two Rules which apply to fresh fruits and vegetables which are normally eaten raw. The Produce Rule applies to farms. The Preventative Controls Rule applies to facilities which process food. In the rules there are many references to RACs. Those are raw agricultural commodities. The extensive Table 1 in the appendix lists all the different things that are done to RACs and whether they are classified as harvest activities or processing activities.

FDA will accept comments from farmers, eaters, handlers and researchers on these new versions until December 15, 2014. Your comments are critically important.
Read More HERE
Upcoming Events

Click HERE to register

Registration is now open!
Click HERE
A special Thank you to our first Gold Sponsor Farm Credit East

-Click HERE for the 2015 Winter Conference page
-Submit a workshop proposal for the CT NOFA Winter Conference HERE
 -Sponsor & Ad Packages information HERE
-To become a vendor or exhibitor click HERE
Organic Land Care Upcoming Events

December 8-11, 2014 

Philadelphia, PA in Partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society


February 9-12, 2015 
Three Rivers Community College, Norwich, CT
To register for an Accreditation Course, click HERE


For more information on the online course click HERE
News, Announcements and Alerts
"There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farm workers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved - all within the borders of  
the United States."

Support CT NOFA on GivingTuesday by donating to our Annual
Appeal! All donations are genuinely appreciated!
Click HERE to donate today!

Comments on FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are due DECEMBER 15th!

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. Prior to the spring growing season, NOFA/Mass organizes a bulk order with popular suppliers, for distribution at sites around MA/CT/RI.  
For more information click HERE 

View our marketing opportunities HERE

Holiday Shopping with CT NOFA!
Perfect host gift for every Holiday!
  • Autographed Copy of "Welcome to Claire's" and a CT NOFA Apron! $30 (shipping included) Click HERE to purchase these two fabulous items!
  • Purchase a CT NOFA Membership for a loved one! Perfect gift for the social activist(s) of your family. Join on behalf of a family member HERE
  • Purchase tickets to the Winter Conference and spend the day learning with your friends!
2015 Farm & Food Guide DEADLINES

December 15th- deadline to return the Farmer's Pledge.
if you haven't received your form or would like a listing, contact

January 10, 2015- deadline for all F&FG Ads.
For more information on ad pricing click HERE 

Questions? Call (203) 308-2584
New Business Member Profiles

"We grow fresh, local and certified organic produce here in New Milford, Connecticut."

Outdoor Environments in Gaylordsville, CT was founded in 1998 by Lise Goedewaagen. Originally trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America and most recently co-owner of Food For Thought Caterers of New Milford, Lise made a dramatic mid-life career change when she decided to pursue her other great passion, gardening. Outdoor Environments has grown from a tiny seed. It has become a bustling, vibrant company with four full-time employees and other professionals who are hired for large projects.

Opened in 1996, the original Barcelona, South Norwalk, has grown from a tiny tapas bar seating 30 to a 140-seat restaurant with two sophisticated, beautiful dining rooms and an outdoor patio. The original 40-foot-long, hand-carved walnut bar is still there, as are the young and young-at-heart who populate South Norwalk in the evenings. SoNo Barcelona showcases the old brick and raw steel of the former factory building it inhabits. It's a touch of SoHo in SoNo, with the food and flavors of the Ramblas.

School Garden Network News 

Growing and Learning


Workshop at Common Ground High School  

There are still a few spaces left for Common Ground High School's upcoming workshop,
Using Powerful Environmental Texts to Meet Common Core Standards. This workshop, Friday, December 5th, from 9:00am to 3:00pm, at the school in New Haven, will focus on using environmental texts to engage students and help them master challenging standards.  Observe classes, meet other educators, talk to students, and tour the Common Ground campus.  More info and registration here.


Katie's Krops 2015 Grant Cycle Open  
Katie's Crops began with a cabbage seedling (from Bonnie 3rd Grade Cabbage Program) and a 9-year-old girl's dream. 
When Katie's 40-pound cabbage fed 275 people at a soup kitchen, she decided to help other kids grow gardens to help those in need.  Read and view more about her inspiring story, and apply for a grant here.  Deadline for applications is December 31, 2014.

New Community Garden in West Haven 
This past spring, a new community garden opened in West Haven on the grounds of the former Molloy School.   There will be designated beds for each of West Haven's six elementary schools, and the high school may participate as well. The New Haven Register told the story of the garden's beginnings, and it's plans for the future.  You can also read more at the garden's website and Facebook page.  

Fundraising Ideas
Winter is down-time in most school gardens, which means more time for planning.  One important thing to plan for is funding.  School Garden Weekly offers these ideas students can do to raise money to support your school garden, while the University of Florida suggests reaching out to the community for support.




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.


Debbie Semonich  


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