February 2015

Technical Assistance for  Farmers
Coming Together
Connecticut's Beginning & Experienced Organic Farmers,
contracts experienced organic farmers from around the state to provide short-term technical assistance to Connecticut's beginning farmers.

More about the program HERE
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Many thanks to our Annual Bronze Sponsor

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No Doubt It's Winter!

CT NOFA Friends,

Mother Nature is certainly reminding us we live in the northeast. As long as our farmers' hoophouses and greenhouses fare well through this season, we can enjoy winter's beauty and plan for and look forward to spring planting time.

We'll give winter 2015 center stage one last time at our 33rd Annual Winter Conference on Saturday, March 7 (snow date March 8) at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. This conference is the one to go to for Connecticut residents interested in all aspects of organic and sustainable living. Please take advantage of early bird rates which end on February 7 and if you are a vendor, exhibitor, advertiser or would like to sponsor let us know today! Our lineup of workshop presenters and exhibitors has never been better. Keynote speaker Dr. Kristine Nichols, Chief Scientist at Rodale Institute, will talk to us about organic regenerative agriculture and its ability to sequester carbon. We will hear in depth what Rodale Institute means when it says, "Simply put, recent data from farming systems and pasture trials around the globe show that we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term 'regenerative organic agriculture'. These practices work to maximize carbon fixation while minimizing the loss of that carbon once returned to the soil, reversing the greenhouse effect". Imagine the change for our planet if agriculture goes from being a major contributor to climate change to healing the planet with organic practices. I can't wait to hear Dr. Nichols tell us what it will take to have this happen. Read all about our full Winter Conference lineup here
Also at Winter Conference's Keynote session we will honor our longstanding CT NOFA members. And we will recognize CT NOFA's Member of the Year, Al Avitabile. Al is an accomplished beekeeper, author, researcher, Emeritus Professor of Biology at UConn and to CT NOFA our venerable member since 1996. CT NOFA's members are the heart of our organization. We rely upon all of our members for support, partnership, wisdom and time. Winter Conference is a terrific gathering place for our members and the energy is palpable. This year we're holding our Annual Meeting before the afternoon workshops begin and hope to pack the room with members.

Please remember before winter ends that it is an excellent time for you or your lawn care provider to take the Online NOFA Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course. This 9-unit, non-credit course can be taken at your own pace from the warm comfort of home at the low fee of $150. It is a complete introduction to managing grass and lawns organically and also teaches lawn care professionals how to market and communicate this information to individual clients or municipalities. CT NOFA's Organic Land Care program is collaborating with Three River Community College's Division of Workforce and Community Education to offer the course. Click here to find out more and to register.

Spring will bring many wonderful things, including the 350CT climate march in Hartford on Sunday, May 31. Please stay tuned for details on the march and a CT NOFA contingent.

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

Eileen Hochberg   

Executive Director       

By Bill Duesing

Each week Americans toss roughly a billion aluminum cans into the landfill and roughly another billion into the recycling bin.Our country should be leading the way toward a more livable future, but with our profligate energy and resource use, we are leading in the opposite direction.

Americans use more energy per capita than residents of any country except Canada and several small, Middle East oil producers. Based on 2011 numbers each American uses almost 50 percent more energy than the average Russian, almost twice as much as the French, Germans and Japanese, over twice as much as the British and Italians and three times as much as the Chinese. We use 11 times what the average Indian uses and 34 times a Bangladeshi's daily energy use!

Yet, we all have roughly the same basic needs and live on the same planet.

Continue reading HERE

 Now Accepting Applications for the 2015-2017 JourneyPerson Program

The program supports newly independent farmers with stipends for education, technology and professional services, including business planning. It also gives journeypersons complimentary access to all NOFA educational events, and matches participants with a mentor farmer for two years.  The program experience is shaped by the interests and goals of each participant. 
Applications are due on March 15, 2015.  
For more information click HERE
To apply click HERE
Upcoming CT NOFA Events
The early bird gets the worm...and a discount on registration!

Here's a peek at some of the workshops; for a complete list of confirmed workshops, click HERE

~Sea Farming for FertilizerGeorge Kraemer, Purchase College
~Growing in Movable High Tunnels; Reviewing Three Years of Experience - Steve Munno, Massaro Community Farm
~Identifying and Managing Invasive Plants - Bill Duesing, Solar Farm Education
~Scrap Wood and WD-40: Making it Work on the Start-up Farm - Aaron Taylor, Darling Farm and Susan Mitchell, Cloverleigh Farm
-Click HERE for the 2015 Winter Conference page
 -Sponsorship & Advertising information HERE
-To become a vendor or exhibitor click HERE


Click HERE for more info
Greenhouse Workshop at Wayne's Organic Garden
Sunday, March 22nd Time TBD
Oneco, CT
Join us for an informational tour of Wayne Hansen's organic greenhouse growing operation to kick off the first days of Spring!
Register HERE
Whole Foods 5% Donation Day 
 September 17th

5% of that day's net sales will be donated to CT NOFA!

More details to come!
Other Events and Announcments
Cucurbits & Brassicas
Litchfield County Extension Center, Torrington
Solanaceae & Legumes
Tolland Agricultural Center, Vernon
Upcoming Webinars for Farmland Seekers (Feb. 5 & Feb. 19)

 Thursday, February 5, 2015
 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM EST
Learn about local and regional resources that can help you identify potential farmland and discover tools that can help you identify key considerations for careful examination of a site, including conditions and variables that may affect the viability of your farm operation. 

Webinar 2: Nuts and Bolts of Farmland Leasing
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Learn about the benefits of farmland leasing, elements of a good lease, finding the "right" relationship with a land owner, and expectations of engaging legal help. Presenters include Kathy Ruhf at Land For Good, Elena Mihaly at Legal Services Food Hub, and Noelle Fogg at New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.

more information here
When : Sunday May 31st
Where : Hartford, CT
Click HERE for more info

New Business Member Profiles

Black Hog Brewing started with the story of local food, family, and a love for craft beer. From their weddings to their kids' birthdays, roasting a local pig has become the favorite way to celebrate any of our special occasions. With a plan to form a brewery that would celebrate family and local food we formed Black Hog Brewing Co. When we party, we roast a hog and the CT Berkshire hog is our breed of choice, thus Black Hog Brewing was born! Check out our Farmland Series with CT Grown ingredients supporting the CT Farmland Trust.  

Country Landscaping is the "Natural Choice" for all you landscape and excavation needs. Country Landscaping has been designing, constructing, and maintaining projects with a focus on protecting the environment since 1996. Sustainability is always practiced on all of our projects from reducing waste, using recycled materials, sourcing local materials, to using organic products and methods . Our organic lawn and land care programs virtually eliminate pesticide usage on the properties we maintain thanks in part to us brewing compost teas. Please contact us to set up your free site analysis: Durham (860) 349 1918, Hamden (203) 230 0092, Email Nick@countrylandscapingllc.com

The Harbour House features fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Mystic's most spectacular setting at the Inn at Mystic, offering an eclectic mix of casually elegant cuisine mingled with the traditional seafood staples. Enjoy handmade wood-fired pizza from our brick oven and freshly shucked Ninigrets from the raw bar, or delve into our gorgonzola-crusted filet of beef finished with a savory malbec demi-glace. To complement your dining experience, the Harbour House bar features 24 beers on tap along with an impressive list of signature cocktails made with only the freshest of ingredients.

School Garden Network News 

Growing and Learning

CT Farm to School Conference Seeking Presenters

The Connecticut School Garden Resource Center and the Connecticut Food Systems Alliance invite you to submit a workshop proposal for the Connecticut statewide farm-to-school conference upcoming on March 20th. They seek proposals that showcase the collaborative efforts taking place in local food procurement, food and nutrition education and the creation of school garden programs. See here for more details and request-for-proposal form


Youth Beekeeping Webinar   
Building a Youth Beekeeping Program is the subject of a webinar on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.  Presenter Jennica Skoug will cover topics such as management and upkeep, safety, keeping students involved, and how beehives benefit students.  For more info and registration, see here.  The webinar is co-hosted by edWeb.net, The Edible Schoolyard Project, the National Farm to School Network, and Life Lab.  



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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Stephanie Berluti
Gleanings Editor