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From the Director
As we enter 2014
CT NOFA friends,
CT NOFA had a banner year. Our programs in local organic food and agriculture, as well as organic land care and sustainable living overall, had a direct impact on thousands of people. And many thousands more benefited from the positive effects our work has on the environment.
We are so proud of our achievements in 2013:
We enter 2014 poised to take advantage of CT NOFA's outstanding 31 year history and strong foundation in order to build our future. We are well positioned to capture and feed into the energy of the local and organic food movements, as well as the increasing awareness of the importance of a broad spectrum of sustainable practices to human health and the health of our planet, including our land, air and water.
- Our 31st Annual Winter Conference was the biggest ever - 800 attendees from all sectors of our local food system and land care industry received top-notch education on sustainable practices
- Our 8th Annual Getting Started In Organic Farming Conference received rave reviews for effectively helping the next generation of farmers develop successful farming careers
- Our 9th Annual Gathering brought over 200 land care professionals together for continuing education delivered by the top experts in the field
- Our expanded programming included new and exciting on-farm workshop topics, an additional accreditation course for organic land care professionals, and a lawn certificate course targeted at a wider range of landscapers
- Our ambitious work with partner organizations made Connecticut the first state in the nation to pass GMO labeling legislation
- Our outreach to farmers and consumers resulted in critical comments to the FDA on their proposed food safety rules that if implemented would hurt small, local and organic growers*
- Our transition in board and staff leadership was smooth, adding new opportunities to existing ones
- Our CT NOFA family grew and we learned that if we ask for support we receive it
As always, our work in 2014 depends upon your financial support. The need has never been greater, as certain sources of funding are far less available and more competitive than ever before. This is especially true with the uncertainty of a Farm Bill, which has stranded important programs, including the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which now funds much of CT NOFA's work with the next generation of farmers. Your support is critical.
Your financial support will enable us to accomplish important initiatives in 2014:
Please be as generous as you can - please go to ctnofa.org today and click "Donate" or mail a check today. The integrity of our food, water and landscapes, the continuation of local agriculture and our local food system, and the health of our families are depending on you.
- Educating the next generation of farmers in new and creative ways with help from our new Farmer Education Committee
- Updating our Organic Land Care Standards and publishing the 6th edition
- Putting CT NOFA front and center to a wider audience in all corners of the state on important policy issues
- Expanding our annual Farm & Food Guide, to make it an even better resource for consumers and promotional tool for our farmers and supporting businesses
- Engaging new partners in our important work, as we know we can't do it alone
- Implementing a more robust volunteer program to achieve the capacity we need to be successful
- Using new technologies to help broaden our audience, streamline our work and enable us to do so much more
- Teaching over 800 people at our Winter Conference, with Fred Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, as our keynote
Thank you for your continued support,
*IMPORTANT - Please click here if you have not yet submitted comments to the FDA on the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Please submit your comments today to the FDA on the Food Safety Modernization Act
Click here to find out how to submit your comments.
From CT NOFA's Organic Advocate
Organic Agriculture and Thinking in three parts
By Bill Duesing,
1. Use Nature's methods/ work with Nature.
2. Pay attention to:
where things come from
where things go, and
what the effects are at both ends and along the way.
3. Think holistically.
For years I've used these three points to illustrate what organic agriculture is and by extension what an organic attitude for living on this beautiful planet should be.
They have held up very well over time.
CT NOFA Events
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Bad weather date: November 14
Speaker: Kelly Gill from Xerces/NRCS
Presenter: Kelly Gill
Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Mid-Atlantic / Northeast Region
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
USDA-NRCS, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regions
Kelly is the Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions for the Xerces Society and a partner biologist with the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Kelly's position provides technical support for planning, installing, and managing pollinator habitat. A Pennsylvania native, Kelly recently completed her Master's Degree in Entomology at Iowa State University. There, she conducted small plot and farm scale research, collaborating with organic and conventional farmers, on the development of best practices for conserving beneficial insects in agricultural landscapes.
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
Save the Date!
CT NOFA Winter Conference
March 8, 2014
Soils, Compost and Mulching
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Common Ground Garden Workshop Clinic
New Haven, CT
Long Island Sound Future Fund 2013
CT NOFA is happy to share the great news - our Organic Land Care program is being funded by the Long Island Sound Future Fund 2013 to continue our Organic Lawn Care Certificate Program. In addition to hosting another lawn course this winter, we are partnering with Bernadette Giblin of Safeground Organic Lawn Care to reach out to all 100 students that have completed the course. She will be offering support and guidance to encourage adoption of organic lawn care practices.
Farmer's Pledge Farmers, please take a moment to fill out a survey about our Farmer's Pledge program by clicking here.
If you have not yet taken the Farmer's Pledge please click here for information on taking the Pledge.
School Garden Network News
Growing and Learning
MassAg in the Classroom Fall Conference
Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is sponsoring its 5th annual fall Greening the School conference for educators, on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at the Clay Science Center of the Dexter and Southfield Schools, in Brookline, MA. The school borders Allandale Farm, Boston's last working farm, and farm tours will be available during the morning.
The conference offers a full day of workshops to chose from, focusing on composting and healthy soil; gardening at the school; taking the garden into the classroom; natural resource conservation; and nutrition and local foods. For a complete list of workshops and registration form, download the brochure. Cost is $50, or $55 the day of the conference. For more details, visit MassAg's webpage.
Cold frame manual and more
Last month Beth Hanna, Training & Outreach Specialist at the Wisconsin School Garden Initiative/Community Groundworks brought this wonderful cold frame manual to my attention. Clear, concise, with great photos and straightforward directions, this information-filled manual is sure to be of help to any school garden that wants to extend its season. A visit to their resource page led to the discovery of more helpful tools, including a garden toolkit, nutrition curriculum, online video training sessions, a container garden manual, and more. Be sure to visit their website for these resources and to see the great things they are doing in Wisconsin!
Breaking it Down: School Composting Made Easy with FoodCorps
edWeb.net is hosting a webinar on school food waste and school composting on Monday,
November 18th at 4:00pm. The presenters are Cecily Upton, Co-Founder and VP of Programs for FoodCorps, and Robyn Wardell, Service Program Coordinator for FoodCorps. Register to join edWeb.net for free to view the webinar. Check out their school garden community as well while you are there; it offers resources and communication with others involved in school gardens.
During this webinar, Cecily Upton will give an overview of FoodCorps
, a national service program that
utilizes school gardens, nutrition education, and local food procurement for school cafeterias to give all children an enduring relationship to healthy food. Robyn Wardell will then draw on her experiences as a FoodCorps service member and fellow to offer simple steps that you can take to prevent food waste in school cafeterias. We will also cover the special considerations necessary for starting a school composting operation. Preventing food waste and composting at schools is an important means of saving money, protecting the environment, and teaching kids good habits from an early age.
Participation in Farm to School Activities Increasing
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its first-ever census of Farm to School activities of school districts across the country, with promising results. The census revealed a rising rate of school district participation in Farm to School programs, reflecting the growing popularity of local foods in the United States. Read more about it here.
School Garden Resource Center Seeks Input
The School Garden Resource Center at Common Ground High School in New Haven is still seeking input on school gardens (and potential gardens) around the state. They are gathering information on where school gardens exist, how they are used, which schools would like to build gardens, and which schools might need help in doing so. CT-SGRC welcomes responses from teachers, administrators, parents, food-service directors, after-school programmers, and members of the community. Multiple responses per school are welcomed!
Please take a few moments to respond to this survey, whether you have a current garden or are thinking of installing one. And please pass this around to any educators or interested parties you may know of - your input will help the School Garden Resource Center help your school and other schools around the state.
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
UConn Extension is seeking 5 beginning farmers to participate in its program for beginner farmers:
SCALING UP - WHOLE FARM PLANNING PROGRAM.Deadline: Monday, November 11, 2013
. See the right side under Calendar, November 11 - Scaling Up Apps Due
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
Scholarships Available to Farmers for Two-day Acidified Foods Processing School at CFBA
RPT-Food giants pour millions into defeating Washington GMO label measure
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.
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