From the Director
Great Successes and Great Things to Come!
CT NOFA friends,
CT NOFA's 1st annual fundraising event and award presentation - A Special Culinary Fundraiser, was an overwhelming success.
This past Sunday September 29 more than 125 new and longtime friends joined us at Winvian luxury resort, weather, restaurant and spa in Morris. All enjoyed the perfect extraordinary food sourced from Winvian's own garden and other local farms and prepared by Winvian's Executive Chef Chris Eddy, and tours of the garden and unique guest cottages. A highlight of the day was seeing the services of Executive Chef Chris Eddy, Community Table's Executive Chef Joel Viehland, and CT NOFA's founder Bill Duesing auctioned off in the highly charged live auction.
Guests applauded as Winvian was presented with CT NOFA's first "Organic Leadership Recognition Award" for their innovative leadership in following organic principles and spreading the organic message to their valued guests and others. Winvian strives on a daily basis to support sustainable agriculture and to serve their guests not only the best food possible, but to educate them at the same time on the benefits of local, sustainable, pesticide free, non-GMO foods.
Executive Chef Chris Eddy is highly passionate and committed to organic agriculture both in and out of the kitchen. He has impressive knowledge about GMOs, biotech companies, policy, and has lobbied hard on the steps of the capitol for GMO labeling with CT NOFA and our other partners, and shares all of this with his guests.
CT NOFA wholeheartedly thanks Maggie Smith, owner of Winvian, as well as General Manager Paolo Middei, Food and Beverage Manager Stefano Middei, Executive Chef Chris Eddy and gardener David Tacuri for their leadership in creating experiences that educate their guests on the benefits of organic living, for being our partners in our shared mission and for being so supportive of our efforts to raise much needed funds to support our work.
We are also extremely grateful to the event's Platinum Sponsors: 3B Ranch in Northford; Caseus Fromagerie and Bistro in New Haven; New Morning Market in Woodbury; and even an Anonymous Sponsor; our Silver Sponsor: Almstead Tree and Shrub Care Company in Stamford, CT, NY and NJ; and our food and beverage sponsors for donating extraordinary food, wine and spirits to the event: Niles Golovin at Bantam Bread Company, Maggie Saska at Community Farm of Simsbury, Karen Pettinelli at Holcomb Farm, Ken Dahil at Marwin Farm and David Blyn & Laura McKinney at Riverbank Farm; Brescome Barton Wholesale Liquor, Connecticut Distributors Inc., Slocum & Sons and Winam Wines.
In addition to raising much needed revenue for CT NOFA, the event illustrated how together with partners such as Winvian, CT NOFA can be more successful in ensuring the future of sustainable agriculture and a viable local food system in CT. Click here for photos of the day.
Another recent fun and successful event was the NOFA table at the Homegrown Village at the Farm Aid concert in Saratoga on September 21, which CT NOFA Vice-President John Turenne and staff member Stephanie Berluti participated in.
So what great things are to come? This week the CT NOFA office is moving into new digs at 126 Derby Ave, Derby, CT 06418-2010. Please give us a ring at 203-308-2584, and come on down to visit. We look forward to having guests!
And, on Saturday, October 19 from 11:30-2:00 PM CT NOFA is having a Special Meeting of the Members at Open Farm Day at Common Ground High School in New Haven. The event is free of charge and open to all. Please bring your lunch and join us under the award winning Harvest Pavilion. Beverages and dessert will be provided. All are welcome to come early and enjoy Open Farm Day before the meeting. We will send official invitations, but in the meantime we want you to know that in addition to some important business we will hear keynote speaker Steve Munno of Massaro Community Farm on the "Importance of Young Farmers" and also honor Annie Farrell of Millstone Farm, CT NOFA's Member of the Year.
So see you in October - at our new office in Derby and at Common Ground High School on October 19th.
Thank you for supporting local and organic food, farming, gardening and land care in Connecticut!
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.
~ Read More>
CT NOFA Events
Saturday, October 19, 2013
11:30 am to 2:00 pm
Steve Munno, Massaro Community Farm Keynote: "Importance of young farmers"
Annie Farrell, Millstone Farm, Member of the Year
Open Farm Day ~ Common Ground High School
New Haven, CT Free and open to all
Importance of Biodiversity and Pollinators in Farming
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
East Hartford, CT
March 8, 2014
Massaro Community Farm
Massaro Community Farm, located in Woodbridge, CT, includes 'Feeding People' as part of its mission statement. This might seem perfunctory for an organic vegetable farm. But for us it means more than just providing quality produce to our customers. Each year we donate at least 10% of what we grow to area hunger relief agencies. When we started out a few years ago this amounted to hundreds of pounds of produce. But thanks to Farm Manager Steve Munno's talents, the expansion of acreage under cultivation, and prime growing conditions, in 2012 our food donations totaled over 6,500 pounds of produce. Some farms generously donate produce to CT Food Bank, who will pick up minimum quantities of produce and use their volunteer base to sort items and get them to locations that can best use them. However, Massaro has a direct relationship with our donor recipients. Each week during the season representatives come to the farm and pick up bins of produce on days that are coordinated with their distribution schedule. In past years, Massaro Farm has donated produce to Woodbridge Senior Services, Columbus House, New Haven Farms, BH Care in Ansonia, and Jewish Family Services. In 2013, we have added the Ansonia Salvation Army to our list of recipients. We anticipate that in 2013 we will have exceeded last year's donations. You can find a full copy of our Food Donation report here.
School Garden Network News
Growing and Learning
School Garden Resource Center Seeks Input
The School Garden Resource Center at Common Ground High School in New Haven is 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. Mulitple reponses 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.
October is Farm to School Month!
This month is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections being made between schools and local food. The National Farm to School Network has lots of downloadable resources to help you celebrate, including a communications toolkit, posters, sample menus, and more. If you fill out their survey, you will be entered in a contest to win one of several prizes; the survey/form is meant to be filled out after any Farm to School Month activities have been completed.
You can also view a webinar presented by Chelsey Simpson of the National Farm to School Network. Ms. Simpson provided an overview of the resources available, and shared ideas for celebrating at your school. You can view the webinar at the Network's site, or you can also watch it at edWeb.net, where you will have to register for free to view it. edWeb.net is a great resource for educators, so you may want to consider checking out their website and joining.
Fiskars Project Orange Thumb Starts This Month
Fiskars annual Project Orange Thumb is starting October 1, 2013. Fiskars recognizes the growing school and community garden movement, and believes in contributing to the effort and all it represents. Fiskars Project Orange Thumb has provided over a million dollars in support to help community groups with their gardens. Check out their website for information and applications for 2014.
Registration Now Open for NEEEA Conference in RI
The New England Environmental Education Alliance Conference and Sustainable School Summit is happening this November 1st through 3rd, at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. The Conference offers more than 40 workshops and field trips; networking with New England's environmental education and sustainable schools leaders; keynote by David Orr, founder of the Oberlin Project, and more. Download the full conference brochure, and register online. Don't miss this exciting and informative conference on the beautiful campus of Salve Regina!
School Lunch in Japan
For an eye-opening look at how school lunch time is handled in Saitama, Japan, check out this blog post on domaphile. Things are certainly different there than in the United States. This one will get you thinking.
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
Will the FDA's New Food Safety Rules Hurt Small Farmers?
Forthcoming rules from the FDA promise to keep food safer, but at what cost to the local food movement?
October 1, 2013
What do the new proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules mean for farmers, on-farm processors, and food businesses? The deadline for public comment has been extended to November 13, 2013. Get involved today! Learn more here.
New Resources for CSA Farmers from Just Food!
If you would like to receive the CSA at Work toolkit, or have any questions regarding the resources on our website, please contact Paula Lukats, Just Food's CSA Program Manager @ 212.645.9880 ext. 233.
Love our blog? Want a chance to get more involved?
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, if our needs match, we'll set you up as either a one-time blogger, or a scheduled guest writer.
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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