Technical Assistance for Farmers
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
Many thanks to our Annual Bronze Sponsor
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Getting Started in Organic Farming
CT NOFA Friends,
Happy new year! We wish you, your loved ones and our planet all the best in 2015 and beyond.
We are hitting the ground running this month with our Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference
on Saturday, January 24 (snow date January 25) at Connecticut College in New London. This all-day Getting Started conference, our 10th annual, appeals to a full range of attendees, from those first thinking about starting an organic farm, to those who are already established, and those who are thinking of transitioning to organic production. The day provides valuable information about land access, organic agriculture practices, marketing, whole farm planning and financial management. Please spread the word on this inspiring day of learning to all of your networks and click here
to register and to see descriptions of the presentations being given by Crystal Stewart of Cornell Cooperative Extension; Patrick Horan of Waldingfield Farm; Ed & Belinda Learned of Stonyledge Farm; Kip Kolesinskas of UConn Extension; Kathy Ruhf of Land For Good; Duncan Cox of Baystate Organic Certifiers and Lynn Weaver of Farm Credit East.
January also means the beginning of the 2015 growing season, starting with planning the season and the Bulk Order from NOFA/Mass
. Taking advantage of the bulk order saves you money and supports CT NOFA at the same time. Whether you're a gardener, homesteader, or commercial farmer, you can participate and there's no minimum order. So take a look here
for supplies, soil amendments, potato and cover crop seeds and so much more. Current CT NOFA members will receive the discounted prices listed on the order form. Non-members can participate, but must pay an additional 10%. Pick up is at High Hill Orchard in Meriden on Saturday morning, March 14 for seed, fertilizers, tools, etc. and Saturday morning, April 4 for seed potatoes/onions/shallots.
January and the remaining winter months are an excellent time for you or your lawn care provider to take the Online NOFA Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course
. The course can be taken from the warm comfort of home and is a complete introduction to managing grass and lawns organically. It 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 Rivers Community College's Division of Workforce and Community Education to offer this 9-unit, non-credit course that can be taken at your own pace and at a low fee of $150. Click here
to find out more and to register.
And before you know it February, and our next Accreditation Course for Organic Land Care Professionals
, will be here. Please let your networks know about this four day course which receives widespread acclaim taking place February 9-12, 2015 (snow date February 13) at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich. All the details are here
Last but not least our 33rd Annual Winter Conference
for all who are interested in organic and sustainable living will be at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury on Saturday, March 7 (snow date March 8). Please take advantage of early bird rates which end on February 7 and if you are a vendor, exhibitor or would like to sponsor let us know today! Read all about Winter Conference here
Thank you to all of you who so generously donated to our end of year appeal, and to all of our new and renewed members. Your support is critical to our work in support of an Organic Connecticut. Without your help we would not be able to carry out the programs we have outlined here. If you did not have a chance to support us you can still do so.
Thank you for your continued support of local and organic food, farming, gardening and land care,
2015-2016 Farm & Food Guide DEADLINES
12,500 copies to be distributed all year throughout CT!
January 15, 2015- deadline for all F&FG Ads. For more information on ad pricing click HERE
Questions? Call (203) 308-2584
email Debsem@ctnofa.org to let her know its on the way
By Bill Duesing
Should we take the environment into consideration when we eat?
That is a very critical question because crises with both food and the environment loom large as we look ahead to the New Year and beyond.
Food and the environment are intimately linked.
Food comes from the environment.
How we grow food has environmental consequences.
They can be, and currently are, very serious.
The good news is that recent research and traditional knowledge point to ways of growing and eating that produce health both for the environment and for people.
For the first time ever, the advisory committee charged with creating the 2015 version of USDA's Dietary Guidelines was considering including environmental costs in writing those guidelines. Sounds like a good idea to me. But not to everyone.
A special thank you to our Gold Sponsors!
February 9-12, 2015 (snow date February 13th)
Three Rivers Community College, Norwich, CT
Here's a peek at some of the workshops;for a complete list of confirmed workshops, click HERE
~Foraging & Raising Mushrooms - Alec Gifford
~Raised Bed Gardens ~ Design and Care - John Carlson, Homefront Farmers
~Fencing...In or Out - Leonard Pollara, Organic Sage Consulting
~Meristem: Learning how to love the land, a house, and each other - Mike Nadeau, Wholistic Land Care Consulting
-Click HERE for the 2015 Winter Conference page
-Sponsor & Ad Packages information HERE
-To become a vendor or exhibitor click HERE
News, Announcements and Alerts
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.
Orders must be postmarked by Jan.31. For more information click
Cucurbits & Brassicas
Litchfield County Extension Center, Torrington
Solanaceae & Legumes
Tolland Agricultural Center, Vernon
"Twenty- and 30-somethings like Gelvosa and Gerritsen and the Ripleys represent the new
face of the farmer, Rebar says. They're college-educated and concerned about quality of life, and they've cashed in the usual benefits of a professional life - such as a medical plan, a retirement scheme and even a guaranteed paycheck - for something else"
"By some estimates, there are more than 25,000 different uses for industrial hemp. The list includes shoes, canvas, automotive products, clothing, furniture, paper, construction materials, lightweight insulation and food products, according to a study published in June by the Congressional Research Service."
"There is, however, another new state regulation - the so-called shell egg food safety regulation, aimed at reducing salmonella - enacted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. This requires a minimum of 116 square inches per bird, compared with the current 67 square inches, which is less space than an 8-by-10 photo, and just a tad more than a standard iPad."
New Business Member Profiles
South Farms is the State of Connecticut's poster-child for "Agricultural Placemaking". Overlooking the property is the registered historic "White Barn at South Farms", the state's largest barn special events venue, perfect for weddings and events. This farm hosts The Morris Marketplace, a unique weekly farmers' market on a real working farm. In the pastures overlooking the farm are grazing Galloway beef cattle. South Farms offers both heritage breed Galloway beef and Berkshire pork. South Farms is also home to Pioneer Hops, LLC which is scaling up to become the state's largest commercial hops
growing operation. South Farms is an agricultural treasure.
Rocky Corner is Connecticut's first co-housing community: a neighborhood of 30 energy-efficient, private homes on 33 acres integrated with an organic farm. We are organizing now and looking for families and individuals who want to be a part of this exciting new neighborhood. Are you interested in living in a neighborhood that is sustainable, diverse, participatory and multigenerational? Do you want to farm where you live? Come to a Rocky Corner info session to learn more and get involved now to be a part of this dynamic community.
Love where you live! Rocky Corner is a neighborhood with a farm.
CLiCK Inc. means: Commercially Licensed Cooperative Kitchen! CLiCK is a shared space commercial licensed kitchen and small food business incubator. Members join CLiCK to produce specialty food items to sell locally, hold cooking and food classes or to process locally grown foods into value added products. CLiCK's members help create a strong local food system, stimulate the local economy, provide jobs and financial independence to local residents. In addition CLiCK's mission includes cooperative values which encompass equity, self responsibility, ethical values and more!
Visit www.clickwillimantic.com to learn more. Join as a member to start cooking!
School Garden Network News
Growing and Learning
Teachers Needed for Pilot Program
Project Food, Land & People (FLP) is seeking teachers to pilot animal agriculture lessons. The collection of lessons is designed for grades 6-12. Teachers of those grade levels are invited to pilot one or more in their classrooms during the 2015 winter and spring school schedule. Registration of your participation can be obtained by contacting Susan Quincy, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, at firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be able to select the activities you would like to test and all materials will be sent to you, including lesson plans and pre- and post-test materials for your students. The deadline for all tests to be complete is June 2015 so it may fit your curriculum and time-frame needs. Activities are designed for traditional classrooms and can be used with topics related to climate change, genetics, nutrition and health, and language arts. Please contact Susan Quincy at email@example.com
or 203-734-2513 for details and to answer your questions on this project, or for more details on the educational curriculum, Project Food, Land and People, and workshop opportunities.
Outdoor Classroom Management Seminar
Along with abundant opportunities for learning and fun, outdoor classrooms come with a unique set of challenges, particularly in relation to classroom management. How do I focus students' attention on the lesson when the squirrels are dropping walnuts from the tree? How do I hold a class discussion when my students are hesitant to sit on the soil? How do I convince 30 students that the garden is a learning environment and not a space for extra recess time? In Life Lab's webinar, on January 15, 2015, Whitney Cohen, Life Lab's Education Director, will use stories, photos, and discussion to share tried-and-true tips for managing large groups of students in an outdoor environment. More information and registration here.
Urban School Food Alliance Goes Antibiotic-Free
In December, the Urban School Food Alliance announced its new antibiotic-free standard for companies to follow when supplying chicken products to its schools. The Alliance is a coalition of the largest school districts in the U.S., including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas and Orlando and serves nearly 2.9 million students every day.
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.