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July 2011 - Part 2

GLEANINGS: n. 1. That which has been acquired by gleaning. 2. The monthly eNewsletter of CT NOFA. [Glean:v. 1. to gather relevant information or material by patient effort, bit by bit; to find out. 2. to gather grain or other produce (often: left by reapers); to harvest.]

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Bill Duesing


From the Executive Director


“What’s Happening?”

My son-in-law Jim grew up in Brooklyn, NY.  He often greets me with “What’s Happening?”

Here’s (some of) what’s happening with CT NOFA.

We sued Monsanto, gave notice of intending to sue the Obama administration and sent a letter to the head of the EPA.  Actually we joined suits brought by and signed onto letters with other non-profit organizations on behalf of our members. 

See Monsanto press release here.

See notice of intent to sue the Obama administration to protect bats.

See letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson asking her to act to enforce the EPA’s statutory responsibility to protect human health and the natural world from toxic pesticides.

We also had a great fundraising party, despite violent weather earlier in the evening.  (Reminders of climate change are never far away these days.)

cricket hill peony cricket hill 2cricket hill event

Thanks to all who helped with the event, especially Dan, Kasha and David Furman for hosting us, board member John Turenne for managing the food, Carol Byer-Alcorace of New Morning Natural Foods who created the delicious menu and donated her services preparing the food and to Teresa Mucci for coordinating the event. Thanks also to all the volunteers who helped that evening, those who donated raffle items and those who partied with us.

The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy held a conference for philanthropists on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.  I was asked to be on a panel.  My remarks are here.

We held a pasture workshop at the Community Farm of Simsbury’s organic hayfields. Thanks to UConn’s Rich Meinert and NRCS’s Jim Hyde for providing a wealth of information about managing and improving pastures and hayland and to CFS’s Tim Goodwin and Anne Patrie for helping with the event.

The Woodbridge Conservation Commission responded to mailing from the Organic Land Care Program and asked me to talk to them on “Eliminating, Minimizing (or at least Managing) Pesticide and Fertilizer Use at a Town-Wide Level.” That is not an easy thing to do, but a study in that town showed that herbicides were detected in well water in homes that didn’t use those chemicals, so it is really a public issue.

urban oaksCT NOFA was invited to participate been several celebratory agricultural events this spring.  Long time certified organic (and inspirational) farm, Urban Oaks in New Britain held a Green Faire in May. The event was very well attended and felt like a real community event. There were many varieties of heirloom tomatoes for sale and a chance to visit their wonderful new market building.   There were several talks by new CT NOFA board member Sven Pihl.

gmonkey truckComstock Ferre, a venerable seed company in Wethersfield held its 200th anniversary celebration in June.  CT NOFA members provided much of the education there. Board member Bettylou Sandy, member Nick Mancini and I all gave talks that were well attended. CT NOFA member organic farms, Urban Oaks and Waldingfield sold produce and plants.  Skinny Pines, Farmers Cow and Go Monkey provided food.  Comstock Ferre sold lots of heirloom seeds.  It was a wonderful day.

We held a meat goat workshop at Erica Fearn’s farm in West Suffield, with UConn Joyce Meader teaching about monitoring for parasites.


CT NOFA needed two new employees this spring and received an enormous number of applications, many from very qualified people.  It was exciting to have such a pool to choose from.  We are excited with our new employees.  Hopefully you’ll meet them soon at one of our events.

sherry and ann

We completed the second ten session Women’s Beginning Farmer Holistic Management training program. BWF Thanks to Sherry Simpson (left, with Ann Adams, National Coordinator) for so successfully coordinating this years program with Deb.  Sherry will work with us again next year on the last year of this program.  Let the office know if you are interested in applying for the 2012 class.

We are sorry to see our Public Ally, RJ Mercede leave to coordinate the Public Ally program in Bridgeport and Stamford, but we benefited greatly from his year with us. 

And lastly for now, we are doing a lot of publishing.  The annual CT NOFA Farm and Food Guide and the NOFA Guide to Organic Land Care are both at the printers now.  CT NOFA members will receive them in the mail.  Join now and we’ll send them to you, or send us $5 and your address and we’ll send both of them to you.  They’ll also be available on our web site for reading or downloading.

We are also publishing the Introduction to Organic Lawns and Yards supported by the Northeast IPM center.  It is a beautiful 52 page booklet that is available on organiclandcare.net and for sale as a hard copy. 

Son in law Jim is now firmly entrenched as a suburban baseball dad and seasoned middle school teacher in Woodbury, but to see some of what’s happening in his hometown, you could have visited NOFA NY’s workshop on rooftop farming in Brooklyn.

I hope to see you at the City Farm and Garden Tour, the NOFA Summer Conference or one of our on-farm workshops.

Thanks for your interest in and support of local and organic agriculture. 

photo credits: Bill Duesing & Deb Legge


If you have any stories, articles, notices or suggestions for this newsletter, please send them along.

Many thanks,

CT NOFA-The Connecticut Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association | PO Box 164 | Stevenson | CT | 06491