July, 2012 
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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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In This Issue
From the ED
Events
Welcome Maya Kalonia!
Our New Lifetime Member
Announcements
Featured Members
In the News
From our Blog
Community Board
Winter Food Project
Your Favorite Tool
Go Organic when you Shop!
From the Executive Director

bill duesing Last month CT NOFA began our drive to raise $30,000 and attract 300 new members to build a strong foundation for CT NOFA's next 30 years of advocacy and education.

 

The CT NOFA community thanks those of you who have responded already. However, several thousand Gleanings readers haven't responded yet. We'd love to hear from you.

 

There has never been a better time to support our work for a strong local and organic food system and for organic land care. There is a great need for more farmers, more gardens, more healthy food, more healthy soil and greater understanding of the value of organic methods.

 

Although there are lots of reasons why organic methods and local food are important, the increasing evidence of climate change is an especially timely one. Organic soil management (to store carbon and hold water), diversifying crops and diets and encouraging biodiversity are all aspects of organic agriculture and land care that have been identified as important strategies for adapting to and mitigating climate change.

 

What do we know about climate change and Connecticut Agriculture?

In 2008, the state legislature asked for a report on the impacts of climate change on Connecticut's infrastructure, natural resources, public health and agriculture. In 2009 and 2010, I served on the Agriculture Workgroup of the Adaptation Subcommittee to consider climate change's effects.

 

The Agriculture Workgroup released its findings in early 2010. The results were summarized this way:

 

Most of the agricultural features were determined to be highly impacted by climate change, and most of these impacts were negative. The top five most imperiled agricultural planning areas or features in Connecticut were maple syrup, dairy, warm weather produce, shellfish and apple and pear production (See table 2 from the report here.). There were opportunities for production expansion, including biofuel crops and witch hazel and grapes, with the future climate, as well as benefits identified for all agricultural planning areas.  View the full report here

 

The 2010 Climate Impacts report found that changes in Connecticut's climate are anticipated to include:

- More frequent days with temperatures greater that 90 degrees;

- Rising seawater temperatures and sea levels;

- Increases in the frequency and intensity of storms; and

- Increase of poor air quality days.

 

What has happened since then?

- Last year, 2011, began with snow, snow and more snow until hundreds of agricultural buildings collapsed.

- In August, tropical storm Irene brought lots of rain and wind that damaged summer vegetables and flooded crops.

- Then the Halloween Nor'easter snowstorm knocked down trees, which knocked down power lines, late crops, deer fences and caused other damage to farms and gardens.  Then the electricity was out for days (and weeks in some cases).

 

Although we can't say definitively that these events were caused by climate change, all of them were likely made worse by the many effects of the heat trapping gases we've added to the atmosphere. These are the kinds of effects that scientists expect. More> 

 

CT NOFA and OLC Events

Featured Event
  
Saturday, July 14, 2012
6:00-9:00pm
Hidden Brook Gardens
Ledyard, CT

Our second Block Party will be held in Ledyard at Hidden Brook Gardens. Farmers Anita Kopchinski & Bill Sokol will be our hosts for this summer evening farm tour and potluck. This certified organic farm specializes in fruit, vegetables and herbs and has recently finished transitioning from a conventional orchard to becoming certified organic - a first in the state!

This event is free, though donations are always welcome. Please bring a potluck meal to share and we'll supply drinks and dessert. Organic teas will be supplied by steaz.

 

Please RSVP here or call 203-888-5146. If you are interested in sponsoring or donating to this event, email us.

 

We need volunteers for this event!
Come help us set up before and during the party! Contact Melissa for details about how you can get involved. 

 

Other CT NOFA and NOFA Events
 
Pastured Poultry Workshop
Saturday, August 4, 2012
2:00-5:00pm
Terra Firma Farm
Stonington, CT

Organic Land Care Advanced Compost Tea and Air Spading Workshop
August 9, 2012
Rye Country Day School
Rye, NY

The NOFA Summer Conference
August 10-12
UMass, Amherst 

Keynotes: Rep. Chellie Pingree from Maine, and Jeffrey Smith, a leading expert and author on the dangers of genetically modified foods. 

NOFA Summer Conference workshops are here! Check out the great menu of options at UMass Amherst this August, and view a copy of the flyer here.

CT NOFA is offering partial scholarships to the conference through The Beginning Farmer Project of CT NOFA, supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grants #2010-49400-21847 and #2011-49400-30510. Please fill out the scholarship application before July 2 so you can hear back if you received a scholarship and still get the early registration rate (deadline July 10).   

 

Compost, Soil Testing, and Soil Fertility Workshop
Monday, August 20, 2012
Community Farm of Simsbury
Simsbury, CT

Seed Saving Workshop
Sunday, August 26, 1-4pm
Comstock Ferre
Wethersfield, CT

Cheese Making Workshop
Monday, September 10, 2012
4:00 - 7:00 pm
Beltane Farm
Lebanon, CT

Stay tuned for more information about our 2013 Winter Conference
Late winter, 2013
This year's theme will be climate change and agriculture.

Events we will be Attending     


CNLA Field Day
July 11, 2012
Lockwood Farm
Come visit our Organic Land Care Program at this event!

West River Festival
Saturday, July 14, 2012
12:00-6:00pm
New Haven, CT

UConn Turf Grass Field Day
July 17, 2012
Come visit our Organic Land Care Program at this event!

Downtown New Haven Farmers Market
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
11am - 3pm
New Haven, CT

Waterbury Farmers Market
Thursday, July 19, 2012
11am - 3pm
Waterbury, CT

The Hill Farmers Market
Friday, July 27, 2012
11:30am - 3:30pm
New Haven, CT 

GMO Public Meeting
August 8, 2012
10am: public meeting at the Capitol
12pm: Right to Know Coalition meeting
Hartford, CT

For other area events, including additional farmers markets that we will be attending, check our our event listings page.

CT NOFA Welcomes Maya Kalonia as Their First Intern!
 

CT NOFA intern Maya Kalonia will be a senior this fall at the University of Connecticut, where she is pursuing a dual degree in Political Science and French. Her aspiration for a career in the field of food and environmental policy sparked her interest in interning for CT NOFA this summer. Growing up in a family of composting vegetarians, Maya developed an early awareness for the environment and the importance of buying local and organic. Maya knew she had a passion for nutrition at a young age, and started to explore this interest by working for a local health food store as a young teen in Mansfield, CT. This experience allowed her to interact with local farmers and taught her the importance of sustainability. Maya truly enjoys working for such an important cause, and says she appreciates the opportunity to work with the passionate and hardworking people at CT NOFA.

 

Thanks for the kind words, Maya! We are excited to work with you this summer, and really appreciate all the work you've done so far.

A Warm Welcome to Our New Lifetime Member  

  

Lifetime membership is a big deal for us, so when we get a new one we like to let the world know! In May Scott Budde became a lifetime member, and he is working on an exciting new project that we wanted to alert you to:  

 

Building a Credit Union for NOFA & MOFGA Members 

Could a Credit Union help build sustainable agriculture in the Northeast? This is the key question that Scott Budde - a new member of CT NOFA (and a few other chapters) - is trying to answer through a research project funded in part by the John Merck Fund.

 

Credit Unions are non-profit cooperative financial institutions organized for and run by their members. Essentially they can offer their members deposits with a full US Government guarantee and then lend those deposits out to other members. As loans to farmers are increasingly hard to come by (particularly since the recession) a key goal of this type of Credit Union would be to understand NOFA's farm and agricultural business members well enough to offer loans appropriate for them. Some loan ideas being considered for the new credit union are used farm equipment loans, farm mortgages, alternative energy financing and special purpose credit cards for financing farm supplies.

 

We wish Scott the best of luck in establishing his credit union and are excited at the prospect of what it could offer. Thanks Scott, for your membership and for all your hard work helping our farmers become successful! 

Announcements & Alerts    

 

Don't Forget: CT NOFA has four other eNewsletters that you might be interested in.

In addition to our Gleanings eNewsletter which you already receive, we also offer other newsletters tailored to homeowners, educators, new farmers, and people interested in GMO alerts and current events.  Our Organic With the Seasons newsletter is released quarterly and is designed with homeowners in mind.  The Growing and Learning newsletter also goes out quarterly and was created to provide educators with news and resources about school gardens.  Our New Farmer eNews provides timely information relevant to beginning farmers, and our GMO alerts provide information and opportunities for action on issues relating to GMOs. Sign up for one or more of our enewsletters here.  If you would like to receive GMO alerts from us, send us an email

 

Farmers Looking for land? Land looking for farmers? 

The New England Farmland Finder is a new online service that helps farmers and landowners find each other. This farm property clearinghouse is free, simple, up-to-date, and privacy protected. It contains information and resource links to inform and support farm seekers and landowners.  Learn more here.   

 

Beginning Certified Organic Farmers Start the Only All-Organic Farmers Market in CT

The Community Farm of Simsbury announces their new farmers market! 

Saturdays 10 - 2 

73 Wolcott Rd.

Simsbury, CT  

 

 

Free Microbial Soil Testing From Rodale 

Now you can quickly assess the life in your soil with a qualitative soil test from the Rodale Institute. Send us a sample of your soil or compost and we'll send you back a report listing populations of microorganisms in your sample. The report will also include information on how the balance of the populations affects the plants you are growing. Take advantage of this new service by sending in your soil sample by mail, or make an appointment to come by in person.   

 

New Apprenticeship Opportunity  

The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz is offering the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture, a full-time, 6-month program that trains adults in the concepts and practices of organic gardening and small-scale sustainable farming. The apprenticeship blends the virtues of experiential learning with traditional classroom studies on topics that include soil management, composting, pest control, crop planning, irrigation, farm equipment, and direct marketing techniques. Graduates have established their own commercial farms and market gardens, run community gardens for inner city and prison populations, and work on international development projects. The 39 apprentices each year come from all regions of the US and abroad, and represent a wide spectrum of ages, backgrounds, and interests. There are several tuition scholarships available for people of color and/or people from disadvantaged backgrounds. There is also the Simply Organic Scholarship for an apprentice with financial need interested in pursuing a career in organic farming. For further information visit the CASFS website, call 831.549.3240, or email CASFS. 

 

New Support for CSA Farms 

CT NOFA has a new program to support CSA farms in Connecticut funded by the CT Department of Agriculture through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.  In order to provide targeted valuable support to farmers, we ask that any Connecticut farmer, with or without community supported agriculture at their farm, please fill out this survey.  CT NOFA requires greater insight about how many farms have CSAs, how large their CSAs are, common problems with having a CSA , etc.  We really need your feedback, so please complete the survey and send to any farmers you know that might be able to complete it as well! Complete the survey here.  

Featured Members    

 

Johnny's Selected Seeds 

Johnny's Selected Seeds is a privately held, employee-owned seed producer and merchant headquartered in Winslow, Maine, USA. The company was established in 1973 by our Founder and Chairman Rob Johnston, Jr. Johnny's mission is helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information and service.  


Our products include vegetable seeds; medicinal and culinary herb seeds; flower seeds; cover crops, farm seed, and pasture mixes; fruit plants and seeds, and high quality, problem-solving tools and supplies. We ship throughout the United States as well as internationally. We carry sizes ranging from small to large to suit the needs of home gardeners and small growers as well as retailers and wholesalers.

In the News 
 
Growing a sustainable farming community - with member Sal Gilbertie

A commercial farm is only as sustainable as the support it receives from the community it serves. In recent years, Easton's farms have seen an increase in local support - and Sal Gilbertie feels that part of the appreciation is due to residents taking to their yards to grow some of their own food. More> 

   

The writer of the above article, Laura Modlin, also recently interviewed our Office Manager, Deb Legge, for her kitchen garden series, and wrote a great article about our Block Party on the Farm at The Hickories in Ridgefield.  Her blog can be viewed here.

Ontario Family Physicians Warn of Pesticide Dangers
The Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) is strongly recommending the public reduce their exposure to pesticides wherever possible, based on the findings of its second comprehensive review of research on the effects of pesticides on human health.  Released today, this review shows associations between pesticide exposure and various neurological and respiratory diseases, as well as reproductive problems. Covering 142 studies, the review also demonstrates that children are particularly vulnerable to pesticide exposures that occur during pregnancy. More>

 

American Medical Association Supports Pre-Market Testing for GMOs but Not Mandatory Labeling 

The American Medical Association announced in a statement that they saw no health purpose for labeling genetically modified foods -- those made with GMOs (or genetically modified organisms) -- as such.  More> 

 

Westport Gardener Mastering the Farm to Table Movement

Nick Mancini deserves a green thumbs up. The Westport-based master fruit and vegetable gardener has more than 60 years experience growing organic produce in both his native Italy and at his Organic Gardening Workshop on Riverside Avenue. His decades-long passion for fresh food is just beginning to catch on in Westport where the "farm to table" movement is rapidly expanding with restaurants dedicated to the mentality. More> 

 

From 2008 - How The Farm Bill Helped Me Find My Calling

In a couple weeks NOFA's Organic Land Care eNewsletter comes out with a feature on Vonne Whittleton of Vonne's Victory Gardens, so we thought now would be a good time to link to some of Vonne's back story and her connection with NOFA.  Read more here.  If you are a NOFA Accredited Organic land Care professional and you don't receive our newsletter, you can sign up here.

 

From our Blog

Thanks to all who came to our Block Party!  

CT NOFA's Block Party on Saturday was so much fun for us, and we hope (and are reasonably sure) it was fun for all of you who came (and for those of you who didn't come - we have more coming up this summer!) More> 

 

NOFA Organic Land Care partners with Three Rivers Community College 

The Organic Land Care Program is excited to announce a partnership with Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Connecticut.  Three Rivers offers a certificate in Sustainable Landscape Ecology and Conservation which is training students in practical skills for the field while teaching valuable principles of sustainablity and organics with a broad application.  More>  

 

Announcing the NOFA Summer Conference Workshop Tracks 

Attention farmers, gardeners and landscapers! The NOFA Summer Conference on August 10-12 features a host of workshop tracks to suit your needs!  If you are in need of valuable information about getting started in farming, operating a CSA program, earning AOLCP credits, and more, this conference has it all! More> 

 

Check out all our blog posts here.
Community Board       

 

Classifieds and community notices are now maintained on our community board.If you have a notice you'd like to add, send it along to the office here. 

Winter Food Project        

 

Now that it's July, it's time to start planning your fall and winter garden!  Planning ahead will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run, so start early to ensure a bountiful harvest! 

 
Photo credit: Territorial Seed Company 
Your Favorite Tool       

    

This month's favorite tool comes to us courtesy of Craig Floyd from Footsteps Farm in Stonington, CT. During our Humane and Sustainable Livestock Farming Workshop on May 21, he let us know that if you own any tools with wooden handles, rubbing boiled linseed oil on them is a great way to drastically extend the life of those tools.  Just soak a cloth in linseed oil, add a bit of turpentine if you feel so inclined, and rub the oil on the wood. What a wonderfully easy and inexpensive way to keep your wood handled tools looking and working in top condition! 

 

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. What a great way to buy a gift for Father's Day, June 17th!   
If you have any stories, articles, notices, or suggestions for this newsletter, please send them along.

Many thanks,

Melissa Gabso
Gleanings Editor 

203-888-5146

ctnofa@ctnofa.org  

 
CT NOFA | PO Box 164 | Stevenson | CT | 06491