The solstice brought with it a myriad of activities for all and we look forward to seeing you soon. Although CT NOFA is the Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association, we are a vibrant family of all kinds of people - not just farmers and gardeners - who believe in an overall organic lifestyle including the food we eat and the land we live and play on. Everyone can learn from and enjoy our workshops, conferences and other events.
I was truly lucky to be at our "Practical Orchard Health" Workshop given last week by Michael Phillips, the "guru of organic orcharding". He brought Allyn's Red Barn Orchards in Ledyard (USDA Certified Organic) to life by talking about the life cycle of the apple trees, the life of the soil and the biodiversity that supports them. His teaching was valuable for professionals and a wider audience as well.
Our next workshop is a must and open to all. "Pasture-Raised Pigs on a Diversified Organic Farm" is at CT NOFA board member Greg Hazleton's Cooper Hill Farm in West Suffield. Come see how pigs are fully integrated into the work of the farm and are Greg's right hand in farming as a "one man team". Register today for this fascinating July 21 workshop and our other upcoming workshops!
Our staff, volunteers and board members will be out there with you at the Farmers Markets - there are over 130 in every county in CT. Wherever you are, there is a market near you and they are one of the best places to meet and talk to the farmers who take CT NOFA's Farmer's Pledge and/or are USDA Certified Organic. Don't be shy - get to know the farmers you buy from, ask them about their methods, and if you can visit them on the farm.
Knowing our farmers is the best assurance that the food we buy is responsibly grown and produced with methods that contribute to our health, our children's and grandchildren's health, and the health of our environment. When at the markets please support farmers with CT NOFA's Farmers Pledge certificates.
Also find CT NOFA volunteers spreading the organic message and getting new CT NOFA members and volunteers. If you haven't already, please join CT NOFA and if you can, volunteer your talents and skills to support local and organic food, farms, gardens and land care in Connecticut.
Thank you to all who supported the Spring Appeal, bought or renewed a membership, or purchased a gift membership. We can't do our work without you! You can always join or donate, so please consider doing so today.
In the words of Mike Papa of Artscape Organic-Care in Stamford, who won a Patagonia jacket in a drawing for Spring Appeal donors of $100 or more, "I support CT NOFA because of its important role in helping to keep our waters and land clean for future generations". Mike is a NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional, whose passion is organic care of the land and overall environment.
Thank you for being part of the CT NOFA family and spreading the organic message,
We are solar powered beings. Our bodies run on the solar energy captured by plants. Sometimes that energy is passed through and concentrated (some may say wasted) by animals before it gets to our bodies.
Biologically, we humans are really very energy efficient. Each day we need food containing solar energy equivalent to the energy contained in about a cup and a half of gasoline. The amount of energy an efficient car consumes in about five minutes will keep a human going for 24 hours.
Our bodies consume energy at roughly the same rate as a 150-watt light bulb that is on all the time and give off about the same amount of waste heat as a result.
Of course, until the discovery of fossil fuels, our food system was completely solar powered. Plants, animals, people, windmills and water mills are all powered by current sunlight.
Many of our personal food systems still are largely solar. Produce from a near-by, hand-tended garden, nourished by compost, crop rotations and cover crops is mostly solar powered until we cook or cool it. (Maybe that is why eating directly in the garden tastes and feels so good.)
Over the past century or so, fossil fuels have become an increasingly important ingredient in our food system.
By 1940, every calorie of fossil fuel used in the U.S. food system produced 2.3 calories of food energy. More>
CT NOFA's Organic Advocate, Bill Duesing, is available to share his expert opinion as a long time organic farmer, founder of CT NOFA, and president of the NOFA Interstate Council. He can come to speak at your event for $300 plus mileage from Oxford, CT. To book Bill Duesing as a speaker, call us at 203.888.5146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Hazleton is the owner/farmer at Copper Hill Farm in West Suffield, CT and a CT NOFA Board Member. Greg will teach about raising organic pasture-raised pigs. He will also offer perspective on managing a diversified organic farm producing heirloom vegetables as well as livestock, and working as a "one man team."
Joan Allen is a Diagnostician at UConn's Home and Garden Education Center out of the UConn cooperative extension system. Joan will be teaching about pest and disease identification in the late summer months.
With 200+ workshops on organic farming, gardening, land care, draft animals, homesteading, sustainability, nutrition, food politics, activism, and more, there's something for everyone, including special workshops designed for kids and teens. There's also entertainment for the whole family: Music and dance, an old-fashioned Country Fair, farmer's market, games and fun. Modest registration, inexpensive dorm rooms, camping and delicious, wholesome organic meals. Also check out the special group discount to farms, landscaping businesses, and agricultural non-profits registering five or more individuals. To register your group, download the group registration form here, print it, fill it out, and send it in no later than July 30, 2013. Learn more about the Conference and sign up as an individual here.
Eero Ruutilla, the Technical Assistance and Incubator Farm Site Coordinator at New Entry Sustainable Farming Project in Massachusetts and one of CT NOFA's Journeyperson mentors, will teach about cover cropping and rotation to promote soil fertility.
Presenter: Erin Pirro, a Farm Credit East Business Consultant Stick around for a CSA Roundtable / Light Potluck. If you have a CSA, or are considering starting a CSA, bring a light dish and come with questions, stories from experience and advice. If you are interested in leading the roundtable or being a facilitator, please let us know!
Save the date! Accreditation Course in Organic Land Care
February 10-13, 2014 Three Rivers Community College
This month we will be adding two new staff members to our team and saying goodbye to two others. We are excited to say hello to our new Program and Event Manager, Stephanie Berluti, and our new Marketing, Design, and Fundraising Manager, Linda Goldsmith! Our current Program and Event Manager, Kristiane Huber, and our current Marketing, Design, and Fundraising Manager, Melissa Gabso, will both be leaving at the beginning of July. We are sad to see them go, but look forward to working with their successors.
Linda Goldsmith is excited to be combining her marketing and graphic design skills with her passion for healthy communities. A clean food source is where it begins. She has been a professional graphic designer for 30 years, running her own successful business for 18 of those years. She is looking forward to working with a staff of talented, passionate people making effective change by supporting organic agriculture and land care in CT. She lives in Harwinton, CT with her husband, two daughters, two dogs and chickens and two turkeys. She wishes Melissa well in Japan. Tanoshinde! (Have Fun!)
Melissa Gabso, having worked as the in-house graphic designer and marketing manager at CT NOFA for just under two years, will be leaving the country at the end of July for a year long immersion program in Japan. She will be working for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, where she will be teaching western culture and English language to elementary and middle school students in Hayashima-cho, Okayama-ken, Japan. She will greatly miss all of the friends she has made at CT NOFA and through CT NOFA's networks, and will always admire the level of dedication and wisdom those in the sustainable agriculture and land care fields have shown as they strive to move our world toward a healthier future. Melissa plans to continue contributing to this movement by writing occasional guest posts about the Japanese food system on the CT NOFA blog. After working with CT NOFA a little over two years, Kristiane Huber will be moving to Ann Arbor , Michigan to pursue a Masters at theUniversity of Michigan's School of Natural Resources & Environment. She will be focusing her studies on environmental planning for climate change adaptation, and looks forward to integrating her experiences with organic farmers. She has been delighted to work with a staff so dedicated to helping local consumers to find healthy food, farmers and gardeners to learn new growing methods, and land care professionals to make yards and gardens organic. She has been inspired by the efforts she's seen and sometimes contributed to on the part of farmers, gardeners, foodies, health and nutrition activists, politicians and homesteaders cultivating this close-knit community and working towards a more sustainable, beautiful and prosperous Connecticut and Northeastern region.
Joining us as the new program and event manager is Stephanie Berluti, a Providence College graduate and sustainable agriculture enthusiast. She earned a degree in Global Studies and was an active community organizer, special event planner, filmmaker and intern at Farm Fresh RI. When she can she volunteers at one of the City Seed markets in New Haven and cultivates her own backyard garden in Orange. She couldn't be more thrilled to have the opportunity to continue her local agriculture advocacy with CT NOFA and looks forward to meeting all those involved and who support the work of the organization.
The University of Connecticut is a land grant University located in Storrs, a rural town in eastern Connecticut. With an enrollment of over twenty five thousand students, and serving 185,000 meals a week, we pride ourselves in doing everything possible to support sustainability, especially local agriculture. We are now the largest user of Connecticut grown produce in the state, and have begun focusing on purchasing as much livestock from local farmers as possible.
Chuck & Augie's, our full serve restaurant on campus, receives local fresh vegetables and herbs from our student run farm on campus called Spring Valley Farm. UConn students who are members of the University's Eco House Living and Learning Community can opt to live on Spring Valley Farm, where they learn about organic farming and sustainable agriculture during their time enrolled at the University of Connecticut.
Whitney Dining Facility is our "Local Routes" dining option, featuring local and organic foods on its menu every day.
We at UConn Dining Services have made it our mission to do whatever is necessary to assist in preserving and supporting our Connecticut farmers. We are members of The Working Lands Alliance, a broad-based coalition that, through "fierce cooperation," champions policy and education initiatives to protect Connecticut's productive farmland and advance agriculture. We are also members of the CT Farmland Trust, an organization which is a vital link between farmers, conservationists and policymakers, working to protect the best farmland, provide healthy local food to all citizens, and help communities sustain local farms and farming. You can learn more about UConn's Department of Dining Services here.
edWeb.net is a professional social and learning network which offers free webinars for educators. You can join any of their communities, including their School Garden Community, to stay notified of upcoming webinars, and access archived webinars as well. Upcoming talks include The Edible Schoolyard Project: Mapping & Engaging the Edible Education Movement (July 9th), Inquiry in the Garden, and From School Garden to Cafeteria Table. Visit their website for more information.
The Garden at Oswegatchie School
Gleanings reader Rob Terry wrote to us last month to introduce us to a great project happening at Oswegatchie School in Waterford, CT. Rob is coordinating this project along with his wife, Cynthia, who is the school librarian. He writes, "We are in the startup phase of creating an organic, sustainable school garden / learning center where children and their families will get a hands on working experience managing all aspects of a seed-to-table mini-farm model. The fruits of their labor will be shared in our school cafeteria as well as with families in our community who are otherwise unable to afford organic food... We still have a long way to go to create the mini-farm model that we envision, but we are well on our way with enthusiastic interest from the students, parents, and staff at the school!"
They are also in the process of creating a website to share their garden and inspire others. Take a look, and be sure to visit their blog and Facebook page as well to see the great things going on at Oswegatchie School!
Granby Teens Start Volunteer Garden
Seven students from Granby Memorial High School, with the help of Farmington Valley YMCA nutritionist Alicia Newton, have started a garden on the grounds the YMCA. The students call themselves From the Ground Up, and solicited donations to build their raised beds, where they are growing organic vegetables to sell at the Farmington Valley YMCA Farmers Market. Any produce not sold at market will be donated to non-profits organizations. Read more about the students and their efforts in The Granby News.
Mass Ag in the Classroom Summer Conference for Educators
Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is sponsoring its summer conference, Connecting the School Garden to the Classroom, on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at Holden Christian Academy in Holden, MA. The school's garden and Food for Life program will be featured, as well as a series of workshops for educators to participate in. Workshops include Gardening for All Learners, The Other Kind of Cultivation: Funding and Financially Sustaining Your School Garden, and Teaching Science From the School Garden, among several others. Visit MassAg's website for further information on workshops, registration, and directions. Complete the registration form, or email or call Debi Hogan at 508-336-4426 for more information. A certificate of participation will be provided for educators from states other than Massachusetts.
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.
There are a number of farmers markets around the state to choose from. So, Eileen Hochberg, director of the Connecticut chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, joins the Fox CT Morning Extra to talk about the organization and its involvement with Connecticut farmers' markets. Watch the video here.
One of every three bites of food we eat depends on bees, butterflies, bats and other critters that play an enormous role in plant reproduction, providing about $20 billion worth of pollination for American crops each year. It's obvious that pollinators are valuable. But they're in trouble. Many species are seeing declines in population. But you can help! Learn more here about conservation that will improve your agricultural operation while helping pollinators.
CT NOFA is On the Move!
It's the growing season, and CT NOFA is growing too! We have outgrown our current office and are looking for a new location within a 10 mile radius of Oxford, CT with a minimum of 700 square feet of office space. Kitchen and meeting space is a plus. If you know of a property that we might be interested in, let us know by emailing Deb or calling 203.888.5146.
CT NOFA would love to hear your suggestions for farmer workshops during this and next growing season! Our on-farm workshops help educate small groups of farmers and gardeners on in-depth topics related to small scale sustainable agriculture. Workshops can be hands-on, lecture-based, or a combination. If you have a suggestion, you can let us know here.
CT NOFA is in the second year of a CSA Support Program for CSA farmers throughout the state. CT NOFA works to promote connections between individual CSA farmers, facilitate farmer-to-farmer education and educate consumers about CSAs and how to join. This CSA support is a program we hope to grow in the future and in order to do so we'd like to know which of our present activities are most important to you, and what activities you think are valuable to add. Please let us know online by clicking here!
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 and, if our needs match, we'll set you up as either a one-time blogger, or a scheduled guest writer.
A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Pacific Northwest wheat farmers and Center for Food Safety (CFS) after Oregon wheat farmers suffered depressed wheat prices following the discovery of illegal genetically engineered, glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. The GE crops, created by Monsanto, have not been approved for sale or commercial production in the United States. The presence of the illegal crops spurred top wheat importers such as Japan, South Korea and the European Union to enact restrictions on American wheat or call for testing. More>
According to the New York Times, Bloomberg plans to get the operation started before his final term as mayor expires later this year, and plans to have a mandatory composting program in place by 2016. If the endeavor gets off the ground, all 8 million residents of the most populated city in the United States will have to start putting aside food waste and other organic materials, such as houseplants and eggshells, then package them separately to be picked up by specialized trash collectors. Compostable waste will have to be differentiated from other garbage and recyclables, and in a few years' time the city could start imposing fines on those who fail to comply, the paper reported. More>
A Quick Hello from NOFA's New Program and Event Manager Good morning CT NOFA enthusiasts! My name is Stephanie Berluti and I recently joined the CT NOFA team as the new Program and Events Manager, so naturally I would like to take a few moments to introduce myself. I am a CT native, born and raised in Orange, but I left this great state to continue my education in Rhode Island at Providence College. My initial career plan was to become a tax accountant, but an impromptu school excursion to a local farm in Saundsertown, RI radically transformed my professional agenda. More>
Today I Saw Red - Rhubarb Red I had heard the rumors that soon, as the weather warmed and the rain diminished that myself and the other interns at Pond Hill Farm would be picking 1,000 pounds of rhubarb. Now, I am going to be perfectly honest...I don't think that before today I could have told you what a rhubarb plant looked like, let alone how one could eat it or what it tasted like. It is quite possible that I once tasted it as a kid, most likely in rhubarb pie or strawberry rhubarb jam. Obviously I hadn't thought much of it because when it was confirmed that this rumor was true, all I could think was where is the rhubarb, what does it look like, and do we really need to pick 1,000 pounds of it? More>
It is possible to beat the biotech industry and food industry in the legislative process
When constituents ask for something relentlessly, no matter where the campaign funds are coming from, your representative will listen to you!
In a year when most levels of our government have seemed ineffective, and following years of nearly unregulated biotechnology integration into our food system - this is a wonderful victory for consumers, farmers and environmentalists.More>
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.
If you have any stories, articles, notices, or suggestions for this newsletter, please send them along. Please also note that classifieds and community notices are maintained on our community board. If you have a notice you'd like to add, send it along to the office here.