March, 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
Spotlight
Announcements & Alerts
Featured Members
In the News
GMO Activist Program
From our Blog
Community Board
Winter Food Project
Your Favorite Tool
Volunteer With Us!
Go Organic when you Shop!

 
The NOFA Organic Lawn and Turf Handbook details methods for growing and managing beautiful, healthy, organic turfgrass.

 
Are you involved with a conservation organization in your community? Hand out these attractive brochures and get the neighborhood talking! Sold in quantities of 50 or more, $.50 each.

 
Grab your copy of the Standards for Organic Land Care today!


 
Urban & Suburban Meadows addresses the problems caused by the extensive planting of non-native grass lawns across America.

 
Purchase your Introduction to Organic Lawns and Yards booklet to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy, and ecologically sounds lawn or garden!
From the Executive Director

bill duesing Labeling GMOs: Hopes and Fears

 

"...several companies also deliberately misled workers, customers, regulators and the public for many decades."

 

Ten minutes with Jeffrey Smith turned Senator John McKinney, the Minority Leader of the Connecticut Senate, into a believer in a Connecticut Law to require labeling of foods that contain GMOs, aka Genetically Modified Organisms or Genetically Engineered Organisms.  

 

Jeffrey appeared at a press conference at the Capitol with about a dozen state legislators the day before CT NOFA's 30 Annual Winter Conference that brought him to our state. The legislators ranged from among the most conservative to among the most liberal and they all shared their reasons why we should label GMOs. Apparently it is a good sign that so many legislators are willing to stand up for a bill so early in the process. Find out more about Jeffrey Smith and the Institute for Responsible Technology here. Jeffrey appeared on the Colin McEnroe Show two days before our conference.  

 

Read more here

CT NOFA and OLC Events

Featured Events     

 

Organic Land Care Homeowner Workshops  

These informative workshops will provide the tools and informational resources needed to practice organic lawn and landscape care, as well as information on the benefits of organic land care.  Participants will receive a handout of resources they can use to find more information, and on finding a landscaper who has the knowledge to maintain lawns and landscapes organically.

   

Wednesday,  March 7, 2012

7:00 pm
Hamden Public Library, Hamden, CT

  

Tues. March 13, 2012
7:00 pm 

Cheshire Public Library, Cheshire, CT

  

March 9, 2012 
Rockfall, CT

This full-day program with orchard  health expert Michael Phillips will discuss the primary role of orchardists; which is to build system health creating the most favorable conditions for the production of delicious, healthy fruits. Holistic methods are about deep nutrition and competitive colonization along with organically-approved approaches to achieving pest balance. 

  

A morning and early afternoon session will be held in a classroom, with a hearty lunch served in between. We will end the day with a walk around High Hill Orchard in Meriden, learning what the trees have to tell. 

Our Other Upcoming Events    

Soils and Compost Workshop
March 10, 2012
Common Ground High School
10:00-12:00pm

Starting Seedlings Workshop
March 17, 2012
Common Ground High School
10:00-12:00pm

On Farm Workshop: Greenhouses, High Tunnels, & Winter Growing
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Star Light Gardens
Durham, CT
9:00-12:00pm

Organic Care of the Land: Health, Ecology and Biodiversity: A talk with Bill Duesing
Tuesday, March 20th
sponsored by Flanders Nature Center at Woodbury Public Library
6:30-8:00 PM

Bill Duesing Speaks to the Oxford Garden Club 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012   

7:00pm 

Oxford Town Hall  

 

Organic Gardening Workshop 
May 5, 2012
Common Ground High School
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Events Where we will be Tabling        


Perennial Plant Conference
University of Connecticut
Thursday, March 15
8:00am-4:00pm 

Ag Day at the Capitol
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
10:00am-1:00pm
The Capitol, Hartford, CT
Please email Melissa if you would like to volunteer for this event.

Audubon Film Series - The Vanishing of the Bees
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
6:00pm
Wallingford Public Library

Connecticut Land Conservation Council Annual Conference
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Wesleyan University
Bill Duesing will lead a roundtable on Organic Land Care

Central Connecticut State University Symposium

Thursday, March 29, 2012

CCSU Campus
There will be a panel on GMOs

The 30th National Pesticide Forum

Healthy Communities: Green solutions for safe environments

March 30-31, 2012  

Yale University

New Haven, CT   

School of Forestry & Environmental Studies  

 

Hamden Earth Day
Saturday, April 21
9-3:30
Please let us know if you would like to come volunteer for this event!

Girl Scouts 100th Jubilee
May 19, 2012
Durham Fair Grounds
Durham, CT
10:00-7:00pm

Upcoming Media Events

Bill Duesing Appears on Bridgeport Public Access TV
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
8:00-9:00am
Sound View Community Media

CCSU Sustainability Symposium on Food featured on CT Public Radio, FM90.5
Monday, March 19, 2012
9:00-10:00am
Where We Live

For other area events check our our events listing page.

Spotlight

Calling all Beginning Farmers!

 

The Journeyperson Program gives two years of individualized, targeted support to beginning farmers working to establish a farm.  Support includes free admission to any of CT NOFA's events, including workshops and conferences on farming and business planning.  Journeypeople will be matched with a paid mentor for one year of guidance.  The journeyperson can continue this mentorship for a second year or switch to a new mentor in 2013.  This program is for farmers who have already received training or have been apprentices who are now beginning to farm independently.  Please encourage anyone who might qualify to visit our website for more information or to fill out an application.  

 

This opportunity is made possible by the a generous support of National Institute for Food and Agriculture through the USDA's beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program).   

 

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We'd like to welcome two new board members to CT NOFA!

 

Greg Hazleton of Earthwise Organic Landscaping in West Suffield 

Steve Munno, the farm manager at Massaro Farm in Woodbridge

 

Thank you for adding your voice to ours in support of healthy, sustainable food! 

Announcements & Alerts 

The 30th National Pesticide Forum 

Healthy Communities: Green solutions for safe environments 

Yale University

New Haven, CT   

School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
March 30-31, 2012

With acclaimed ecologist and Living Downstream author, Sandra Steingraber, PhD   

 

Although organic farming and land management continue to grow, policies to protect people from pesticides are threatened in the Northeast and around the country. At the same time, cutting-edge science links pesticide exposure to health problems, honey bee colony collapse, and other environmental issues. Join researchers, authors, beekeepers, organic business leaders, elected officials, activists, and others to discuss the latest science, policy solutions, and grassroots action.

 

To learn more and register click here.   

 

If you want to take action, Beyond Pesticides is joining CT-based activists in asking supporters of the original school pesticide ban to make their voices heard by emailing Allison Blancato, clerk of the Planning and Development Committee.  Learn more and let your voice be heard here.  

 

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Would you like to try to reduce your spotted wing drosophila population?   
Rich Cowles from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has suggested that you might want to try to trap out the flies using a simple trap.  You should do this NOW as the adults have been flying on warm days throughout the winter.  His suggestion is to use 5 gallon buckets, pour in about an inch of apple cider vinegar with a couple drops of dish detergent (so the flies will sink into the vinegar).  Change the apple cider vinegar as needed, probably once a week, depending on temperatures.

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ATTRA Project Resumes Full Level of Services For Sustainable Agriculture Producers  
A project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), the ATTRA project is a leading national provider of technical assistance in the sustainable agriculture and farm-energy arenas.
Federal funding for ATTRA was restored in the fall after being cut earlier in the year.  Now ATTRA is gearing up its publications, toll-free information hotline, and other services.  For more information and new materials, check the project's website or call their hotline at 800-346-9140. The Spanish-language ATTRA hotline is 800-411-3222.

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Help Wanted!

Do you dream of being a part of an organization that promotes safe, healthy food?  Do you crave an honest and creative working environment? Do you have a great set of accounting and finance skills?  If so, you should apply to be our part time (10hours/week) bookkeeper!  Click here for a full job description.  If interested, please email Deb with a resume and letter of intent.

Additionally, CTNOFA's Board of Directors is seeking a few new board members committed to our mission and purpose, who can offer one or more of the following:  

1) Financial planning and management and/or fundraising skills
2) legal and/or personnel skills
3) Sustainable farming knowledge and experience
4) Enthusiasm and commitment to spreading CTNOFA's mission and purpose.

Board meetings or board conference calls usually occur once a month on a Sunday afternoon or evening at various homes around the state and are followed by a potluck supper (unless meeting by phone). To express interest, recommend someone you know, or just ask for further information, please contact Janet Heller here.

Join a group of committed people volunteering their time and skills

to further the efforts of growing our local organic and sustainable

food system and organic land care!


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Due Date for Applications for NRCS Organic Initiative Fast Approaching
Applications for the second ranking period are due March 30, 2012. Part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Organic Initiative offers a wide array of conservation practices specifically designed for organic production. The top five Organic Initiative conservation practices are cover crops, nutrient and pest management, seasonal high tunnels, crop rotation, and fencing.  To learn more, click here.

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Announcing HMI's Beginning Women Farmer Conference: Exploring Whole Farm Planning
March 22-23, 2012
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA

Whether you're a beginning farmer or have been farming for years... Whether you're a woman or a man... or you just want to learn about Holistic Management Whole Farm Planning from the experts, you'll want to attend our two day conference in Amherst, Massachusetts.  To learn more and to register, click here.

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Are you an aspiring/new farmer looking for a leasing arrangement in Connecticut?  

The Farmland ConneCTions Outreach Service is here to help! 

Do you have an idea in your head of a leasing situation that could

make it possible for you to begin or continue to farm in Connecticut? Please get in touch and let us know! We are currently developing a database of interested farmers.  Please click here to download the Farmland ConneCTions Guide.

 

Interested? Contact:

Jennifer McTiernan H.

Project Coordinator

Farmland ConneCTions Service

UConn Cooperative Extension System

 

Email 

mobile office: 203-909-6411

office/meeting days: Tuesdays and Thursdays

  

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Looking for Equipment?  We're looking for you!
If you influence the equipment decisions on your farm, please fill out a short on-line survey here. If you are not a farmer but you provide custom operator services, please fill out the survey. If you are a farmer AND you provide custom operator services, please fill out the survey. If you are neither a farmer nor a custom operator but you KNOW a custom operator, please fill out the survey. If you would prefer a paper version, please contact Becca Buckler at 401-934-0842 or by email.  

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Sign-Up for Assistance for Conservation Programs
If you own or rent land, you may qualify to apply for our programs. These federal programs provide financial and technical assistance to farmers and forest land owners. Landowners may submit applications any time throughout the year; however this year NRCS offers ranking periods with closing dates of March 30, and June 1, 2012.  To learn more click here.

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Showcase food from your farm at the Culinary Institute of America's Annual Leadership Awards Gala! 
CIA needs crops from local farmers to feature at their Awards Gala March 29, 2012 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York.  The Institute will pay a fair price for high quality local food, and the menu created from these crops will serve to feed over 600 foodservice movers and shakers.  Call us at 203.888.5146, email us, or read the letter we received to learn more.

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Press Conference

When: Thursday, March 8, 2012  1:00 pm
Where: Legislative Office Building, Hartford, CT  Rom 1A
Why: Connecticut's landmark law banning the use of toxic pesticides on elementary and middle school fields in Connecticut is in danger of being eliminated.  Pro-pesticide forces have introduced legislation that would roll back protections for children's health and once again permit the use of even the most toxic pesticides on school fields.

 

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Department of Agriculture's Farm Reinvestment Grant Program (FRG) The purpose of this program is to insure the viability of agriculture in our state. By providing money for capital enhancement to farms, it is the department's hope to help preserve Connecticut's agricultural base and improve farm production. These competitive matching grants will be awarded on the basis of the quality of their business plan that is a part of their application. The farmer applicant must match or exceed the amount of the grant being requested. These funds must be used for projects that are defined as capital fixed assets and have a life expectancy of 10 years or more. The funds may be used for the expansion of existing agricultural facilities, or diversification-expansion into new production areas and site improvements related to such expansion or diversification. Deadline for applications is April 30. Learn more here.

  

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CT Farmland Restoration Program 

The State of CT recently released the application for the new Farmland Restoration Program, designed to put land back into food production that has not been farmed in recent years. Lots of information on the program can be found here. The fund is a matching grant program with 50% to farmers who have plans to restore land and up to 90% for municipality-owned land to be restored.    

   

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For other event listings please visit our events page.  

  

Featured Members

This month's featured member is Wakeman Town Farm in Westport, CT. Elizabeth Beller, the farm Committee Chair, attended our Winter Conference with her daughter on March 3rd, and is part of a great group of people over at the farm.  

 

The Wakeman Town Farm Sustainability Center is an organic demonstration homestead open to the public. The Farm is a model facility created to educate the community with local healthy food production, responsible land stewardship, sustainable practices and community service orientation.  

 
The mission of Wakeman Town Farm is to serve the Westport community as an educational demonstration center for sustainable living.  In keeping with their agrarian roots, Wakeman Town Farm provides Westport citizens with a place to experience hands-on homesteading practices, encompassing time honored and cutting edge methods, such as composting, succession planting, solar and wind power technologies.

 

If you would like to attend one of the farm's programs, or want to learn more, click here.  You can also call the farm directly at 203-557-9195, or email them here.  

 
In the News

The Community Farm of Simsbury, a certified organic member farm that CT NOFA's been connected to for over a decade, and that has donated over 6 tons of certified organic produce to those in need was featured in an article on the Simsbury Patch recently.  Check out CFS's website here.  

 

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The Land That Keeps Giving
It was early February, when the 10-hour day returns on the 44th parallel, and Barbara Damrosch could see it in the brighter green leaves of her tatsoi and spinach growing in the unheated greenhouse attached to the house she shares with her husband, Eliot Coleman, at Four Season Farm.  To read more, click here.

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Monsanto Guilty of Chemical Poisoning in France
A French court on Monday declared US biotech giant Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a judgment that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides. In the first such case heard in court in France, grain grower Paul Francois says he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004. He blames the agri-business giant for not providing adequate warnings on the product label. Read more here.

GMO Activist Program

You have the opportunity to let your state and Federal legislators know that you want to know what is in your food.

There are at least three levels of GMO labeling initiatives you can be a part of:

1. A Letter from Congress to ask the FDA to label GMOs. Ask your Representative and Senators to sign on.
Click here  for an easy pre-written way to let congress know that you want to know what's in your food. Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (OR) have authored a bicameral Congressional letter and will be urging their fellow Members on Capitol Hill to sign onto their letter.

2. A petition to FDA asking them to label GMOs.
A legal petition (Docket # FDA-2011-P-0723-0001/CP) has been filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling on the FDA to label genetically engineered (GE) foods. Visit JustLabelIt.org to learn more and to sign!

3. The Connecticut Bill to label GMOs which is closest to home.
The Bill, Officially called HB 5117: An Act Concerning Genetically Engineered Foods, is picking up momentum! Representative Roy first introduced the bill in mid-February and since then several legislators from both parties have expressed support, and Jeffrey Smith was invited to speak on the issue at the Capitol Building on March 2. Now we need Connecticut's consumers and voters to show their support! To find your legislator, click here.  You can write your own letter to them, or send ours.

And for those who want to attend something in person:

What Are GMOs and What Does the Bill Mean for Consumers?
Saturday, March 10, 10-12 noon
Pequot Library, Southport, CT
free and open to the public
 
From our Blog

Community Board       

 

There are many new farm and apprenticeship openings posted on our Community Board, so if you are looking for a position check them out today!

 

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

Winter Food Project       

 

It's March now, and planting season is just around the corner, enticing us with all the bounty of summer and fall.  We can imagine how food fresh from the garden will taste, but unfortunately we aren't quite there yet.  This is the trickiest time of year for winter food because the novelty of root vegetables has worn off, many other winter foods are running low, and spring planting has yet to begin.  It's always darkest just before the dawn, right?   

 

Well fear not, for the versatility of winter produce will keep your late winter menu from becoming stale!  This month's featured winter delicacy is kale.  We have featured it before, and are doing so again because it continues to surprise us with all that it has to offer our menus and our stomachs.

 

The NY Times recently wrote a piece called Kale for Everyone! that provides a great list of unique recipes that you wouldn't initially think would involve kale. These dishes will liven up your late winter menu and provide the perfect holdover until spring.  

 

If you can't get enough winter greens and want some more recipes with kale and other cold weather greens, check out these recipes from our friend John Turenne's workshop at our Winter Conference on Saturday the 3rd.  

 

Your Favorite Tool       

 

This month's favorite tool is courtesy of our Organic Land Care Program Director, Jenna Messier.  Now that it's pruning season, she has been out in her yard tidying up with her handy Felco Pruning Saw. The saw is heavy duty and versatile: she notes that you can even remove a small tree with it if you chose to.  In fact, she was recently able to prune down a 70 year old grape vine with her saw and expects it to produce a much healthier and more abundant crop of grapes this year because of her efforts.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Need Your Help!

This spring we have many upcoming events that require volunteer staffing.  We are getting many invitations for Earth Day events in and around April, so if you like meeting great people and helping out in the community, consider volunteering for CT NOFA.  Our Winter Conference and many other tabling and outreach events are available and open to volunteers.  For more information, and to register as a volunteer, please email us
here.  

Go Organic when you Shop!  

 

Sign up for a NOFA credit card 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.

Many thanks,

CT NOFA Staff

203-888-5146

ctnofa@ctnofa.org  

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