March 2015

*2015 F&FG is HERE*
Technical Assistance for  Farmers
Coming Together
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
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CT NOFA Friends, 

We are excited that we will be seeing so many of you this Saturday, March 7 at our 33rd Annual Winter Conference at the Midtown Campus of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. Registration numbers are up, and we're happy to report this will be the biggest and best conference yet - more attendees, more exhibitors, more workshops. And it looks like the weather is cooperating and going to be dry with a high of 40 degrees! 

Our Keynote speaker, Dr. Kristine Nichols, Chief Scientist at Rodale Institute, is a world-renowned leader in the study of soil biology. Her keynote address will focus on "farming the life in the soil" and how this use of biology can work on multi-scales. Dr. Nichols will explain how regenerative, organic agriculture can create higher quality food, increase production and positively impact our air, water and climate. There will be a number of workshops on related and other topics - 63 workshops in all!

The optional lunch will be a culinary delight prepared for you by some of the state's most creative chefs and bakers from Barcelona in South Norwalk; LeFarm, The Whelk and Kawa Ni in Westport; Sodexo at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury; Stanziato's Wood Fired Pizza in Danbury; New Morning Market in Woodbury; Bareburger in Ridgefield; Sugar & Olives in Norwalk, and Wave Hill Breads Bakery & Cafe in Norwalk. If you haven't yet signed up for lunch, you can on the day of the Conference.

All in all it promises to be a great day for all, including our loyal CT NOFA members. Members will receive special pins and longstanding CT NOFA members will be recognized at the Keynote Session. Also at the Keynote we will recognize CT NOFA's Member of the Year, Alphonse Avitabile. Following the Keynote Session and before the afternoon workshops we're holding our Annual Meeting of the Members.

If you haven't pre-registered you can still join us for Winter Conference by registering in person on Saturday. Children under 12 are free, students and farm interns/apprentices pay $35, and the cost is $60 for everyone else. The fantastic lunch is $15 for adults, and $8 for children 12 and under.

To save time at registration, please print and fill out this FORM and bring it with you on Saturday. You will be able to pay with cash, checks and all major credit cards.

And at the end of the month we are holding CT NOFA's annual first days of Spring Greenhouse Workshop at Wayne's Organic Garden in Oneco on Sunday morning, March 22. The workshop will be led by Wayne Hansen, CT NOFA's very longtime and loyal member, and in the words of our founder and Organic Advocate, Bill Duesing, "Wayne is a great farmer and wonderful teacher. This is a great opportunity." So please register for this terrific workshop!

Thank you for your continued support of local and organic food, farming, gardening and land care,

Eileen Hochberg   

Executive Director       

By Bill Duesing

With the February release of the "Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee" comes increased attention to the question of what we should eat. This report is used by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to issue the guidelines they make every five years for what Americans should eat.

This whole process exposes the great tension between foods that are good for us and foods that are profitable for big food and industrial agriculture - between the health we want and the growth in profits that the food and agriculture industry wants.

The report summed up its recommendations this way:
The U.S. population should be encouraged and guided to consume dietary patterns that are rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products and alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains. These dietary patterns can be achieved in many ways and should be tailored to the individual's biological and medical needs as well as socio-cultural preferences.

Based on what I've learned about diet, food, health and farming over the decades, these recent recommendations (except perhaps for the low fat dairy part) make sense for both human and environmental health. There are lots of ways to meet these guidelines, which is another positive step.
Continue reading HERE
  CT NOFA's Stephanie Berluti is off to Southern Pastures

After almost 2 years of working for CT NOFA as the Agricultural Event and Program Manager, Stephanie Berluti will be leaving the organization to join Serenbe Farms as an apprentice for the 2015 season. 

Serenbe Farms is a certified organic farm nestled in the sustainable Serenbe community, Southwest of Atlanta, Georgia which offers over 300 varieties of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruits. Stephanie will getting hands on training in organic farming which she hopes to incorporate on the land she has recently purchased with her family outside of New Haven. 
We wish Stephanie the very best of luck!

Don't miss out on Connecticut's largest food, agriculture and sustainability conference to discuss the future of sustainable farming, celebrate local food and much more!

*63 Workshops*60+Vendors*
*Farm-to-Table Lunch* *Networking*Raffle*

We will be accepting walk-in registrations at the door for $60, $35 students/farm apprentices, 12 and under free.

*If you plan on walking in please print and fill out THIS walk-in registration form for quick and easy registration.

Workshop Schedule

The Board of Directors of CT NOFA, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, Incorporated invites you to an Annual Meeting of the Members
12:45 - 1:15 PM
Student Center, Faculty Dining Hall, Room 001

Sunday, March 22nd ~10am-12pm~Oneco, CT
Permaculture Design Charette
March 27th 9:30am-3:30pm
West Haven, CT

Join Sven Pihl and Sam Billings at CT NOFA's Jenna
 Messier's .11 acre urban homestead to discuss Permaculture Design. 
More information to come. 


Click HERE for more info

Whole Foods 5% Donation Day 
 September 17th
*Save the Date*
5% of that day's net sales will be donated to CT NOFA!

More details to come!
Beginning Farmer Education: 
Now Accepting Applications for the 
2015-2017 JourneyPerson Program

The program supports newly independent farmers with stipends for education, technology and professional services, including business planning. It also gives journeypersons complimentary access to all NOFA educational events, and matches participants with a mentor farmer for two years.  The program experience is shaped by the interests and goals of each participant. 
For more information click HERE
To apply click HERE
Connecticut's Beginning & Experienced Organic Farmers

The CT NOFA Technical Assistance Program,Coming Together, contracts experienced organic farmers from around the state to provide short-term technical assistance to Connecticut's beginning farmers. Beginning farmers with fewer than ten years experience operating a farm business can use this program to work through organic production and business challenges directly with experienced organic farmer consultants. All beginning farmers within the state are eligible to participate in the technical assistance program regardless of membership status at CT NOFA.
Sign up today HERE
New Business Member Profiles

Mountain View Farm is located in the Hills of Northwestern CT. Members of NOFA for over twenty years (since our college days), Maria and Vincent LaFontan believe local food is good food! We take pride in growing Organically, and educating others on the importance of small farms and buying local, fresh produce. In addition to Organic fruits and vegetables, we produce organic maple syrup, free range pork, and farm fresh eggs. Our European ancestry is prevalent in our range of pickled products available. We retail at our farm, local Farmer's Markets, and wholesale to Whole Foods. Eat well folks!

CT Farm Fresh Express
East Haddam
In business over 7 years, CT Farm Fresh Express is the oldest online year-round store which connects Connecticut Farms to customers throughout the State. CTFFE is a personalized solution to the Farmer's Market consumer with little time to shop. CTFFE sources from up to 60 farms across the state with more than 2,500 seasonal and constantly changing product offerings. The diversity is all-inclusive: from dairy, seafood, free-range meats to prepared foods, produce, baked goods, frozen items, Harvest Boxes and CSA Delivery.
Online shopping is open from Thursdays to Tuesday 10am. Our dedicated team of drivers delivers each Thursday, year-round.

Farm2Jars, Ridgefield
Farm2Jars is a health-conscious food company that uses only organic, all-natural and sustainably-grown ingredients for our prepared meals in jars. Most of the ingredients for our granola, salads, pies, and soups come straight from our co-founder's farm in Washington, Connecticut. Our tasty and nutritious hand-made no-grain-ola is packed with lots of healthy nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables and is sweetened with low-glycemic coconut nectar. All our products are grain free, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free, GMO free, and process sugar free, and are for people who for whatever the reason want to stay away from these types of foods. Farm2Jars products are a good fit for people who follow a Vegan or Paleo lifestyle, are on a strict celiac diet, or just want the convenience of healthy, clean, CT-Grown foods prepared with love for them and their families to enjoy at home or on-the-go! For more information and to find out Where to Buy visit

School Garden Network News 

Growing and Learning

Workshop: Planning Your School Garden

Common Ground High School presents this introductory workshop for teachers, administrators, parents and other community members who want to launch a school garden program in their school. Topics include the basics of assembling your garden committee, building a budget and seeking funding, planning the design of your garden, sourcing materials, constructing raised beds as well as creating systems to sustain your garden over time. The workshop is at the high school in New Haven, Saturday, March 14, 2015, from 1pm to 4pm.  More details and registration here


Wisconsin School Garden Initiative Newsletter     
The Wisconsin School Garden Initiative offers some great resources on its website, including a monthly newsletter.  The newsletters for January and February covered garden planning with kids and seed starting in schools, respectively.  Take a look at them and be sure to check out the resources contained in each newsletter. 

Winter Sowing - A Great Way to Start Seeds in the Classroom 
Photo: Grouchygardener 
Even though spring is - hopefully! - around the corner, it's not too late to winter sow seeds with your students.  Winter sowing is a great method to use in the classroom.  With winter sowing, seeds are placed in soil inside a recycled container, then put outside. The containers act as little greenhouses, protecting the seed and resulting in hardy seedlings. To learn more, check out this article 
from our Growing and Learning newsletter from November of 2012.

Project Learning Tree's New GreenSchools Poster Project Learning Tree
As part of its GreenSchools Program, Project Learning Tree (PLT) has created a new GreenSchools poster to inspire students to take an active role in greening their schools. The interactive poster, available online and in print, illustrates the many elements of a PLT GreenSchool in action and how you and your students can lead the way to make these elements a reality in your school. This poster provides ideas to help reduce your school's environmental footprint based on the five areas covered by the PLT GreenSchools! Investigations.  Check it out!


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.


Debbie Semonich  


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Stephanie Berluti
Gleanings Editor 



CT NOFA | 126 Derby Avenue | Derby | CT | 06418-2010