November, 2011
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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.]
In This Issue
From the ED
From the VP
Events
Spotlight
Announcements & Alerts
Featured
Featured
Winter Food Project
Your Favorite Tool
Question of the Month
Community Board
Volunteer With Us!
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From the Executive Director

bill duesing
It was just a Saturday afternoon snow storm. Nine days later, folks I know still didn't have power.

The "lost week" as so many people we know struggled just to get by will create ripples well into the future.

During the week without power, we did pretty well in our small house with a wood stove for heat, propane for cooking, lots of food from storage and under the snow in the garden and water from the local firehouse. But the long dark periods really changed the rhythm of the day. We had wonderful visits from children and grandchildren who didn't have heat and we also caught up on our sleep.

The second weekend without power was perfect for planting garlic. (Timing of planting is a frequent subject of conversation, and many opinions. John Holbrook in Bethel said he plants on Columbus Day and harvests on July 4. Vincent Kay who grows a lot of garlic in Hamden likes to plant in early November and wait to mulch until the ground is frozen. Wayne Hansen in Oneco likes to plant his garlic during the last two weeks in October and did it during the early part of that window, but remembers a farmer's wife saying her husband planted garlic with a pick axe to get into the frozen soil. Just make sure you plant it. The weather is so variable, that there may never be an ideal time for this year.)

This was just a little snowstorm, just as we had some snow last winter and a tropical storm in the summer. Normal events but with a timing, intensity and/or effect way outside of normal. Scary is a word often heard.

Hopefully soon, even more folks will realize that we need to pay greater attention to meeting our basic needs for food, shelter and clothing in ways the both mitigate our effects on the climate and provide adaption to the changes that are here now and likely to be increasing soon.

Growing more food, organically, in more places, is a key part of that strategy.
From the CT NOFA Board VP
Bettylou Sandy, our new Board Vice President, writes about the recent storm in New England.

All of Connecticut and beyond was affected by the unusual snowstor m of October 29. With heavy snowfall on trees still in full leaf, trees went down everywhere, causing monumental damage and loss of electricity throughout the region. This is not news to those of us living in this state, but is affirmation that we are all in similar circumstances.

 

Many people were caught off guard and were unprepared for the emergency conditions. So many New Englanders seem to have forgotten how to plan for our winter weather. This all came much earlier than "usual", but with weather patterns changing and our current economy, it was all the worse.  More> 

CT NOFA and NOFA Events

Featured Events  

  

CT NOFA OLC Annual Gathering 

Tuesday, DeNOFA OLC logocember 6, 2011

(Snow Date: December 7, 2011) 

University  of Connecticut 

Storrs, CT

  

Join us for the 2011 Annual Gathering, with keynote speaker Tom Wessels, an ecologist and founding director of the master's degree program in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. This year's program will focus on trees and woody shrubs in our landscape.  The United Nations has declared 2011 the "International Year of Forests" highlighting the environmental, historical and cultural value of trees and forests around the world. Presenters at the Annual Gathering will discuss the role of trees in our natural history, their integration in organic landscaping, threats to New England's woods, and the importance of planting and preserving native trees in the landscape.  Despite the tendency to associate trees with the environment, they are a central part of the designed landscape.  Trees are an ecological staple, providing habitat, flood and erosion control, carbon sequestration and a host of other natural services to developed areas.

 

Saturday, March 3, 2012
Manchester Community College
Manchester, CT

Join us in celebrating our 30th Annual Winter Conference with keynote international bestselling author Jeffrey M. Smith.  Mr. Smith is the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). He documents how the world's most powerful Ag biotech companies bluff and mislead critics, and put the health of society at risk.

Confirmed vendors and exhibitors include: Land for Good-programs & services, Tri-State of Branford
Workshops include: Certified Organic Nutrient Dense Small Fruit, Transforming our Tub Full of Toxins: The Opportunity for Organics in the Personal Care Industry, Using and Understanding Microbiology: Lowering Costs and Inputs While Increasing Plant and Turf Health and Growth, Beekeeping Basics, Growing Nuts, How We Grow Garlic at Wayne's Organic Garden, and more...

We are now accepting applications for vendors.  Email Deb for more information and to apply. 

If you would like to become a sponsor, please call us at 203.888.5146 

 

Our Other Upcoming Events

Saturday, November 12, 2011
Common Ground High School
New Haven, CT 
  
11th Annual NOFA Organic Land Care Course
February 15-17, and 21-22, 2012
(Snow Date:  February 23, 2012)
CT Agricultural Experiment Station
New Haven, CT   

 

Events we will be Attending 

Stop by and visit us at one of these upcoming events:

 

Community Potluck and Movie "Urban Roots"
Thursday, November 17, 2011 5:30-7:30pm
Barnard Environmental Magnet School
170 Derby Ave.
New Haven, CT  

 

Crash Course: SOLUTIONS Environmental Energy Event
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Unitarian Society of Hartford
Hartford, CT

NOFA Events From Other Chapters

Saturday, January 14, 2012  
Worcester State University
Worcester, MA  

    

For other area events check our our events listing page
Spotlight

 

Urban Oaks Organic Farm Needs Your Support!

urban oaks

Urban Oaks is an Organic Farm in the city of New Britain.  The farm is active in the community, and boasts a CSA, farm stand, spring plant sale, and Green Faire.  They were featured in last month's Gleanings, but we have featured them again this month in an effort to spread awareness of a recent accident at the farm. An automobile drove into the farm stand, sending the office manager to the hospital and causing extensive damage to the building. This comes hard on the heels of Hurricane Irene, making it difficult for the farm staff to clean up from the storm and to complete their harvest season. If you think your or your organization might be able to offer support or assistance to Urban Oaks, don't hesitate to email us here at CT NOFA or visit Urban Oaks online.

 

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Friends of Autistic People seeks to teach autistic adults valuable life skills on a teaching farm.fap
For the past several years,
Darany von Regensburg, her husband and other supporters of the group Darany von Regensburg began more than 10 years ago, Friends of Autistic People, have been working to raise funds for a farm academy where adults with autism, such as her daughter Vanessa, can live and learn life skills, such as baking pies, growing vegetables or raising small animals.

 

This program would give adults with autism an option for care and life skills training, since the state-mandated services delivered through public schools end when a student turns 21.  Since its founding, FAP has worked to provide resources and support for adults with autism, as well as advocate for quality services.  "The hope is they will learn farm-related skills or crafts ... in a manageable scope," Darany von Regensburg said, adding the opportunities are many, such as learning to dry herbs and make candles and soaps. "I really see this as a teaching farm, first, before it becomes a real producing farm."

For more information about the Farm Academy project, visit here. To read the full article about FAP's efforts, check here.

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Female Farmers are a Growing Force says Wilton Magazine 
the hickories
Dina Brewster, a certified
organic farmer, was recently featured in the November/December edition of Wilton Magazine.  Dina is in her sixth season running The Hickories, a 100-acre, certified organic farm in Ridgefield, CT that produces a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and meat products.  Brewster is one of a growing number of women in the area who are listing themselves as principal owners of working farms, a concept that isn't new to the area, but has been slow to catch on culturally.  Brewster sees the trend as not only positive but necessary, noting that women have a vested interest in sustainable farming because it directly impacts their lives.  She points out, "What's happening in our food system is so serious, and globally sustainable agriculture is a woman's issue because women and children are the primary victims of chemical agriculture."

To check out the article, contact Wilton Magazine.  To check out The Hickories, click here
Announcements & Alerts

 

The Just Label It Campaign, an initiative seeking the labeling of genetically engineered foods, has launched.

Check out their press release here, or read USA Today's

just_label_it_logo

 article here. To sign the FDA petition, click here.

 

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Do you buy cover crop seed, fertilizers, mineral amendments, compost, potting soil, potato and allium seed?  Would you like to save money on those items?   

If so, the bulk order might be perfect for you.  Each spring, NOFA/Mass organizes a bulk order with popular suppliers for distribution at sites in western, central, & eastern MA, central CT & RI. Take advantage of significant savings through group purchasing power and collective shipping, while helping NOFA support organic practices throughout the Tri-State region. The order is open to both members and non-members. NOFA/Mass will no longer be organizing 2 orders a year so don't miss this opportunity to save!  Contact Cathleen O'Keefe, Bulk Order Coordinator to find out more here.

 

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New Guide Offers Help in Leasing Connecticut Farmland lease_guide
A new guide published by American Farmland Trust (AFT) and the University of Connecticut seeks to help towns, institutions and land trusts navigate the process of leasing land to farmers or managing it themselves for agricultural use. Farmland ConneCTions: A Guide for Towns, Institutions, and Land Trusts Using or Leasing Farmland outlines the legal and practical considerations involved in leasing farmland and provides information and case studies of successful community farms that have been established across the state. This free guide is available through the Connecticut office of American Farmland Trust or can be downloaded here.


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Workshops for Meat Producers in Southern New England
As part of a 3-year USDA/NESARE Professional Development Program grant titled Grass-fed All Year Long, a joint project among the Universities of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, several workshops are still available for winter handling of cattle. For more information on upcoming workshops in Connecticut, contact James Hyde here.

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The UConn Cooperative Extension is providing 2 more FREE opportunities for small farmers and school gardeners to learn about Good Agricultural Practices
The workshops will be held Nov. 5 from 9-12 noon at the New Haven County Extension Center in North Haven, and Nov. 30 from 9-12 noon at the Litchfield County Extension Center in Torrington.  To learn more and to register, contact Diane or Candace.

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farm to city coalition
New London Community Food Hub Project is Looking for Farmers 
A project is underway to begin connecting our local farmers with one, and then two, major institutions in the Greater New London area. The program will begin as a pilot with planning for spring planting.

  

This is an exciting opportunity to expand your connection to major local consumers who want to buy local. Whether you do direct sales at farmers' markets or sell through a CSA, this program can significantly complement your income from those market approaches.

  

Register for the program here, or for more information, email here.

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Applications for the 2012 UConn Master Gardener Program are now Being Accepted Until November 11.

The University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System is now accepting applications for the Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program for 2012, with a new deadline of November 11. The objective of the program is to provide horticultural training to individuals who want to share knowledge with the public through community volunteerism, and wish to expand their gardening interests.

  

For more information or an application, call your local Cooperative Extension Center or visit the Home and Garden Education Center website. 

In the News

 

OMRI and the USDA have signed a landmark contract to produce a comprehensive list of substances permitted for organic crop production. The objective of the contract is to produce a draft guidance document, called the Permitted Substances List (PSL), to clarify which commonly available generic substances are allowed for use in organic crop production, according to USDA regulations at 7 CFR Part 205.  Learn more

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New Report on the IFOAM World Conference

On October 3-5 the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), in conjunction with the Organic World Conference, met in Seoul, South Korea to set the top priorities for IFOAM and elect the World Board.

 

To read the full report, please visit here. You can also check it out on our blog

 

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Solving Connecticut's Trash Problem a Little at a Time

Wise Waste, LLC, a new startup spearheaded by Annette Montoya of East Lyme, and Rich Oliver, co-owner of Perennial Harmony Garden Shop in Waterford has collaborated with Tri-Town Foods in Flanders Corner and Pauline Lord and David Harlow, owners of White Gate Farm, to reduce their trash disposal costs.  Read the full article here. 

 

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Almstead Lawn Care Brings Science of Organic Care to Scarsdale

Almstead Lawn Care, leaders in the field of organic lawn servies, recently utilized the latest natural soil supplements and organic fertilizers, along with aeration and seeding techniques, to strengthen more than 20 acres of sports fields in Scarsdale, NY.  Read the full article here, or check it out on our blog

 Featured Members
 
John Turenne and Sustainable Food Systems

Sustainable Food Systems, a unique consulting and technical assistance service, partners with healthcare facilities, public and private schools, universities, business dining facilities and community organizations to incorporate sustainability practices that are healthier for customers, local economies and the planet into their food programs.  

   

john_turenne 
John Turenne

 

John Turenne is a CT NOFA board member and president and founder Sustainable Food Systems. He is nationally known for his school food leadership. His career encompassed over 25 years in the food industry including the role of Executive Chef at Yale University where he helped develop and implement the internationally recognized Yale Sustainable Food Project. John also provided the lead consultation for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution television series and was one of the consulting chefs creating Michele Obama's Chef's Move to Schools. His work with public and private schools, hospitals, and universities enables such institutions to become more sustainable. 

 

When asked why he has been a member of CT NOFA, John states: "Food is the one thing we all have in common. We need to understand the stories behind the food. Where it came from, who provided it, how was it produced, and how will it effect our bodies? CT NOFA has taught me where to look for the answers to these questions and has provided me with a respect for those who provide our food."

  

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Nick Mancini Has Started the Organic Gardening Workshop 

484 Riverside Avenue

Westport, CT  

203-227-4717

 

nick mancini 
Nick Mancini
 

This workshop teaches serious organic gardeners how to master the art of gardening. Nick Mancini is a Certified Master Gardener specializing in organic vegetables, fruits, and brambles. He teaches organic gardening at Norwalk Community College, and has developed an organic garden there to teach children from the Kathryn Croaning Child Development Laboratory School to plant, weed, and harvest crops. Mancini also teaches organic gardening for Westport and Fairfield continuing education divisions.    

 

During 2008-09, Mancini was head Master Gardener in charge of vegetables at the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford, CT. He has lectured to CT NOFA, garden clubs, horticultural societies, and at libraries throughout Connecticut and the New York Metro area. A gardening consultant and coach, he is a member of the Connecticut Master Gardeners Association, CT NOFA, Connecticut Community Garden Association, and the Westport Community Garden, which he also advises. The National Plant Disease Network, an agency dedicated to detecting and diagnosing biological pests, has certified Mancini as a "First Detector."  

 

Mancini's organic gardening, farming, and livestock experience goes back to the year 1947 when he was seven years old and living in Italy. He remained steeped in these subjects both before and after emigrating to the United States. For years he used the "miraculous chemicals" that gardeners of former decades found so irresistible, but 26 years ago he realized that reverting to former practices was much better for the environment and produced healthier, better-tasting crops. In addition to writing articles for CMGA on espaliering fruit trees, Mancini has written and self-published Rainbows in the Fountain, a memoir about growing up in Italy during World War II, and A Hairdresser's Revenge, a novel drawing upon his experience as a hairdresser in Westport, CT during the 1960s.

 

Visit Nick Mancini's blog here

Winter Food Project       

 

Fall has finally arrived. For many this is a busy time at home, at work and especially in the garden where there are crops to harvest, prepare and preserve; seeds to save; weeds to pull; debris to collect and compost; cover crops to plant and the list goes on. To help you save time, money and space, USDA's People's Garden Initiative has invited experts to share advice in its 2011 Fall Webinar Series.

A series of five hour-long trainings will broadcast live on Wed. Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26 and Nov. 2 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. They are free for anyone to watch online. To learn more and join the training, register here.

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 just food 

Recipes of the Month

Courtesy of justfood.org 

Rutabaga-Beet Soup
Potato-Leek Gratin



From our Annual Meeting on October 29

Jerusalem Artichoke & Roasted Garlic Vichyssoise

 

4 pounds            Jerusalem Artichokes, washes & scrubbed, diced 2                             inches

1 pound              Leeks, white and light green part only

8 cloves              Garlic, Roasted

1/4 cup               Olive oil

1 quart               Vegetable stock

2 Tbl.                 Thyme, fresh

2 cups                2% low-fat milk

As needed          Salt, kosher and fresh cracked peppercorns

 

1. Split the leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove all sand and         grit. Slice them thinly.

 

2. Sweat the leeks in the olive oil without browning them.

 

3. Add the Jerusalem Artichokes, roasted garlic, thyme and vegetable     stock and bring to a simmer.

 

4. Simmer until the Jerusalem Artichokes are tender, approximately       45 minutes.

 

5. Purée the soup in a food processor, blender or with an immersion       blender; season with salt and pepper.  Add milk and return to low       simmer to heat through for 5 minutes.

 

6. Serve hot or chilled.

 

Yield: 4 quarts

 

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The Kerr Institute for Sustainable Agriculture has posted a free online slideshow about building a hoop house.  It is divided into five parts: 1. introduction, 2. bending the hoops, 3. attaching ropes; standing hoops, 4. attaching plastic to hoops; and 5. endwalls, costs, and resources.  View the slideshow here.

Your Favorite Tool
stirrup hoe
Stirrup hoe



This month's featured tool is the stirrup hoe, which cuts weeds off just below the soil level with minimal soil disturbance. 
kim stoner
Kim Stoner






 



Kim Sto
ner from Friends of Boulder Knoll, an environmentally sustainable community farm in Cheshire, enjoys using this tool. 


If you would like to be featured in Your Favorite Tool, email Melissa with a photo of yourself with your tool and a brief description of why it's your favorite. 
Question of the Month       

 

Q: We are currently investigating the likely legalization of medical marijuana in Ct and as part of our research we are investigating the viability of getting organic certification in regards to growing marijuana should it be legalized for medical usage. I appreciate this may be an unusual request but any assistance or thoughts you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
 
Don Franczyk of Baystate Organic Certifiers answers:
Marijuana is not certifiable because it is not legal, from a Federal standpoint, to grow the crop.  We are ruled by Federal regulations not state regulations, so even though CT may allow medical marijuana, the Federal government still classifies marijuana as illegal.  We can't certify illegal crops.  This would take a Federal rules change in order for us to be able to certify marijuana.  This is not the first time this question has come up.  Maine had a similar law go into effect last year and we had questions at that time.
Community Board       

 

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. 

 

Job Openings at NOFA NJ:

Director of Development and Community Outreach

Beginning Farmer Project Manager

Lead Farmer at Davis Farm Incubator

Learn more and apply>

 

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NOFA NY is Seeking an Organic Fruit and Vegetable Coordinator.  

This staff member will work with the Education Director and other staff to lead the organization's technical assistance and outreach to organic fruit and vegetable farmers.  Estimated weekly hours are 20-31 hrs/week depending on available funding. Hours may increase as this position grows.  Learn more and apply here. 

We Need Your Help!

This fall and winter we have many upcoming events that require volunteer staffing.  If you like meeting great people and helping out in the community, consider volunteering for CT NOFA.  Our Organic Land Care Annual Gathering, 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.

NOFA OLC 2011 Annual Gathering
December 6, 2011, "Trees: Landscaping for Future Generations".
The 2011 Annual Gathering will focus on trees and woody shrubs in our landscape.  The United Nations has declared 2011 the "International Year of Forests" highlighting the environmental, historical and cultural value of trees and forests around the world. Volunteers can help with setup, registration, information, and breakdown, and as always, we thank you for generously donating your time!

CT NOFA's 30th Annual Winter Conference
March 3, 2012, "Growing Together Since 1982"!
Join us and help out at our biggest event of the year! Volunteers needed and greatly appreciated for staffing CT NOFA's information booths, raffle and breakdown/ cleanup. 
If you have any stories, articles, notices, or suggestions for this newsletter, please send them along.

Many thanks,

Melissa Gabso
Public Ally

203-888-5146

melissa@ctnofa.org