November, 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
Announcements
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

Hurricane Sandy

Our best wishes and support go out to all who were affected by Sandy. The pictures from shore communities (including New York City) are astounding. The lengths of the disruptions in power and schools are amazing.

 

It doesn't help now, but this disaster is the kind that experts have been predicting for at least several decades. See Bill McKibben's take on Sandy here

 

I'm afraid that there is nothing we can do but prepare for more of this kind of weather by increasing our resilience and doing all we can to get away from fossil fuels in order to keep the weather from getting worse.

 

Advice

Drink clean...safe water and eat safe uncontaminated food. 

 

That was the advice provided by the weather service on my phone several days after Sandy hit. It is certainly good advice.

 

It is easy to understand the worries when floodwaters mix together overflowing sewers, petroleum products, fertilizers and pesticides from garages, stores and more.

 

It is a little trickier to understand the problems with microbial contamination and decay with food that's not kept as cold as it should be.

 

However, this simple and sensible advice raises questions when we think about it in a "normal" context.

 

Is our food safe?

Is our food safe if it has to be shipped from China or Chile?

Is our food safe if it depends on millions of acres filled with monocultures of genetically modified crops heavily sprayed with herbicides and other dangerous substances?

Is our food safe if it greatly increases rates of diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases?

Is our food safe it is depends on millions of very low paid workers doing dangerous work on our behalf?

 

It's been said that our present food system ultimately depends on low-cost energy, a stable climate and government subsidies. All of those are now in question. Although the natural gas which is such an important input for conventional fertilizers is "cheap" now, the fertilizers' effects on the climate and our water are not inexpensive. We need to think in whole systems. More> 

CT NOFA and OLC Events

Featured Event 
  
CT NOFA's 31st Annual Winter Conference

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Wilton High School, 395 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT
8:30 am to 5:00 pm

Growing Together Since 1982!

 

 

Join us in celebrating our 31st Annual Winter Conference with keynote David W. Wolfe Ph.D., the Faculty Fellow and Chair of the Climate Change Focus Group, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and Professor of Plant and Soil Ecology, Department of Horticulture at Cornell University.  CT NOFA's Winter Conference is our largest event of the year - packed with workshops, hands-on demos, engaging speakers, and a wide array of vendors all promoting sustainable farms, gardens, food, and land care.  Learn more about this exciting event here.

Check out our updated list of Confirmed workshops:

Many more to come!

 

This event is co-sponsored by Wilton High School. Interested in becoming a sponsor?  Email Melissa for sponsorship package options.

Other CT NOFA and NOFA Organic Land Care Events

 

Organic Land Care Program Advanced Workshop  

Business Essentials: Pricing and Marketing your Landscaping Services for Success 

Friday, November 9, 9:00am-1:00pm 

Connecticut Forest and Park Association

Rockfall, CT 

 

The NOFA Organic Land Care Program's Annual Gathering
December 5, 2012
Sturbridge, MA
"Success with the Organic Land Care Market"
160 of our Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals are from Connecticut!  If you own a business that sells goods and services to people interested in landscaping, sponsoring or exhibiting at the Annual Gathering will provide your business with targeted exposure.  Learn more about sponsorship opportunities here.

Sponsored by


Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Goodwin College
East Hartford, CT
Each year in midwinter, CT NOFA holds a conference intended to help 50-60 aspiring organic farmers develop successful farming careers. Learn more about the conference here, and check out these resources from CT DOAG to get started learning about organic farming. 

Organic Land Care Accreditation Courses

Pennsylvania Course
January 14-17, 2013
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Philadelphia, PA

and
New England Regional
February 11 - 14, 2013
Three Rivers Community College
Norwich, CT

Organic Land Care Lawn Certificate Course 
Manchester Community College
Manchester, CT
January 24 (January 25 snow date)
and
Three Rivers Community College
Norwich, CT
February 26 (February 27 snow date)

Events we will be Attending       


GMO Free Rally
November 8, noon
The Capitol building
This rally may be cancelled due to weather - please click here for updates.

Working Lands Alliance Presents A Vision for Connecticut Agriculture 

12th Annual Meeting and Luncheon   

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012, 12:00 (noon) - 2:00 p.m. 

Old Judiciary Room in the State Capitol, Hartford
$10/person (collected at the door)

Keynote Speakers:

Steven Reviczky, CT Commissioner of Agriculture  

Allyn Brown, Maple Lane Farms        

Please direct questions and RVSP to  

Leah Mayor or call (203) 988 -3270

 

CACIWC 35th Annual Meeting and Environmental Conference
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Four Points by Sheraton
Meriden, CT

CT Recreation and Parks Association Annual Conference
November 19-20, 2012
Mohegan Sun Casino
Montville, CT

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

Announcements & Alerts    

  

Webinars on Organic Dairy Farming, Organic Seed Production, and Weed Management Research
eOrganic is excited to launch the 2012-13 webinar season with three new webinars on organic farming and research in November. All webinars are free and open to the public and advance registration is required. Learn more here.
 
NOFA Organic Land Care Program Named as a Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grant Recipient
Top federal and state environmental officials today announced 35 grants totaling $1.6 million to state and local government and community groups in New York and Connecticut to improve the health of Long Island Sound.  The projects, which are funded through the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, will open up 50 river miles for passage of fish, and restore 390 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat including lakes, underwater grasses, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, beaches and rivers and parks along the waterfront. More>

New USDA Tools for Organic Producers 

The USDA has developed a guide to organic and organic-related programs, and is implementing a department-wide training program to improve service to current and prospective organic stakeholders. USDA has also developed a toolkit that helps farmers and businesses answer the question, "is organic an option for me?" In response to requests from the organic community, USDA developed these materials to help connect current and prospective organic operations with appropriate USDA resources. 

Get the guide to organic and organic-related USDA programs here.

For more information about USDA's National Organic Program, click here.

 

Apply Now For Conservation Program Assistance
Are you a landowner interested in helping reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss on your cropland? Are you a farmer who needs to manage manure and nutrients associated with livestock production? Maybe you want to improve grazing systems. Are you a forestland owner who wants to better manage woodlands or improve wildlife habitat? If so, you may be eligible for funding assistance. The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2013 to help implement conservation practices that improve natural resources on farms, forestland, and wetland areas throughout Connecticut. Deadline to submit applications for the first ranking period is Friday, November 16, 2012. Learn more here

 

Northeast SARE Grant Opportunities for Agriculture   

Sustainable Community Grants:  Due November 15, 2012

For community organizations making a direct connection between revitalization and farming.  Awards capped at $15,000.

Farmer Grants:  Due November 27, 2012

For commercial farmers who want to test a new idea that will improve sustainability.  Awards capped at $15,000.

 

Go to the Northeast SARE website for applications.  If you have questions that aren't answered there, please call 802-656-0471 or send an email. Successful applicants will be notified in March 2013.

Join Farmers Calling for Action on Antibiotics
The Keep Antibiotics Working coalition is coordinating farmer and scientist sign-on statements calling for an end to unnecessary antibiotic use in food animal production. The statements rebut industry claims that the science on the issue is yet to be settled or that farmers cannot profitably produce antibiotic-free meat and poultry. The farmer statement is open to farmers, ranchers, and producers who raise antibiotic-free animals. If you meet those criteria and want to sign, please email Margie Miller.

Watch "Genetic Roulette" for FREE - EXTENDED thru November 6
Thanks to the generous support of donors, and the need to educate California voters about the true risks GMOs before they vote on Prop 37 (labeling), the FREE viewing of Jeffrey Smith's new documentary, Genetic Roulette - The Gamble of Our Lives extended through November 6. Watch it here.
In the News 

Why California's Proposition 37 Should Matter to Anyone Who Cares About Food
One of the more interesting things we will learn on Nov. 6 is whether or not there is a "food movement" in America worthy of the name - that is, an organized force in our politics capable of demanding change in the food system. More>

High Lead Found in NYC Eggs
Research has found elevated levels of lead in eggs from chickens in New York City public neighborhood gardens. More>
But don't panic! You can get a soil test to find out if you have elevated levels of lead in your soil. This article describes steps you can take if you are gardening or farming on land that you think might be contaminated. Also, both Umass and the Uconn extension offer a variety of soil tests. There are many ways you can have healthy local eggs in an urban area, and it all starts with getting your soil tested.

Bridgeport Targets Community Garden as an Urban Eyesore
What the Columbia Court Community Garden has that no other community garden in Bridgeport or elsewhere in Connecticut is known to have is a HUGE fluorescent "NOTICE OF BLIGHT" citation slapped on it.
Bren Smith works on his oyster farm off CT's Thimble Islands. Photo: Ron Gautreau
You can't miss it. It's tacked on the community garden's fence, along with a ticket that accusesthe propertyof being overgrown with weeds and debris. More>

Restoring the Urban Sea by Farming It
With 91% of the seafood that we eat in this country imported from foreign waters there is increased interest in restoring local watersheds to full productivity. While much of the dialogue about sustainable seafood focuses on maintaining adequate resources, some forms of aquaculture can actually help to regenerate ecosystems, revitalize economies, and enhance food security. More>

"The Real Bears" Animated Short Film Takes on Big Soda
The Center for Science in the Public Interest is escalating its longstanding campaign to reduce the consumption of soda and other sugary drinks today with the release of an animated short film exposing the drinks' unhappy health consequences. The Real Bears tells the story of a family ofpolar bears who, even in their distant Arctic environment, are not immune from sunny marketing  messages from Big Soda. More>

Mobile Market Delivers Fresh Produce in New Haven Neighborhoods
The Real Bears
Residents in West Rock, Newhallville and the West River neighborhood will now have access to fresh produce without having to board a bus or hop in a car to get it. CitySeed has partnered with Common Ground High School to bring healthful food to those who need it most via a mobile market. More>

The Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency (CCRPA) has been awarded a $70,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve the region's access to healthy food. CCRPA, which works with New Britain, Berlin, Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth and Southington, will partner with Urban Oaks Organic Farm in New Britain. CCRPA will help Urban Oaks repair failing equipment and purchase new equipment that will allow it to reach new markets. More>
From our Blog

Urge Congress to Pass a Farm Bill This Year
Without a working Farm Bill, funding for many of the resources CT NOFA promotes to farmers will be in jeopardy. More>

The Prop 37 Debate
The arguments against GMO labeling, up for a vote in the California's Proposition 37 will come up again and again as GMO labeling is proposed in different states. More>

The CT NOFA Farmers Pledge
To further enable consumers to identify the farms they want to support with their food dollars, CT NOFA uses the Farmer's Pledge, separate and distinct from USDA Certified Organic. More>
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

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is just around the corner again!  If you're preparing a meal this year, and don't quite know how you're going to pull it off, fear not!  There are plenty of delicious winter food recipes available to suit every style of Thanksgiving dinner, and you don't necessarily have to spend all day in the kitchen (or spend all the money in your wallet) to make them. Here are some links to great recipes from previous year's holidays - we'll post on our blog with this year's ideas as new information comes out.


For a map displaying all our member farms and other businesses, all of which are either organic or have signed the Farmer's Pledge, click here.  You can browse farms near you, and find sustainably produced meats, dairy, produce and more. You can also browse through our Farm and Food Guide to see listings by county of member farms, farmers markets, restaurants, and supporting businesses. 
Your Favorite Tool       

        

Why Just California? Fooducate Provides GMO Info on Over 200,000 Products!
A new feature on Fooducate's website and mobile app allows registered users to access GMO information on hundreds of thousands of products. Now you can be aware of products that are non-GMO certified or are at risk for containing GMOs. Using the GMO feature, all products will display GMO information when it's available:
  1. Products that are non-GMO will appear with an all clear Non-GMO Label
  2. Products whose ingredients include likely GMOs, for example corn and soy, will be labeled as GMO - High Probability.
  3. Products whose ingredients include potential GMOs, such as beets, will be labeled as GMO - Medium Probability.
  4. Users that prefer a product that is non GMO can tap the alternatives button to choose similar, but non-GMO products.

Of course, the only way to know for certain if some products contain GMOs is to pass mandatory labeling legislation, which is why California's Proposition 37 is so important. Even outside of California, there are many ways you can support the passage of Prop 37 and ensure you know what's in your food. 

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.
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