October, 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
Featured Members
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

With Nature or Apart From Nature; How Will We Eat?  

 

Beans and Peppers, too.

 

Almost every week another story reminds us of how many more people will need food in the next few decades. Unless partisan bickering, warfare or accelerating climate change greatly reduces global population, experts predict several billion more people by 2050. How those nine billion people will be able to eat is perhaps the major challenge we face.

 

There are basically two plans for approaching this problem. One is continuing the industrial approach that has become dominant in the last half century; an agriculture and food system that is corporate, distant, large scale and removed from nature. The other approach is more local, diverse, smaller scale and close to nature and ecosystems.

 

In one, agriculture excludes nature and biodiversity to a large extent as industrial scale monocultures and concentrated animal feeding operations produce food that is processed and delivered to us by large corporations. Increasingly that food is delivered to us in fast food ghettoes and super sized markets that also exclude nature.

 

In the other, agriculture is embedded in nature and the work of growing food, in the words of the USDA's definition of organic "restores, maintains and enhances ecological harmony." We see that in our members' organic farms and gardens. Just two recent examples I've heard about are a farmer who is raising oysters and kelp in Long Island Sound in a three dimensional system which removes nitrogen from the water while producing delicious food and an urban farmer who is raising trout organically on a brownfield in Waterbury to feed those in need. Waste places in almost every Connecticut city are being converted to bio-diverse food-producing ecosystems which also create more livable spaces.

 

Some call this approach agroecology. (See my article in the May 2011 Gleanings for more information about agroecology and its benefits.)

 

I wrote extensively on this issue in the last century. 21st Century Food is a good example. This collection of essays, "The Imperative for a Local Organic Food System" has a lot of the details.

 

Beans and Peppers

It is not surprising that we are still picking beans and peppers near the middle of October at our Old Solar Farm in Oxford. We've just come through the warmest eight months (January -August, 2012) and the warmest year (since August 2011) in the region and the country. 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.
 
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
 
Feed Your Soil All Winter Long With Simple Steps That Can be Done Now

A presentation by Bill Duesing

Tuesday October 9, 7:00pm

Welles Turner Library, Friends Room

 

Learn how to prepare your organic garden for the winter in ways which will keep your soil healthy and add nutrients to your soil during those cold winter months. Plantings now will not only provide you with early vegetables in the spring, but will also feed your soil, keeping the microorganisms nourished and strong, and ready to feed your plants come spring.  The importance of testing your soil and ways to nourish the soil without causing environmental harm will also be addressed.

 

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.

Events we will be Attending      


An Autumn Evening on the Farm
Friday, October 19, 4:00pm
Community Farm of Simsbury

CT Invasive Plant Symposium
Thursday, October 25, 8:00am - 4:20pm
Lewis B. Rome Commons
University of Connecticut

NEWSAWG's It Takes a Region Conference
October 28-30, 2012
Saratoga Hilton, Satatoga Springs, NY

GMO Free Rally
Thursday, November 8
Hartford, CT, Across from the Legislative Office Building

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

Announcements & Alerts    

   

New website launched to provide GMO-related action alerts and important updates

GMO Free USA, a grassroots initiative led by mom-turned-activist Diana Reeves, has just launched a new website that provides timely information on what you can do to support GMO labeling initiatives in Connecticut and nationally. Check it out and get involved! 

 

National Organic Standards Board Meeting 

Monday October 15 - Thursday October 18, 2012

Providence Biltmore, Providence, RI 

 

New Haven Land Trust 30th Anniversary Celebration with Will Allen

October 12, 2012, 6 - 9 pm

Yale University Commons

6:00 p.m. | Hors d'oeuvres and wine

6:45 p.m. | Dinner

MacArthur Genius Award winner and national figure in urban agriculture, community leader, son of sharecroppers, Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power, will be the keynote speaker at the New Haven Land Trust's 30th Anniversary Celebration. Come join Mr. Allen, civic leaders, and food activists, and others celebrate the work of the New Haven Land Trust at Yale University Commons. Enjoy great conversation, a locally sourced seasonal dinner, and hear from a pioneer in the sustainable agriculture movement as he discusses food security, health, and urban farming in America's changing landscape. Learn more and register here.

 
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.

   

Community Supported Agriculture Workshop Series from NOFA Mass 

The three workshops in this series take place at three successful CSAs in different regions of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The workshop leaders are farmers experienced in running both small and large financially viable CSAs. They will explain from experience the details of making this creative business model work.  Learn more here.  

 

Northeast SARE Grant Opportunities for Agriculture  

Partnership Grants:  Due November 1, 2012

For farm advisors and consultants working directly with farmers to explore sustainable topics.  Awards capped at $15,000.

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.

 

USDA Grant Opportunities 

USDA is offering availability of grants through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program for Fiscal Year 2012.  Deadline October 15, 2012. Approximately $14 million in competitive grant funds for FY 2012 is available to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. Contact the local USDA Rural Development office for information. 860-887-3604 Ext 3  (Norwich office.)
Featured Members    
   

Cynthia Rabinowitz and The Hidden Garden and ConnSoil, Inc.   

Cynthia Rabinowitz established Hidden Garden & ConnSoil (HGConnSoil, LLC) in 1986 after several years work as County Agriculture Agent with the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System. Since then HGConnSoil has evolved to a collaborative of professionals with a variety of science-based expertise. The firm provides ecological and wetland consulting services to municipal and state agencies and the private sector, and landscape design services to the private sector.   

 

At the co-located Center for Sustainable Living, HGConnSoil also conducts small group workshops and seminars on a variety of topics of interest to the public, such as soil health, seed starting, and composting.

 

In providing their clients with a full range of ecological and landscape design services, HGConnSoil's emphasis is on the application of scientific principles for environmentally sound property development, with a priority on timeliness and cost-effectiveness. They present the issues and solutions clearly and take pride in achieving the efficient completion of projects for their clients.

 

HGConnSoil is dedicated to objectivity and committed to quality. They are aware of the necessity of integrating the practical constraints of economics and site plan requirements with the need to satisfy local, state, and federal regulations. These principles ensure clear, direct information and have earned them a distinguished reputation with property owners, public and private land agents, and regulatory agencies.  

 

Cynthia Rabinowitz first got involved with CT NOFA back in 1982 when the chapter was first founded.  As Agricultural Agent at the UConn Extension, she shared an office with CT NOFA's Executive Director, Bill Duesing, back when he was the Energy Agent at the UConn Extension.  As one of the founding board members, Cynthia helped CT NOFA in its early stages to receive nonprofit status and helped set the stage for CT NOFA's growth over the last 30 years.  

 

You can learn more about HGConnSoil here

In the News 

Urban Farming at Sidewalk Ends Farm 
Three young women turned their love of gardening into a business. Fay Strongin and sisters, Laura Brown-Lavoie and Tess Brown-Lavoie, have been friends since early childhood. They started farming in 2011 on an abandoned lot just minutes from busy downtown Providence, RI. More>

Cooking With East Lyme's White Gate Farm
Any chef will tell you that a really great meal begins with locally-grown, fresh ingredients. Living in East Lyme, Old Lyme, and Lyme, finding items such as organic heirloom tomatoes, fresh peaches, local honey, and homemade goat cheese is the easy part. Cooking it, well, that's a bit trickier. More>
 
Weeds: An Organic Strategy
Learning to live with a few weeds is a gardener's mark of maturity, not unlike that moment when you suddenly stop fretting about the fact that you're too tall or too short and simply decide to get on with life. Weeds compete with your desired, cultivated plants for water, nutrients, sunlight, and growing space. Left alone, they will overrun your garden. If you doubt this, observe an empty lot or untended garden for just one growing season and watch the weeds take over. And yet the organic gardener is well served by cultivating a healthy tolerance for some weeds. More>

Salmonella Alert: Nut Spread Recall Expands

A peanut butter recall that began at Trader Joe's last weekend has been expanded to more than 100 peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter and Tahini and roasted blanched peanut products made by Sunland Inc.'s Portales, N.M. plant. More> 

From our Blog
 
California's Ballot Initiative is Only A Month Away
There is so much conversation going on about the safety of genetically modified foods and labeling laws! More>
 
New Studies Link Colony Collapse Disorder to Pesticides
Neonicotinoids (or neonics) have again been implicated in three new studies about the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Over a million bee colonies disappear e very year, leaving behind only a few unhealthy bees and the queen in the hive.  The link to neonicotinoids has been highlighted before, but the chemicals are now more closely linked to the bee deaths while reduction in habitat is a lesser factor. More>

A Farm for the Future - a Documentary
The BBC series Natural World focuses on wildlife around the globe.  One 45 minute episode, titled A Farm For the Future, delves into the idea of low energy farming as compared to our current high energy model, and the reasons why an immediate change in agricultural methods is necessary. 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        

 

It's that time of year again - fall bounty is upon us with the first of the traditional winter crops.  The recipe below from Grist was prepared by our Executive Director, Bill Duesing, and his wife Suzanne. Give it a try and let us know what you thought of it.  Here are Bill's comments:  

 

This is a good recipe and a beautifully done video. Suzanne made this with a not too flavorful butternut squash, used basil, sweet marjoram and thyme instead of sage, which we didn't have. As is our want, we figured it needed onions and garlic. They were sautéed with the herbs, caramelized in the oven and then added to the maple syrup and butter before that is poured into the pan. It was really delicious.

 

Butternut Squash and Maple Syrup Tatin   

 

Want to savor some fall flavors in great company?  Check out Eat For Equity Stamford's first event on Saturday, October 20.  Eat For Equity gathers in different homes each month in different cities to eat meals made from scratch in order to raise money for the common good.  The Stamford branch's event will feature tomato basil soup, gourmet grilled cheese, butternut squash mac and cheese and a homemade apple tart and s'mores.  Proceeds from the event will benefit Kids In Crisis. Last year alone, they served over 5,000 children of all socio-economic levels in Fairfield County by providing free, round-the-clock help with any type of crisis.  Learn more about this event and sign up here

  

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Your Favorite Tool       

     

Harvest to Hand is an online and mobile searchable database that provides information about harvest festivals, farmers markets, pick-your-own, locally made products, and family-friendly farms.  Consumers have easy access to fresh farm products, events and home-spun goods right at their fingertips through the free Harvest to Hand app.  View your search results on a map for easy identification and directions.  This is a good tool to use in conjunction with our CT NOFA Farm and Food Guide, which provides information by county about our member farms, farmers markets, and supporting businesses. 

 

 

 

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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