September, 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 

"Stanford research confirms health benefits driving consumers to organic
Organic foods have lower pesticide residues, lower chance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria"

Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  

 
bill duesingThe release of the "Stanford Study" on organic food has created a firestorm in the press and has given people who know very little about organic and what it means a reason to spout off in an "I told you so" manner; to say "You folks are so silly to spend your money on organic food." 

One of the most egregious was Roger Cohen's op ed in the NY Times on September 7.  Titled "The Organic Fable" he buys into the fable of industrial ag feeding the world (IT DOES NOT!) and believes the two-decades-old hype and hope of the genetic engineers that their crops will be "more resilient and plentiful." Genetically engineered crops are less resilient, have lowered yields, and have increased pesticide use.

However, as the headline above from the Organic Trade Association's press release shows there are many ways of looking at the results.  It was a very narrow study and most of the supportive response has been about just one aspect of organic food, nutrition.  As Kathy Caruso, with over two decades of certified organic farming experience, told a reporter at the West Hartford farmers market, it is not about nutrition.  Her customers buy organic to avoid pesticides and to provide broader benefits to society. More>

From the Board President

Food scares or food security?

By Bettylou Sandy

 

With the frequency of food recalls for salmonella and other contaminants, as well as the awareness of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in foods so prevalent, many people are afraid to buy food in the stores without reading labels carefully and considering the source and packaging of a product. More>  

CT NOFA and OLC Events

Featured Event
Cheese Making Workshop
Monday, September 10, 2012
4:00 - 7:00 pm
Beltane Farm
Lebanon, CT
Paul Trubey of Beltane Farm makes excellent cheeses that are popular at many farmers markets in Connecticut.  This workshop is a unique opportunity to meet Paul and learn how to make cheese directly from an expert.  You will even get to take some cheese home with you!  Online registration is now closed, but it's not too late to sign up by phone!  Give us a call at 203.888.5146 to register.

Other CT NOFA and NOFA Organic Land Care Events
 
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Urban Oaks Organic Farm
New Britain, CT

Beginning Women Farmer's Program
September 15, 2012: Application Deadline
If you are a beginning (less than ten years experience) women farmer in Connecticut and you are interested in joining the program, please contact Deb Legge at deb@ctnofa.org or at 203-888-5146 to request an application.  While there is a small fee to join the program, scholarships are available for those in need of financial assistance. The training begins in late October and consists of 10 all-day Saturday sessions. The first six are throughout the winter at Goodwin College in East Hartford, CT and the four remaining sessions are on on-farm at different locations throughout the state.

Seed Saving Workshop
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Comstock, Ferre, & Co.
Wethersfield, CT
CT NOFA has a new program to support CSA farms in Connecticut funded by the CT Department of Agriculture through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.  In order to provide targeted valuable support to farmers, we ask that any Connecticut farmer, with or without community supported agriculture at their farm, please fill out this survey.

It's All About the Water, Managing Stormwater with Rain Gardens, Permeable Surfaces and Tree Boxes
September 27, 2012
Beardsley Zoo
Bridgeport, CT

CSA Fair
Sunday, October 7, 2012
11:00am - 5:00pm
Willimantic Food Coop in conjunction with the Willimantic Downtown Country Fair

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.

Stay tuned for more information about our 2013 Winter Conference
Late winter, 2013
This year's theme will be climate change and agriculture.

Events we will be Attending      


GMO Labeling Task Force Meeting
Wednesday September 12, 2012, 2:00pm
LOB, Hartford Capitol

Bill Duesing's talk - "Organic Care of the Land: Health, Ecology and Biodiversity"
Sponsored by the Flanders Nature Center
Thursday, September 13, 2012
7:00 pm
Read an article about the talk here.

Home Cold Storage Workshop
Wednesday, September 19th at 6:30 pm
UConn New Haven County Extension Center
North Haven, CT 06473
Registration must be received by Friday, September 14.  To learn more and register email Diane Hirsch or call 203.407.3163.

Improving Your Soil Fertility all Winter Long
Tuesday, October 9th 
7:00 pm, Welles Turner Library Friends Room
Bill Duesing, Executive Director of CT NOFA will speak about ways to prepare your organic garden for the winter that will add nutrients to your soil.

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

Announcements & Alerts    

      

CT NOFA has joined The Connecticut Safe Grounds Coalition!

The aim of this coordinated campaign is to educate stakeholders about the Child Safe Playing Fields legislation in Connecticut. You can help!  Contact your school superintendent's office and school board, and let them know that FREE consultations are available to help their groundskeepers maintain school property organically and successfully. Click here and then click on "sign up for a Free consultation with Chip Osborne".

 

Attend the GMO Free Rally and Demonstration

Across from Mystic Aquarium

55 Cogan Road

Sat September 15th, 1:00 PM

Updates on the Statewide drive to LABEL GMO FOODS will be given by County reps, as well as talks from local legislators who support the labeling of GMO foods in Connecticut. Demonstrators will organize at the entrance to the Monsanto-Deklab facility Old Mystic Village where Genetically Modified Corn is fabricated. A sprouting seminar & farm tour held will follow at Aiki Farms, and the seminar will be followed by an all organic dinner, with entertainment for those who wish to remain.

 

Application Deadline Extended for Diesel Reduction Project 

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) anticipates the receipt of approximately $130,000 in federal funds for the reduction of diesel emissions in the state. DERA and EPA require that DEEP use these funds to provide grants for projects that reduce diesel emissions. Information about this opportunity can be found here.  The application deadline has been extended to 5:00pm September 19, 2012.

 

Opportunity to Provide Input to the Governor's Council for Agricultural Development 

The Governor's Council for Agricultural Development is in the midst of creating a strategic plan for Connecticut agriculture.  As part of that effort, it seeks input from stakeholders involved in agriculture in the state. Please provide input here.  This survey consists of a dozen questions that should take only five to ten minutes of your time.  Your input will help shape the council's work as it develops recommendations on ways to increase consumer spending on Connecticut Grown food and farm products and on ways to strengthen the agricultural industry in the state as a whole.  The deadline to respond to the survey is September 30, 2012.

 

USDA Offers Value-Added Producer Grants

The Rural Business-Cooperative Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of grants through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program for Fiscal Year 2012. Approximately $14 million in competitive grant funds is available to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. The text of the Rural Business-Cooperative Service announcement can be found here. The application deadline is October 15, 2012. All questions about this public meeting should be directed to the point of contact listed in the ARS announcement.

 

ATTRA Offers Season Extension Publications 

Have you ever considered extending your growing season beyond the summer and into the fall? Many small-scale farmers and gardeners are extending their seasons using several techniques, including low tunnels and hoop houses. Integrating low tunnels or hoop houses into your small-scale farm or garden is a great way to extend your growing season and to enjoy the benefits of your operation for a longer period of time. Be sure to check out the ATTRA publication Sustainable Season Extension: Considerations for Design for more details. Low tunnels and hoop houses are just two of the many ways to extend the growing season of your operation. Other techniques include using floating row covers and multi-tunnel systems. Learn about these and more in the ATTRA publication Season Extension Techniques for Market Gardeners  

 

The Hickories Farm Launches Locally Grown, Locally Bottled and Locally Sold Sauces

Dina Brewster of The Hickories Farm in Ridgefield has partnered with Palmieri Food Products of New Haven to preserve this season's harvest of The Hickories' organically grown tomatoes. The line of preserved tomatoes includes two varieties of marinara sauce and a salsa. The recipes were developed exclusively for The Hickories. This product will be available for purchase at The Hickories road side farm stand throughout the year as well as through the farm's fall CSA share, offering consumers the chance to continue to eat locally well into the winter months. Having traveled a mere 80 miles from field to factory to farmstand, these sauces offer a low carbon foot print option to the environmentally conscious epicurean.

 

New Haven Land Trust 30th Anniversary Celebration  

Friday, October 12, 2012
6:00pm

Yale Commons, New Haven

Featuring MacArthur Genius Award winner and national figure in urban gardening Will Allen to discuss food security, health and urban farming. Includes dinner and drinks. Learn more and buy tickets here.  

 

UVM Farmer Training Program Accepting Applications

The UVM Farmer Training Program is a 6-month intensive program (May 2 -October 31, 2013) for aspiring farmers and food systems advocates that provides a hands-on, skill-based education in sustainable agriculture. For more information and to apply, click here or contact us at farmer@uvm.edu, (802) 656-8657  

Featured Members    

      

Introducing the cupboard magazine™

Savoring Life Through the Art of Food

 

This polished, new bi-monthly magazine aims its editorial spotlight on inspiring people to savor life through the art of food while teaching readers how to source, select, prepare and serve it. The cupboard launches in September to 20,000 Fairfield County, Conn. residents who possess a pronounced interest in cooking, healthy eating, fine food, wine, spirits, entertaining and dining out.

 

Founder and Editor in Chief Bob Lupinacci says, "We're intrigued by the chance to give people who love food and drink a local Fairfield County-oriented source that explores and celebrates their favorite subject: food. We want to help people find and enjoy great food, whether it's in an honestly good restaurant or cooked up in the warmth and comfort of their own kitchens." 

 

Lupinacci explains that the cupboard's editorial content will include a broad and deep array of subjects that cover virtually every aspect of great food and drink. "We're covering everything from the moment you choose ingredients to the moment you store leftovers; we're doing it with an eye on inspiration and discovery, and our thumb on the details. We want people to feel our passion through our pages," he explains, "and celebrate the glory of great food along with us." The cupboard will offer feature stories, relevant food and drink departments and columns covering such topics as organic food, wine and spirits, catered events, food science, nutrition, restaurant reviews and a pantry full more. It will also contain interviews with food and drink achievers and poetic pictorial essays celebrating food. The cupboard magazine will be accompanied by a companion website and philanthropic special events. "One of the things we're most excited about is our ability to use the magazine as a forum to affect local causes we care about," Levenson Bailey says. "Causes like hunger, domestic violence, and paying tribute to the veterans who answered our country's call. We will reflect the value that we see and subscribe to in local sustainable agriculture through the stories we cover and the sources we include as experts in those stories. We will include a column in every issue that encourages readers to choose organic farmers' foods and support the Slow Food movement."

 

The cupboard newsstand price is $4.95 and its annual subscription price is $29.95. To find out more about the cupboard or subscribe, please call 203.883.8349 or click here.  NOFA members are eligible for a 33% discount on subscriptions, making an annual subscription $19.95. Subscribe today if you're already a member, or become a member to receive this discount.

The cupboard magazine is published by Poetography Ink, LLC, the Stamford-based independent publisher founded by Levenson Bailey and Lupinacci.

 

In the News 

"Kalestock"meets "Woodstock" at NOFA Summer Conference
I was happy to see members of the Woodstock generation exchanging ideas and expertise with young members of the "Kalestock" generation at the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) annual summer conference More>

Perishable Retailing in Today's Marketplace
"Today's retail garden centers face significant challenges," Said John Stanley, retail coach, author and trainer. "This is the only industry where customers and retail staff are regularly smiling," he continued. Why wouldn't people smile when, according to Stanley, there is an average of 23% growth in perishable retail sales in the last 12 months. More>

Being a modest man of humble origins, it's difficult to glean from Jere Gettle just how he came to be something of an apostle for a pure food movement, or, according to a New York Times magazine headline, one of "The Evangelists for Heirloom Vegetables." More>

Court Blocks Planting of Genetically Engineered Canola in Oregon
The Oregon Court of Appeals has ordered a temporary halt to the state's plan to allow genetically engineered (GE) canola to be planted in parts of the Willamette Valley, Oregon. The order is in effect until the court rules on a lawsuit filed by opponents of GE canola planting who say it threatens the state's $32 million specialty seed industry. More>

Fire Ring Farm's Easy Pesto Recipe
Fire Ring Farm is the epitome of new beginnings. For owner Nancy Livensparger the farm is a new way of life, for the farm land it's an adaptation of its roots and for the locals and visitors who stop by it's a new way of looking at the food they eat. More>

Simsbury Farmer Early Convert to Organic Approach
These days, the corn, eggplant and tomatoes that George Hall grows on his organic farm sell for a premium. But 50 years ago, he didn't dare tell buyers that his produce was organically grown, coaxed from the soil without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  More>

Fraud happens at Connecticut's farmers' markets - but not often
Rick Macsuga has heard the allegations for years. That "jobbing" - farmers buying produce to sell as their own - occurs regularly and illegally in the farmers' market system he oversees for the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. More>
From our Blog
 
The NOFA Summer Conference
Learn about Melissa and Kristiane's experience at the Summer conference on the blog! More>

What is Organic About Really?
Why do people prefer to buy organic, why is organic agriculture important, and what does it mean to produce organic food?  The truth is, organic is about much more than just nutritional content. More>

Our Second Journeyperson Farm Visit at Sullivan Farm 
Bill and I visited Sullivan Farm in New Milford for our second Journeyperson Farm Visit.  Joe Listro, one of CT NOFA's journeypeople, was hired as farm manager in February and since then, has started managing the vegetable production, hay production, farm stand, interns and education programs, and a variety of other responsibilities around the community farm. 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        

 

As summer slowly draws to a close, it's a good idea to start thinking about how you want to plan your food system for next year.  If you are a farmer or gardener, that means thinking about seeds. Our seed saving workshop on September 16 will detail the ins and outs of seed saving and will be useful to homeowners, farmers, and gardeners.  Until the event, however, there are a couple resources you can take a look at to get started:   

  

Here is the description of a NOFA NY handbook on growing crops for seed co-written by our workshop presenter, Bryan Connolly.  This book brings crop improvement and breeding to the garden/farm.

 

Here is a Guide to Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship, and Seed Sovereignty by the Seed Ambassadors Project. 

 

Now, seeds are great to have when starting to plant your crops in the spring, but what about getting through the winter?  If you store summer and fall crops properly, you won't have to make as many trips to the grocery store, and if you combine winter storage procedures with canning, freezing, and drying preservation techniques, you can have bounty all winter all on your own.  Check out this guide for winter storage of fruits and vegetables provided by Cornell. 

Your Favorite Tool       

 

The Hickories Farm in Ridgefield, CT Introduces an Online Farmers Market

 

In an effort to streamline the ordering and distribution system of local food, Dina Brewster of The Hickories Farm in Ridgefield, CT has created Connecticut to Chef, a website to connect local chefs to a variety of seasonal ingredients.  

 

Now in it's second year, the goal of this program is to simplify the process of connecting local chefs with locally grown fresh food and creating a more sustainable business model for local farms by providing year round revenue. This offers farmers an easier offering venue and our chefs a consistent link to farm fresh food.

 

For Chefs:

Instead of ordering from a host of individual farms or going from farmers market to farmers market, chefs now can visit this one website and view the offerings from a growing number of local producers. After creating an individual profile on the site, chefs can place their orders and pick up produce at several centrally located pickup locations in Westport or Ridgefield.

 

For Farmers:

This program offers farmers the convenience of harvesting to order, without the inherent risk involved in bringing their produce to sell at farmers markets.   It also provides exposure for more remote or unknown farms to chefs/buyers who might otherwise not have heard of them. Once farmers set up their individual profiles on the site, they can post the quantities and price (wholesale or retail) of produce they have available on Monday, giving chefs the chance to develop their menus around what is available locally. Farmers then harvest and deliver only what produce is ordered to the designated pickup locations on Thursdays for the chefs to pick up.

 

There is a low participation fee that will be billed every six months to both chefs and farmers. This fee is structured to defray the costs involved in developing this site. Additionally, a minimum of $200 per month is required to be spent by each chef/buyer to remain in the program - this can be spent with multiple vendors or one specific vendor. These requirements ensure continued access to local farm produce in the premium months while demonstrating a commitment by these chefs/buyers to purchase locally year round.

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