The BOATanists had a great day assembling all their gear and Ecotype plants on the outrigger canoes and began their expedition “paddlin’ for the pollinators” embarking from Enfield, CT to a remote island just above Hartford. We are excited to talk to the folks attending tomorrow’s MakeFest at the Connecticut Science Center, showing them how to make “native Ecotype Seed balls” and the importance of planting local pollinator habitats to rewild our landscapes and ensure local food security!

Observations from this part of the corridor: the river is abuzz with a symphony of happy insects. Solidago is in bloom and dragonfly’s are flying about. The river is low this time of year but a dam release increased the flow rate. There is a nice riparian buffer along the river where you seldom see human development. Tomorrow we are sure will be different as we paddle to the largest city along a river in Connecticut.

Stay tuned for more expeditions updates over the next five days. Thanks for following along.

We at CT NOFA have been thinking a lot this year about what defines us – what makes us uniquely deserving of your support.  What always rises out of our conversations is that we are farmer-led, practical, adventurous, innovative.  At our best, what makes “organic” and “regenerative” special is that it gives more than it takes, sows more than we reap. We are on a mission to leave this Earth more beautiful and abundant than we found it.  And we like to have a good time doing it.  With our current pandemic putting a hold on our ability to gather and gala or feast – we are still itching to celebrate – to show how much we, the organic farmers, gardeners, landscapers, and advocates, can do for the land, the forests, and rivers and sea that gives so much to us.

CT NOFA has again joined forces with BOATanical and its powerhouse leader Sefra Levin, to launch this years’ expedition along the Quinnehtukqut (CT) River. Connecticut is named after an Alquonian term that references the place of the long tidal river. This river corridor has been a causeway of transport for flora, fauna, wind, weather, and the ancestral caretakers of these lands.

The fate of our organic farms and gardens is inextricably tied to the health of the ecosystem that surrounds them.  With that in mind, on September 17th, CT NOFA and BOATanical will launch an expedition of farmers and seed-keepers to paddle the length of Connecticut along the river from Enfield to the Long Island Sound.  The team will be planting native plant habitats, sowing restoration seed, and stopping to talk to groups about CT NOFA’s programs:

  • The Ecotype Project – our effort to fortify the Northeast by building biodiversity with pollinator habitats and a native plant supply chain
  • Farmer Circles – a refabrication of a practical and powerful regional support system among farmers.   This trip is not without its hardships and its hazards – and we are asking for your support.
  • Soil Health education – on the essential work of carbon drawdown with healthy soils.
  • Organic Land Care Program – extending the vision and principles of organic agriculture to the care of landscapes where people carry out their daily lives.
  • Winter Conferences, Landscaper Conferences, and Seed Conferences

This year when you consider your donation to CT NOFA, consider this- when our “boatanists” plant one seed, the next year or two one can harvest thousands of seeds from that single plant. The ‘return on investment’ that you get with Nature is extraordinary.  With that as our vision for change, our goal is to make our NOFA programs/resources available to as many people as possible in the upcoming year.

The donation that you make will provide more farmers with the building blocks they need to help safeguard the biological resilience of our region, create access for beginning farmers to the education and resources and community that they will rely on as their careers progress, and support the innovative work on climate change that has defined CT NOFA over the last 40 years.

In 2020 we paddled from New Hampshire to the Massachusetts border- in 2021 we will paddle from the top of Connecticut to the Long Island Sound, planting Founder Plots on farms and spreading the seeds of resilience. We hope you will follow along on our expedition this September.

 

Watch a recap of last year’s expedition through Massachusetts:

Donate to NOFA here

(Más información en español abajo.)

NOFA Summer Conference Scholarships Available for Young and Beginning Farmers 

Thanks to a generous contribution from a donor interested in providing greater access to our conference, we have 24 scholarships available for young and beginning farmers to attend the 2021 NOFA Summer Conference at no cost. The Summer Conference will take place online from July 30th – August 6th and will feature nearly 50 workshops from expert presenters. This year’s conference features a learning track on indigenous land stewardship, workshops presented in Spanish, a celebration of NOFA’s 50th anniversary, and a keynote panel on no-till farming featuring Jen Salinetti of Woven Roots Farm in Massachusetts and Daniel Mays of Frith Farm in Maine. In addition to the live workshops, all presentations will be recorded and made available to attendees.  

Those interested in applying for a scholarship can find details here:  

https://nofasummerconference.org/2021-scholarship-application/. In addition to this opportunity for young and beginning farmers, NOFA is committed to offering scholarships on a first come, first serve basis to others for whom the cost of registration is a barrier. Finally, in order to make the conference more accessible, NOFA has introduced a new sliding scale fee structure this year. Find more details on registration here: https://nofasummerconference.org/register-now/. 

Becas de la Conferencia de Verano de NOFA disponibles para agricultores jóvenes y principiantes 

Gracias a una generosa contribución de un donante interesado en brindar un mayor acceso a nuestra conferencia tenemos 24 becas disponibles para agricultores jóvenes y principiantes para que asistan a la Conferencia de Verano NOFA 2021 sin costo alguno. La Conferencia de Verano se llevará a cabo en línea del 30 de julio al 6 de agosto y contará con casi 50 talleres de presentadores expertos. La conferencia de este año presenta una pista de aprendizaje sobre la administración de tierras indígenastalleres presentados en español, una celebración del 50 aniversario de NOFA y un panel de presentación sobre   agricultura sin labranza con Jen Sallinetti de Woven Roots Farm en Massachusetts y Daniel Mays de Frith Farm en MaineAdemás de los talleres en vivo, todas las presentaciones serán grabadas y estarán disponibles para los asistentes. 

  

Aquellos interesados en solicitar una beca pueden encontrar detalles aquí: 

1) Para los que pueden llenar un formulario en inglés, por favor usar este enlace:https://nofasummerconference.org/2021-scholarship-application/

2) Para hispanohablantes que no hablan/leen inglés, por favor registrar con este enlace: Registrar en español 

Además de esta oportunidad para los agricultores jóvenes y principiantes, NOFA se comprometió a ofrecer becas por orden de llegada para quienes el costo de registro es una barrera. Finalmente, para que la conferencia sea más accesible, NOFA ha introducido una nueva estructura de tarifas de escala móvil este añoEncuentre más detalles sobre el registro en inglés aquíhttps://nofasummerconference.org/register-now/.

Farmers and Market Masters: It is the time to start or update your listing with CT NOFA and CT DoAg’s Farm and Food Guide.

Click here to update the map with your farm or farmer’s market listing, include available products, CSA information, and other important farm and farm store information for the public.

Your listing will appear as part of the celebration of CT farms on CTGrown.org

CT NOFA’s Farm and Food Guide is about our nourishment, body, and spirit, from Connecticut’s abundant and diverse farmland. Each spring, we pore over the entries, discovering new farms and revisiting the happy memories of old friends, barns, and fields we have fallen in love with over the years. The Farm and Food Guide is a reference, but it is also the story of our state, the story of our food, and the story of countless boots on the ground making daily contributions to the betterment of our communities.

Enjoy getting to know the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut’s family of farmers, landscapers, members, and advocates. Cultivate your own commitment to an organic Connecticut by choosing locally grown food, visiting farm-to-table restaurants, supporting artisanal food and beverage makers, and practicing organic land care. Your membership makes you a vital part of protecting our food and farms for future generations.

Simpson & Vail Inc., one of the oldest Tea companies in the USA, is a family-owned business dedicated to offering quality teas from around the world. We have over 375 teas (organic, black, green, oolong, decaf, flavored, flowering, white, and blends) from China, India, Japan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nepal, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Colombia.

Our herbal section includes the basics, such as chamomile, peppermint, tulsi, and rooibos, as well as our own specially formulated blends & our complete line of Yoga Herbal tisanes & Herbal Benefits blends. Since our origins also lie in the coffee industry it is only natural that we continue with a fine representation of high-quality Arabica beans from the various coffee regions.

We have light and dark roasts, swiss-water decaf, fair trade, organic, shade-grown, rain-forest alliance, and flavored. We are on a continuous search for new, practical, and attractive tea accessories to complement our teas. Storage jars, teapots, tea mugs, strainers, infusers, and delightful tea cozies are just some of the many accessories you will find. Also offered are delectable cookies, honey, jams, scone mixes, and more. We sell our products on our website and in our store in Brookfield, CT.

Contact Information:

Simpson & Vail, Inc.
info@svtea.com
2037750240

3 Quarry Rd
PO Box 765
Brookfield, CT, 06804
On Thursday, June 17 at 1:00 PM the Ecotype Project is honored to be presenting our work alongside six other regional native seed initiatives from around the globe at the Society for Ecological Restoration’s 9th World Conference on Ecological Restoration.
(this is a pre-conference workshop which you must be registered to attend)

The title of the workshop is:
W9: Networks and other strategies for developing regional native seed supply to meet restoration needs.
Join us to find out how other seed-based restoration initiatives are operating worldwide!
“This workshop will present and discuss a variety of native seed programs and initiatives and will provide information, models, and support to participants seeking to improve the supply of native seed in their region.”

“Ecological restoration initiatives are increasing in both number and scale globally. Native plant seed is the foundation of almost every ecological restoration project, and as the scale of restoration projects increases, so too the need for native seed is expected to grow. Restoration efforts regularly rely on the use of thousands of tons of native plant seed, requiring investments of hundreds of millions of US dollars. There is a global push to improve access to, and the supply of high-quality, biodiverse, and genetically appropriate seed to facilitate successful restoration outcomes. Ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality native plant seed from appropriate sources represents one of the most significant constraints facing restoration practitioners. This workshop will present lessons learned from ongoing efforts to establish seed supplies in various regions and at scales ranging from local to multinational. Presenters will talk about their network or initiative, what stage of growth they are in, and the key factors in their success, as well as lessons learned. They will include the political, financial, and cultural context of their seed program. Following the presentations, we will facilitate roundtable discussion with the intent of building collaborative connections and learning from each other’s experiences.”

The Ecotype Project is delighted to be included in the May/June 2021 publication of Connecticut Gardener magazine whose tagline is “because gardeners never stop learning.” Throughout our journey on this seed literacy project, we have consistently gained new insight into how we can efficiently support the amplification of native seed in our ecoregion of the northeast. What we do know, is the more gardeners, farmers and citizen scientists who are aware of this vital initiative to safeguard our “living seed banks” the more successful we will collectively be in reducing fragmentation across our shared landscapes and providing habitat for our friends the pollinators. 

CT Gardener Magazine Article

 

Organizing for Soil Health: A Project of the Northeast Organic Farming Association

cover crops with cornThis White Paper is a report on the regional “Organizing for Soil Health” project supported by Farm Aid and Clif Bar and carried out by the seven-state Chapters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) in 2019 – 2020. Based on two years of project engagement with regional organic and conventional farmers thru conference workshops, educational events, field days, roundtable discussions, and a final survey, this paper presents a timely grassroots-up perspective for policymakers on what farmers need to support climate mitigation practices.

Faced with the existential threat of the Climate Emergency, as government entities try to craft policies that will make real reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases, it is time to listen to the voices of family farmers. Practitioners who are dedicated to soil health can guide policymakers to the most effective mechanisms to incentivize and sustain the shifts in agricultural practices that can mitigate climate change through soil carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services.

At long last, science has been catching up with farmers, validating as climate-friendly numerous longtime organic, sustainable and indigenous agriculture practices that maintain and increase soil carbon levels including cover cropping, crop rotations, composting, rotational grazing, promoting biodiversity, minimizing soil disturbance, proven techniques that foster soil health.  Farmers value these practices that build farmland resilience to the increasing climate change effects of drought, flooding, wind, heat, freezing, and other weather extremes. It is to the national and worldwide good to provide public support and compensation to farmers to help bear the costs of these additional farming practices.

healthy soilRegrettably, some of the current federal legislative and policy initiatives are focusing instead on privately run carbon market approaches where businesses can offset their continuing negative environmental impacts by purchasing carbon credits. Most of these carbon market schemes, structured to attract larger-scale farmers who agree to modify their agricultural practices, offer payments based on measuring the annual increases of soil carbon sequestered from the atmosphere. Because accurate soil carbon measurement is still an unrealized scientific goal, this approach is problematic with the potential for businesses to greenwash their touted net-zero reduction effects. Meanwhile, their polluting externalities continue unabated, often severely impacting the communities of color living near their industrial sites. Further, the proffered current carbon market schemes only reward new adaptors, leaving tried and true soil health practitioners to finance their own beneficial practices.

Instead of carbon markets and carbon banks, NOFA urges Congress to improve and increase funding to existing USDA conservation programs including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) that support and reward all farmers who are performing and/or transitioning to bona fide soil carbon sequestration practices that provide further eco-system services such as enhancing water quality and reducing erosion. NOFA supports the Agricultural Resilience Act in the House and the Climate Stewardship Act in the Senate, 2021 grassroots-up legislation that will speed adoption of soil health and other practices that contribute to mitigating climate change.

Click here to read the paper