Climate Solution Farming through Carbon Sequestration in Healthy Soil.

The good news is– with innovation in farming, ranching and gardening practices, we can reverse the global trend of soil carbon losses and instead return atmospheric carbon back to the soil.

Building soil carbon can mitigate climate change while also increasing the security of our water and food systems. At CT NOFA we are studying and teaching ourselves and others land stewardship methods that increase the health of crops, farms, people and the planet.

Pollinator Health and Habitat Projects

  • Living Seed Bank Initiative
  • On-farm Habitat Restoration

CT NOFA is working with our partners at Highstead Arboretum, the Pollinator Pathway, and the Xerces Society to launch a Living Seed Bank Initiative on farms and in nurseries across the region.  A living seed bank means we are planting out small areas of very special plants as “founder plots” which will produce seed that we can use to protect and amplify production of native plants around our region.  In these founder plots we have carefully selected for wild-collected ecotypes of Connecticut’s own native plants.

 What are local ecotypes – and why seek them out?  

Responsible habitat restoration requires using native plants that have local genotypes. Insects and birds are specialists, and they are losing their host plant partners at an extremely rapid rate.  With a nearly 74% decline in insect populations in the last 40 years, the implication for this loss is carried all the way up the food chain – to the farms that depend on pollinators to feed us. But just as insect and birds have evolved to live in close relationships with specific plants, plants have adapted to live in an intimate relationship with the soil and climate in which they have evolved.  So when someone decides to plant a native plant in Connecticut but can only source seed from the Midwest, the plant is not being given the best chance both for climate resilience and for the preservation of genetic diversity within the species.

Our Living Seed Bank models the Organic Land Care standard of putting the right plant in the right place.  It means putting our plants in our place.

In our first year, are choosing a balanced plant portfolio that supports both the threatened and endangered specialist pollinators (i.e., monarch butterflies and native bees) as well as plants that serve as generalist feeders for a host of pollinating insects, and food for birds.  Check back in throughout the season to get involved with our Living Seed Bank Initiative.

Increasing Access to an Organic Connecticut through Spanish Translation of the Organic Land Care Accreditation Program.

CT NOFA is addressing the needs of the Latinx landscaping community by offering the full translation of course materials and live-time instruction in Spanish during our Accreditation Courses.  The first course will be held in November of 2019.  Translation of course materials is already completed due to the generosity of our supporters and the National Fish and Wildlife Service Long Island Sound Futures Fund.

According to the National Hispanic Landscaping Alliance, 35% of the landscape and lawn care service industry in the U.S. is Latinx.  Offering our Organic Land Care program in Spanish will increase our reach in the landscaping industry: this is paramount in our goals to make strides within the scope of the landscape and lawn industry’s contribution to non-point source pollution.