Landscaping professionals transitioning to organic practices and those already using chemical-free options and want to learn more are invited to attend the NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) Accreditation Course in Organic Land Care, a 30-hour professional training and accreditation course to be held at Common Ground High School in New Haven on August 19, 20, 21, & 22 2019. This is the first of two Accreditation Courses being offered in Connecticut in 2019. The second one will be held between November 11-14, location TBD and will run concurrently in English and Spanish. With grant funding from The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Connecticut-based land care professionals can attend the course tuition-free.

 

For the first time, the Organic Land Care Program’s November course will be held concurrently in English and Spanish. According to the National Hispanic Landscaping Alliance, 35% of the landscape and lawn care professionals in the U.S. are Spanish speakers. Connecticut’s Spanish speaking community alone stands at 540,000. With little organic landscaping resources for Spanish speaking landscapers, NOFA has translated our Standards for Organic Land Care into Spanish and is aspiring to translate all of our educational materials in 2019 and 2020. Funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund provides these materials, along with the organic land care training in November, free of charge, thus eliminating a barrier to entry for many landscapers.

 

The curriculum includes soil health and soil testing, site analysis, green stormwater infrastructure, plant care, disease control, organic turf, and more.

 

Those who pass the accreditation exam on the final day of the course become Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals (AOLCPs), the only professional organic landscaping credential in the country.  The course content is based on the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care (accepted under the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM).

 

Demand for organic land care professionals is increasing due to a growing concern about the hazards of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and the adoption of ordinances banning or restricting the use of chemical pesticides on town and/or private land around Connecticut, New England, and the rest of the country. Notably, the City of Portland, Maine passed a pesticide ordinance that restricts the use of synthetic pesticides on all public and private property in 2018. In Connecticut, there are already laws in place that ban the use of pesticides on the grounds of schools and day care centers and, more recently, a ban on automatic pesticide misters.

 

Landscaping professionals in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and other New England states increasingly consider this course a crucial investment in distinguishing themselves as highly trained experts, meeting demand in the growing market for non-toxic and organic landscaping services. Since 2002, The NOFA Accreditation Course in Organic Land Care has been the definitive professional training course for landscapers, lawn care specialists, municipal groundskeepers, landscape architects, and environmental educators to learn best practices for organic land stewardship.

 

While organic landscaping practices are increasing in popularity and there continues to be more demand for organic services in the landscaping industry, there remains a glaring lack of trained landscaping professionals who can offer such services. Landscapers keen on offering organic services to clients, transitioning land in their care to an organic program, and wanting to use non-toxic landscaping practices will benefit from the curriculum of this training.

 

The course runs from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day and can accommodate up to 60 students. Those who don’t qualify for a free space can register for $600; however, current AOLCPs and their employees can attend for $500. Group discounts and payment plans are available. For more details, to request a free space, or for general information about upcoming courses, contact The Northeast Organic Farming Association (CT NOFA) office at 203-408-6819, email jeremy@ctnofa.org, or visit www.organiclandcare.net.