From the Executive Director
This year I'm stepping down as Executive Director of CT NOFA.
As I begin my eighth decade, it is time to spend fewer hours in the office and in meetings and more time with my wife Suzanne, our children and six grandchildren and our dog Papi, especially working on our farm and camping by the Atlantic ocean.
Since I first learned of NOFA early in 1972 from a tiny notice in Organic Gardening Magazine, and attended a gathering of perhaps 50 people in a Vermont church basement, I've been excited by and involved in the idea and reality of the organization.
NOFA is a group of people who care deeply about food, and soil and Earth, about building community and sharing useful information and good food - people who are creating the food system we need, one that provides healthy food to everyone, a system that cares for the land and uses agriculture and food production for restoring biodiversity, beauty and community; for educating and informing us of our essential connection with our planet.
I've seen NOFA grow from a small group in that church basement to a vibrant organization with well over 5,000 members in seven state chapters. Nearly 60 NOFA staff members in those NOFA state chapters provide education for farmers, gardeners, land-care professionals, consumers and policy makers. NOFA is an important grassroots voice for the Northeast in regional, national and international organic and sustainable organizations.
I hope to keep working part time, educating and advocating for the food system we need; for holistic approaches to our many serious problems. I'll remain active on the NOFA Interstate Council as its President.
It has been exciting to watch the growth of this food system over the last 40 years, especially as it has ramped up in the last decade or two. The upward trend in organic farms, in smaller farms, in new farms, in community farms and gardens, in university farms, school gardens, farmers markets and local food restaurants, in farmland protection organizations and town Agricultural Commissions is so hopeful.
We know that eating a diet of real food derived mostly from green plants will help prevent and may even reverse serious chronic diseases. If we teach people how to grow, harvest, prepare and eat real food, the evidence says we should be able to build fewer medical facilities. Imagine if the resources that went into building and staffing just one "cancer center" went to supporting school gardens with cooking and health programs, or to community gardens and kitchens, or for secure land and infrastructure for new farmers who are producing food.
The medical centers clean up the messes made by our food system and lifestyle choices. Encouraging the foods and activities that create those messes is the business model of many successful yet destructive corporations.
Looking ahead for CT NOFA:
The CT NOFA Board has established a process to hire a new Executive Director by the 2013 Winter Conference on March 2. John Turenne, our board Vice President, is accepting resumes and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this time, CT NOFA has a very dedicated and involved board and an incredibly talented and dedicated staff. More>
CT NOFA and Organic Land Care Events
CT NOFA's Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference
Saturday, January 26, 2013Goodwin College
East Hartford, CT
This conference helps aspiring organic farmers develop successful farming careers. Check out the speaker lineup for the day and learn more about the conference here
, and check out these resources
from CT DOAG to get started learning about organic farming. Soil health is the foundation of organic farming, so start learning about the soil here
Register online here
, or by calling the office at 203.888.5146This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
CT NOFA's 31 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 and register here
, and check out our updated list of confirmed workshops here.
Interested in becoming a sponsor? Click here to learn more and sign up.
Organic Land Care Program Events
Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference & Trade ShowMaking "Cents" in Today's Marketplace
February 27 & 28 2013
This conference draws hundreds of farmers and farm industry members. Attendees will find 26 workshops on topics such as marketing, agri-tourism, social media, financing and more. There will be a panel discussion with the agricultural chiefs from each of the New England states. A New England Farmers Market managers Workshop will also be held in conjunction with the conference. Learn more and register here
Saturday, February 23, 2013, 9:00am-1:00pm
Manchester Community College
Attention Connecticut farmers, producers, chefs, and foodservice buyers! Come meet, greet, and make a deal! This is a chance for chefs and purchasing agents to not only meet and get to know local farmers, but also place orders for the 2013 season of fresh Connecticut Grown products. Each farm will be provided space to set up a table display with information about its crop plans, product lines, and wholesale price lists for the upcoming season. Producers will be grouped by category. Learn more here. If you want additional ways to connect CT farmers to chefs, you can also check out Connecticut Farm to Chef, an online marketplace connecting farmers and foodservice buyers.
2013 Bulk Order - NOW OPEN!
Do you buy cover crop seed, fertilizers, mineral amendments, compost, potting soil, potato and allium seed? Would you like to save money on those items? If so, the bulk order might be perfect for you. Each spring, NOFA/Mass organizes a bulk order with popular suppliers for distribution at sites in western, central, & eastern MA, central CT & RI. Take advantage of significant savings through group purchasing power and collective shipping, while helping NOFA support organic practices throughout the Tri-State region. The order is open to both members and non-members, but members receive a 10% discount. Become a member today to save! The spring order is now available to download on the NOFA/Mass bulk order program page. Contact Cathleen O'Keefe, Bulk Order Coordinator, (413) 387-2316, or click here to learn more.
2013-14 Farm and Food Guide Farm/Business Listings
We're starting to compile our Farm and Food Guide listings for the 2013-14 issue! If you already have a listing in the 2012-13 Guide, you should have received a letter in the last couple weeks that confirms your listing and allows changes to be made to it. If you did not receive the letter and believe you should have, please email Debbie to update your contact information. If you're a member, own a farm or supporting business, and don't have a listing or would like one, or if you have any questions about listings in the Farm and Food Guide, contact Debbie. You can view a PDF of the 2012-13 Farm and Food Guide here.
Photo Credit: Simsbury Land Trust
George Hall Farm is the largest Certified Organic farm in Simsbury, CT and has some of the most productive soil in the Northeast. The farm provides the local community with fresh, high quality
|George at the Wooster Square Market in 2011|
organic and naturally grown produce, and has more than 50 acres in organic production. George Hall took over his family farm in 1966. He converted the farm to organic after his parents died of cancer, which he blamed on their use of pesticides. George was a very early NOFA member. In the early 1970s, he grew produce which was loaded on the NOFA truck that delivered vegetables from NOFA member farms (primarily further north) to day care centers and food coops in New York City. The farm offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, a farm stand on the property, produce at many local Farmers' Markets, eggs, and farming internships. Additionally, the Simsbury Land Trust is currently working with George Hall Farm and the surrounding community to purchase an agricultural conservation easement to permanently protect the farmland for agricultural use. It's exciting that George is working with the Simsbury Land Trust to protect the oldest continuously operating organic farm in Connecticut. If you want to help protect this beautiful and valuable resource, visit the Simsbury Land Trust website here.
Want to Get More Involved with CT NOFA?
CT NOFA Board Members Sought!
CT NOFA is looking for board members with Fundraising, Legal and/or Volunteer Coordination Experience.
The Board member will:
- Attend in-person meetings approximately every other month
- Participate in conference call meetings on the alternate month
- Participate in or lead the appropriate committee of the Board, with separate committee meetings
- Attend CT NOFA events, have fun, eat great food and advocate for local, organic food and organic land care
Please contact John Turenne, Vice-President of the CT NOFA Board. You can learn more about the current CT NOFA board here.
CT NOFA Welcomes It's Newest Intern
Katie Kabot, a Stamford resident and recent University of Connecticut graduate, has recently joined the CT NOFA team as an intern. Katie has an impressive background that we are very fortunate to have access to. After participating in various environmental initiatives and community service projects at UConn and graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies and Communications, Katie joined AmeriCorps NCCC, a team-based national service program. Her experiences in this program helped Katie learn firsthand about the value of local food system transformations, and have given her insight about the environmental effects of industrial agriculture as well as a passion for creating local and organic food systems.
We are very excited to have Katie on our team and look forward to working with her over the coming months! You can read more about Katie in her own words here.
Announcements & Alerts
The UMass library just posted the digitized versions of "The Politics of Food", a radio series that our Executive Director Bill Duesing, his wife Suzanne, and his son Dan created and broadcast on WPKN about 15 years ago. The show was produced by beekeeper and garlic grower (and CT NOFA business member) Vincent Kay. It includes interviews with former CT NOFA president and farmer Lee Warren, Vincent Kay, farmer Mel Bristol, local eater Rebecca May and others from around the Northeast. Check it out here
, and also click here
to see the NOFA collection including on line versions of old Natural Farmers and lots of history.
This 12-page, full-color guide helps readers identify wild pollinators, provide them with food and habitat, and avoid pesticides that are toxic to them. By encouraging wild bee abundance and diversity, agricultural growers may be able to buffer rising honey bee rental costs while creating an environment that better supports both wild and commercial bees. Download the guide here.
2013 CT Farm Energy Grant Assistance Workshops
Need a way to save money on your farm? Curious about lowering your energy bills? Join us for a one of the upcoming workshops to see if your farm may be eligible for assistance with a renewable energy or energy efficiency project. All workshops are FREE and all AG producers are welcome to attend.
Topics to be covered in the Workshops:
♦ Connecticut Farm Energy Program
♦ USDA - Rural Development REAP
♦ USDA - NRCS EQIP
♦ State Energy & Financing Programs
Please register at least 1 week prior to the workshop you plan to attend by calling 860-345-3977 or emailing CTFarmEnergy@aol.com
MOFGA to Host Memorial Service for Russell Libby
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) will host a celebratory gathering in memory of its long-serving Executive Director Russell Libby. Russell recently passed away at his home in Mount Vernon, after a long struggle with cancer. The gathering will take place on Sunday, January 6th, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall of MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center in Unity. Pot-luck refreshments will be served at 3:00.
Sustainable-ag Question? Text an Expert
ATTRA is expanding its popular phone helpline and email service. The popular "Ask an Ag Expert" feature on ATTRA's website now includes a texting option. Just text a question to email@example.com, and you'll get a reply via your phone from the National Center for Appropriate Technology's (NCAT) staff of sustainable agriculture experts. ATTRA-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service has been the nation's leading resource for information on sustainable agriculture since 1987. ATTRA covers a wide range of topics, including reducing pesticide use on cropland, promoting food safety in sustainable production systems, reducing farm energy use and costs, enriching soils with the use of cover crops, and providing technical assistance in the growing areas of local farmers markets and urban gardening. Check out all of what ATTRA has to offer here.
It is hard being a tree these days.
Gain a better understanding of the benefits and contributions of the trees in your community with FREE software from the USDA Forest Service.
i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. The i-Tree Tools help communities of all sizes to strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the structure of community trees and the environmental services that trees provide. Chck out i-Tree here
New England Farmland Finder is a new online service that helps farmers and landowners find each other. This farm property clearinghouse is free, simple, up-to-date, and privacy protected. It contains information and resource links to inform and support farm seekers and landowners. Farm seekers: Search current postings and connect with support services throughout New England. Private, public, and organizational owners: Post farm properties for sale or rent, and connect with support services throughout New England. Service providers: List services for farm seekers and farm property owners, tell farm seekers and landowners you work with about this site, and check out the information and resources. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In the News
How quickly we forget. After the publication of "Silent Spring," 50 years ago, we (scientists, environmental and health advocates, birdwatchers, citizens) managed to curb the use of pesticides and our exposure to them - only to see their application grow and grow to the point where American agriculture uses more of them than ever before. More>
Food Policy Council to be created in Bridgeport
Bridgeport's City Council will pass an ordinance creating a nine-member Food Policy Council. Members' mission, if they choose to accept it, will be to improve the availability and distribution of healthy foods through the city, educate residents on the importance of a healthy diet, teach healthy eating and cooking, and promote community gardens. What they won't be doing, said Richard Paoletto Jr., a city councilman and co-chairman of the Ordinance Committee, is imposing their will on a merchants right to sell or a consumer's right to buy. More>
We can cultivate a better food system in 2013
As we look forward to 2013, many people will be thinking about plans and promises to improve their diet and health. But we think a broader collection of farmers, policy-makers and eaters need new, bigger resolutions for fixing the food system - real changes with long-term impacts in fields, boardrooms and on plates all over the world. More>
Stop Subsidizing Obesity
Not long ago few doctors - not even pediatricians - concerned themselves much with nutrition. This has changed, and dramatically: As childhood obesity gains recognition as a true health crisis, more and more doctors are publicly expressing alarm at the impact the standard American diet is having on health. "I never saw Type 2 diabetes during my training, 20 years ago," David Ludwig, a pediatrician, told me the other day, referring to what was once called "adult-onset" diabetes, the form that is often caused by obesity. "Never. Now about a quarter of the new diabetes cases we're seeing are Type 2." More>
From our Blog
FDA Moves Closer to Approving Genetically Engineered Salmon
The Consumers Union and the Center for Food Safety have responded to the news of the FDA releasing an Environmental Assessment on genetically engineered salmon with a "Finding of No significant Impact." This decision indicates that the Obama Administration will approve the genetically engineered salmon, for production for human consumption. More>CT NOFA Invites Serious Beginning Farmers to Apply for the Journeyperson Program
The Journeyperson Program aims to provide serious beginning farmers with the opportunity to learn skills and techniques and gain experience they will need to succeed as farmers and business owners. Deadline: January 15, 2013
The Journeyperson program strives to support farmers in the education gap between apprentice and independent farmer and to provide resources and opportunities for prospective new farmers who have completed an apprenticeship to further develop skills they need to farm independently. More>
Love our blog? Want a chance to get more involved?
For the first time ever, we are now accepting guest articles to feature on our blog. If you have expertise and passion for organic and sustainable food issues, and experience with writing either on a blog or in another journalistic outlet, you can become a guest blogger for CT NOFA! Interested? Send us an email detailing your relevant experience with writing and sustainable food and, if our needs match, we'll set you up as either a one-time blogger, or a scheduled guest writer.
Just before the Christmas holiday, the CT NOFA staff got together for a holiday potluck lunch that included many of our favorite winter foods. Here are some of the recipes we tried:
Addictive Brussels Sprouts Salad
This salad combines toasted walnuts and mustard dressing with shredded raw Brussels sprouts to create a delicious wintertime take on the traditional green salad or cole slaw. It's a robust salad that holds its own even alongside other hearty winter foods. See the recipe here
Crispy Potato Roast
A tasty alternative to the traditional potatoes au gratin, this roast combines potatoes with flavorful shallots and thyme, along with whatever other variations you might have in mind. Our office manager Deb used leeks in place of the shallots to the delight of all. View the recipe here
French Toast With Pears
Our Organic Land Care Program Director, Jenna, used pears
from her own tree that she peeled, cored, and froze right after picking. Try freezing pears in small one or two serving containers for easy thawing. There isn't a formal recipe for this dish, but you can use your own French toast recipe, along with some locally produced pears and maple syrup.
Penne With Chick Peas and Goat Cheese
- Penne pasta, cooked
- Chickpeas, cooked
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Balsamic vinaigrette.
Mix ingredients together in quantities to taste. It's good to give it some time for the favors to marry. At the potluck, this dish was served on top of seasonal greens, but you can serve it with vegetables like cut up steamed broccoli, green peas, thinly sliced onions, or another addition of your choice. If you have a garden, consider serving future pasta dishes with tatsoi. Our ED Bill and his wife Suzanne have been harvesting tatsoi outside through late December, despite a number of nights in the teens. It's a very sturdy vegetable whose flavor is wonderful this time of year.
|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. Please also note that classifieds and community notices are maintained on our community board. If you have a notice you'd like to add, send it along to the office here.|