The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

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NOFA/Mass Enews


Building networks and infrastructure to survive and thrive in difficult times is on the forefront of many people’s minds this year.

At the virtual 2021 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference, a tight lineup of speakers will engage and inform gardeners, homesteaders, and farmers on topics like resiliency and community-building. We’ll delve into practical themes such as soil health; learn how Massachusetts growers and farmers have navigated the pandemic; and explore our present and future work in the area of social and racial justice.

Elizabeth Henderson, co-author of Sharing the Harvest, will be presenting a workshop entitled System Change, Not Climate Change - Time for Root Solutions! Elizabeth’s talk will help participants remember that we live in human-created systems, and humans have the ability to change them. 

Forty participants making up five teams joined forces last month for our first ever virtual Human Health and Climate Action Challenge. Teams included Healthy Soils, Food as Medicine, Pollinator Protection, Become and Activist, and Physical Feat, and each member chose a goal relating to their team’s theme. With the challenge open until November 15th, we’ve met and even exceeded our $20,000 fundraising goal, but if you’ve been meaning to pitch in with your donation, now’s the time to visit our site and contribute whatever amount feels right for you.

On September 22, NOFA/Mass Communications Director and Fundraising Coordinator Christy Bassett sent out a link to her Human Health and Climate Action Challenge crowdfunding page to our whole staff and board. It didn’t take long before other staff and board members started setting up their profiles, many of them personalized with photos and comments relating to their specific challenge. Soon participants from outside the NOFA/Mass staff began signing up to fundraise as well, and even before the official launch on October 1st the momentum started to build.

With a goal of raising at least $20,000 for NOFA/Mass’s education and advocacy programs during the month of October, the Climate Action Challenge is both a fundraiser and an educational opportunity. Much of our promotion involves educating friends, family, and the public about human health and climate health, and the countless ways that we can make a difference through individual actions and systemic change. NOFA/Mass staff and board have formed 5 different teams, each promoting a challenge relating to human or climate health, including: Pollinator Protection, Healthy Soils, Physical Feat, Food as Medicine, and Become an Activist. Funds raised through the Challenge will support:

In this era of a global pandemic, the strength of our local food system has become glaringly apparent and the opportunities for further solutions have been illuminated by the crisis. Our farmers have had a hard season with climate disruptions from Spring to Fall in the form of massively fluctuating temperatures, drought, and unseasonal weather events. Yet, many farmers have sold every last stitch of product that they can produce, thanks to a huge increase in local demand.

At this year’s 34th NOFA/Mass Winter Conference, happening virtually January 8-10, 2021, we will address the theme Feeding the Commonwealth and inspire you to create, discover and rely upon your local community’s food producers and build the vision of a Massachusetts that collectively becomes more resilient and secure in its local capacity to feed everyone. Registration opens October 15th.

As NOFA followers know, the future of healthy food and climate stability depends on the life below our feet. The seven state NOFA Chapters have been working with farmer leaders in our states to educate the farming community about innovations in tillage reduction for organic farms.

If you’re looking to learn more about tillage-reduction and other healthy soils practices in organic farming, NOFA has a lot to offer this fall. Here’s a roundup of the new season’s tillage reduction events across the northeast— most are online (a great opportunity to find out what growers in other states are up to) but some chapters will be allowing a small number of people to register for in-person field days.


What do you get when you put over 400 farmers and gardeners into an online learning forum for three weeks in the middle of summer? A rich and eventful conference. That’s what you get. The 46th annual NOFA Summer Conference was a fantastic foray into online learning with over 60 workshops and events, live music performances, games, a raffle, a keynote with Tim LaSalle and a children’s conference with music and farming games.

The journey of making an online conference a reality was filled with learning, problem solving, and creative collaboration. When it became clear this spring that large in-person events would likely be called off for the summer, NOFA staff began reimagining the conference. The NOFA Summer Conference has been an institution in organic circles for nearly half a century, and we had help from the entire NOFA community in visioning the remote version of this historic event. NOFA staff from many states offered ideas and support, and we received insights into online conferences and marketing from NOFA friends including Michael Kilpatrick from Growing Farmers, and a group of agricultural conference organizers led by NESAWG (North East Sustainable Agricultural Working Group) and California based Eco-Farm. Between meetings, conference organizers researched new technologies and brainstormed new ways of incorporating not only a rich array of workshops, but also the many entertaining events that make the NOFA Summer Conference the highlight of the summer for so many of us

Perhaps because we are still happily basking in our accomplishment of shifting 45 years of much-loved NOFA Summer Conference tradition to an online platform with 4 months’ notice, our team is approaching this year’s fall fundraising plans with a sense of optimism and creative collaboration.

In a typical season, NOFA/Mass would kick off the year-end fundraising with our annual Run/Walk fundraising campaign. Each fall staff, board members, and friends normally gather pledges and then meet up in Lexington, MA to walk or run a 5k or 10k course. We typically raise $20,000 from this event, but with large public gatherings out of the question this year, our development team had to come up with an alternative way to raise this crucial part of the budget.

As the Four Tops sang in their epic and iconic song, I’ll be there/Reach Out, the NOFA Summer Conference is planning to be here in spite of this COVID-19 disruption and we are happy to be bringing the conference online. We know it is important that you have access to up-to-the-minute resources this year to keep your self-sufficiency skills tuned up and stay connected throughout the summer.

As you may know, this year’s conference will be held as a series of webinars via Zoom and other platforms. The new Summer Conference dates are July 20 - August 9, 2020 and registration is open at this link. Registration options are available for those who wish to attend live and in person, as well as for those that would like to purchase the video recordings only and watch post-conference, on your own time.

In celebration of the Massachusetts dairy farmers who dedicate their early mornings to milking, spend the hottest days of the year in the hay field, and slip their mud boots on at midnight to deliver new calves, we’d like to thank them for their tireless efforts. 

If you have cow fever too, and are thinking about improving upon your existing dairy operation, trying your hand at cheesemaking, or are simply curious about what our local dairy farmers are doing to care for the earth while feeding our community, we have some exciting educational opportunities coming up for you. 

Members are the heart of our organization, and we are celebrating you all month this April. If you’re currently a member of NOFA/Mass, thank you! Perhaps you’d consider giving the gift of membership to a friend, family member, or farmer you know. Or, perhaps you would like to donate a membership but don’t have someone specific in mind. We can quickly find a home for your generous gift. In addition to inviting others to join as NOFA/Mass through gift memberships, this is also a great time to think about upgrading your own membership to a higher level, if you’re able.  See the many available options on the membership page of our website.



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