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

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Winter Conference

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. 

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.

This month we welcomed Pampi, Ashley Kenney and Nora Weaver to the NOFA/Mass team.

Pampi, Public Relations Coordinator

Pampi joins the NOFA/Mass communications team with 20 years of experience in publications, social media and event management.

A 20+ year newcomer-settler of Turtle Island (currently in residency on Pennacook / Sokoki territory), Pampi is a nonbinary second-genx casteD-Bengali culture worker who plays at the intersection of healing and popular education.

In case you missed it, or would like to revisit the talk, please enjoy the video of our 2020 keynote address with Carey Gillam as well as 15 audio recordings from workshops at this year’s winter conference now available on our YouTube channel. Check out the 2020 Winter Conference Playlist to see them all, or skim through the list below to skip straight to your favorites.

Looking ahead: Our 2021 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference Request for Proposals is now open. If you’d like to propose a workshop to present at next winter’s program you can do so through this form.

Butterflies enjoying native flowers Photo credit: Caro Roszell

Communities across Massachusetts are standing up and taking action against toxic biocides and the dangers they pose to all living things-- from the smallest insect to those of us at the top of the food chain. Local leaders and concerned citizens are mounting a defense of the vulnerable members of our ecosystems, from the Statehouse to the schoolyard. 

With a raft of bills on pesticide reduction and pollinator protection before the state legislature (Pollinator Protection Act (Neonic Restrictions), Neonic Ban, Local Option on Pesticides, Protect Schoolchildren from Pesticides, Restrict Glyphosate use on Public Lands, Glyphosate Ban, Protect Groundwater from Pesticides) and with 29 Massachusetts communities that have already established some level of municipal action on pesticide reduction/pollinator protection, there is no better time to join the movement to protect our ecosystems and our health!

Register now and save $10 off walk-in rates!

What’s in store for the most amazing conference of the New Year?

One amazing keynote speaker. 

Award winning journalist, Carey Gillam’s daily actions to expose the corruption of the Bayer/Monsanto conglomerate are so astoundingly brave and forthright we can’t wait to hear from her at our keynote address. If by chance you don’t approve of the Bayer/Monsanto behemoth, you’ll be glad to know that Carey is a relentless watchdog, calling out the lies and deception at every turn. Her Twitter feed is stacked with fact checking and general calling out of the barrage of misinformation Bayer/Monsanto has continuously promoted in the face overwhelming public health concerns and a growing line of illnesses and lawsuits. We hope you’ll join us for the latest insights from Carey’s work!

Gratitude 

As we all strive to create a vibrant future in which our food, medicine, and necessities are crafted in harmony with-- instead of at the expense of-- our living environment,  we look to those in our communities who carry the skills and knowledge to help us on this path. It is with deep gratitude that we turn to our Winter Conference presenters, who serve in so many ways: as watchdogs leading the charge against Monsanto/Bayer; as experienced farmers with intimate knowledge of soil, water, and the changing seasons; as medicine-makers and medicine growers; as foragers and wild plant knowledge-keepers; as scientists and change-makers; as landscape planners and nut growers and grass growers and tree planters; as tenders of our soils and our souls. We are grateful for the burgeoning understanding of the connections between the soil and the gut, between the earth and the atmosphere, and for our collective work restoring the health our families, ecosystems, and ourselves.

Climate Change Mitigation

With mornings now increasingly rimed with frost, we are looking ahead to the 33d NOFA/Mass Winter Conference! All through the hot months we have been reaching out and organizing this program for our January winter gathering, and we are proud to tell you about all the knowledge that lies in store!

As always we will have a wide array of farming, gardening, animal husbandry, self-reliance, herbalism and permaculture workshops (over 60 classes!)—and, as always, we have organized some special tracks for those who want to dig into a specific topic.

In particular, our program will focus in detail on farming and food production practices that offer climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions.

Winter’s chill is just around the corner which naturally means our community of farmers and gardeners are about to go into hibernation to review the season’s notes and process the past year’s successes and failures in order to greet Springtime with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Maybe that means lots and lots of reading, or many group conversations or maybe it means a whole season’s worth of contemplation and reflection.

Whatever your style of winter study is, we hope the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference is part of your curriculum. This year’s conference will be held on Saturday January 11, 2020 on the campus of Worcester State University. It is our 33rd annual Winter Conference.  Save the date, mark your calendar to register early and make plans to bring your inquisitive nature, wisdom and joyfulness to celebrate your community of earthy, progressive, soil loving, like-minded friends and neighbors. Everyone is welcome and we hope the program suits your needs.

Carey Gillam named 2020 NOFA Winter Conference keynote speaker

Carey Gillam named 2020 NOFA Winter Conference keynote speaker

We at NOFA/Mass are thrilled to announce that our 2020 Winter Conference Keynote Presenter will be the award-winning journalist Carey Gillam

Gillam is a former senior correspondent for Reuter’s international news service and veteran journalist with over 25 years of experience covering American corporations and agribusiness. She specializes in biotech, pesticide development, and the environmental impacts of food production in the United States. Her articles appear regularly in The Guardian, the Huffington Post, Environmental Health News and the US Right to Know. 

 

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