Category Archives: For Foodies

On-Farm Workshop Series Preview

Rachel Fussell, NOFA-VT Education Coordinator

Are you interested in joining a feast that celebrates community, good food and farming? How about participating in a workshop that shows you how to grow currants in your backyard or delicious organic strawberries for your farm or CSA? NOFA-VT’s 2015 workshop series has all this and more for the summer season. Our workshop series lineup features more than two dozen on-farm opportunities like these where gardeners, homesteaders and commercial farmers can gain practical knowledge, exchange ideas and get to know your neighbors.

We have a diverse group of workshops for every background this summer. For commercial vegetable and fruit growers we have several workshops aimed at providing new knowledge and techniques for your operation. These include a workshop on caring for older tractors and maintenance with Hank Bissell at Lewis Creek Farm in Starksboro, an on-farm value-added tour of Pete’s Greens and the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick, and a vegetable tunnel production workshop with Andy Jones at the Intervale Community Farm in Burlington.

For commercial dairy and livestock farmers we have an assortment of workshops that provide technical knowledge and new strategies for your farm. Among the lineup includes a workshop on herd management, grazing and other practices to best manage nutrients at Spring Brook Farm in Westfield, as well as a workshop on strategies for evaluating feed stock needs and land improvements with McKnight Farm in East Montpelier.

Join clinical herbalist and community gardener Kate Westdijk for Place-based Herbal Medicine – Tuesday July 7, 2015, 5-7pm in Burlington
Join clinical herbalist and community gardener Kate Westdijk for Place-based Herbal Medicine – Tuesday July 7, 2015, 5-7pm in Burlington

And for all the homesteaders, gardeners, and plant enthusiasts we have an exciting array of workshops that cover a variety of subjects. Topics include permaculture with Nicko Rubin of East Hill Tree Farm, place-based herbalism with Kate Westdijk, uncommon fruits with John and Nancy Hayden of The Farm Between, and gardening tips and techniques with Charlie Nardozzi.

Our “Celebrate Your Farmer” Socials brings everyone in the food system together and is a place to establish connections within your community, all while enjoying farm-fresh, wood-fired pizza baked in NOFA-VT’s mobile oven. And after your appetite is satisfied, you’ll be able to enjoy a farm tour and get a behind the scenes glimpse of each farm. Nine farms across the state are planning to host these special gatherings, including Adam’s Berry Farm, Lilac Ridge Farm and Flack Family Farms, just to name a few.

Full line-up of workshops and socials »
Register for workshops »
RSVP for socials »

Save the Date for Open Farm Week 2015: August 3-9

If you are a farmer that wants to sign-up to participate, please visit www.diginvt.com/blog/openfarmweekforfarmers before July 1!

Open Farm Week is August 3-9; a time when many farms and farmers markets are at their peak of production and have a variety of different products to showcase to visitors.
Open Farm Week is August 3-9; a time when many farms and farmers markets are at their peak of production and have a variety of different products to showcase to visitors.

Building off of the success of NOFA Vermont’s 2014 Open CSA Farm Day, several organizations from around the state are coming together to organize Open Farm Week, expanding both the scope and the length of the event.  Our goal is to strengthen consumers’ connections to their growers, while teaching them how to access Vermont-grown products.  We envision this will become an annual event that engages both locals and vacationers in building relationships with our farmers and interest in our amazing working landscape.

Based on feedback from last year’s Open CSA Farm Day, we chose early August as a time when many farms and farmers markets are at their peak of production and have a variety of different products to showcase to visitors.  We also recognize that one specific day might not work well for everyone, so have expanded the event to a whole week to provide the opportunity for farmers and food lovers to participate on whichever day(s) work best. NOFA Vermont has received funding from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmers Market Promotion Program to augment our CSA-focused Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture in order to expand our outreach for this event to all farms that market directly to consumers.

We are excited to be able to promote Vermont certified organic CSAs and farmstands as well as those that are members of NOFA Vermont.  In addition, the Open Farm Week coincides with the annual National Farmers Market Week and we will be promoting markets that are members of the Vermont Farmers Market Association. To find more information or if you are a farmer that wants to sign-up to participate, please visit www.diginvt.com/blog/openfarmweekforfarmers.  The list of participating farms will be updated on a rolling basis.  Sign-ups end July 1 and by mid-July the final list will be set.


NOFA-VT is working with the following partners to organize this event  this event: City Market, Dig In Vermont, the Farm-Based Education Network, the Intervale Center, the Neighboring Food Co-ops Association, Shelburne Farms, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the Vermont Farm to Plate Network Agritourism Task Force, Vermont Farm Tours, the Vermont Farmers Market Association, Vermont FEED, and the Vermont Fresh Network.

AFTER WINTER, SPRING: Vermont premiere of award-winning documentary

When: Wed, May 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Where: Merrill’s Roxy Cinemas, Burlington, VT
Tickets: $15 general / $12 NOFA-VT and City Market Members

Award-winning feature documentary AFTER WINTER, SPRING, directed by Judith Lit, will have its Vermont premiere at the Merrill’s Roxy Cinemas in Burlington on Wednesday, May 6 at 7:00 pm. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker and a reception sponsored by City Market. The event will be a partial fundraiser for the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-VT). Please Join us!

ABOUT THE FILM — One hundred years ago, half of the population of France were farmers. Now less than 3% farm. In the Périgord, a rural community fears they may be the last generation of family farmers in a region continuously cultivated for over five thousand years. Filmed over four years, AFTER WINTER, SPRING captures the roots of farm-to-table and the tenacity of a people who have taken one season at a time for generations.

"I love this film. After Winter, Spring makes a compelling case for reimagining the policy assumptions that take us down a no-exit pathway for larger scale, increased efficiency, and standardization...Must see! Must share with USA farmers whose link to traditional practices has faded. This is an important and original film."  Richard McCarthy, Executive Director, Slow Food USA
“I love this film. After Winter, Spring makes a compelling case for reimagining the policy assumptions that take us down a no-exit pathway for larger scale, increased efficiency, and standardization…Must see! Must share with USA farmers whose link to traditional practices has faded. This is an important and original film.”
Richard McCarthy, Executive Director, Slow Food USA

The farmers’ stories are recorded by one of their neighbors, an American filmmaker who grew up on her family’s farm in Pennsylvania. Inter-weaving her story and theirs, the film explores the nature of the farming life and the impact of rapid modernization on families whose survival is tied to the land. As the farmer’s stories unfold, we see their responses to change…the losses and the surprising adaptations. AFTER WINTER, SPRING reveals the human story of family farming at a turning point in history.

The film was chosen to tour in France as part of the Mois du Documentaire and has played to sold-out screenings in numerous festivals including The Seattle International Film Festival, The Environmental Film Festival in the Nations Capital (Washington, DC), The International Ecological Television Festival “To Save & Preserve” (Russia), and many more. It has garnered wonderful press and won a number of awards including: the Audience Favorite Award (Mill Valley Film Festival), Best Foreign Documentary (Arizona International Film Festival), Jury Award (Caméras des Champs Festival in France) and was chosen as one of the Best of Festival at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival.

More information on AFTER WINTER, SPRING   |  Film trailer  Facebook  |  Twitter: @afterwinterdoc

Farmer Profile: Benjamin Pauly of the Woodstock Inn and Resort Farm

Ben Pauly
Ben Pauly

By Johanna Setta, Certification Specialist Assistant for Vermont Organic Farmers


Benjamin Pauly of the Woodstock Inn and Resort Farm grew up on a diversified homestead with his family, farming a one acre plot. While working on this small farm, the family focus was vegetable and fruit production. To this day Ben still works in agriculture, but his work has taken on a different scope – he is actually a trained architect. The combination of his past and present specialties has allowed him to excel at directing landscape design and high yield and variety crop cultivation.
Ben started working at the farm in 2009 and is entering his third season of growing on the property, and his second season being certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers, the certification program of NOFA-VT. Ben’s job extends beyond farm manager into landscape architect and florist. He is passionate about growing flowers that he can then arrange for guests and public space at the Inn.

Once you start farming organically, you realize the soil is healthier and the output will be better and more nutritious.

Everything Ben grows is for the Woodstock Inn and Resort restaurant. The kitchen likes to think of itself as “farm inspired,” as the chefs source everything they can from the farm during the growing season and adjust menus based on what is available for harvest. In order to keep up with the demand of the kitchen, the farm will be expanding its facility with the construction of a high tunnel this season. Ben works closely with the chefs at the Inn to discuss which vegetables and fruits they are interested in utilizing during the upcoming season. He chooses a wide seed variety to allow for creative menu options. He makes sure to throw in some uncommon produce that might not be available wholesale like lemon cucumbers and malabar spinach. Malabar spinach is an all-time favorite of Ben’s; this heat loving vining plant can grow up to eight feet and is great for cooking with its thick fleshy leaves. In the 2015 growing season, the guests at the Inn can look forward to baby ginger and hops!

The Woodstock Inn and Resort Farm chooses to be certified organic because it forces them to be acutely aware of their growing practices and the condition of their soil. Although they would be growing in this manner regardless of certification, the organic certification process allows them to keep checks and balances on their practices.

“Once you start farming organically, and realize the soil is healthier and the output will be better and more nutritious, then it’s a no brainer,” says Ben. “You would never want to do anything that’s not organic.”

He feels organic certification helps tell a story about the farm; where they grow and how they grow. The Inn knows that is has a large presence in the village and feels that it is a huge accolade to show the community they are certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers. It is not only a source of pride for the Farm, but for the community as a whole. Although Ben enjoys explaining his farming practices while leading guest tours, being certified organic is an easy way to market the farm prior to guests arrival.

Ben Pauly
Ben Pauly

Ben has worked carefully on the design of the Farm’s two-acre plot and all of its steep slopes to create a space that is versatile. It is a multi-use farm in the sense that it is for production as well as a functioning educational space. On any given day in the summer you may find Ben giving tours of the farm to guests, hosting workshops for local groups like the gardening club, or tending to the two acres with his summer farm staff. Adjoining the farm is a half acre plot used for an event space. The Woodstock Inn and Resort is excited to use this beautiful space for weddings, meetings, and events. The farm allows guests to enjoy this bountiful land and experience where the tomatoes and shitake mushrooms they are having for dinner come from. Next time you are nearby, stop in and say hello to Ben and the Woodstock Inn and Resort staff for a special farm-to-table meal and a tour of the organic farm.

Growing the Good Food Movement: Reflections on Winter Conference 2015

The 33rd Annual NOFA Vermont Winter Conference was held February 14-16 at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington. “Growing the Good Food Movement” brought together organic farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and consumers for 3 days of workshops, keynotes, singing, feasting, and mid-winter blues bashing. We hope you will enjoy these photos from the Conference. And please be sure to join us next year (we’re already planning the 2016 Conference)! Photos by Ali Zipparo

Jr Iron Chef VT

Do you know any aspiring young chefs? Are you an avid cook who would like to share your talents with local students? Are you a farmer who’d like to develop a relationship with a nearby school? If so, then the 8th Annual Jr Iron Chef VT is where you need to be!

Jr Iron Chef VT is a statewide culinary competition that provides middle and high school students with the opportunity to have hands-on experience cooking nutritious, farm-fresh foods. Students source local ingredients and design, test, and practice recipes in preparation for the 90-minute cooking competition. Their dishes are critiqued by a panel of hand-selected judges, and prize packages are awarded.

Register your team by January 15th to get in on the action.

“The energy at the competition is amazing and students are able to see other food ideas, how other groups work together, how they perform under pressure, and deal with unexpected consequences. They inspire me.” –Dawn Fuller-Ball, Coach, Whitcomb Middle/High School

74 teams will square off at the 2015 event on March 21 at the Champlain Valley Exposition. Learn more at www.jrironchefvt.org or check out our Facebook page.

City Market Rallys for NOFA-VT

Rally for Change
City Market in Burlington has a “Round Up” program to benefit local non-profits

The Onion River Co-op, aka City Market in Burlington, is dedicated to supporting the local economy and strengthening the local food system.

This year they’ve implemented a new giving program–
Rally for Change–that allows customers to “round up” their payment at the register (e.g., a $25.42 checkout could be rounded up to $26 for a $0.58 donation.) For the month of December, NOFA-VT is the lucky recipient of this “round up” change.

Want to round up to the nearest five or ten dollars? You can do that too!

With more than 4,000 transactions each day through the City Market registers, this “small change” can make a big difference for non-profit organizations like us.

Thank you for supporting us while you shop at City Market!

SNAP To It: NOFA-VT’s Response to FINI Funding

In September, the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced that they would be making $31 million available in an effort to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients by making these items more affordable. The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, the name of the program authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, will help to accomplish this goal by approving pilot and larger-scale projects across the country that offer incentives at the point of purchase for fruits and vegetables by SNAP recipients.

NOFA-VT will be applying for this funding to build upon our Harvest Health Coupon Program (HHCP), which operated at 41 EBT-accepting farmers’ markets in VT this summer. In the past, the HHCP operated as a $2 for $2 match program (up to $10) in which every $2 of SNAP benefits spent provided customers with a $2 coupon that could be used to purchase any SNAP-eligible food item. Harvest Health CouponIn the future, if we receive FINI funding, the incentive program will only be able to be used for the purchase of fruits and vegetables. At NOFA-VT, we understand that this modification to the program will somewhat restrict the choice of shoppers (i.e. breads and other non-produce food items would not be able to be purchased with FINI funds), but we are excited about the potential it has to increase the consumption of locally grown fruits and vegetables by Vermonters. The perceived high cost of local produce is often viewed as a barrier to participation in the local food movement by limited-income consumers, but with this funding, we see an opportunity to make produce more affordable and grow our locally food economy with the involvement of all Vermonters.

Farmers market displayCurrently, the HHCP operates between July 1st and October 31st, but with additional funding, we plan to expand the program to operate at farmers’ markets year round. By extending the HHCP into winter farmers’ markets and beginning the program at the start of the outdoor market season, we will be offering continuity in our farmers’ market based food security programs. This will also help to address the gap in affordable access to locally produced fruits and vegetables that many Vermonters experience between November and May. As a part of our work with the state’s EBT at Farmers’ Market Working Group, we also plan to continue to expand the reach of the HHCP by bringing new farmers’ markets into the program and increasing the internal capacity of markets already participating.

We believe that the FINI program, which will incentivize the use of SNAP dollars at local farmers’ markets, has the potential to make significant contributions to the health and wellbeing of our community of farmers and consumers. Currently, less than 1% of the over $145 million in 3SquaresVT benefits (Vermont’s name for the SNAP program) that Vermonters receive each year are used at farmers’ markets. The use of 3SquaresVT benefits with incentive dollars at farmers’ markets gives an opportunity to capture these federal dollars and incorporate them back into the local economy.

We look forward to sharing our progress on this initiative with you in the upcoming months.

[Post by Michael Good, NOFA Vermont Community Food Security Program Assistant.]

Dr. Vandana Shiva to Speak in VT

vandana_graphic_v5We are thrilled to be welcoming Dr. Vandana Shiva to Vermont for two speaking engagements next week in support of VT’s GMO labeling law.

Her presentation is titled: Food System Transformation and Reversing the Climate Crisis: How Vermont’s GMO labeling law is part of the solution.

Dr. Shiva will speak on Sunday, November 2, 2014, 4:00-6:00PM at the Contois Auditorium in Burlington’s City Hall, 149 Church Street.  This event will be livestreamed at this link beginning at 3:55.

Dr. Shiva will also speak at the Vermont Law School on Monday Nov. 3 at 5:00PM in the Chase Center. This event is sponsored by the VLS Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.

Both events are open to the public, and donations will be welcomed to support the ongoing work of the Vermont Right to Know GMOs Coalition to implement and defend Vermont’s GMO food labeling law. Dr. Shiva’s visit to Vermont is being facilitated and co-sponsored by the Vermont Right to Know GMOs Coalition which is a partnership of Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center, NOFA-VT, Rural Vermont and VPIRG.

NOFA-VT hiring Office Manager and Outreach Coordinator

Farmers are the superstars of the local and organic movement, to be sure, but a lot of important work goes on behind the scenes to help them grow and sell successfully. You can join the movement and make a real difference in Vermont’s food system by becoming part of the NOFA Vermont team!

We’re hiring two positions that provide critical support to our on-the-ground programs training farmers, educating consumers, and helping to make local and organic food available to all.  Help us grow local farms, healthy food, and strong communities in Vermont!

Office Manager

The full-time Office Manager is responsible for office administration, membership services, and program staff support.

We are seeking a candidate who is familiar with agriculture, is detail oriented, has excellent organizational and interpersonal skills, is able to juggle many tasks, and has experience with the Microsoft Office Suite. IT experience in a server environment and familiarity with SalesForce a plus.

Marketing and Outreach Coordinator

We’re looking for a candidate with marketing and outreach experience to tell the story of our programs and marketing campaigns, including the promotion of the Vermont Organic Farmers certification brand. This includes coordinating print and electronic campaigns, managing NOFA-VT’s web and social media presence, press relations, event promotion and staffing, and working with our graphic designer to produce a quarterly print newsletter and other material as needed. We are seeking expertise in marketing fundamentals, strong written and oral communications skills, and a creative, energetic individual who can balance many projects. Experience with Adobe Creative Suite and SalesForce a plus. 32-40 hours/week, occasional weekends required.

For both positions, please submit a resume and letter of interest to NOFA-VT, PO Box 697, Richmond VT 05477, or e-mail info@nofavt.org. We will be accepting applications until October 6, 2014. Job training will start in November with employment starting December 1st, 2014.