Category Archives: For Gardeners

Winter Solstice Celebration in NYC benefits NOFAs

paul-winter-dancers

Paul Winter has chosen the interstate NOFA as the “cause” group for their upcoming Winter Solstice Celebration.  This will help the NOFAs reach the 7,000 people who attend the event to learn more about our collaborative carbon restoration project (more information on www.nofa.org).

The Winter Solstice Celebration will be held December 17-19, 2015 in four performances at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.  The event celebrates the spirit of the holidays with an extravaganza of music and dance.  These performances mark the turning point of the year, a universal, ecumenical milestone when people gather together to welcome the return of the sun and celebrate light overcoming the dark. This year’s event will present special guests from Brazil: singers Renato Braz and Fabiana Cozza, along with a samba band and Brazilian chorus. The performances also feature seven-time Grammy-winning saxophonist Paul Winter, his 10-piece ensemble, powerhouse vocalist Theresa Thomason, and the 25 dancers and drummers of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre.

paul-winter-cathedral

The venue is also utterly unique: the largest cathedral in the world, New York’s St. John the Divine is two blocks long inside and tall enough to house the Statue of Liberty. The Winter Solstice Celebration inhabits the entirety of this titanic space, taking advantage of its mystery and beauty to create a forest, or a deep night sky, where a giant earth globe spins from the vault like a tiny planet in the cosmic vastness, and the world’s largest gong rises with its player 12 stories high.

For more information on tickets and directions, go to: http://paulwinter.com/winter_solstice/  NOFA members will receive a $15 discount on $55 seats, Thursday night only, redeemable online and through Ovation Tix or call 866-811-4111, use the code:  NOFA

Here is a collection of the artists who will be performing: http://music.paulwinter.com/album/winter-solstice-collection-2015

paul-winter

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Highlights of our work in 2015

Please support our important work by making a tax-deductible, year end contribution »

Message from Enid (NOFA Vermont’s executive director) »

Here are some highlights of our work in 2015:

 

New videos address the question, ‘Why Organic?’

Vermont Organic Farmers releases videos and brochure to convey the benefits of buying organic, and growing organically
Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) has developed a collection of outreach materials that explain and support the organic certification process, and promote organic products. The materials include a series of short videos for consumers that convey the benefits of buying organic products, a longer video that explains the certification process, and a beautifully designed brochure that addresses the reasons for farmers and processors to become certified. These materials can be used and shared by anyone interested in promoting organic agriculture.
In response to requests from certified organic producers to help increase demand for organic products in the marketplace, Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) developed five consumer-focused video clips, designed for easy sharing online, to show the importance and value of organic production. Each video features one benefit, or value, of buying organic products: “No GMOs”, “Taste, “Stewardship”, “Community” and “Integrity”.  These values are articulated by organic growers in Vermont, and were filmed on-farm, providing an intimate glimpse into the world of sustainable agriculture. (All the videos can be found on the NOFA Vermont YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwGgmXsdmFP45nSGt-Bx0gbj8hRRLbwfE)
“We are really excited for consumers to get to know the growers of their food better,” said Nicole Dehne, who directs the VOF certification program. “This is a chance for folks to hear directly from the farmers about why they feel it is important to farm organically.”
VOF has also produced a longer video that demystifies the organic certification process for farmers interested in pursuing organic certification. This film will be used as mentoring support and motivation for producers who are interested in learning more about the process. Through various outreach efforts, the video will reach a broader consumer audience and  build confidence among buyers that the certification process is meaningful.  Viewers will hear directly from organic growers, why they certify their farm as organic and what that process means to them and to their market.  After watching the film, viewers will better understand the annual inspection process, the record keeping requirements, and the benefits of organic certification for their business.

As a companion to the videos, VOF has created an brochure for farmers interested in pursuing organic certification (http://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NOFA-VTBrochure.pdf), which outlines five benefits of  becoming certified organic and also addresses concerns, such as the burden of record keeping and the cost of certification.

The project was funded with support from the USDA National Organic Program’s “Sound & Sensible Initiative,” a campaign that aims to make organic certification more accessible, affordable and attainable. Other resources from the campaign can be found on the USDA website: http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/11/09/organic-sound-and-sensible-resources-why-go-organic-and-where-to-start/ 

 

Open Farm Week features Vermont farms offering unique, behind-the-scenes agricultural experiences

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : July 8, 2015
CONTACT : Kim Mercer, 802-434-4122 / 802-274-3043 / kim@nofavt.org

RICHMOND, VT – The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) announces the first Open Farm Week, scheduled for Monday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 9th, 2015. The public is invited to visit farms and farmers markets to meet local farmers, explore their farms, and learn more about food production in Vermont.
Wellspring-Farm_CSA_kids-and-beans-500px Walker-Farmstand-int-w-seal-500px Walker-Farm-raspberry-picking2-500px Open Farm Week Aug 3-9
Over eighty farms from across the state are participating in this inaugural Open Farm Week, each offering unique activities, including tours, demonstrations, product tasting, scavenger hunts, and more. A complete list of participating farms can be found at diginvt.com  At http://www.nofavt.org/openfarmweek, the NOFA-VT website features an interactive map and a list of participating businesses that market directly to consumers, such as farmers markets, CSAs, and farm stands.

Building off the success of last summer’s “Open CSA Farm Day”, NOFA-VT is partnering with several organizations from around the state to expand the event to include seven days of open access to farms throughout Vermont.  The goal of the event is to connect people with farmers and promote direct buying through farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms and farm stands. This event also coincides with the 2015 National Farmers Market Week.

“This weeklong event is really a celebration of our farmers and our agricultural landscape,” said NOFA-VT’s Erin Buckwalter. “We want to organize a fun and successful state-wide event, and have it grow every year, as a tradition for Vermonters and visitors to Vermont to be able to enjoy the ‘inside scoop’ and get to know more about our farms.”

NOFA Vermont is member-based organization working to grow local farms, healthy food, and strong communities in Vermont. Our members are farmers, gardeners, educators and food lovers of all sorts – anyone who wants to help us create a future full of local food and local farms. Our programs include farmer and gardener technical assistance, farm to school support, organic certification, advocacy, an online apprentice and farm worker directory, an annual Winter Conference, and programs that work to ensure access to fresh, local food to all Vermonters, regardless of income.

The 2015 Open Farm Week is made possible in part by funding NOFA-VT received from Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant and USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Farmers Market Promotion Program.

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Download: Open Farm Week activities – (NOFA partner farms) – (Excel Spreadsheet)
Download: High Resolution Photos – Please attribute to NOFA Vermont

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 »

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.

Bulk order leftover items for sale

Get great deals on items  left over from our annual Bulk Order!
Get great deals on items left over from our annual Bulk Order!

Get some great deals on items left over from NOFA-VT’s annual Bulk Order, a buying program that gives NOFA-VT members and the general public the chance to purchase quality farm and garden products that meet the National Organic Standards at volume discounts. All income generated from the Bulk Order goes to support NOFA Vermont’s Farm to Community Mentor Program. To place an order please contact Rachel at 802-434-4122, or rachel@nofavt.org

All products are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Smaller items can be mailed; shipping will be added to cost. Large items must be picked up at our Richmond office. We will update this list as items are sold.

  • 1 – 1/20 yard  McEnroe premium potting mix – $11.66 ($11 BO, $0.66 tax)
  • 1 – ½ bushel waxed boxes (15 count) – $35.78 ($33.75 BO, $2.03 this price because it is prorated)
  • 1 – 1.35 bushel greens waxed boxes (20 count) – $51.94 ($49 BO), $2.94 tax)
  • 1 – yellow sticky strips – $11.66 ($11 BO, $0.66 tax)
  • 2 – peas/vetch inoculant – $7.42 ($7 BO, $0.42 tax)
  • 1 – alfalfa/clover vetch inoculant – $6.36 ($6 BO, $0.36 tax)
  • 1 – 5 gal kelp (from last year) – $87.45 ($82.50 BO, $4.95 tax)
  • 2 – 50# bags limestone – $12.72 ($12 BO, $0.72 tax)
  • 1- 50# Planters Trace Minerals Fertilizer – $40.28 ($38 BO, $2.28 tax)
  • 2 – boxes rubber bands – $6.36 each ($6 BO, $0.36 tax)
  • 1 – Burlap bags (3 count) – $7.42 ($7 BO, $0.42 tax)
  • 1 – 45# hairy vetch/rye – $81 (all exempt)
  • 1 – bag 50# K mag $37.10 ($35 BO, $2.10 tax)
  • 2 – bag 25# Zeolite Garden Aid Natural Soil Amendment – $19.08)
  • 1 – bag 50# OG Alfalfa Seeds- $330

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

Bulk Order 2015 – 3 MORE DAYS TO PLACE YOUR ORDER!

Order from deadline – February 6 Bulk Order Pick Up Day – March 7, 9 am – 3 pm
Order from deadline – 2/6/15
Pick Up Day – 3/7, 9am–3pm

Order from deadline – February 6
Bulk Order Pick Up Day – March 7, 9 am – 3 pm

Every spring, NOFA Vermont holds an annual bulk order of farming and gardening supplies. Through the bulk order, NOFA members and the general public can purchase quality farm and garden supplies, which meet the National Organic Standards at “bulk” prices. All income generated from the Bulk Order goes to support NOFA Vermont’s Vermont’s Farm to Community Mentor Program which builds partnerships between schools, farmers, and their communities.

This year there are more than 30 new items for farmers, gardeners and homesteaders! We are introducing several animal feed supplement and healthcare products, more forms of pest control, and new fertilizers and amendments.

Items available through the bulk order include:

  • fertilizers and soil amendments
  • potting soil
  • compost products
  • pest controls
  • cover crop seeds
  • animal feed supplements and healthcare products
  • gardening and marketing items such as field stakes, trellis, bags, bunching bands, and berry baskets

Forms are mailed to NOFA members and interested individuals in January of each year. To place an order, simply fill out the bulk order form and return it to the office by the February 6 deadline. Items are picked up in March at one of the several depots located throughout Vermont. Order forms are available online.

For more information or to receive a bulk order form in the mail contact the NOFA office at nofabulkorder@nofavt.org or 802-434-4122.

S’ra DeSantis, NOFA-VT Bulk Order Coordinator