Dear Friend of NOFA-VT,
As NOFA-VT enters its 45th year, I have been reflecting on the growth of the organic food movement, NOFA-VT’s historic role in building a strong, local food economy, and the focus of our work, moving forward. As a friend, you can play an important role in supporting our work, and we appeal to you, at this time, to contribute to our annual fund.
I think two things are critical for Vermont organic agriculture to thrive—people need to have a connection with farmers, and farms need to be as strong as they can be. We will continue our work to achieve both of those goals.
We will build relationships between Vermont consumers and food producers, like the farmers who write letters to classrooms statewide in our Farmer Correspondence Program, or the farm tours and Celebrate Your Farmer Socials held on organic farms every summer. And, we will provide technical assistance to beginning and established organic farmers to help them be as profitable as possible—from matching them with farmer mentors, developing marketing materials, or growing our Journey Farmer Program.
At the recent Farm to Plate gathering, organic producer Joe Bossen (quoting author Annie Dillard) stated, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
It is the compilation of days, and the progression of good work, that makes the difference over time. NOFA-VT has been committed to growing organic farms, healthy food and strong communities since 1971, and we are motivated and passionate about our work moving forward. We so value the annual support of our friends to make this work possible and visible. Please consider a year-end gift to NOFA Vermont. Every donation matters.
Thank you, in advance, for your important contribution.
Enid Wonnacott, NOFA Vermont Executive Director
Vermont Organic Farmers releases videos and brochure to convey the benefits of buying organic, and growing organically
“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.”
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/
Richmond, VT – The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA Vermont) is accepting workshop proposals for its 34th Annual Winter Conference. Proposals will be accepted until September 18th, 2015. The event is Vermont’s largest agricultural conference, bringing together more than 1,500 farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, educators, policy makers and consumers for three days of workshops, networking sessions, meals and celebration.
The goal of the conference is to facilitate learning and sharing of information on all aspects of local, organic farming and gardening. Organizers of the conference aim to create a gathering space that fosters collaboration between diverse groups of people, while also meeting the specific needs of these varied groups. The suggested topics below apply in the broadest sense. Additional topics will be considered.
- Technical commercial organic vegetable, fruit, herb, flower, dairy & livestock production (beginner – advanced)
- Direct marketing strategies and best practices: CSA, farmstands, farmers’ market vending, etc.
- Procurement and infrastructure: distribution, processing, storage, food safety and cooperative models
- Education: farm-based education, experiential education, school gardens
- Agri-business marketing, technology, and business planning
- Food security and access
- Homesteading and gardening (beginner – advanced)
- Health, wellness and nutrition
- Alternative energy, climate change and resiliency
- Policy, activism, and community engagement
The annual Winter Conference is NOFA Vermont’s largest fundraiser, which supports programs that educate and connect farmers, gardeners, and their communities throughout the year. The success of the conference is due in large part to the support of the many talented presenters who choose to participate each year.
More information about the conference, and the RFP process, can be found at http://nofavt.org/annual-events/winter-conference/RFP or by calling NOFA Vermont at (802) 434-4122.
2016 CONFERENCE SPECIFICS
Location: University of Vermont’s Davis Center and surrounding campus, Burlington, VT
Dates: Saturday through Monday, February 13-15, 2016
RFP Information: http://nofavt.org/annual-events/winter-conference/RFP
Submit RFP: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016RFP
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About Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont: 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.
Photos by Rachel Fussell, NOFA Vermont’s Education & Events Coordinator
On July 16, 2015, a group of about 75 farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and organic food lovers came together in Manchester to enjoy good food, good music, great conversation, and a tour of the farm and facilities at Earth Sky Time Farm.
Join NOFA Vermont and friends at any of these upcoming “Celebration Your Farmer” pizza socials. More information about these events, as well as our summer and fall on-farm workshops can be found here.
July 23 – Adam’s Berry Farm, Charlotte
July 30 – Golden Russet Farm, Shoreham
Aug 6 – Berry Creek Farm, Westfield
Aug 12 – Farmer Olympics, Maple Wind Farm, Bolton
Aug 27 – Tamarlane Farm, Lyndonville
Sept 3 – Flack Family Farm, Enosburg Falls
Sept 10 – Lilac Ridge Farm, Brattleboro
The new cohort of NOFA-VT’s 2015 Journey Farmers gathered in Richmond, Vermont for a Sonoran-themed lunch and educational workshop on April 18.
Everyone shared a delicious meal together and were able to share various farm challenges, successes and excitement for the coming summer season. They were joined by Richard Wiswall from Cate Farm who gave an in-depth workshop on cost benefit and enterprise analysis.
With full bellies and minds, the Journey Farmers left the social abuzz with new ideas and connections.
by Laura Nunziata, Vermont Organic Farmers
Congratulations to Red Hen Bakery’s Randy George!
Red Hen Bakery co-owner honored at the White House (courtesy photo)Randy was honored at the White House on Monday as a “Champion of Change” for working families by providing equal and livable wages, paid sick days, and health benefits to its 43 employees.
Not only is this small Vermont Business a champion for change in the workplace, they have also been champions of organic production for well over a decade now. These folks first became certified organic before the National Organic Program Rule was enacted and have remained true to those practices through the years.
Red Hen’s dedication to supporting their local community, their employees, organic production, and creating an exceptional product is certainly something to be celebrated and recognized. Way to go friends!
Read more about this:
NOFA- VT is requesting your input through our ANNUAL CSA SURVEY. We use this information to update the CSA directory on our website and to determine the economic value of CSAs to Vermont agriculture. This data is aggregated with others’ responses and used in testimony to the Vermont legislature, to compile a report on the success and current status of CSAs in Vermont, and inform our CSA work and advocacy strategies. Check out our report based on last year’s survey: Vermont CSA Report – 2013. Please note that our policy is to offer CSA directory listings to farms that are either certified organic through Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) or are members of NOFA-VT. The benefits of NOFA-VT membership extend far beyond your online listing, and include: discounts on workshops, conferences, and our annual bulk order of farming supplies; our quarterly NOFA Notes newsletter; The Natural Farmer quarterly journal; and more! Visit www.nofavt.org/join to join, or request a membership brochure via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please complete our survey by February 21, 2015. The survey can be completed online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NOFA2014CSA or you can contact us to request a paper copy.
Sunday’s keynote address to be replaced by a storytelling “slam” on issues of food justice
This year, as part of their 33rd Annual Winter Conference, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA Vermont) is inviting farmers, gardeners, and all Vermonters who love local food and farms to share stories from their own lives. Stories will be selected by the end of January, to be presented as part of a “Story and Poetry Slam” event on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at the Davis Center, University of Vermont.
“Inspired by the revitalization of storytelling in Vermont, we decided to host a Story and Poetry Slam, featuring the amazing stories that come out of Vermont’s own farms and gardeners,” said Meg Klepack, NOFA Vermont’s Winter Conference Coordinator.
The theme of this year’s conference is Growing the Good Food Movement. In support of the theme, NOFA Vermont seeks stories or poems focused on food equity, race, class, farm worker rights, or food sovereignty.
Hosting the Story and Poetry Slam, and performing, as well, will be Laura Brown-Lavoie. Laura is a farmer, poet, performer, and youth mentor in Providence, RI, who describes herself as “a farmer with a pen clipped to her belt loop, a poet with leaves in her hair.”
Pitches for stories and poems should be short, around 30 seconds long, and can be submitted for consideration by calling the NOFA Vermont office at 802-434-4122, extension 30. The deadline for submissions is January 23.
The 33rd Annual NOFA Vermont Winter Conference will be held February 14-16 at the University of Vermont in Burlington. For more information about the conference, visit www.nofavt.org/conference.
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.
“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