Tag Archives: NOFA Vermont

Human Resources and Labor Management for Farmers

IMGP2591Every producer knows that their team can make or break their business. In addition to being a critical element of any agricultural business, labor also typically comprises the greatest business expense. However many farmers are drawn to their work because they love the production process, not because they enjoy — or even have experience or skills — managing people. Yet management remains one of the key elements to building a successful business.

NOFA-VT, Vermont Technical College and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture are offering in-depth skill building workshops on labor management and human resources this fall and winter. Farmers and producers will have ample opportunity to consider their approaches to hiring, motivating, communicating and delegating. You wouldn’t run your equipment without regular and necessary maintenance, would you? Well, neither should you continue employing staff without reviewing your policies, leadership style and pay scale, to name a few topics.

Next week, from the Vermont Agency of Ag, is a full-day workshop called “Build a Strong Workforce on the Farm.” This workshop is being held in Burlington on November 10 and in White River Junction on November 12. Click here to view the Agency’s flier.

Starting in January, NOFA Vermont will be offering a series of three half-day trainings on Labor Management and Human Resources for Farmers. Each workshop will be held at two different locations to make them more available to all Vermont producers. We will also be holding two additional workshops at the Winter Conference.

Take the time to invest in your most valuable and expensive tool — your crew!

Advertisements

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.

Wholesale and Institutional Markets – a quick survey for producers

Hey farmers! We’re partnering with the Agency of Ag on a project to help determine the level of interest from producers in institutional and wholesale markets.

We’re hoping you can take about 10 minutes out of this busy season to fill out a short survey, which will help us understand the current supply and demand in this market, the level of interest amongst producers, the room for growth, and what kinds of support and technical assistance would be most useful.

We see wholesale and institutional sales (such as those to grocery stores, schools, and hospitals) as a key market for future local foods growth. These markets reach large numbers of customers, many of whom may not be seeking out local products or participating in direct-market channels such as farmers’ markets and CSAs. By making local foods more accessible to more people, we can increase awareness and create demand.

We hope that you’ll help us analyze and understand this market, your participation in it, and how best we can work with producers and other partners to make wholesale and institutional sales successful for Vermont farmers and processors.

Click here to take the survey now!

 

Helping Farmers Grow Up to Be Successful

There has been a lot of great discussion going on in response to the recent New York Times editorial, Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers. Author and farmer Bren Smith laments the fact that, despite a great resurgence of interest in food and in farming as a career, making a profitable business out of farming is still a huge challenge.

At NOFA-VT, we firmly believe that sustainable farming must include the farm’s financial stability.

That’s why we put so much energy into building diverse markets and educating consumers, and why our technical assistance and farmer training programs include business planning, enterprise analysis, and marketing alongside soil management and weed control. We advocate on state and federal levels for legislation that supports small-scale, family, and organic farms. Along with our six sister NOFA chapters (plus MOFGA!), we’re able to conduct regional projects and be a strong voice for New England farmers on national issues.

Smith suggests, rightly, that farmers and those who care about their food need to organize to make the substantial changes in the food system that will be required for farmers to succeed. We’ve been working with Vermont farmers and in the regional food system for over 40 years, and we hope that you’ll join us as we continue to work towards the goals of successful local farms, healthy food, and strong communities.

Join us buttonAll farmers and their supporters are welcome as members. Help us improve the viability of Vermont’s farmers and the vitality of our rural communities – become a member today!

Farmers’ Market Week Winners!

NOFA and the Vermont Farmers’ Market Association held a “selfie” photo contest in honor of National Farmers’ Market Week, August 3-9. What an amazing week it was! Fresh air, sunshine, outstanding food, and awesome friends. What more could we want?

Thank you to all of our photo contest participants and everyone who voted for their favorite photo. It was great to see how much enthusiasm Vermonters have for our local food producers. And without further ado, here is our photo contest winner and runners up!

Karin Bellemare "Queen Beet and King Carrot" at the Barre Farmers' Market
Karin Bellemare at the Barre Farmers’ Market, 1st place

Karin wins a $100 gift certificate to the market of her choice, and the Barre Farmers’ Market, where her photo was taken, will receive a $100 advertising stipend from NOFA-VT.

Manolo Zelkin
Manolo Zelkin, 2nd place
Beth Wallace
Beth Wallace, 3rd place

Farmers’ Market Week may be over, but it is still high season for Vermont’s bounty, and farmers’ markets are the best place to find fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, baked goods, gifts, and more. Click here to find a market near you!

Kids in the NOFA Garden

Summer is here and the produce is  rolling in! Here at the NOFA office in Richmond, we have a raised bed vegetable garden in the backyard. The garden is used primarily as a learning space for several groups of local kids, who come by to help plant seeds, do garden-based activities, and, of course, taste-test whatever is ready to eat.

GraemeWhen the kids don’t eat all of the produce (which is rare so far) we take whatever we have left to the Richmond Food Shelf, which is right across the street. Thanks in large part to donations from Red Wagon Plants and Green Mountain Compost, our plants are thriving. It’s always fun to see kids devouring cucumbers, greens, herbs, and more!

NOFA Summer Conference!

The Northeast Organic Farming Association’s (NOFA) 40th annual Summer Conference takes place August 8-10, 2014 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Appealing to a wide range of interests, 1400 consumers, gardeners, farmers, food policy experts, and urban agriculturalists travel from across the northeast and beyond to participate in 150+ workshops, pre-conference events, farms tours, and much more. This conference is a collaborative project of all seven NOFA chapters.

This is a family-friendly event, with special conference tracks for children 5-12 and teens 13-17. While parents attend great educational workshops on gardening, farming, nutrition, and ecological sustainability, children experience age-appropriate and fun workshops about these same topics with other youth. Childcare is available for children 2-4.

Affordable accommodations (like camping and dorms) are available, as are scholarships, group discounts, work exchange, and other creative financing options.

“At the heart of NOFA as an organization is the NOFA Summer Conference. A place of inspiration, awakening, reconnecting, and practical education, it is the event that for 40 years has brought the brightest, best, and most collaborative farming game-changers together for one packed weekend celebration of life and farming,” says farmer, former NOFA Summer Conference Coordinator, and current NOFA/Mass Executive Director, Julie Rawson.

Trained as a microbiologist, Dr. Elaine Ingham, this year’s keynote speaker, brings a unique perspective to her work with farmers. Her goal is to develop soils that foster thriving microbial communities. Her simple approaches to building soil biology require less labor and off-farm inputs and ultimately help save farmers money, while reducing adverse ecological effects of conventional farming. She maintains that by building soils teeming with the right kind of biology, growers can mitigate plant pests and diseases.

In addition to her Friday all-day pre-conference seminar titled “Changing Dirt into Soil: Specific Approaches for Different Soil Types and Crops”, Ingham will lead three workshops during the conference. Three half-day pre-conferences will also take place on Friday, including “Tools for Resilient Urban Ecosystems” with Scott Kellogg; “Healing the Gut and the Body through Nutrition” with Dr. Chris Decker; and “Bioregional Herbalism: Stocking the Home Apothecary with Locally Abundant Herbs” with Jade Alicandro Mace.

Saturday and Sunday’s workshops are geared to many skill levels and interests. Knowledgeable and experienced instructors will offer workshops on topics such as nutrition and health, food politics, land access, crop production, cooperative economies, urban and international agriculture, gardening, animal husbandry, farm economics, food preservation and cooking, permaculture, and mitigating climate change through agriculture.

There will be a sing-along event on Friday evening called “Singing for Food and Freedom: Carrying on the Legacy of Pete Seeger” (free for conference registrants and open to the public with a $5-$10 suggested donation). The weekend also features films (such as The Queen of the Sun, Out Here, and Food for Change), meet-ups for participants from a variety of interests, organic meals, a country fair, a contra dance, 100+ exhibitors, and more.

Learn more and register at www.nofasummerconference.org!

NOFA hiring Education Coordinator

Are you a planner, educator,  organizer? Do you love farms, food, and fun? Join the amazing NOFA-VT team! We’re hiring for an Education Coordinator to manage our year-round schedule of events and our beginning farmer program.

The Education Coordinator is predominantly responsible for managing the educational events at NOFA-VT to engage current members (farmers, gardeners, and consumers) and attract new members through development of Winter Conference workshops, and seasonal on-site workshops (on farms, gardens, homesteads).  The Education Coordinator is a member of the technical assistance team and provides support to the Technical Assistance Coordinator.  In addition, the candidate will develop and oversee NOFA-VT¹s Beginning Farmer programs (apprenticeship tool, CRAFT program and Journey Farmer Program) and organize technical/networking events for beginner farmers.  The position will start in mid-August.

Click here to read the full job description and learn how to apply!

Advertise in our organic guide – deadline 5/28! [update]

We’re putting together our 2014-2015 Vermont Organic Farm and Food Guide, which is a beautiful print directory of all of the producers certified organic by VOF.

Update! Deadline for advertisements has been extended to Wednesday, May 28!

» Click here to reserve your advertising space!

TTS_2013_Ras el Hanout_OpenWe’re excited to be featuring the story of Teeny Tiny Spice Company of Vermont this year, with a delicious recipe using local ingredients and their spices. You’ll also find a farmers’ market directory and information about choosing certified organic, locally grown.

This is a great opportunity to reach an engaged audience, dedicated to supporting local businesses. Reserve your ad space now!

Click to browse the 2013-2014 guide, below.

VOFFG_13_14-cover
(Click to browse in Issuu.)

Bulk Order Leftovers for Sale

These items were left over from NOFA-VT’s annual Bulk Order. The Bulk Order 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 NOFA at 802-434-4122, or info@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.

Cover crops

  • 50# Organic Triticale – $38
  • 50# Organic Tritilege (50% triticale, 50% 4010 field peas) – $43.50
  • 50# Organic 4010 field peas – $43.50
  • 10# Organic Barley from Butterworks – $8.50
  • 10# Dutch white clover – $56
  • 2# Organic winter rye/hairy vetch mix – $4.50
  • 3 – peas/vetch inoculant, treats 50# – $4.77 each

Fertilizers, amendments, and potting soil

  • 50# bonechar/greensand – $23.32
  • 50# pro-holly – $21.73
  • 5# K-mag $5.30
  • 5# Greensand – $4.24
  • 2 – 5# Bone char- $5.30
  • 1 – 5# Bloodmeal – $14.84
  • 5# Azomite slow release – $6.36
  • 1 gallon OGS liquid kelp – $19.61
  • 2 – 5 gallon OGS liquid kelp – $87.45
  • 2 – 1 gallon liquid fish/kelp – $20.14
  • 2 – 22 qt McEnroe Premium potting mix – $6.36
  • 22 qt McEnroe Premium lite potting mix – $6.50

Other items

  • 1 wooden display bushel box, hand held – $11.13
  • 2 row covers 50’x 83” – $13.25 each
  • 4 bundles of 12” garden stakes (untreated), 25 per bundle – $14.84
  • 1 bundle of 18” field stakes (untreated), 25 per bundle – $8.48
  • 4.5” round peat pots, 50 count -$10.60
  • 2 sets of – 3” round peat pots, 50 count – $4.77
  • Serenade 32 oz. -$22.26
  • Hemp twine – 265 ft. – $6.00
  • 2 boxes of rubber bands – $6.36
  • 9 – red ball traps, $5.30 each