Northeast Organic Farming Association - Massachusetts

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Mission Statement

Our Mission:
Through education and advocacy NOFA/Mass promotes organic agriculture to expand the production and availability of nutritious food from living soil for the health of individuals, communities and the planet.
Our Vision:
NOFA/Mass envisions a commonwealth of people working together to create healthy landscapes that feed our communities and restore our environment.

Description

History
In 1971, the Natural Organic Farmers Association was formed in Vermont and New Hampshire and in 1982 chapters were added in Massachusetts as well as Connecticut and New York. Later, chapters were formed in Rhode Island and New Jersey. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association was formed right around the time that NOFA was established. Together these two organizations have been the most powerful forces for education regarding organic agriculture in the Northeast for the past 40 years. NOFA changed its name to the Northeast Organic Farming Association in 1989. By that time the word "natural" had become somewhat commercialized. By changing "farmers" to "farming" the NOFA leadership attempted to be more welcoming to those who support organic farming, along with those who practice it. NOFA/Mass welcomes to its ranks anyone who eats, anyone who grows food - large or small, urban or rural, and anyone who tends the landscape or lives the activist lifestyle.

Program Details

Organizational focii:
Soil Carbon Restoration
NOFA/Mass is currently the leading farmer-run organization working in the Northeast on soil carbon restoration and healthy soils practices. As a grassroots organization run by farmers and gardeners, we leverage our deep connections in the organic agriucultural community to:
- Facilitate communication between legislators, farmers, researchers, and stakeholders for collaborative advocacy advancing healthy soils legislations, programs and practices
- Organize farmer-to-farmer educational opportunities to collectively problem solve and to highlight farmer innovations around healthy soils-- for example, tillage reduction on organic farms, cover crop termination methods for optimal residue management, biodiversity in cover crop strategies, simple field assessment for healthy soils indicators, perennial integration on annual crops farms, and more.
- Provide community education on tillage reduction, soil health assessment, cover crops, soil fungi and other topics in soil carbon restoration through on-farm workshops and farm tours, webinars, podcasts, original articles, and two annual conferences.
- Offer one on one technical support to farmers to help them increase their soil carbon content through on-farm soil health assessment, reporting, analysis and reccomendations for improved practices
- Create community and foster mutual support and movement building for the healthy soils movement
Pollinators and Insect Protection
NOFA/Mass takes insect biodiveristy as a critical issue for food, farming and ecoystem health. We are a leading education and advocacy organization in our state on pollinator protection and pesticide reduction, moving forward a suite of priority bills (including the MA Pollinator Protection Act) while also, in partnership with Community Action Works, organizing the Community Pesticide Reduction Network (CPR network) a mutually-supportive network of grassroots activists across the state (and neighboring states) who are working to reduce pesticide use on a town-by-town basis.
In addition to our advocacy work on insect protection we offer education on organic land management, farming with beneficial insects, and insect habitat creation (including designing with and growing native plants) at our two annual conferences and through our educational events, podcasts and webinars.
Food As Medicine
A third major programmatic priority for NOFA/Mass is Food as Medicine. We believe that we can all work together to build a better food system-- one which is non-toxic and one which is also nutrient-dense. We work towards this goal in two main ways:
First, through farmer-to-farmer and farmer-to-researcher learning, facilitating farmer learning communities around crop nutrient testing, providing soil fertility technical assistance and soil lab analysis, and through education to farmers about soil health, the role of fungi in improving crop nutrient access, and the importance of trace remineralization.
Secondly, we work in underserved communities, providing gardening and nutrition programming for youth, teen mothers and the underhoused. We operate several educational community-based gardens in Springfield Mass in partnership with Friends of the Homeless, Home City Housing, Gardening the Community, and the City of Springfield.
Reach
We educate several thousand of farmers, gardeners, and food systems activists annually through our various programs, and have over 200,000 educational impressions annually through our community-generated educational content (including monthly newsletter, podcast downloads, action alerts, website resource views, Youtube channel views, conference and event attendees).
Primary Issue
Food
Secondary Issue
Land
Address
411 Sheldon Road
Barre, MA 1005
United States
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