Monday, April 14, 2014

Journeyperson Spotlight: Josiah Venter of Ro-Jo Farms

Josiah Venter (right) with friend and business partner Toby Fischer
Last week we announced the 3 newly accepted farmers of the 2 year Journeyperson program with CT NOFA which helps beginning farmers in their most formative years. Today we shine the spotlight on Josiah Venter of Ro-Jo Farms in Bethany, CT! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

CT NOFA Accepts 3 New Journeypersons! Spotlight on Ben Harris

CT NOFA is proud to announce the next round of Journeyperson farmers to take part in the 2 year program funded by a grant from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture through the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The Journeyperson program strives to support farmers in the education gap between apprentice and independent farmer and to provide resources and opportunities for prospective new farmers who have completed an apprenticeship to further develop skills they need to farm independently.  

This year we have accepted 3 beginning farmers into the program: Ben Harris of Root Down Farm CSA in Coventry, Josiah Venter of Ro-Jo Farms in Bethany and Roger &  Issabelle Phillips of Sub Edge Farm in Farmington. 

Ben Harris. photo by Weston Monroe/Cara Paiuk
Today's blog spotlight will focus on beginning farmer Ben Harris.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Who will feed China? What does it mean for us?

by Bill Duesing

Lester Brown's Who Will Feed China?: Wake Up Call for a Small Planet was published nearly 20 years ago.
Bill Duesing
He noted that in an integrated world economy, China's rising food prices become the world's rising food prices.  China's land and water scarcity become the whole world's problems.

It looks like he got it right.

As the New York Times reported this morning, "A large, growing and increasingly affluent population, worsening soil and water pollution and rising urbanization rates have combined to reduce Chinas arable land and put immense pressure on the countrys ability to meet its food needs domestically."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Why we need to ban Genetically Engineered Grass by Bill Duesing, CT NOFA Organic Advocate

Why we need to ban Genetically Engineered Grass
by Bill Duesing, CT NOFA Organic Advocate, Old Solar Farm, Oxford, CT

It is urgent for Connecticut to pass a ban on sale of genetically-modified grass and other perennials now.

Scotts Miracle-Gro company has genetically engineered a strain of Kentucky bluegrass to resist Roundup herbicide. It has been reported that employees of the Ohio company will plant this GMO grass seed this summer.  It is scheduled to go into commercial production in 2015 and be marketed to consumers in 2016.(1.)

Kentucky bluegrass is a valuable pasture plant which grows well in fertile soil.  It is often used in a mix of other grasses and legumes for grazing animals and making hay.  It was brought to this continent by the Europeans "to feed their livestock because it was nutritious, fast growing, and able to stand up to heavy grazers."  (2.)

Bluegrass is also widely used alone or with other grasses (and sometimes legumes) for lawns and playing fields.

Never missing an opportunity to sell more of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide and encourage lawns that look as close as possible to astroturf, Scotts Miracle-Gro came up with Roundup Ready Kentucky bluegrass. 

The idea is that you plant your lawn, playing field or golf course with this fancy and more expensive seed.  Once it grows, weed control is easy.  Just spray Roundup and every plant except the genetically modified grass is killed.  There you have it!  A bluegrass monoculture.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Inspiring Farmers in the Northeast at our 32nd Annual Winter Conference!

Swift Farms sold their amazing bees wax products
I don’t know about you, but the staff at CT NOFA is still bathing in the afterglow of an inspiring and successful Winter Conference!

The 32nd annual Winter Conference was held at Western Connecticut State University this past Saturday, March 1st and had over 900 people in attendance, a new record! The day started with attendees gathering in our vendor area where they were able to fill their free CT NOFA tote bags with literature and goodies from educational exhibitors, local farmers, and crafters! (A full list of vendors and exhibitors from the day can be found at HERE)

CT NOFA's Organic Advocate: How are we going to eat?

CT NOFA's Organic Advocate

How are we going to eat?

By Bill Duesing

"Coincident with the rise of industrialism, people started to see food less as a connection between one's body and the natural world and more as a barrier between humans and the imagined savagery of the natural world." 
Against the Grain: How Agriculture has hijacked civilization, by Richard Manning

First the good news.

CT NOFA had record attendance at our 32nd annual winter conference.  Over 900 attendees created "... a contagious sense of community and passion at this event," according to one reporter.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nature's Medicine

The winter nose drip getting you down?  
Has persistent coughing or a sore throat been making you agitated? 

Leigh White is to the rescue, presenting her workshop Kitchen as Medicine Cabinet: Using Food for Acute Illnesses at the 32nd Annual Winter Conference on March 1st. Acknowledging the incredibly innate healing power of nature and how individuals can help restore their bodies to a state of homeostasis through this power is White's speciality. There are an influx of herbs, roots and flowers growing in our very own backyards that can make us feel balance within our bodies again! If you are interested in learning how to utilize those seemingly mundane ingredients in your kitchen for medicinal value, this workshop is for you!