40th Annual NOFA Summer Conference

NOFA Summer Conf logo 2014
The Northeast Organic Farming Association’s 40th Annual Summer Conference will be held August 8-10 at UMass Amherst­. The Conference will provide a variety of educational opportunities for people from across the Northeast interested in organic food and farming. Each year the conference attracts 1,400 farmers, suburban backyard gardeners, urban agriculturists and many others. The weekend features 200+ practical skills workshops, live entertainment, children’s and teen conferences, a country fair, organic meals, 100+ exhibitors and a welcoming environment in which food system changers develop new friendships, skills and contacts.The workshops are geared to all skill levels, ages and interests. Several of the Northeast’s brightest minds in organic practices will present on topics such as soil and fertility, organic farming, farm management, alternative energy, seed saving, land care and gardening. Several individuals from Rhode Island will lead workshops. Half-day long pre-conferences will take place on Friday, August 8.

Several financing options are available, including group discounts for five or more from a farm, school, or other small organization (click here), scholarships for beginning farmers (less than 10 years farming), individuals without strong financial means, but are passionate about organic farming and work exchange. Affordable accommodations include camping and dorms.

Learn more about the NOFA Summer Conference at nofasummerconference.org, contact NOFA/Mass Public Relations Director, Nicole Belanger at nicole@nofamass.org or call (508) 450-2441.

Micronutrients may increase crop yields and nutrition

Derek Christianson of Brix Bounty Farm

Derek Christianson of Brix Bounty Farm

If you could increase your yields and your markets demanded more produce, would you spend money on soil amendments? Derek Christianson of Brix Bounty Farm in Dartmouth, MA has long recommended farmers pay attention to soil micronutrients. He said soil amendments or foliar sprays are easy to justify with increased yields in healthier plants.

Christianson described the benefits of improving micronutrient availability in an Advanced Growers Seminars for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of RI (NOFA/RI). His program explored the nutritional needs of different crop families, key minerals needed to support healthy growth and the role of fertility management in achieving optimum yields. Christianson covered five crops, their fertility needs, cost and expense considerations and growing season management. Crops included beets, onions, spring cabbage, tomatoes and winter squash.

Thorough, accurate soil tests are critical for any grower. Site analysis and test results help determine ideal crops for a particular site as well as appropriate amendments. [Read more here.]