NOFA/RI Winter Conference & Annual Meeting


Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

The Past, Present & Future of Organics
February 16, 2014, 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, 101 Ferry Road, Bristol, RI

Join Northeast Organic Farming Association of Rhode Island (NOFA/RI) for our Winter Conference and Annual Meeting.

Michael Veracka

Michael Veracka

Three NOFA/RI founders and early members will describe their reasons for starting this NOFA chapter back in 1990 and the continued relevance of organic farming, gardening and landscaping today. We will hear about, edible landscaping from Landscape Architect and former farmer, Michael Veracka, compost from Mike Merner, owner of Earth Care Farm and educating our next generation of farmers from high school Agriculture Teacher, John O’Malley.

Mike Merner with Earth Care Farm crew

Mike Merner with Earth Care Farm crew

Our Annual Meeting will celebrate our 2013 achievements and announce our program plans for 2014. Enjoy a delicious potluck meal with fellow NOFA/RI members. Afterward, join a breakout session with one of our speakers to hear about their organic specialty. [Learn more and register here.]

It’s time for NOFA’s Spring Bulk Order

NOFA Spring Bulk OrderFarmers, gardeners and landscapers can save money and support the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Rhode Island (NOFA/RI) though our 2014 Spring Bulk Order. We take orders for cover crop seed, fertilizers, mineral amendments, compost, potting soil, potato and allium seed from January 1 through January 31.

Each year, NOFA organizes a bulk order with popular suppliers for distribution at sites in Cranston, RI, western, central and eastern MA and central CT. Farmers, gardeners and landscapers realize significant savings through group purchasing power and collective shipping, while helping NOFA support organic practices throughout the Tri-State region. The order is open to NOFA members and non-members. There is no minimum or maximum order.

NOFA recommends farmers and gardeners start planning now. Get a soil test and request recommendations. Learn more about soil tests here. The 2014 Bulk Order will only be available through January 31. Get your 2014 order form here.

2014 suppliers will include:

Vermont Compost - Bulk Order - smallRhode Island orders can be picked-up at Urban Edge Farm, 35 Pippin Orchard Road, Cranston during the week of March 11. Allium & tuber seed will be ready for pick-up the week of April 1, 2014.

Learn more about Spring Bulk Orders here.

For Safety and Quality

The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. For example, rather than using chemical weedkillers, organic farmers may conduct sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay.

This new study from Seattle reports that school children eating conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are more likely to exceed EPA safety thresholds for organophosphate pesticides than children eating organic produce. Simple choices by parents can have a big impact on pesticide exposures. “This study demonstrates that dietary choice can have a significant effect on children’s pesticide exposure. To our knowledge, no other studies have tested this hypothesis. Our finding that children who consume primarily organic produce exhibit lower pesticide metabolite levels in their urine than children who consume conventional produce is consistent with known agricultural practice, since organic foods are grown without pesticides. Consumption of organic produce represents a relatively simple means for parents to reduce their children’s pesticide exposure.”

The heart of the analysis shows that DMTP levels in children eating organic foods were significantly lower than those eating conventional foods:

DMTP values averaged 9 times higher in children eating a conventional diet.

Two studies have found that children fed organic diets experienced significantly lower organophosphorus pesticide exposure than children fed conventional diets.Although the researchers did not collect health outcome data in this study, they concluded “it is intuitive to assume that children whose diets consist of organic food items would have a lower probability of neurologic health risks.”

A 2010 study associated these pesticides with an increased risk for ADHD. A 2007 study found that consumption of organic milk is associated with a decrease in risk for eczema, although no comparable
benefit was found for organic fruits, vegetables, or meat.

It has never been easier to shop for organic food, and there has never been so much choice. Every food category now has an organic alternative. It’s also common sense; organic food is good food.
Good to eat, good for the environment, good for the small-scale farmers and the farm workers who produce it.

By eating organic food you are providing the healthiest choice for your family and supporting the farms that provide us with healthy and ecological neighborhoods.

Organic vs Traditional Farming

Whenever we hear about organic farming, we would eventually tend to nod on how agreeable it is compared to the commercialized method of gardening or farming. Well, truly there are lots of differences between the two, and these differences will really make one choose organic farming rather than the commercialized one.

Of course a lot of people, especially those who are involved in agricultural business, go for the commercialized farming. They use pesticides, fertilizers, and plant growing regulators, and because of all of this the soil will soon be too acidic, and the vegetables unsafe to be eaten without washing and cooking it properly. On the other hand, eating vegetables that were cultivated through organic farming is totally safe from harmful chemicals, since the method only involves crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control.

Moreover, there are a lot of benefits of organic farming beside eating healthy. Organic farming contributes to providing healthy soils to be developed as well as to the people around. According to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, “Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.” Research has also shown that through organic farming, global greenhouse emissions will be reduced by forty percent in our atmosphere. This means that a better status in our climate is also very possible which will save us from calamities due to climate change. Although organic farming involves a lot of processes, researches above prove that organic farming must be more developed for the welfare not only of the environment, but most importantly to all mankind.