Formed in 1990, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Rhode Island (NOFA/RI) is an organization of farmers, consumers, gardeners and environmentalists working to promote organic farming and organic land care practices. NOFA/RI fosters a healthy relationship to the natural world through educational workshops, advocacy and participation in local and regional events. NOFA/RI works to increase the acres of sustainably and organically managed land and to provide access to local, organic food for all Rhode Islanders. NOFA/RI is affiliated with other NOFA chapters through the NOFA Interstate Council.
The Natural Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) was formed in Vermont and New Hampshire in 1971.The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) was established in the early 1970s. Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York started NOFA chapters in 1982. Rhode Island and New Jersey NOFA chapters were created later. NOFA and MOFGA have been powerful advocates for organic agriculture and sustainable practices for over 40 years.
In 1989, NOFA changed its name to the Northeast Organic Farming Association. By then the term “Natural” was overused. Changing “Farmers” to “Farming” welcomed gardeners and consumers as well as growers.
Work of NOFA Chapters
View a video made by NOFA/Mass on their policy work, outreach, workshops and members here.
NOFA Interstate Council
The Interstate Council (NOFA-IC) is a seven-member coalition of state chapters representing farmers, gardeners and consumers. Council President, Enid Wonnacott of NOFA-VT said, “The NOFA Interstate Council provides an important opportunity for state NOFAs to collaborate beyond state lines, work together on joint projects and build the capacity of each chapter to serve their members.”
The Interstate Council also advocates for regional and national policies that support organic growers and produces “The Natural Farmer,” a quarterly newspaper with features on organic farming techniques, certification issues, organic market conditions and relevant policy and environmental developments. The Interstate Council works with archivist Robert Cox at the University of Massachusetts to chronicle the history of the organic food movement in the northeast.
NOFA is a growing regional coalition representing about 5,600 farmers, farm workers, apprentices, gardeners, chefs and consumer members.
What is Organic Agriculture?
The USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), defines organic agriculture as “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain or enhance ecological harmony. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.” (NOSB, 1997)
USDA Organic Resources
The USDA Organic Resource Guide includes programs and services that support organic agriculture. Programs assist organic farmers, ranchers or handlers. Click here to view the USDA Organic Resource Guide.