NOFA Rhode Island is an organization of farmers, gardeners and consumers working to promote organic farming and land care practices.

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 land care practices. NOFA/RI fosters a healthy relationship to the natural world through farmer-to-farmer education, advocacy and technical assistance. We work 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.

NOFA History

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 in the broader food and ag community.

Today, NOFA is a growing regional coalition representing about 5,600 farmers, farm workers, apprentices, gardeners, chefs and consumer members.

NOFA Interstate Council

The Interstate Council (NOFA-IC) is a seven-member coalition of state chapters representing farmers, gardeners and consumers. The council allows 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.

Learn more about the NOFA Interstate Council at nofa.org or email administrator@nofa.org.

What is Organic Agriculture?

Health, Ecology, Fairness, and Care are the roots from which organic agriculture grows and develops. They express the contribution that organic agriculture can make to the world, and a vision to improve all agriculture in a global context.

Principle of Health

Healthy soil, plants, animals, humans = a healthy planet.

Organic agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal, human and planet as one and indivisible. Health is the wholeness and integrity of living systems. It is not simply the absence of illness, but the maintenance of physical, mental, social and ecological well-being. Immunity, resilience, and regeneration are key characteristics of health.

Principle of Fairness

Equity, respect and justice for all living things.

Organic agriculture should build on relationships that ensures fairness at all levels and to all parties – farmers, workers, processors, distributors, traders and consumers. Organic agriculture should provide everyone involved with a good quality of life, and contribute to food sovereignty and reduction of poverty.

Principle of Ecology

Emulating and sustaining natural systems.

Organic agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate them and help sustain them. Organic management must be adapted to local conditions, ecology, culture and scale. It aims to design systems that can feed people, reduce external inputs, contribute to biodiversity, and benefit our common environment.

Principle of Care

For the generations to come.

Organic agriculture should protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment. Management decisions can enhance efficiency and increase productivity, but this should not be at the risk of jeopardizing health and well-being. Decisions should reflect the values and needs of all who might be affected, through transparent and participatory processes.

Adapted from IFOAM