This new farm has used organic methods for three years. The farmers have just received organic certification for their Portsmouth greenhouse. “Matt and I just passed final inspection for organic certification. We had help from NOFA/RI, and though only the hoop house was certified, we feel it’s a great accomplishment for being in business such a short time,” said Phil Hadley.
In 2011, Matt Plumb and Rory Hennessey started Roma Neighborhood Farms on an acre of farmland in Portsmouth. The pair studied seed catalogs, prepped the beds and started farming. For the next two seasons, they built their growing skills and established restaurant customers.
In year three, Phil Hadley joined the Roma Farm team. The partners now lease another acre of farmland from Sustainable Aquidneck in Middletown. The farmers grow for restaurants and offer 40 summer farm shares with weekly pickups at the Middletown farm on Thursdays from 3 – 6 p.m. or Sundays from 12 – 4 p.m. or delivery for residences/businesses located on Thames St. and Bellevue Ave. in Newport. Contact the farmers at email@example.com.
The farmers received technical assistance with the organic certification process from Organic Farm Advisor, Steve Ramos of Steve’s Organic Produce in Bristol. The Farm Advisor program is available through the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Rhode Island (NOFA/RI) and provides free technical guidance to farmers wishing to implement organic methods on their farms. Experienced organic farmers are paired with new or transitioning farmers. The Organic Farm Advisor program is possible thanks to a generous Farm Viability grant from the RI Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture, which seeks to enhance farmers’ ability to grow and market their crops.
Learn more or apply for organic technical assistance here.
Specialty Crops Training, as defined by this USDA-supported program, includes fruits, dried fruit, tree nuts, vegetables, nursery crops, Christmas trees, floriculture, cut flowers, honey, hops and turf grass production. Program participants learn how to enhance their market competitiveness with their specialty crops through: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, “Buy Local” programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and/or reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental conservation, product development and/or developing cooperatives.