I love the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA). We all know that it’s good to hang out with like minded people so that we can exchange ideas and learn new stuff. (Come to think of it it’s good to hang out with people that you don’t agree with too so that you can exchange ideas and learn new stuff. Hmmmm.)
Anyways, I’ve been a member of NOFA for a long time. If you are interested in growing food, food safety, organics or eating healthy (who isn’t?) you really should join the state chapter of your organic farmers association. Just Google your state name and “organic farmers association.”
My member ship is $35 a year. They also offer low income memberships.
Why I like being a member i.e. what I get out of it:
- Quarterly issues of the Organic Farmer – it covers food, organics, government issues and hints, tips and tricks to grow more stuff using better methods. The last issue had a great 8 page section on mulches.
- Six issues of the state chapter newsletter. These have ads for jobs, land and swaps.
- Annual Organic Food guide that tells ya where all the organic farms, markets, stores and suppliers are located locally.
- Discounts on the Summer and Winter Conferences – more below! This is what got me thinking about writing this blog entry.
- Discounts on the Practical Skills Workshops – more below! Ditto.
- Discounts on the group bulk order – Man, this is the coolest thing. If you are an organic gardener you know that you don’t feed plants. Please do not feed the plants. Organics is all about feeding the soil. Water solubles are bad. Minerals and stone dusts are good because they don’t get washed away and break down slowly. (Sorry that’s another blog entry.)
- Anyways, the deal with the bulk order is that you get to join together with other members and due to economies of scale buy stuff on the cheap. I’m able to order composts, organic cover crops seed, sets for onions and potatoes, organic fertilizers, organic pest control supplies, all kinds of organic soil amendments like azomite, granite meal, gypsum, colloidal phosphate, potting soils and all kinds of other useful things too.
Now for the nuts of this entry……….
The best part of being a member of the Association are the conferences and Practical Skills Workshops. For example, the Practical Skills Workshops run throughout the year. Each one probably costs 40 bucks or so. They cover such things as: High Tunnels for Season Extension, Breadmaking with whole grains, Cheesemaking, Solar Hot Water, Shamanic Plant Journeying, Biodiesel, Draft Horses, Veggie Oil Car Conversion, Rustic Stick Furniture, Draft Horses *Advanced*, Composting Toilets, Tofu and Tempeh, Organic Home Lawn Care, Foraging for Wild Edibles, Making Soap with Goat’s Milk with soap-making, Couples Massage, Medicinal Herbs, Yoga for Farmers and Gardeners, Cheesemaking #3! – (ADVANCED*) making difficult cheeses, Winemaking, Canning your Garden, Seed-saving : keeping your favorites for next year, Tinctures, Salves, and Lotions.
And that’s just this year!!
At the Winter Conference. There are maybe 30 different classes on things like what I listed above plus: beekeeping, raw milk, nutrient dense crop production, raising pigs, pastured poultry, plants and plans for an organic garden, nursery management, pest and disease control and so on. The conference runs all day. There are classes from 8:30-10, 1-3 and 3-5. During each time slot there are maybe 6-8 classes offered so you just choose which one to go to. So I can go to three different classes during the day. There is also a potluck lunch where all the attendees make something depending on the first letter of your last name and we all break bread together.
The Summer Conference is basically the same deal, but we take over a college/university for three whole days and nights. There are dinners and contra dances and raffles and entertainment and things for the kids to do too.
Probably one of the best reasons to join is that you get to plug into the community of farmers, growers and gardeners so if you have crop, garden, plant or pest problems there is a whole network of supportive people anxious to exchange info ideas, tips and tricks.
I can’t stress enough how good it is to join your state’s chapter of the organic farmers association. It’s a no brainer.
IMHO what you learn about growing food, storing food, growing animals and building soil is more important than all the guns and ammo in the world. Chance of shooting Zombies = .000001%. Chance of putting good organic food on the table = 100%. Don’t be a dullard, play the odds.
Git outside everyday-