New Jersey Ag News
NOFA-N.J. ’16 winter meeting on Jan. 30-31
By JANE PRIMERANO
LINCROFT (Jan. 1, 2016) — Once again, the last full weekend in January is the time for organic farmers and gardeners, locavores and other fans of fresh food to gather at Brookdale Community College for the Northeast Organic Farming Association-New Jersey’s annual winter conference.
Attendees who experienced the conference when it was held at Cook and Princeton, express the belief NOFA-NJ has found the perfect location on this Monmouth County campus.
Registration is at the organization’s website nofanj.org.
The facility opens at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30 with breakout sessions following. The breakout sessions are in five separate tracks, but many visitors cross over to attend sessions in different tracks.
The tracks are: Advanced Farming, Beginner Farming, Gardening, Food and Nutrition and Homesteading and Livestock.
Many sessions are listed in more than one track. For example, Certified Organic Nutrient Dense Food and Building Soil Carbon for Crops and Climate are in both the beginning and advanced tracks.
Hand Tool How-To: Use and Maintenance of Traditional Hand Tools is in beginner, gardening and homesteading and livestock.
There are eight concurrent sessions. On both Saturday and Sunday, the first session is from 8:30 to 10. The two afternoon sessions are from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and 3:15 to 4:45 p.m.
On Saturday, the keynote speech will be at 10 a.m. Keynoter Kathleen Delate of Iowa State University will speak on “The Mainstreaming of Organic Agriculture.” She is a professor of agronomy and horticulture and an organic agriculture specialist, according to the NOFA-NJ website. She has also conducted extensive research on organic no-till, organic vegetables and organic grain systems.
On Sunday at 10 a.m., Pamela Boyce Simms of Transition US will give a keynote “Relocalized Food Production in a Regional Resilience Framework.”
She will address roles that local sustainable food producers play in the Mid-Atlantic region and what needs to be done to improve sustainability and regional resilience.
Transition US is a nonprofit organization that supports building communities to be resilient to the expense and finite supply of fossil fuels and to climate change.
Some of the other presenters are featured on the NOFA-NJ website.
One of those is return speaker Jessica Niederer of Chickadee Farm, New Jersey’s 2016 Outstanding Young Farmer, chosen by the State Board of Agriculture. She will discuss running a CSA and also talk about how organic farmers can get involved and have an impact on local and state agricultural policy. She will be part of a panel with Jennifer LoMonaco and Jeffrey Tober at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The panel is called “How to Build a CSA Business.”
Dorothy Mullen of The Suppers Programs, a nonprofit that holds dinners in private homes and facilitates discussions about health topics, and Dr. Maria Benito will present a session on preventing and treating medical conditions through nutrition.
Jon McConaughy of Double Brook Farm, Brick Farm Market and Brick Farm Tavern will discuss having an on-farm USDA slaughterhouse.
Jack Kittredge, policy director of NOFA-MA and editor of The Natural Farmer, will teach a class on farming and gardening to maximize soil carbon capture and how sequestered carbon can add fertility, resilience and water storage capacity to the soil.
Mike McGrath of NPR station WHYY-FM will present “Making Compost is Easy, It’s Comedy That’s Hard.”
Other sessions will cover organic pest management, soil fertility management for organic farms, good bug-bad bug, organic blueberry production, irrigation design and cultivating ecological vegetable gardens.