NOFA-NJ annual meeting to go virtual
LAMBERTVILLE — Members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association-New Jersey will not have to worry about snowy weather for the 31st Annual Conference scheduled for Jan. 30 -31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Normally held at the Cook/Douglass Student Center in New Brunswick on the last weekend in January, the conference is going virtual for 2021.
While attendees will not have to be concerned about driving in the snow, they will miss the camaraderie with the presenters and the sponsors.
This year, attendees will have to peruse the sponsors’ wares on their computers and listen to Zoom presentations.
They will also be paying much less for the conference.
The 2021 member rate is $35, $50 for non-members and $15 for students and veterans. In comparison, the 2020 single-day conference was $100 for members. Of course, they also save money on transportation.
And NOFA-NJ doesn’t have to spend money on transportation for speakers, but the lineup is equal to previous conferences.
Leading the first day’s speakers is Rowen White of Sierra Seeds.
White is a farmer and seed keeper. She also does leadership training to communities and organizations with the goal of building programs that focus on food and seed sovereignty rooting in certain cultural values such as interdependence, healing, integrity, compassion and dignified resurgence.
A member of the Mohawk community of the Akwesasne, she works with inter-cultural initiatives and tribal/indigenous communities and fosters collaborations between native and non-native organizations and communities. She developed Seed Seva educational program, a permaculture-based approach to seed stewardship that teaches hands-on skills within a cultural context whose principles are rooted in an “indigenous ecology of interconnected relations,” according to its website.
White is a frequent keynote speaker. She tells stories sharing her vision of the future and honoring the role of cultural memory. She also leads retreats.
Another Day 1 speaker will be Charles Rosen of Ironbound Cider and New Ark Farms.
His enterprises provide living wages to ex-offenders and other underserved people who live in Newark and its environs.
A round table on the challenges of growing in or near urban centers will be moderated by Nate Kleinman, an active participant in NOFA-NJ for many years.
Kleinman runs the Experimental Farm Network, a volunteer seed-sharing and plant-breeding network based in Philadelphia. He also farms with the Alliance Community Reboot in Pittsgrove Township on land that was part of the Alliance Colony, the first Jewish Agriculture settlement in the United States.
Participants in the round table are:
• Sonya Harris, founder and CEO of Bullock Gardens in Swedesboro which teaches children about agriculture.
• Paige Vaccaro of Communities Revolutionizing Public Spaces which creates ready-made container gardens and demonstrates and sells them at the Linwood Farmers Market and three garden locations in Atlantic and Cape May counties. She also helped re-establish the Pleasantville Farmers Market; and
• Kathia Ramirez, food justice coordinator at CATA Farmworkers, a non-profit farmworkers organization.
Further information is available on the NOFA-NJ website.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925