NOFA-NJ opts for virtual for second straight year
LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — The Northeast Organic Farming Association-New Jersey is holding its second virtual conference on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 29 and 30.
The schedule is on the NOFA-NJ website, nofanj.org.
A highlight of the first day is an overview of the history of organic regulation from Jim Riddle, the founding president of the International Organic Inspectors Association.
He will discuss how, in the early 1990s, he saw the need to reduce regulatory barriers on organic farmers and advocated for an organic certification cost share program at the first National Organic Standards Board meeting in 1992.
He later worked with the late Sen. Paul Wellstone to get a national organic certification cost share established in the 2002 Farm Bill. His activism continued through the contention of the USDA’s First Proposed Organic Rule in 1997 and he later shaped organic guidelines.
He is now an organic farmer in Minnesota with his wife, Joyce Ford.
Another Saturday morning speaker will be American economist, environmentalist, writer and industrial hemp grower, Winona LaDuke.
The candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket twice, she is an enrolled Ojibwe and holds a Harvard degree in rural economic development and continues to be a leader in the Native American environmental rights movement.
Known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation, as well as sustainable development, she will speak about the drive to reclaim tribal land for ownership.
Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, associate professor at the School of International Service of American University in Washington, researches and teaches global environmental and agricultural policy and agrarian politics.
A critical geographer, she draws upon political ecology and decolonial studies to research agricultural biodiversity conservation, agrarian cooperatives, land use decisions. She will speak on domestic and global impacts of U.S. farm policies.
NOFA-NJ Board of Directors president Mike Rassweiler will lead a roundtable discussion with farmers on reimagining organic farming in New Jersey.
From 5-6 p.m. a documentary by filmmaker Nancy Ghertner will be shown. “Voices from the Barrens” documents the involvement of indigenous/native peoples in the blueberry harvest of Maine.
Sunday morning will be devoted to a half-day workshop presented by Meghan Geroux and Eric Toensmeier of Interlace Commons.
The hands-on workshop will address adoption of agroforestry and land-use practices to ameliorate climate change and land degradation enabling farmers to move toward resilient, biodiverse landscapes.
Geroux and Toensmeier work with farmers to design and implement agroforestry practices.
A second Sunday speaker is Charles West of West Farm in Branchburg.
He devotes the farm he has owned for 35 years to wildlife habitat improvement, a small hybrid chestnut grove and a pawpaw orchard. He will speak on North American pawpaws and American persimmons.
Dr. Thomas J. Molnar, associate professor of plant biology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, will discuss the genetic improvement and study of hazelnuts. Molnar has an experimental hazelnut crop at the college.
Mark Canright, one of the few second generation organic farmers in the state, is a frequent presenter at NOFA-NJ. He will speak on orcharding.
Another frequent Winter Conference participant, Nate Kleinman, will present on Prunus Maritima, the beach plum.
Lee Reich of New Paltz, N.Y, operates a farmden, which he calls more than a garden and less than a farm.
A writer of a weekly blog, he also conducts workshops, gives lectures and serves as a consultant. He will speak on bramble fruit and pruning fruit trees.
NOFA-NJ will post periodic updates to the program on its website.
The website also includes a complete list of sponsors.