NOFA-NY Field Notes

NOFA-NY Field Notes

Our blog “Field Notes” is a great way to stay current on organic farming, gardening, certification, policy, and community information and issues that we regularly share here. We help you stay on top of everything that relates to technical and practical organic farming and gardening, timely and important legislative policies, field days, conferences, consumer issues, and more.

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Feb. 25 CSA Fair at NY Wine & Culinary Center

Feb. 25 CSA Fair at NY Wine & Culinary Center

Thanks to Meg Lindsay from the NY Wine & Culinary Center for this blog:

Are you seeking ways to incorporate fresh, local foods into your daily meals? Investing in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows you to receive fresh produce weekly - all season long. By becoming a CSA member, you’re investing in a “share” of locally grown fruit, veggies, meat, and more! There are different levels you can take part in that vary in the amount of food you receive to best fit your life style.

Not sure if investing in a CSA share is right for you? Stop by the CSA Fair at the New York Wine & Culinary Center (NYWCC) at 800 South Main St, Canandaigua, NY, Saturday, February 25 from 10am – 2pm. NOFA-NY will be there as well to help answer questions about organic farming and food.

 

 

Throughout the morning, the NYWCC Chefs will host cooking demonstrations in their Educational Theatre to show you how to best utilize some of the more unique items you may see in your share.

Don't miss Chef samplings at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, and 1:30.

 

There will be 16 different farms showcasing what they do best! Participating farms include:

This special event is made possible through partnerships with MVP Health Care and Cornell University Cooperative Extension – Ontario County.

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Jack Lazor Guest Blog: A Farmer’s Thoughts on 100% Grass Fed Dairying

Jack Lazor Guest Blog: A Farmer’s Thoughts on 100% Grass Fed Dairying

Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm, keynote speaker at next month's Organic Dairy & Field Crop Conference generously shared his thoughts for this fascinating guest blog. Thanks, Jack!

One hundred per cent grass fed dairy products (aka “grass milk”) has been a relatively recent arrival to the dairy section of most natural foods outlets. The health benefits of 100% grass fed dairy have long been espoused by The Weston A. Price Foundation and others. When cows live on a diet from which grain has been eliminated, the omega 3 fatty acid profile increases in their milk. Grass fed beef has become quite popular because of the presence of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA’s) in the meat. Higher CLA’s reduce one’s risk of cancer and other diseases. These same nutritional advantages hold true for 100% grass fed milk products. 

We here at Butterworks Farm have long been interested in no grain dairy farming. For the past 40 years we have been grain growers as well as hay producers. Cereals (oats, wheat and barley) and row crops like corn and soy have fit neatly into our crop rotation with grasses and legumes. The straw byproduct of the grain is just as important to us for bedding our animals as the grain is for feeding them. We ground the grain into a dairy ration and fed our cows grains from our own farm as opposed to buying it from the “mill.” Over the years, as our soil health and fertility has increased, we have improved the quality of our forages (grass and legumes) to the point where we have been able to reduce the amount of grain fed to our cows to 4 ½ pounds at each milking. Standard fare on most high production dairy farms is one pound of grain for every three pounds of milk produced. Our ratio was closer to 1:5. 

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Reflections on the 2017 NOFA-NY Winter Conference

Reflections on the 2017 NOFA-NY Winter Conference

The NOFA-NY 35th Winter Conference is complete and we are in the processing stage. It was a whirlwind three days! As my first time at the conference as Executive Director, I was amazed at the enthusiasm of participants, the knowledge of the presenters, and the commitment by the NOFA-NY staff to make the conference successful! I was heartened by the true spirit of cooperation by the Saratoga Springs Hilton and City Center to work with us and ensure it ran as smoothly as possible. The food was outstanding, thanks to all our food donors and chefs. It all left me greatly inspired.

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The Josh Levine Memorial Scholarship

We are honored to share this blog by Scott Chaskey, farmer, poet, educator, and director of the Peconic Land Trust’s farm at Quail Hill. 

The wood waits, as if its most precious sap were stillness... (John Fowles)

Our first meeting is etched in my memory—that autumn when Josh Levine arrived at our farmshop in the beech woods, he was full of curiosity and passion for our community farm. Josh had an inherent tendency to dive into things: “How can I help…Can I volunteer today?”

 His enthusiasm, combined with an attention to detail, was  welcome, like a strong, fresh breeze off the Atlantic (a mile away  from Quail Hill Farm). He joined our team the following Spring, and those who met Josh on the farm and at the farmers’ market were  full of praise: he was energetic, committed, and he loved to  communicate about seedlings, plants, preparing food, caring for  the soil, and community agriculture.

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Support Biodiversity at the NOFA-NY Winter Conference

Support Biodiversity at the NOFA-NY Winter Conference

The NOFA-NY 35th Winter Conference is right around the corner! What a positive way to usher in the New Year! January is a busy month with several NOFA conferences and the Presidential inauguration. You may be deciding whether or not to join the hustle and bustle in Washington, DC or enjoy the activities and festivities of the Winter Conference. For me, that is a very easy decision. The NOFA-NY Winter Conference will offer a range of discussions, workshops and entertainment that not only recognize the changing of the administration, but also arm you with a trove of information and connections to last far beyond the next 4 or 8 or even 12 years! 

CR Lawn Photo Credit Jo JosephsonSpeakers include the eminent CR Lawn of Fedco Seeds, NYS Commissioner of Agriculture & Markets Richard A. Ball, and hundreds of experts in their fields. We will have workshops that improve skills to reduce tillage and increase the biodiversity of our soil. The Hands-on Horse-Powered Demonstration will expand the possibilities of decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels. A Friday Roundtable Discussion will prepare you for the upcoming Farm Bill and address issues important to the integrity of organics and the vitality of our farmers.

And, of course, the first ever NE Organic Seed Conference within the larger Winter Conference is small_NE_Organic_Seed_Conference_Logo_V.jpgpart of the movement to ensure that the biodiversity of our seeds is saved and protected for generations to come.

Our workshops and discussion groups will delve into what diversity of our farmers looks like. We have “Dismantling Racism” workshop led by Keith McHenry on Saturday morning, as well as discussion groups for women, veterans and LGBTQ farmers and advocates. We aim to recognize our divisions, bridge them, and honor our diversity. Stephen Gabriel of Wellspring Forest Farm will organize a teach-in (or two) for Farmers in Action to prepare for civil leadership in the coming months and years. We will be live streaming the events in Washington, DC so you can stay informed of what is happening in the nation’s capital.

NACL_Theatre.jpgAs far as entertainment, we are thrilled to have a special performance by the North American Cultural Laboratory (NACL), a professional, non-profit company that has created more than 20 original ensemble theatre productions and countless public spectacles since 1997. During the breaks on Saturday at 10:15am and 2:45pm, the NACL Theatre will perform a stilt skit to honor crop and human diversity for a healthy world. Our thanks to NACL Artistic Director Tannis Kowalchuk for stepping in and up to make this happen. We also will have a lively Jam session for people to pick up their instrument of choice and find their voice to honor our rich assortment of musical backgrounds and interests.

To follow our theme, all of us at NOFA-NY hope that the halls of the Saratoga Hilton and City Center will be filled with a Diverse group of people committed to nurturing the Biodiversity found on our farms. You won’t want to miss this!

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New York: The Next Beverage Empire?

Conference Workshops: Field to Flask: Farmers, Maltsters, Brewers, and You...

beerRegional drinking here to stay? A local revolution going on? Or a NOFA-NY Conference in Saratoga, NY? Well, as it’s not likely we’ll be seeing prohibition returning to NYS, so it's time to get out later this month and meet some of the folks who have led the way in making NYS the next Beverage Empire.

"The craft beverage industry has taken this state by storm, and more and more New Yorkers want to try their hand at making the next great Empire State beer, wine, or cider," Governor Cuomo has said. "The new law to help New York's craft beverage industry thrive “builds upon this increased interest, supports local agriculture, and breaks down artificial barriers to allow innovation and creativity to flow."

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The National Young Farmers Coalition at the NOFA-NY Winter Conference: Guest Blog by Sophie Ackoff

According to the last USDA Census of Agriculture, farmers over the age of 65 outnumber farmers under the age of 35 by a ratio of 6-to-1. But at the annual NOFA-NY conference, the future certainly looks brighter, and we see many enthusiastic young farmers who are anxious to learn more.

The local and organic food movements are inspiring a new generation to farm in New York, as well as across the country, but there are a host of barriers standing in the way of our success. Barriers like skyrocketing land prices and student loan debt keep young people from starting their own farm businesses or taking over the family farm. 

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Hope is Action: Seed Swap guest blog from Lisa Bloodnick

I let Purple Stardust bean seeds slip through my fingers into the pail. Pods split open revealing dusky purple beans with a speckled overlay. These seeds are symbolic of friendship to me. They have a story to be told of gardens and trades, one hand to another's... seed memories of sustenance and relationships. People have shared varieties of seeds with each other since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years.

With a handful of seeds in the palm of my hand, I reflect I am holding the history of a people. They tell a story of how at some point in time, someone identified this plant as having an intrinsic value that set it apart. Perhaps the flavor was more appealing, maybe it was a workhorse of a producer or the color patterns were pleasing to the eye. Maybe the plant was more resistant to fungus or insects. Whatever the reason, someone deemed it special and worthy of being saved. 
 
It appears that climate change is accelerating faster than scientists have predicted. Homogenized, chemical based, synthetic fertilizer-dependent industrial agriculture assaults biodiversity: soil health, overall ecosystem health and the number of plant varieties used in agriculture.
 
So, yes, the situation is bleak, even soul-trying. But as my favorite journalist once wrote, hope is action. If there is a way it is through strategic organizing and community building around these issues. We at the Experimental Farm Network are addressing these topics with a network of talented growers. 
 
A tangible way to be involved is to take part in the Seed Swap at the NOFA Winter Conference on Saturday night, January 21 from 6-9 pm. There are still some reserved tables available to present the seeds you have. If you have a special tomato or bean you have been saving, please bring them. The more the merrier! Contact Lisa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Bring your open pollinated seeds and your stories. Let's carry on a 10,000 year tradition. We will "seed" you there!
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Q&A with Tradd Cotter from Mushroom Mountain

We're so excited that Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain will be presenting three workshops at our NOFA-NY Winter Conference, Jan. 20-22. He was generous enough to do a Q&A with us, so read on...

NOFA-NY: What first drew you to mushrooms and what kept you on the mushroom path?

TC: Mushrooms are mysterious mythical entities that have a long history of cultural and ritual use, it's interesting to me how civilization has evolved to embrace the fungal kingdom and the amazing benefits of understanding how yeasts, molds and mushrooms can provide us with bread, beer and wine, and medicines. I was hired on a tour of a mushroom farm at 20 and have been hooked ever since. Everyday I wake up excited about what we are working on, anxious to see what new things I can learn from our research so I can find ways to develop beneficial uses or products that people really need.

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Three-Part Guest Blog by Sarah Flack

Consultant/author Sarah Flack, who specializes in grass-based and organic livestock production, has generously supplied this three-part blog in advance of her Jan. 20 and 21 workshops at our Winter Conference:

1. Pasture Systems Guidelines:

All successful pasture systems are based on some basic and essential guidelines. These guidelines aren’t new, they’ve been known for at least 200 years, and during that time farmers and researchers have used them to develop different types of grazing methods, and given those grazing systems and methods a bunch of different names.        

Regardless of the name of the grazing system, the successful ones use relatively short periods of occupation so the dairy cows aren’t left in the same paddock for too many days. They also provide enough time to let the plants fully regrow after each grazing (variable recovery periods). By studying grazing systems currently in use, which are working well on a variety of farms, we can learn more about these grazing principals and how to apply them so that we are caring for the pasture plants, livestock, soils, farmers and our ecosystem. Along the way, we can be better informed and inspired by the many creative ways that these basic grazing guidelines are in use different farms.

Grazing adapted plants and our livestock, each have requirements, which complement each other synergistically. Plants respond best to short periods of grazing followed by long regrowth periods. Livestock do best in pastures that are managed so each paddock is grazed quickly and which are full of high-quality forage, given sufficient time to regrow. Good grazing management is a win–win system for plants and livestock.  It is also good for our soils and the larger ecosystem we all live in and share. Good management supports the development of healthier soils, sequesters carbon, and prevents erosion.

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What is biodiversity?

What is biodiversity?

Wikipedia begins its definition of biodiversity by identifying it as a contraction of “biological diversity.” It refers to the variety and variability of life, the amount of variability within a species as well as between species and ecosystems. On the farm, biodiversity can be a measure of the number of organisms present in the soil, or the number of different species present or genetic variation – the hundreds of varieties of lettuce or tomatoes or cabbage that the farmer can choose from.  

A teaspoon of healthy soil may contain 20-50,000 different species and several billion creatures. This biodiversity is the heart, soul, and strength of organic agriculture. It underlies everything that makes organic agriculture work. Biodiversity in agriculture is both a blessing and a curse, sometimes both in the same breath. A blessing, because it leads to resilience, to redundancy, to the ability to recover and persevere. A curse, because at times it seems that disease and insects are relentless and unstoppable.

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Announcing our Contest Winners!

We're excited to announce all the winners of our Eye on Ag Photo Contest and T-Shirt Design Contest!

The EYE ON AG OVERALL WINNER is Ruth Blackwell for her photo, "August" in the "At the Market" category. Ruth will receive a FREE conference registration and her photo will be featured in next year's promotional material.

EyeonAg photo winner 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hands-on Horse-Powered Demonstration Field Day

Hands-on Horse-Powered Demonstration Field Day

This year’s NOFA-NY Winter Conference is thrilled to offer a full day, hands-on Field Day at Tim Biello’s Featherbed Farm, just a short drive from our conference location in Saratoga Springs. The workshop takes place on Friday, January 20, from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm.

b2ap3 medium Biello Draft Horses

A defining feature of the farm is the use of draft horses. Experienced teamsters Biello, Donn Hewes, Chad Vogel, Nathan Henderson and Matt Volz will describe and demonstrate the basics of caring for and farming with draft horses. There will be plenty of opportunity for participants to work with and handle horses, harness and equipment, plus time for questions and lively discussions. Online pre-registration is required, as the workshop is limited to 25 participants. Cost is $20/person, including lunch. Registration for this is featured as an additional option on the registration page: https://www.cvent.com/events/2017-winter-conference/registration-56cd31842d14480a922c386dbf5f2b9d.aspx

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Conference Inside Scoop: Q&A with Chef Dan Barber & Plant Breeding Geneticist Michael Mazourek

Conference Inside Scoop: Q&A with Chef Dan Barber & Plant Breeding Geneticist Michael Mazourek

We are abolutely thrilled to present this Q&A with Dan Barberchef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Cornell Plant Breeding Geneticist Michael Mazourek. Read this inside scoop prior to their special joint presentation at the first NE Organic Seed Conference, part of our NOFA-NY Winter Conference, January 20-22, 2017:

1. Please give us a little history of your work together, and what was the inspiration?

squash_trial2_copy_copy.jpg

 MICHAEL: I was invited to Blue Hill at Stone Barns  for dinner. I had heard it described by others as life  changing, but had no idea it was literal. Of course  the meal was great, but it also inspired me and gave  me the courage to embrace creativity with the  vegetables I was developing and explore  characteristics I valued but were not part of the  mainstream.

 DAN: After their meal Michael came into the    kitchen. I held up a butternut squash–our    bestselling workaday squash— and, half jokingly,    asked him if he could create a new variety with a    more intense squash flavor. (I asked him to shrink    the thing.) I’ll never forget his response. “It’s a funny    thing, or maybe a tragic/funny thing,” he said, “but in  all my years breeding new varieties, no one has ever  asked me to breed for flavor.” For me, as a chef, it    was a revelation. If the chef’s role is to pursue truly    great flavor, then we need to engage with the      people writing the recipes for our seeds. 

 

 2. What will be the main “take-aways” from  your special presentation? 

 MICHAEL: This next wave of development of cultivars for the Northeast are really just underway. We have the opportunity to really create new cultivars and market classes all our  own. 

 DAN: Chefs and eaters tend to think of seeds as a black and white issue—heirlooms over here,  Monsanto frankenfood over there. But there’s a whole spectrum that exists between those two —one that we’ve unfortunately neglected. For the future, we need to think not only about how  to advance a dynamic tradition of breeding and selection, but also about how to communicate that story to eaters and home cooks. 

 3. How do you think culinary trends get started and then catch on?

 DAN: I think we can look to chefs. That sounds self-promoting, but we’ve already seen chefs' ability to catalyze food trends that trickle down to every level of the food chain. If you look at the recent kale craze—which started on restaurant tables in New York and now has its own holiday—you see evidence of that influence. 

MICHAEL: It is the chefs. So we need to ask ourselves what trends can we spark? Can we partner to create trends that will support growers and sustainability and nutrition in our food system once they catch on? 

4. What do you believe is the future for chef-breeder collaboration?

DAN: I think we need to continue to blur the lines between chef, breeder and farmer. That means breeders who are willing to immerse themselves in the kitchen in order to better understand ingredients' culinary applications and potential; and it means chefs who are willing to educate themselves about agronomic challenges. How can we influence one another’s decisions in the field and the kitchen to maximize ecology, economy, and flavor?

MICHAEL: It’s expanding beyond reacting. Rather than a chef just developing dishes around new ingredients and breeders developing cultivars, there is the potential to co-design new plants for organic production. 

 5. Is there anything else that conference attendees should know or consider in advance of your presentation?

MICHAEL: We're excited for the First Northeast Organic Seed Conference!

NOTE: Dan and Michael will be presenting on Friday, January 20, the first day of our three-day conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. For more information and to register, go to: https://www.nofany.org/events-news/events/winter-conference

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United We Stand!

United We Stand!

NOFA-NY will soon hold our Annual Membership Meeting. Our membership is like a diversified farm. We have multi-generational dairy farmers, beginning vegetable farmers, urban farmers, gardeners, foodies, chefs . . . We all come together to create a regional food system that's ecologically sound and economically viable. Now more than ever, we must protect the integrity of organics – and we can only do that united.

Every year, we have the opportunity to meet each other face to face. This year, we have five new policy resolutions to vote on:

  • Healthy Soil/Farming Carbon Incentives
  • Just Wages For Farmers and Farmworkers
  • Applying the Precautionary Principle to Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Food Sovereignty/Seed Sovereignty
  • Country of Origin Labeling

Of course, we work on many other policy issues. These are new positions that members proposed we endorse as a whole. The resolutions themselves will soon be distributed to our Members!

During the Membership Meeting, we will vote on new Board Members. Unfortunately, Michelle Hughes from the National Young Farmers Coalition had to step down this year and the term has ended for Robert Hadad of Cornell Cooperative Extension/Chicory Blue Gardens. They will be sorely missed.  We have one other vacancy that needs to be filled. We look forward to new perspectives on the Board.

The Annual Membership Meeting will take place on Saturday, January 21 during our Winter Conference in Saratoga Springs. I am definitely looking forward to meeting our members and continuing to work together to enhance the organic and sustainable farm movement in New York!

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How NY Farms Can Cut Energy Use and Costs

EnSaveFrom EnSave, Inc. Program Manager Lisa Coven:

The Agriculture Energy Audit Program provides farms and on-farm producers with no-cost energy audits that include recommendations to improve energy efficiency. The program also helps participants access funding support to implement energy efficiency measures. This first-come, first-served program is open through the end of 2017, or until program funds expire.

Typical systems evaluated include lighting, motors, pumps, dairy milking equipment, ventilation, and refrigeration. In general, a farm can expect an energy audit to identify savings representing between 10% and 35% of their total energy use. The program is open to all types of farms and on-farm producers, including but not limited to: dairies, orchards, greenhouses, vegetables, vineyards, grain dryers, maple and poultry/egg. Farms must be customers of a New York State investor-owned utility and contribute to the System Benefits Charge (SBC).

EnSave is implementing the audit program for NYSERDA, and working with farms to improve energy efficiency and save money.  

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GET YOUR CREATIVITY ON!

We know that our farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and NOFA-NY supporters are truly talented individuals. Now is the time to show us that creativity in a different way and have a chance to win a full Winter Conference registration!

Our two contests—our photography contest EYE on AG, and our Winter Conference commemorative T-Shirt Design contest—are already open. The entry deadline is November 4, so don’t wait. 

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2017 Farmers of the Year!

Mike and Gayle ThorpeCongratulations to our NOFA-NY 2017 Farmers of the Year, Mike & Gayle Thorpe of Thorpes Organic Family Farm! Our Farmer of the Year process goes through three phases. First, members and NOFA-NY staff send in nominations. Second, the Education Team reviews the nominations and forwards its top three recommendations to the NOFA-NY Board. Third, the board votes, and the winner is named Farmer of the Year.

We spoke with Gayle about the recognition, and wanted to share her response: "We are greatly surprised and humbled by our being chosen as 'Farmer of the Year.'  It seems like Mike and I are still young farmers, starting out, attempting to learn and do all we can to be good  stewards so we and our family can have the joy of being organic farmers.  All of a sudden, here we are, and all of our six children are grown and work with us, bringing their own separate interests, talents, and new ideas to make our family farm what it is today."

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A Q&A with CR Lawn

CR Lawn Photo Credit Jo JosephsonIn advance of our Winter Conference in January with Fedco Seeds Founder CR Lawn as our keynote speaker, we thought it would be enlightening to make this into a Q&A blog. He answered with his usual fascinating, insightful, and practical--answers. We hope you find them interesting and helpful.

Question 1: How did you discover your passion for seeds?

My parents did not wish to raise their children-to-come in New York City so in 1940 they put down a $20 deposit and purchased a 25-acre farm in Vermont complete with an 1820s cape and a large barn, for the princely sum of $1,000, and made their big rural move shortly after my birth in 1946. As a 3-year-old I enjoyed foraging peas in their market garden. That memory must have resonated because in 1972, not long out of law school, I eschewed the law, choosing instead to buy the back forty on a discontinued town road in very rural Maine for a mere $4,000, one of the last great Maine homesteading deals. I grew my first over-sized garden there in 1973. Very active in the new wave food co-op movement, and tired of long isolated Maine winters in a home-built cabin with no amenities, I made the Maine Federation of Co-operatives an offer they could not refuse. For $90 per month and a warehouse bunk during December, January and February, I would come work on special projects. One of the first was organizing a statewide co-operative garden seed order. I had thumbed through my 1979 Harris Seed catalog and discovered we could purchase 5 lb. of beet seeds for $3.15 per lb. I did the math and learned we could break down each lb. into 90 good-sized packets costing us less than 4¢ apiece, resell them for 15¢, and still have a profit after paying ourselves. The seed order took off like wildfire, crossing state boundaries with impunity, and Fedco Seeds was born. My adventure with seeds had begun; I had found my life work.

Question 2: In your many years in the seed industry, how have things changed since you first started?

In my 39 years in the seed business many regional seed companies folded, bought out by giant national or multinational corporations, with an accompanying loss of geographically adapted regional varieties. Simultaneously, classical public breeding programs in the land-grant universities declined or disappeared, replaced by genetic engineering research. Most public research no
longer focuses on benefiting growers, instead aiming to maximize profits for the participating institutions and their corporate partners. Seed, no longer seen as a commons accessible to all, increasingly is regarded as proprietary intellectual property protected by a tangled skein of licenses, patents and other restrictions. The entire seed system is less collegial, more competitive; less
public, more private, much more secretive. Especially in the large agronomic crops such as feed corn and soybeans, farmers' choices and available varietal diversity have declined. Utility patenting threatens to extend the same trends into vegetable crops such as lettuce. Seed prices have increased faster than the consumer price index, more like the cost increases in our out-of-control health care system. In reaction, a legion of small and medium-sized alternative seed companies arose, often with regional and ethical focus, mostly tied to or part of the burgeoning organic seed network, with an emphasis on diverse crops and regional trials.

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The Story of Our Conference Food: The Tradition Continues

Table with sign copy

Amazing food is the underlying pillar of NOFA-NY’s annual conferences. The theme for the 2017 Annual Winter Conference, January 20-22, 2017, is Long Live the Farmer: Diversity & Biodiversity. We are excited to expand this year’s programming to include the Northeast Organic Seed Conference, "Owning our Seed," along with many other new items! Within this ever-changing and evolving conference, new research is shared, farming techniques emerge, friendships begin, collaborations foster, and families grow.

One thing that has remained constant for all of these years is the reason we all come together: to support the cause for delicious, wholesome food grown to support the environment and bring it to consumers. The unique and amazing part of NOFA-NY’s Winter Conference that truly sets us apart is that the food provided for all of the meals, breaks and social gatherings is sourced organically and locally and donated by our farmers and business supporters. Each conference meal is a tribute to the diversity and bounty of New York State’s organic agriculture.

WC food

The generosity with which people are willing to donate is unbelievable; they wholeheartedly want to share the products they know are the healthiest available with their colleagues. They care deeply that the food they grow and produce can be enjoyed while at the same time, participating in an event to strengthen the organic community.

I first came to NOFA-NY as a volunteer to assist in procuring the food for the winter conference when it was still held in Syracuse and boasted an attendance of over 300 farmers. It was honestly the best way to be introduced to New York State’s greater organic community.

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