Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Message from our Executive Director, Bill Duesing

Hey Everyone,
While we're on the theme of giving thanks - think about how you value access to organic, local foods and Connecticut Grown produce, and please read through this letter from Bill Duesing outlining all that CT NOFA has done this year.  We are so thankful for your support, but we still need more help!
Happy Thanksgiving,
Kristiane


From Bill Duesing
Beginning women farmers workshop
Executive Director
   
Greetings!  

Next year will mark 30 years that CT NOFA has been Connecticut's strongest voice advocating and educating for a local and organic food system and organic care of the land.

CT NOFA needs your help to set a firm foundation for the next 30 years.


A vigorous and productive local and organic food system and
Canning workshop at Common Ground
a healthy relationship to the natural world are necessary elements for a sustainable and joyful future.  
       
If you understand CT NOFA's important role in providing a better future, you can support us right now. See below. 

If you would like to know more about the importance of organic agriculture, its ability to feed the world and CT NOFA's work, please read on.  You'll find fascinating information, clickable links, details on CT NOFA's plans, income and expenses, and pictures of our events.
To support CT NOFA now, please:
Visit our website or call us at 203.888.5146 to donate or join. 
Mail donations to:

PO Box 164
Stevenson, CT 06491
You can also support us by:  
In 2011, we:
CT NOFA staff from September 2011
  • Educated nearly 1,000 people in organic farming, gardening and land care through our conferences, courses and workshops.
  • Participated in the Working Lands Alliance and the Farms, Food and Jobs working group to advance farmland protection and farm viability in Connecticut.
  • Received notice of funding for three years work training and networking beginning farmers.
  • Received notice of funding for two years work promoting Community Supported Agriculture and connecting farmers with consumers through CSA fairs.
  •  

     Worked to limit the damage from Genetically Modified Organisms.
  • Sued Monsanto by joining with Organic Seed Producers, Farmers and Farmers' Organizations in a suit brought by the Public Patent Foundation to prevent Monsanto from suing farmers whose crops are contaminated buy its transgenic genes.
  • Partnered with the Just Label It Campaign to advocate for mandatory GMO-labeling laws and laid the groundwork to work with state legislators who will introduce a labeling law for Connecticut.
  • Hired four talented and enthusiastic new staff members: Debbie Semonich, CT NOFA's Administrative Assistant; Kristiane Huber, the Events and Outreach Coordinator for CT NOFA and NOFA OLC; Jenna Messier, the Program Director of OLC; and Melissa Gabso, our Public Ally, working on volunteer coordination, graphic design and event planning.
  • Reinvigorated the NOFA Organic Land Care Program, firmly  based in CT NOFA, with a strong partnership with NOFA/Mass and a nearly national reach.
  • Received notice that the NOFA Standards for OrganicLand Care were accepted by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements into the IFOAM Family of Standards signifying that our
     standards are equivalent to the highest international organic standards.  
  • Published the Introduction to Organic Lawns and Yards booklet. It has been well received and has been ordered by towns, libraries, homeowners, and land care professionals as a resource for their clients. Order one or more copies here.
  • Participated with the other NOFA chapters in national policy initiatives to strengthen organic agriculture and support small farms. 
  • Graduated the second class of Beginning Women Farmers Whole Farm Planning Course and accepted 16 new students into the third year of the course.
In 2011 we laid a strong foundation for the future:

Check out our 2012 Winter Conference!
Our 30th Annual Winter Conference will be held on March 3, 2012 at Manchester Community College with Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, a best seller about the dangers of GMOs, as keynote speaker and over 40 great workshops.

We completed the first year of our Winter Food Project and will finish that work in 2012.

We have lined up exciting partnerships:
  • A People's Garden Project with Knox Parks in Hartford
  • A Community Education series at Common Ground High School in New Haven,
  • An Urban Agriculture project with the Green Village Initiative in Bridgeport.  
CT NOFA makes efficient use of its funds.

 
   
Why Food, Why Organic and Why Local?
  • Food is our most important energy source.  
  • Food is the way we take stored solar energy, roughly equivalent to the energy contained in a cup of gasoline each day, into our bodies to power them.   
  • According to the FDA, over two thirds of the fruits and vegetables consumed in this country are imported. Food is largely (over 95 percent) made up of elements derived from air and water with only a small percentage derived from the soil.  So when, for example, we import garlic from China, we are transporting water, air and sunshine from China at a great fossil fuel cost. It is time to reform this disorganized, inefficient food system, and it can be done.
    Help CT NOFA support local food!
  • Growing more nutrient rich fruits, vegetables, and grains, and finding ways to get that food efficiently to everyone in our state will directly address many major health problems including the lifestyle diseases of diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease.
  • Organic agriculture directly addresses the three most serious problems with the global environment: climate change, excess nitrogen flow and loss of biodiversity. 
  • Organic techniques are among the most effective ways to both mitigate climate change and to adapt to the changes that are already here.
    Invasive removal students 2011
  • Local food production in gardens, communities and farms builds local knowledge, saves fossil fuel and builds resilience.
  • Organic agriculture is superior to conventional. Just this year the Rodale Institute's Farming Systems Trial released its report on 30 years of research that shows that organic agriculture is more resilient to drought, improves soil quality, uses less energy, produces fewer greenhouse gases and is more profitable when compared to conventional agriculture. Meanwhile a Report to theUnited Nations Human Rights Council from theSpecial Rapporteur on the Right to Food
    Beginning Women Farmers
    demonstrated that agro-ecology, if adequately supported, can double food production in whole regions within 10 years while mitigating climate change and alleviating rural poverty. Agro-ecological agriculture is very close to organic and includes gardens, community production, small farms and sustainable family farms. 
Thank you for your interest in and support for local and organic food. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at one of our events.
Sincerely,
Bill Duesing
Executive Director, CT NOFA 

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