The Connecticut Chapter of the New England Organic Farming Association (NOFA) is holding a conference on how to get started in organic farming on January 28.
The conference is for people who are starting out in farming or for farmers converting their farms to organic operations.
The speakers include Dina Brewster, from The Hickories farm, Duncan Cox, from Baystate Organic Certifiers, Shannon Raider, from Common Ground High School and Bryan O’Hara, from Tobacco Road Farm. They will be discussing marketing models, organic certification, greenhouses and land access and leasing.
Jiff Martin and Jennifer McTiernan from the University of Connecticut and from CitySeed, respectively, will also discuss creating a sustainable food system.
A growing number of people have become interested in farming and in organic farming. As of 2007, there were approximately 13,000 certified organic producers in the U.S, according to Organic Farm Research Foundation. In 1994, there were about 2,500 to 3,000 certified organic growers in the U.S.
As consumer awareness of organic food continues to grow, so has the demand to produce more organic food. Mainstream retailers continue to expand their shelf space for organic products, including Wal-Mart. The company has a program to purchase more locally grown produce for stores and it’s encouraging farmers to reintroduce crops that were traditionally growth in their region.
While some are skeptical of Wal-Mart and other retailers’ motives as they push into the organic sector, it’s signal that organic food has taken on a greater role in the food system.
Registration is $30 for CT NOFA members, $40 for non-members. Scholarships are also available for new farmers – view the application here:
Lunch will be potluck, so attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite dish to prepare. The conference will be held between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the Connecticut Forest and Park Association Meeting Space, located at 16 Meriden Road, Rockfall, CT.