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*Use the above "View in your browser" link for easier reading!* This news email features special updates from NOFA-NJ about important agricultural information and events for organic and sustainable farmers. If you are not a NOFA-NJ member, please consider joining us to receive member benefits and discounts--in addition to supporting our outreach efforts! If you would not like to receive these emails, please click "Unsubscribe" at the bottom of this email. thanks, Alison Romano - Director of Outreach & Development ****

Small-scale grains: Another piece of the locavore puzzle By Rhea Kennedy

Carolina Gold Rice from Anson Mills {photo}.

Community-supported agriculture (CSA) households know the cries. “So many sweet potatoes!” “Tomatillos again?” But “Oh, man — more whole wheat flour!”? Not so much. Yet that may be coming. On the East Coast, Virginia’s Moutoux Orchards is growing and milling wheat and barley to nestle beside produce, dairy, eggs, and meat in its Full Diet CSA. To the west, Windborne Farm of northern California offers a grain CSA featuring not just wheat and barley, but also rare grains like teff and millet raised using a pair of draft horses. All over the country, small grain farmers like these may soon place the last piece in the local-foods puzzle. There is no question that fruits and vegetables have been the backbone of the locavore movement. The number of farmers markets in the U.S. has increased 400 percent since 1994, while CSAs grew from a handful in the 1980s to an estimated 6,500 today. Eggs, meat, fish, and dairy have joined produce in market stalls and CSA boxes, but grains often lag behind. “There are more small grain growers than a decade ago, but [the] trend here is growing quite slowly and is far behind small-scale produce, meat, and dairy growers,” says Erin Barnett, head of the local food directory Local Harvest. Out of more than 18,600 small farms listed on the website, fewer than 600 grow wheat, and an even smaller number offer oats or rye. For generations, large-scale agribusiness has been seen as the most efficient way to produce commodity grains, such as corn, wheat, and rice (a fact that may be changing thanks to climate change). Big Midwestern farms churn out enough to feed every American 8.2 servings of grain a day. Farm subsidies (and, increasingly, crop insurance) have



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enough to feed every American 8.2 servings of grain a day. Farm subsidies (and, increasingly, crop insurance) have also given large farms an advantage for years. Buoyed by this system, large farmers and processors can grow grains at a price much lower than small producers can even imagine. But as Big Grain has taken over, the variety of seeds available and the wisdom about growing grains sustainably have diminished. Until recently. Now some small-scale grain farmers have stepped back into the fray. They approach it not as direct competitors to commodity grain growers, but as an alternative for eaters in search of healthier, more sustainable options. Such producers claim a corner of the market with sustainable growing methods, value-added products, or specialty crops that customers choose for flavor. In fact, most successful local-scale grain farming relies on all three. A new wheatail market. {photo} “This is the absolute opposite of large farming systems,” says Eli Rogosa, who grows grain for seeds and retail in western Massachusetts, and who directs the Heritage Grain Conservancy and coordinates the Northeast Organic Wheat initiative, funded by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. Most small grain growers just got rolling in the past 15 years, but already consumers are smitten. A gluten-sensitive customer of Rogosa raves about an ancient wheat so pure and free of the allergenic protein that she could eat pita again. Grass Valley Grains of northern California ships whole wheat flour to a customer in Waikiki who will bake with nothing else. A San Francisco chef has gushed over cornmeal from South Carolina’s Anson Mills that “made love to buttermilk.” And the Moutoux Orchards CSA? It sold out with its 2011 debut — even with a price tag of $250 per person per month. “There is a growing contingent of people who put a lot of importance on food quality and safety,” explained Mark Sorrells, chair of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University. “Also, people want to support local economies and businesses that give back to the community.” Before farmers can add grain to the local foods picture, farmers have to address some problems unique to these crops. That is where people like Ragosa and Sorrells come in. For one, thanks to industrial agriculture, the array of available seeds has been winnowed down to very few varieties. And most of these varieties are patented. “This is a global, silent crisis of loss of biodiversity,” says Rogosa. And that biodiversity has only gained in importance as farmers face the increasingly brutal results of climate change. For Rogosa, farmer-saved seeds — also known as “landrace” seeds — offer economic benefits as well. “Unique varieties help small-scale farmers earn a living and have a niche market,” she says. Sorrells is focusing on farming wisdom. He noticed a problem when retailers like New York City’s Greenmarket reported that local grain was flying out of market stalls faster than they could stock them. Simply put, Sorrells says, “they can’t produce enough to meet demand.” Sorrells and Cornell post-doc Julie Dawson started to talk to growers and organizations like the Organic Growers’ Research and Information-Sharing Network and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. Across the region, farmers found that growing local, organic grain posed unique challenges. Three of the biggest challenges were identifying the hardiest varieties, finding enough seeds to fill their fields, and managing their grain crops organically. The scientists are now working, in part, to find the best seeds in the right quantity, as well as improve knowledge about management — the side of farming focused on fertilization, density of seed planting, and combating pests. Grains as food, not filler. Reed Hamilton of Grass Valley Grains on a tractor. {photo}

Another challenge stems from the price factor. Once grain farmers supply specialty markets, they have to face the same reality as all local producers — namely that mainstream consumers balk at the price of most of small-scale, sustainably produced foods. While seasonal herbs or vegetables can compete with supermarket prices, shoppers are unlikely to find local flour below $1.25 to $2 per pound.



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Perhaps the biggest problem, though, lies in the food system itself. To truly fix grain production, Americans must change the way they farm and eat in a number of ways. For one, says Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills, we may have to eat more actual grain ourselves. “Ninety-plus percent of all the grain grown in North Carolina goes into the mouths of animals,” Roberts says. “It doesn’t actually [feed] people.” If we return to the model used by beloved agriculture pioneer Thomas Jefferson, who saw meat as a condiment, then local grains might sound more affordable. When we see grains not just as cheap fillers, but as unique foods, they become worth a little more investment — both of our money and our culinary attention. We also have to recognize the power of landrace species. Roberts, who has started giving farmers grants to test such seeds, confirms that they are hardy enough to stand up to erratic weather. “They adapt, that’s what they do,” he says proudly. And finally, research must appeal to large funders just as much as rogue researchers. This has already begun. Monsanto may not shell out for heritage seed testing any time soon, but the USDA has supported Rogosa’s trials and the research at Cornell. Will we ever see local grain production scale up like meat and produce have? The next few years will tell. What is certain is that the small-grain influx has refreshed the idea that growers, scientists, and consumers can all play a role in tackling established behemoths and move into a new frontier. Based in Washington, D.C., Rhea Yablon Kennedy writes and teaches about sustainable food, among other topics. Find her on Twitter.

Kennedy, Rhea. "Small-scale Grains: Another Piece of the Locavore Puzzle." Grist, June-July 2012. Web. June-July 2012. .


NOFA-NJ announces summer farm meetings schedule (HILLSBOROUGH, NJ) – Summer is in full swing in the Garden State – an array of Jersey fruits and vegetables are making appearances in local grocery stores, CSA boxes, farmers’ markets and roadside stands and farmers are working non-stop to keep their crops hydrated and healthy. While it’s hard to get away from the garden and farm during the height of the season, it’s also the time when growers become aware of emerging issues and seasonal themes in the production chain. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ) has organized three onfarm workshops for the 2012 season, called Twilight Meetings, to bring producers together to talk about sustainable agriculture. “Twilight Meetings are an important part of what NOFA-NJ does,” explained Camille Miller, NOFA-NJ Executive Director. “They’re an opportunity to meet sustainable, local growers and learn about a specific topic or discuss an important issue. We’ve been doing them for years to give sustainable farmers a forum to really dig into what farming in New Jersey looks like.” NOFA-NJ’s Twilight Meetings are informal workshops designed for growers that discuss relevant topics and draw attention to unique and innovative production and marketing methods that support organic and sustainable agriculture in New Jersey. This season will highlight three topics: creating on-farm internships and effective mentoring techniques, orchard planning and diversity and, finally, pasture management and marketing niche meats. Attendees will hear from experienced farmers, and agricultural experts, and join the discussion. “We really stress the importance of conversation and discussion

at the meetings,” Miller continued. “There is so much



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“We really stress the importance of conversation and discussion at the meetings,” Miller continued. “There is so much knowledge in the field that can be shared – agriculture in New Jersey is challenging and these meetings are an important part of a farming support network.” The three meetings are scheduled as follows: On-farm Internships: Responsibilities and Rewards for Mentors and Interns, hosted by North Slope Farm in Lambertville on July 23; Holistic Orchard Design and Management, hosted by Genesis Farm in Blairstown on August 15; and Pasture Management and Specialty Meats, hosted by 7th Heaven Farm in Tabernacle on September 14. The Twilight Meetings are free for NOFA-NJ Member and $10 for non-members . Additional details and registration information is available at The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-NJ) is dedicated to supporting sustainable food and agriculture in New Jersey through education, technical assistance, and policy action. NOFA-NJ is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Press Release: For Immediate Release

Food policy takes the stage: Chellie Pingree and Jeffrey Smith to Keynote the 2012 NOFA Summer Conference UMass Amherst | August 10th _ 12th Amherst, MA - Some call it professional development. Some call it time to hang out with friends who share a passion for organic food. Some call it a family vacation. For anyone wanting to learn new skills, connect with an organization dedicated to ecological sustainability, or looking to move a green business to the next level, the 2012 Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference has much to offer. In 2012, NOFA has placed Food Policy at the top of its agenda. Chellie Pingree, Democratic Congresswoman from Maine and organic farmer, will speak on Friday evening, August 10th at 7:30 at the UMass Amherst Campus Center auditorium. Last year, Chellie introduced the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act – a comprehensive package of reforms to agriculture policy that will expand opportunities for local and regional farmers and make it easier for consumers to have access to healthy foods. Pingree is one of the strongest supporters of small, organic family farms in the U.S. Congress today. Pingree will also be presenting in a panel workshop, Friday, August 10th at 4:00 pm entitled: Vision for Food Self-Reliance for New England together with Russell Libby of MOFGA. Genetically modified foods continue to pose a serious threat to organic farmers and consumers alike. Jeffrey Smith, of the Institute for Responsible Technology, is one of the nation’s leading authors and activists, working to remove GMO foods from the food supply. Smith will be keynoting the conference on Saturday, August 11th at 7:00 pm, and will be leading a pre-conference seminar entitled: Fighting GMO's: a Pre-Conference Training for Consumers, Community Leaders, Activists, and Organizers, starting on August 9. The hands-on seminar will give participants the tools they need to become public speakers and advocates against GMOs. Over fourteen hundred participants will converge on UMass Amherst from August 10-12th, 2012, to share practical knowledge on making organic food part of their careers and family life. Over 225 workshops will be offered on organic farming, gardening, land care, sustainability, and homesteading. “It is really remarkable to see the diverse nature of attendees at the NOFA Summer Conference each year,” said Mindy Harris, NOFA/Mass Public Relations Coordinator. “We have local organic farmers from across New England, we have young urban activists and foodies from cities like Boston or Brooklyn, we have serious backyard suburban gardeners who grow food for their families,



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from cities like Boston or Brooklyn, we have serious backyard suburban gardeners who grow food for their families, and we have rural homesteaders from Vermont. There are so many different learning opportunities. It’s exciting to watch the energy around the campus.” This year’s conference will also feature special tracks of workshops around particular themes, including: Nutrient Density, Permaculture, CSA management, Beginning Farmers, Organic Land Care, Animal Power, and Winter Growing. Teens and kids can take advantage of hands-on learning about growing plants, animal care, and natural crafts. About NOFA NOFA is a non-profit organization of farmers, gardeners, land care professionals and consumers working to educate members and the general public about the benefits of a local organic food system based on complete cycles, natural materials and minimal waste for the health of individual beings, communities and the living planet. FOR MORE INFORMATION on the Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference visit or contact NOFA/Mass Public Relations Coordinator, Mindy Harris, or 310-663-0054.


Equipment: STAINLESS STEEL WASH STAND EQUIPMENT (Tables, sinks) Cooler Large air conditioner for COOL-BOT cooler Rototiller Pickup truck for on-farm use only Tractor – appropriately sized ATV Livestock trailer Electric golf cart Handcart and/or wheelbarrows Hand Mower Manure spreader Weed-whacker

JULY 2012 As we embark on one of the most important sustainability projects in NJ in this decade and start to build the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey’s Beginner Farmer/Rancher Development Program Incubator, we are hoping all our members and other generous folks in the communities surrounding us will help support our efforts through generous donations. With extra funds and equipment from you we will be helping the next generation of farmers learn the art, science and craft of farming. To launch our fundraising efforts we want you to know we are developing a KICKSTARTER fundraising campaign online which will start in September 2012. Please go to to see our project and donate directly to the program if you’d like.

Tools: Circular saw Battery operated drill/driver Hammers Electrician’s pliers Socket set Adjustable wrenches Screwdrivers Flat and pointed spades Digging fork Collinear hoe Fence-post driver Fence pliers Hoses Digging bar 5-gallon buckets

While we are funded by the USDA NIFA grant, this funding does not cover capital improvements, equipment, tools, etc. Fortunately we are launching our program at Duke Farms where we will receive generous support in the form of land, fencing, water, a barn, etc. But we need more than that to make this fly. As any farmer or even gardener knows, good equipment is important in order to do a good job. We hope you’ll check your barns, lofts, sheds, attics and basements for equipment you no longer need or are trading in. We only ask that your donations are in usable shape. Thank you so much for thinking of us and helping NJ’s food supply grow and be more sustainable over time. With couldn’t appreciate it more.



A Special Thanks to Ken & Sandy Misiak for their donation of a stainless steal sink for a vegetable washing stand to the sprouting Beginning Farmer Program! 5/9


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The leadership and staff of NOFA-NJ

Meet The Faces of NOFA-NJ

Comeback Farms Website: Location: Asbury, NJ Hunterdon County Owners & Founders: Mark Canright Scale: 40 acres Operational Staff: Mark, Peter Tischler & Sebastian In Operation Since: 2004

Describe Comeback Farms: Pete: The house is 1780, or something. When they bought it, it was in pretty bad disrepair {laughing}. He spent about four years getting it livable before they moved onto the farm. He started working on doing some cover cropping and some stuff before that. It’s been a work in progress, that’s why he calls it Comeback Farm! It’s still coming back! {laughing}. It’s a good name, yea.



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{laughing}. It’s a good name, yea. I believe Mark bought the property about 7 or 8 years ago. There’s something about the energy of this place, you know? I pull in off of the road right over here and it’s just calm here. He’s got a good piece of land. He’s been seeding for quite a while.

It’s so beautiful here. How did you and Mark get hooked up?

Pete: My friend Wanda had a customer that had a beautiful permaculture garden and wanted to rip it out and put a lawn in. So, Wanda isn’t going to want to waste these plants. I was doing a pruning job down there, and so I picked up a couple hundred yellow raspberry’s that she had pulled out. I brought them out here and well, I guess I had seen Mark before, but we had never really got talking. So, we got to talking and he said “Oh! I have always had fruit dreams!” and I go, “Well I’ve got fruit dreams too!” I had bought a lot of fruit trees and plants and I was going to sell them as nursery selling, just for resale. And so, we talked more that day, and he had to leave so I finished healing them up and uh, we got together the next week and it just made sense for me to take all of those trees and plant them here, and grow them out instead of selling them. So we got our fruit dreams started! Some times things just fall into place and it’s the right thing to do you know? {Smiles} {Enter Mark from mowing} Mark: I have had from the start of my fruit dreams, visions of grandeur, pear fruit dripping from my mouth! It just so happened that New Jersey’s premier fruit grower was landless! And, he lived less then 10 miles away from here! And, that he had all of these varieties of fruits from his nursery business! Trained in the way of Michael Phillips, he knows cutting edge stuff!

Are you involved in any other advocacy work around farming and the food systems? Pete: I am a member of Transitions Newton, I help them out. It’s really based on localization and really one of the key elements in localization is agriculture, so yea I guess so in that respect. Mark: I am a Beginning Farmer mentor for NOFA-NJ’s Journeypersons Lindsay & Joann.

How has the fluctuating weather patterns affected your decisions on plantings? Pete: One of the things that we are trying to do is get as much diversity as we can and I think we are doing a good job with that. Mark has one row of peaches in there that has succumb to our spring frost but the truth is that they look pretty good, and they will grow.

*** See the full article on The Faces of NOFA-NJ

2013 Annual Farm & Food Guide NOFA-NJ’s printed & online guide to farms, business, and food operations in New Jersey.

Upcoming NOFA-NJ Programs NOFA-NJ Twilight Meetings: 7/9


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business, and food operations in New Jersey.

Farm & Business Members of NOFA-NJ receive a free listing in our Annual Farm and Food Guide. Advertising is available. NOFA-NJ members receive a 10% discount. *Print Distribution of At Least 25,000 Copies, Online Exposure for 12+ Months on the NOFA-NJ “Find Local Food” Search Engine.

Monday- July 23, 5:30 - 8 PM. "On-farm Internships: Responsibilities & Rewards for Mentors and Interns," @ North Slope Farm. Please register. & Wednesday, August 15, 5:30—8 PM “Holistic Orchard Design and Management” @ Genesis Farm. Please register.

Health & Wellness Public Discussion Instructions: All Materials may be accessed online: To JOIN NOFA-NJ as a Farm or Business Member, Renew, or Upgrade your membership, please complete the membership form online at Please provide necessary materials for participation by September 21, 2012. * Make checks payable to NOFA-NJ

Tuesday, August 21, 7 PM. "Nourishing Foods, Getting Back to Our Roots." @ Hunterdon Library. Free. Please register.

Mentor Database Are you an experienced organic farmer? Do you like showering tomorrow's farmers from your font of knowledge? For information on mentor stipends & hosting workshops for apprentices, contact Eve Minson, NOFA-NJ's Beginning Farmer Program Manager, or 908-371-1111 x 4.

Forms & Advertising Requests may be returned by mail, email, or fax to: Alison Romano Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ) 334 River Road Hillsborough, NJ 08844 (908) 373-1111 x 6 (908) 371- 1441 (fax)

News Bites... This Year at the Freedom Fest State Fair’s 10th anniversary, Saturday July 14th will be dedicated to local organic foods and healthily eating in the Agricultural Barn. The Fair is July 10-15th at the Horse Park of New Jersey. Farmers are welcome to come and set up a table and sell your foods, promote your farms, put on demonstrations, etc. The Barn will be full of activity that day, with lots of animals, horse shows, the master gardeners, honey making and more. Please contact Jennifer DeMauro at for more information. The website is 6th Annual Farm to Fork July 22nd-28th, more than 30 South Jersey restaurants converge to present a week-long showcase of local farms and their freshest ingredients.



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showcase of local farms and their freshest ingredients.

NOFA 38th Annual Summer Conference 2012 - Camping, Music, Education, & Fun. August 10~12, 2012 Rutgers Cooperative Extension Open House / Garden Field Day - The EARTH Center, Middlesex, NJ. The 25th Anniversary Celebration of The New England Women’s Herbal Conference. August 24 ~ 26, 2012 Slow Food the Sustenance on the Farm Dinner August 26, 2012 at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm to benefit Slow Food Northern NJ school garden programs and Fosterfields farm education programs for children. The Annual Great Tomato Tasting. Rutgers Synder Research Extension Farm. August 29, 3 PM - Dusk

2012 North American Biodynamic Conference "Sacred Agriculture, Creating a New Relationship with the Earth." November 14 ~ 18, 2012.

If you have any questions about the content of this email, please feel free to email me at

NOFA-NJ 334 River Road Hillsborough, NJ 08844 (908)371-1111

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Organic News & Views Jule 2012  

NOFA-NJ July, 2012 Edition of Organic News & Views. Organic Grains in NJ, Comeback Farms, Upcoming Events, USDA_NIFA Beginning Farmer & Ranc...

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