The Northeast Organic Farming Association – Interstate Council supports the activities of seven state chapters (NY, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI and NJ). They received funding from Farm Aid for a joint policy and capacity-building project that encourages each chapter to bolster their relationship with their members of Congress.
To accomplish this goal, each state chapter planned on-farm meetings that connected key farmers, members, and NOFA staff with Congressional delegations. Each meeting was centered around the topic of climate change, specifically soil-carbon restoration and soil health techniques that organic farmers use to build soil fertility and produce crops while sequestering carbon to help mitigate climate change.
For example, the Massachusetts NOFA chapter held an event with Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) on climate change and what farmers can do to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The event took place at Winter Moon Roots Farm in Hadley, MA, a certified organic farm that is committed to minimizing their carbon footprint. The group discussed how farm production can either greatly exacerbate or mitigate carbon dioxide emissions and reviewed government-funded programs that have been instrumental in helping farmers move towards sound soil health and carbon-neutral farming practices. The meeting concluded with NOFA MA honoring Rep. McGovern with a lifetime membership plaque in appreciation of his work on behalf of farmers.
Similarly, NOFA Connecticut held a workshop titled Healthy Soil, Organic Approaches at Massaro Farm in Woodbridge, CT—a not-for-profit community farm on town owned land. Like the NOFA MA workshop, this event brought Congressional representatives to the farm to learn about soil health and its role in mitigating and adapting to climate change. They invited Representatives DeLauro, Esty and Himes and Senators Murphy and Blumenthal. The event included several speakers on soil health, a panel of farmers describing their soil conservation practices, and a talk on pollinator habitat.
Each NOFA chapter held similar on-farm events that were very equally successful!