The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire (NOFA-NH) has grown to nearly 500 members and has hired its first Executive Director. In November, Janet B. Wilkinson was hired to lead NOFA-NH’s eight staff and contractors as well as dozens of volunteers. For over 40 years, NOFA-NH, based on Concord, has educated about and promoted organic farming, gardening and land care in NH.
“We are delighted to have Janet join us and look forward to a long and sustainable pattern of growth,” said Scott Morrison, NOFA-NH Board President.
Wilkinson brings nonprofit, organizational development and leadership experience. She and her husband Freddie have been homesteading in Madison, NH for over six years.
This year’s Winter Conference will offer three keynote speakers. Jerry DeWitt will celebrate the resiliency and successes of various local organic farming systems across the country. Tom Wessels will speak about his book “Reading the Forested Landscape” and he will lead a half-day outdoor walking workshop. Kristin Kimball, will speak on her book “The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love.”
Beginner Organic Farmer Program
The Beginner Organic Farmer Program offers farmers with less than 10 years experience to network, learn vital skills, connect with mentor farmers as well as locate resources necessary for their success. Novices, apprentices, experienced farmers and seasoned veterans (as mentors) participate in the five-part program:
- Apprenticeship and Farm Worker
- Journeyperson Program
- Mentorship Program
- Scholarships to Workshops and Winter Conference
- Farmer Resources
Novices often start by attending NOFA-NH and partner workshops and conferences and joining the NOFA-NH Beginner Farmer mailing list. NOFA-NH offers an Apprenticeship Matching Tool to connect NH farm jobs and apprentices with other beginner farmers.
A fabulous way to learn region-specific farm practices is through a mentor. NOFA-NH will offer a Mentorship Program in 2013 to connect farmers and mentors for specific needs. First-time farm producers who need intensive mentorship can apply for the Journeyperson Program. For information on NH land and capital, email Ray Conner.
Farmers with eight years or more experience are eligible to be Journeyperson Mentors. Some offer advanced workshops, host on-farm workshops, tours and social events, join the NOFA-NH Beginner Farmer Advisory Committee or advocate with farmers, organizations and government agencies.
Mentors generally have over ten years experience and offer a wealth of knowledge and experience critical to beginner farmers. Mentors share their knowledge by hosting on-farm workshops, helping train other mentors, joining the Beginner Farmer Advisory Committee and as Journeyperson Mentors.
The NOFA-NH Beginner Farmer Program was launched through a grant from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Bulk Order Discounts
Many NOFA chapters offer members (and the public) the opportunity to order farm and garden supplies as a group reaping significant savings. NOFA-NH members receive a 10% discount on their order. Buyers can order organic fertilizers, soil amendments, potting soil, cover crop seeds as well as other farm and garden supplies.
NOFA-NH has recently launched a new website with details on these programs.
Wilkinson welcomes input from farmers, gardeners and consumers. Email Janet, call (603) 224-5022 or make an appointment to visit the office at 4 Park Street. Suite 208, Concord, NH.
NOFA-NH actively promotes organic and sustainable local food systems through regenerative and ecologically-sound land care, farming and gardening for healthy communities. NOFA-NH helps farmers, land care professionals, gardeners, herbalists and consumers GROW through education and collaboration; MARKET organic products and services; and CONNECT to cultivate consciousness and change.
A similar story ran in the January 14, 2013 New England edition of Country Folks.