Join the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Rhode Island (NOFA/RI) for a Winter Conference and Annual Meeting on February 16, 2014 at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, 101 Ferry Road, Bristol, RI. Register here.
Three NOFA/RI founders and early members will describe their reasons for starting this NOFA chapter back in 1990 and the continued relevance of organic farming, gardening and landscaping today. We will hear about edible landscaping from Landscape Architect and former farmer, Michael Veracka, compost from Mike Merner, owner of Earth Care Farm and educating our next generation of farmers from high school Agriculture Teacher, John O’Malley.
Our Annual Meeting will celebrate our 2013 achievements and announce our program plans for 2014. Enjoy a delicious potluck meal with fellow NOFA/RI members. Afterward, join a breakout session with one of our speakers to hear about their organic specialty.
Founding NOFA/RI member Michael Veracka is an edible landscape architect, organic farmer and avid home gardener. A Providence College and RISD graduate, he is now a teacher and as Department Chairman of Ornamental Horticulture at the State University of New York @ Farmingdale on Long Island. Veracka is helping the University incorporate organic practices into the curriculum and campus landscaping.
Veracka will describe his shift from an organic farmer to an edible landscape designer. His presentation will be on incorporating food-producing plants in home and business landscapes.”
Founding NOFA/RI member, Mike Merner of Earth Care Farm has been producing compost since 1972 on his 27-acre farm in Charlestown, RI. He had a composting epiphany while daydreaming in his garden. Merner recognized that to grow healthy plants, raise healthy animals and live in a sustainable environment we just need to mindfully participate in Nature’s composting process.
Merner says following a few simple guidelines, anyone can make great compost. Mike’s presentation will cover the composting basics and discuss his evolving composting business.
Longtime NOFA/RI member and organic grower, John O’Malley teaches at South Kingstown High School. He created and has run the school’s garden program for nearly 20 years. The school recently added a course called “A Survey of Agriculture.” They utilize a greenhouse, a post-and-beam tool shed and numerous garden beds. The school cafeteria receives any surplus food.
Founding member, Sandy Parsons, will moderate our panel of growers, farmers and edible garden designers. She learned organic growing with Southside Community Land Trust.
Who should attend?
Everyone who grows food, wants to grow food or likes to eat is welcome to attend the NOFA/RI Winter Conference and Annual Meeting. NOFA/RI Membership is not required.
Please bring a potluck item to share.
Attendees are welcome to tour the grounds and first floor of Blithewold’s historic mansion on the day of the event.