Founded in Pennington, NJ in 1985 as the Natural Organic Farmers Association of New Jersey, NOFA-NJ is an affiliate of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, a seven-state coalition of sustainable agriculture organizations. From 1989 until 1994, NOFA-NJ operated as part of the Sustainable Agriculture Program of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. In 1994, NOFA-NJ obtained its own 501(c)(3) status, although it remained a tenant at the Watershed until 2000.
From the earliest days, NOFA-NJ has published a newsletter, the Organic News. It was soon joined by other educational publications, including our “Eating Good Guides.” From 1991 through 1997, NOFA held an annual Organic Country Fair on the grounds of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, sharing the bounty and goodwill of the harvest season with like-minded neighbors. Other projects undertaken in the nineties included an organic tomato cooperative, two book publishing ventures (Organic Market Guide and Eating Fresh from the Organic Garden State), an apprenticeship program and the first all-organic farmers market in New Jersey. Ongoing projects and events include an annual winter educational meeting for farmers and a new New Jersey Farm & Food Guide.
At the request of organic farmers, NOFA-NJ instituted an organic certification program for farms in 1990. However, since 2006 NOFA-NJ no longer conducts organic certification. NOFA-NJ works closely with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) to ensure that locally-based certification services remain available to organic producers in New Jersey. Since 2006, New Jersey Department of Agriculture provides organic certification in NJ.
Today, NOFA-NJ also offers a range of educational, technical support, and information services to both organic and progressive conventional farmers; reaches out to public opinion makers, policymakers and the general public; participates in numerous research projects; and organizes community building activities. Through member services, outreach, education, and advocacy, NOFA is working to see that we become “An Organic Garden State.”