NOFA NJ Mission, Vision, & History
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ) is dedicated to supporting organic food and agriculture in New Jersey through education, technical assistance, and policy action.
NOFA-NJ will play an important role in shaping the development of NJ’s food system. We will support education, advocacy, and research that discovers, highlights and implements environmentally and economically favorable changes to farming practice. We will support changes in practice that reduce negative environmental impact and support improvements in community and population health.
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. From the earliest days, NOFA-NJ has connected the organic farming community, publishing a newsletter, the Organic News, and other educational publications, including our “Eating Good Guides.” From 1991 through 1997, NOFA held an annual Organic Country Fair. 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, the first all-organic NJ farmers market, an annual winter educational meeting and a NJ Farm & Food Guide. In 1990, NOFA-NJ instituted an organic certification program for farms. In 2006, NOFA-NJ transitioned organic certification to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA). Today NOFA-NJ continues support certification and farming education and local food system partnerships throughout the state.
History of NOFA
In 1971, as Vietnam, Racial Discrimination and Nuclear protests raged, a group of Back to the Land counter-culturists gathered with a few ecological growers to form what is now called the Northeast Organic Farming Association – NOFA. Farmers, gardeners and conscious eaters from northeast states discovered this growing movement. The founding NH and VT chapters were soon joined by chapters from five other northeast states, creating a community based on good, clean food, good work and care for the earth. As you might expect, there were and still are trials, tribulations, varying motivations and memorable experiences.
NOFA’s growth from a small gathering on a Vermont hillside to an organization with over 5,000 members in seven state chapters, and two certification agencies, is now documented in the film “Organic Roots – 50 Years of the Northeast Organic Farming Association”. In addition, you can hear more ”Thrilling Tales of Yesteryear” in a lively panel discussion of dynamic early members who laid the groundwork for NOFA. Finally, in “The Next 50 Years of NOFA”, three founding farmers and four younger organic activists turn their gaze to the future of our movement to create a way of life centered in just, equitable and diverse communities. Please share this film with your community!