NOFA NJ is working hard to support organic farming and food systems throughout New Jersey. Be sure to read our Monthly Report to keep up-to-date on our work, our partners, and our impact. 

June, finally. After a long, cold and rainy spring, summer weather is here and farmers throughout the state are rocking and rolling, trying to keep up with the weeding, the planting, the milking, the harvests, the markets, the admin….. Many County Board of Agriculture meetings take a hiatus in July and August, as everyone is just so busy and looking to make the most out of Summer’s long days.  Be sure to thank your favorite farmers for their dedication and commitment to this challenging and intense occupation.

Below is a summary of what NOFA NJ has been up to this past May:

Programming & Education

NOFA NJ Farm Tour: Mike’s Blueberries –  Mike and the team hosted NOFA NJ for a beautiful tour of their operation in Pemberton, NJ. As a young farmer growing organic blueberries on family land, this operation was so impressive and the focus on flavor and quality control made attendees eager to find them at markets and grocery stores in the area. 

NOFA NJ Taco Tuesday NOFA NJ hosted a taco Tuesday dance party at Yard Tacos in High Bridge. We’re doing everything we can to increase collaboration between farmers, chefs, and foodies and galvanize our food community to feed NJ. See our next event below (Potluck Supper Club at SAgE Farm in Newton, NJ).

Growing in the Garden State – The seeds we sowed have sprouted and the NOFA NJ team is capturing the journey of several crops from plant to plate. With the help of Drumthwacket’s Chef Chez, we’ll also be adding some fun kitchen action to our video series to help viewers make the most of their garden harvests this year. If you missed last year’s video series, check it out on the NOFA NJ YouTube

MarketLink Webinar NOFA NJ hosted Whitney Butler from MarketLink, a grant-funded program assisting farmers and community farm markets with accepting and managing SNAP payments. MarketLink can help you apply to accept SNAP and can cover the cost of card readers and the application needed. Watch the recording here

NOFA NJ Book Club May’s Book Club featured Michelle Avis, co-author of Essential Rainwater Harvesting. Michelle discussed rainwater catchment systems, stormwater mitigation, and water quality, and she was also joined by CROPS  NJ, who presented their rainwater catchement systems. Watch the recording here

Upcoming NOFA NJ Events – 

Policy & Advocacy

Another month with lots of activity behind-the-scenes… we need EVERYONE to stay engaged in policy efforts. The viability of our farms, the health of our ecosystems, and the security of NJ’s food system depends on how we advocate for improved policy and legislation!

Assembly Farm Tours The office of Assemblyman Freiman coordinated with NOFA NJ to conduct farm visits, and a wonderful morning at Martenette, Morganics, and Lima Family Farms prompted tremendous conversation surrounding the needs of farmers in NJ. Thank you Assemblyman & Staff for visiting our member farmers and for seeking input on the future of organic farming.

Outreach

Seedling Donations Many thanks are in order for everyone who offered and donated seedlings and seeds to be shared with our communtiy of non-profits throughout NJ. With significant help from Pinelands Nursery, Jeff’s Organic Produce, Rancocas Creek Farm, and NorthSlope Farm, we were able to spread thousands of plants along with lots of love and support.

CROPS NJ Tugging on the heartstrings is CROPS NJ, who is doing such good work in the communities that NOFA NJ’s Executive Director grew up in. In turn, we jumped at the opportunity to support them by helping to install vertical trellises at their beautiful Atlantic City Community Garden. An afternoon with their rockstar crew resulted in three inviting trellises for beans, vining plants and other fun items (loofahs, maybe?).

NJ National Young Farmers Coalition NOFA NJ attended the first meeting of the NJNYFC, hosted by City Green in Clifton, NJ. City Green’s incredible staff includes Emily Jacobi, founder of the NJ Chapter of NYFC. We had good conversation and connection along with a farm tour and hope to see even more farmers join for the next function!

Field Help With all of the difficulty in the labor market, it’s no surprise we’ve been receiving many requests for willing workers and lots of action in the NOFA NJ Classifieds. When Abe’s Acres reached out expressing their need for extra hands, it seemed like a great opportunity to help Gabe & Co. in the field and visit the farm. We planted tomatoes, herbs and flowers and learned about the incredible story behind the farm (and the farmer). To all of our Member Farmers – we’re here for you!

The following week, a long-time friend and local organic foods consumer needed some help with her garden. The catch: a broken foot and a boot, to boot. Loading the tools into the truck, NOFA NJ took a ride into Flemington to care for the garden, and gained a new advocate for our organization. If you need help establishing your own plot, reach out to NOFA NJ!

Connection: Over the past month, we’ve connected with various organizations, too many to count! The goal of a food-secure, fair, sustainable local food system can only be achieve through partnerships and collaboration with others in the community. Be sure to check out Bone-In Food, CATA, Real Foods LLC, Greater Newark Conservancy, and Newark SAS.  Please keep NOFA NJ informed of any individuals or organizations that should be on our radar – we’d love to connect!

Here’s to another great month of organic farming and food systems work!

With gratitude,

Devin Cornia

NOFA NJ Executive Director

Devin
Author: Devin