NOFA NJ has been very fortunate to have Nagisa Manabe as our Leader.  Nagisa brought an incredible work experience to the job of Executive Director, and has demonstrated calm confidence and effectiveness, despite real challenges.  Nagisa lead NOFA NJ through the Covid Pandemic, adapting to new normals, keeping our community engaged, developing relationships with new partners and ensuring that the Mission and Vision of NOFA NJ was clearly represented and has been pursued.  I have been very grateful for the experience of working closely with Nagisa, and while I am sad she is transitioning out of her current role, I know Nagisa will continue to represent for Organic in NJ and the region.

I met Nagisa first, as a Mentor in the Journey Person Program, where we met a few times to discuss farm plans and then over the season to discuss farm challenges and Opportunities.  Then the Executive Director at the time, Adrian Hyde, who was also a gift to NOFA NJ, handed the Leadership to Nagisa, around the same time I was elected President of the Board of Directors.  It was my good fortune to be in the presence of these two, very capable people, as they navigated the passing of responsibility and accountability.  It will be their example, and the ongoing commitment of Nagisa to support the next Executive Director, that gives me complete confidence in NOFA NJ’s continued service to our community and the great State of New Jersey.

Adrian Hyde and Nagisa Manabe scanning the Horizons for Opportunities to Serve Organic in NJ.

NOFA NJ is a Not-for-Profit, which means we are dedicated to purposes that do not typically yield income, but our Mission does serve the greater good of society.  It is a constant challenge to provide Education and Technical Training Opportunities to folks, requiring creativity, enthusiasm and resiliency and we are grateful for your donations, to keep the work in progress.  Our struggle is to provide quality service to our regional Farmers, Gardeners and Food Lovers, focusing on a mission of promoting Organic Practices, in all ways possible.

The Executive Director (E.D.) of a small Not-for-Profit must be very versatile, able to handle many types of tasks and responsibilities every day.  The E.D. must be able to represent the Mission of the Organization to the members, but also to a sometimes skeptical audience!  As Organic is demanded by ever greater numbers of consumers, a lot of money is being spend by Multi-National Companies to Co-Opt the message and confuse people about what really matters.  NOFA NJ represents (and has represented for over 35 years!) that all of us are affected by the practices used to produce food, manage landscapes and produce value added products.  If we focus on striving to do better in our practices – seeking Organic Solutions for practical problems – the Future will be a better place!

NOFA NJ is currently accepting applications for a new Executive Director, hoping to find a great candidate who can start January 1, to benefit from close training by Nagisa.  Our Winter Conference 2022 is shaping up to be excellent, and then the 2022 Growing Season will be fast upon us.  Reaching out to a new crop of Journey Person Farmers, fostering Mentoring and supporting farm tours and educational programming will keep our next E.D. as busy as ever, Focused of Building an Organic Future.

Thank you, Nagisa, for your Quality Leadership, in a challenging time.  The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey wishes you great happiness and success in all you do!

Sincerely,

Mike Rassweiler, President of the Board of Trustees