MOFFA Stands in Solidarity with Ukraine

Photo by Ihor OINUA

Here are a few ways you can help:

Ukraine Humanitarian Fund: A GoFundMe site set up to receive and distribute funds to various organizations. All donations raised will be distributed to verified nonprofit organizations supporting vulnerable communities to obtain access to shelter, food, medical services, education, and psychosocial support, as well as other people impacted.

Doctors Without Borders: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is working to set up emergency response activities in the country and dispatching teams to Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Teams are also ready to respond in Russia and Belarus.

World Central Kitchen: WCK is serving thousands of fresh meals to Ukrainian families fleeing home as well as those who remain in the country.

Voices of Children: The Voices of Children Foundation has been helping children affected by the war since 2015. Today, during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, we are providing non-stop assistance to affected children and families from all over the country, providing emergency psychological assistance, and assisting in the evacuation process.

Save the Children: Donations can help provide children and families with immediate aid, such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support and cash assistance. 

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund): Emergency interventions in Ukraine include:

  • prepositioning health, hygiene and emergency education supplies as close as possible to communities near the line of contact
  • trucking safe water to conflict-affected areas
  • supporting mobile child protection teams providing psychosocial care to children traumatized by chronic insecurity, responding to cases of violence and abuse against children and assisting children separated from family
  • working with municipalities to ensure there is immediate help for children and families in need

Sunflower of Peace: Sunflower of Peace has officially started a fundraiser to prepare first aid medical tactical backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the front lines. Each backpack is designed for groups of 5 to ten people and includes an array of first aid supplies such as bandages, anti-hemorrhagic medicine and medical instruments.

The ORGANIC Coronavirus Victory Garden

Victory Garden

The impulse to garden in hard times has deep roots.  Vegetable gardening has many rewards that are especially helpful during this time of lockdowns and social distancing.  You get outside in the fresh air.  You stretch those muscles and get some exercise.  Everyone in the family can participate.  And, at the end of the day, there are those delicious tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, squash, and beans!  But if you’ve never planted a garden before, it may seem a bit daunting.

Where to start? 

Here is a simple primer that breaks down organic backyard gardening into manageable steps: Organic Gardening 101: How to Start Your Own Backyard Garden

What will make my garden organic?

Organic gardening is not simply an absence of toxic things, like chemical fertilizers and herbicides.  Organic is a system that builds soil health and thereby grows strong, productive plants.  Organic gardening means working with nature, not against it, to insure a thriving biodiverse ecosystem which supports plants and beneficial insects.

For a wealth of resources about organic gardening, purchasing, and living see Go Organics article “Staying Home and Putting Down Roots“.

To learn about the history of the wartime Victory Garden: Food Supply Anxiety Brings Back Victory Gardens

Victory Garden Plot


We are all keenly aware of the obstacles and challenges the Coronavirus Pandemic poses.  In response to CDC guidelines, MOFFA is postponing the two Summer Social tours of rural and urban farms until such time as it is safe for in-person meetings.  Safety information related to Covid- 19 for farmers and food workers that has been compiled by Future Harvest, the Maryland Farmers Market Association, and Historic Lewes Farmers Market can be found by following this link:  COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Food Distribution and Purchases

Agri-business meat suppliers like Smithfield are having problems operating because food processing plant workers are experiencing a high rate of virus infection.  There are shortages of chicken and pork on supermarket shelves, and there are other items in our food supply that are difficult to come by.  So the need for a robust regional food system that puts safe, local, healthy food directly in the hands of area consumers has never been more apparent.  Local CSA’s are experiencing an uptick in sales as consumers search for clean, healthy food sources that are only handled by a few people.  How are we as farmers and food policy organizations ramping up to meet this challenge and this opportunity?  How can we be sure that organic is a substantial part of the response?  In the upcoming weeks, look for links on our website and posts on our Facebook page (MOFFA) that bring some of this into focus.  

Claudia Raskin

MOFFA Board    

MOFFA 29th Annual Winter Workshop Meeting February 22, 2020 in Annapolis

MOFFA, the Maryland Organic Food and & Farming Association, will hold its 29th Annual Winter Workshop Meeting on Saturday February 22, 2020 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis. The meeting is open to the public, and everyone is invited to attend. (Snow date: March 7)

Learn, Explore, Connect, Grow!
Gain practical knowledge from organic farmers and researchers. Explore current issues. Join in lively discussions. Meet fellow farmers, gardeners, food system advocates, and consumers. Enjoy a delicious homegrown potluck lunch. The MOFFA Annual Winter Workshop Meeting is a day loaded with information and inspiration!

Keynote Speaker:
Margaret Morgan-Hubbard
Founder and Director of ECO City Farms
Making Maryland the Affordable ‘Healthy Food for All’ State

Growing Dryland Rice in Maryland, Developing A Cut Flower Business,
Raising Woodland Pork, Data-Driven Farming, Composting Basics
Reaching Consumers Beyond Farmers Markets
Organic Update with Deanna Baldwin, MDA
Noxious Weed Update, Lane Heimer, MDA

The Latest Science & Research:
Using On-Farm Drainage Ditches to Enhance Biological Control,
Drought Effects on Lettuce and Kale Susceptibility to Salmonella Colonization
Plants and Pollinators Interactions

Panel Discussions:
The New Black Farmer Movement
Climate Impact – Paying Farmers to Sequester Carbon

Legendary Homegrown Potluck Lunch * Silent Auction
Half Price New Book Sale * Display Tables

Only $5 for members and $20 for non-members
Membership is $25 for one year, $45 for two years and $12 for students. Registration is at the door or online.
For more information or to register online, go to

Attendees please bring a dish to share for the Potluck Lunch, one of the highlights of the meeting. You are encouraged to donate an item for the Auction to support MOFFA. Members may bring display materials. Table space will be available in exchange for auction item donations.

Nick’s Organic Farm and Climate Change: How we adapt to changing weather and try to reduce the factors contributing to climate change

Extreme weather is real and has gotten progressively worse in just the past decade. We have been farming organically for forty years.  It used to be farmers would hope for a “good” year—now we hope for a “normal” year.  We get whipsawed between a cool wet spring one year and a hot dry spring the next.  We had the wettest year on record in 2018 with twice the normal rainfall, keeping us out of the fields most of the season.

We raise crops and livestock on 175 acres in the fertile Frederick Valley near Buckeystown MD.  Our land is certified organic and protected from development with an easement from the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation.  Since purchasing this former dairy farm over twenty years ago, we have seen our practices increase our soil organic matter levels by fifty percent, helping to reduce green house gas by storing more carbon in the soil.

In addition, we have changed our organic practices, in part, to adapt to climate change.  Having started in wholesale organic vegetable production in 1979, we have moved gradually to grains, seeds, feeds, forages, and beef and poultry. One goal in making this transition has been to build the health and resilience of both our soil and farming system in the face of climate change.

The transition allows us to 1) maintain more continuous vegetative cover to prevent soil erosion, 2) plant a very diverse and complementary mix of plant species to increase yields and to hedge against extreme weather, 3) maintain growing roots of multiple interplanted species at all times of year to increase soil enhancing microbiological activity and soil fertility needed to stimulate higher yields, 4) use our pasture grazing animals to accelerate the incorporation of carbon from the air and to store that carbon in the soil, and 5) reduce soil disturbing tillage which gives off greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.  These changes also allow us to build an organic farming system with a broad bio-diversity of crops, animal species, and varied cultural practices, all of which contribute to our 8-12 year crop rotation and pasture based rotation for multi-species livestock grazing.

Specifically, we undertake certain farming practices to build our soil carbon and soil health and thereby make our farming system more resilient to withstand the vagaries of climate change. For our livestock, we limit the number of cattle and poultry on our land so that our pastures do not become weakened by over-grazing, allowing our pastures adequate time to regrow before being grazed again.  We constantly move our livestock to fresh pasture so they have access to the vegetation at the peak of its nutritional value and so the animals evenly spread their soil building manure over the entire farm.  We plant summer annuals and winter annuals directly into our perennial pastures so that we can boost our total yield of forage when seasonal hot or cold weather slows the growth of the underlying grasses and legumes.  In addition, recent research shows that our long-standing practice of feeding sea kelp improves cattle digestion efficiency and consequently reduces by half or more the greenhouse gas methane produced by our herd.

For our crops, we minimize soil tillage and plant no-till whenever possible. We often seed crops and cover crops directly into standing crops and stubble to not disturb the soil and maintain continuous living roots as much as possible.  As a hedge against weather variability, we plant multiple maturities of corn and soybeans and mix multiple species in our hays and pastures so that all of our crops do not depend on optimal weather occurring at the same time. We plant or interplant crops and cover crops in all four seasons to keep living roots and vegetative cover on our soils at virtually all times which builds our soil carbon and guards against soil erosion.  As a result of our practices, despite 2018’s record rains, we still had growing crops everywhere on the farm all year long.

Because of our soil building practices, compared to neighboring farms, our fields hold more moisture in very dry years, giving us better yields.  Our carbon rich and vegetatively covered fields also allow sudden heavy rainfalls to penetrate our soil better, reducing waterlogging of plant roots and stopping soil depleting nutrient runoff, again leading to better yields.  Because we plant a diversity of species together, when hot or dry weather discourages growth in one species, it favors growth in another, helping to maintain overall yields.

Adapting our farming practices to accommodate climate change also required changes in our marketing.  We stopped selling wholesale and started selling our new products to the end user—either another farm or directly to consumers.  We also began producing on-farm value added products.

We selectively improve the breeding of heirloom organic seed stock to sell to small seed companies.  We maintain several open pollinated corn varieties and vegetable soybean varieties. We harvest, clean, and sell non-GMO heirloom food grade corn for grinding, and we grind our whole grain corn on our stone mill to sell cornmeal/polenta.

On the farm, we process our pastured slow growth chickens and heritage and commercial turkeys, and we pack our eggs. We grind and package our field grains to sell livestock feed. We sell hay, baleage and whole feed grains directly to regional organic dairies.  We sell to consumers our 100% grass fed Black Angus beef by the cut, as boxed beef, and as value added products such as jerky and all beef sausages.

While we have transitioned out of fresh vegetables, at any time we can incorporate some of our previous produce back into our crop rotations, starting with sweet corn, green beans, fresh soybeans (edamame), winter squashes, pumpkins and gourds. We would have to increase our work force and marketing, but we have most of the capital intensive infrastructure and equipment still in place from our prior vegetable production.

Nick Maravell, Nick’s Organic Farm, LLC

Farm Tour and Open House at Nick’s Organic Farm

You are invited to attend a Farm Tour and Open House at MOFFA founder Nick Maravell’s Organic Farm. Since 1979, we have been committed to constant improvement in our organic farming methods and to a strong relationship with our customers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, DC, and West Virginia.

October 19-20, 2019

2733 Buckeystown Pike, Adamstown, MD 21710

301-983-2167 (office)



Saturday    October 19, 10 am-4 pm

Sunday   October 20,    Noon-4pm

Rain date: Check website


  • Hay Rides and Farm Tours
  • Visit the Chickens, Turkeys, and Cows
  • Tour the crop fields
  • Kids Shell and Grind Corn
  • Play on Hay Pile and Corn box
  • Learn about Organic Farming


  • Cherry Wood Fired BBQ
  • Pit Beef, Burgers, Sausages, Chicken
  • Hot Cider and Chocolate

Learn more about the SPECIAL GUESTS at our 2019 Farm Tour here!


  • Order Your Organic Thanksgiving Turkey
  • Buy Organic Heritage Corn, Pop Corn, Cornmeal
  • Buy Grass-Fed Beef by the Individual Cut
  • Buy Pastured Whole Frozen Chickens or Cuts of Chicken
  • Buy Pastured Eggs
  • Buy Chicken Feed, Hay, Straw

Directions (look for signs as you get near):

From I-270, Exit 31B, Rte. 85 South, towards “Buckeystown,” go 5.5 miles to 2733 Buckeystown Pike on the left,

From I-70, merge onto I-270 via Exit 53 toward “Washington.”  Take first exit 31B toward “Buckeystown” (Rte. 85 South) go 5.5 miles to 2733 Buckeystown Pike on the left.


Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association to Hold Winter Meeting in Annapolis

MOFFA, the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association, announces its 28th Annual Winter Meeting on Saturday February 23, 2019 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis. The meeting is open to the public. (Snow date: March 2)

Join farmers, consumers, advocates, and researchers at this public meeting and potluck lunch. MOFFA Vice Chair, Claudia Raskin said:

“We have the news you can use!  Presentation, panels, and workshops for farmers and gardeners looking for new ideas, techniques, and inspiration, as well as networking opportunities for consumers and distributors looking for good sources of local, organic food.”

Keynote Speaker: CAROLINE TAYLOR

Exec. Director, Montgomery County Alliance

The Future of Farming on Metro’s Edge: Collaborating & Raising Voices Together


  • Growing Hemp in Maryland
  • New Paths & Perspectives: Next Gen Visions Sophia Maravell & Blain Snipsal  
  • Farm Bill Update
  • Organic Update with  Deanna Baldwin, MDA

Learn about the latest science and research

Dennis VanEngelsdorp, Associate Professor, Department of Entomology, Organic Bee Health, Managing Honey Bees Organically

Rohan Tikehar, Assistant Professor UMD, Nutrition and Food Science Department, Preventing Food Borne Illnesses in Organically Farmed Produce

Alina Avanesyan, Research Associate UMD, Information and update on the spotted lanternfly

Veronica Yurchak, Graduate Research Assistant UMD, The importance of integrated weed managment (IWM) for organic vegetable producers

Galen Dively, Professor Emeritus and IPM Consultant UMD, Organic Insecticides: What Works and What Doesn’t

Paul Goeringer, Legal Specialist, UMD Extension, Status of Agrotorism in MD

Homegrown ‘Eat Local’ Potluck Lunch

Silent Auction

Half Price New Book Sale

Display Tables

Only $5 for members and $20 for non-members

MOFFA Winter Meeting will be February 11, 2017



8:00 AM-4:30 PM

Maryland Dept. of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401

News you can use! Presentation, panels, and workshops for farmers and gardeners looking for new ideas, techniques, and inspiration, as well as networking opportunities for consumers and distributors looking for good sources of local, organic food. Homegrown ‘Eat Local’ Potluck Lunch. Silent Auction. Half Price New Book Sale. Display Tables. Cost: $25. (Includes one year membership.)

More information coming soon!

MOFFA 2018 Summer Social Clagett Farm

Join us for a Farm Tour and Potluck Lunch at Clagett Farm

August 5, 2018

10:30 AM-1:30 PM

Clagett Farm
11904 Old Marlboro Pike
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

Clagett Farm produces over 60,000 pounds of vegetables (and some fruit) each year. The farm strives to use sustainable techniques in farming. Clagett Farm also stresses the vegetable production plan, From the Ground Up, a joint effort by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Capital Area Food Bank to raise a variety of produce and provide food to people of all income levels. Clagett Farm is noted for distributing free or reduced priced produce for the underserved communities in Washington, D.C.. Forty percent is distributed free to non-profit organizations including Melwood Women Shelter and Capital Area Food Bank. The other sixty percent is sold to shareholders in the Community Supported Agriculture program.

For more information and directions to the site, check out 
Please RSVP on Facebook or to


FEBRUARY 17, 2018
(Snow Date February 24)
8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Maryland Dept. of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401

Keynote Speaker Ben Friton of Can YA Love & Forested, LLC: Friton leads seminars and lectures around the world focusing on restoring ecosystems using biomimicry. He has worked in densely populated communities and has patented vertical garden systems and currently is trying to develop the most ecologically beneficial agricultural systems possible.

Susan Payne, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Healthy Soils Consortium:  Payne coordinates the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Certainty and Ecosystem Markets Programs and administers the Department’s Agricultural Nutrient and Sediment Credit Certification Program and its Healthy Soils Initiative. In addition to working with relevant federal and state agencies and entities, she sits on many national, regional, and inter-agency committees addressing water quality trading, interstate ecosystem markets, regenerative agriculture, climate change, and greenhouse gas reductions.

Roger Williams, George Washington Carver Agricultural Institute and New Incubator Farm Training Initiative at Tufts: Roger came to Culpeper in the fall of 2015 to join the Carver Piedmont team. Coming from a career in IT and design engineering, he has integrated his systematic process thinking with a deep interest in both education and the study of the soil interrelationships required for sustainable farming. Handing off his three-year stint as President of the Central Maryland Beekeepers Association to make the move south, he brings his focus to creating the structure for the New Farmers Training program at the Carver Piedmont center.

Cerruti RR Hooks, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Entomology at UMD: Organic research is a major part of his research program. The overall aim of the organic research program is to develop and disseminate information on production tactics that reduces off farm inputs while increasing profits. He specifically conducts research on lands going through organic transition and in double-cropping organic production systems with the long-term goal to provide producers information that gives them greater economical sustainability and confidence in transitioning land to organic production. To accomplish our organic objectives, we employ a trans-disciplinary strategy that includes collaboration with Agricultural Economists, Acarologist, Weed and Soil Ecologists, Nematologists, and Entomologists.

Andrew G. Ristvey, Ph.D., University of Maryland Extension: Ristvey currently works at the Department of Extension, University of Maryland, College Park. Andrew does research in Water Science, Soil Science and Irrigation and Water Management. He received his Master of Science degree in 1993 from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in the MEES program. Soon after he worked on shoreline restoration and then wetland and forest-stand delineation. Ristvey spent two years doing environmental and horticultural education at Adkins Arboretum inside Maryland’s Tuckahoe State Park.

Galen Dively, Professor Emeritus and IPM Consultant, UMD:  Dr. Galen P. Dively is an emeritus professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology at Juniata College and doctorate in entomology from Rutgers University. He worked as an Extension Specialist in agricultural IPM for 34 years, providing training and ways to reduce pesticide use in vegetable and field crops. Since his retirement in 2006, he continues to conduct research on transgenic Bt crops, sublethal effects of pesticides, efficacy evaluation of organic insecticides, and studies addressing information gaps in the biology and management of the invasive pests.

Erik de Guzman & Meghan Ochal, Dicot Farm: Dicot Farm grows Certified Organic vegetables in Waldorf, MD – 25 miles south of Washington, DC. Their goal is to provide nutrient-dense foods to neighbors to help them become healthier and happier, and create a more equitable and engaged community.

Dominic Hosack, THEARC Farm: is an urban farm operating as a community project of Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) and was developed to involve the community in nature, nutrition, and healthy eating. The farm consists of 25 raised beds, 8 in-ground rows, a culinary herb garden, medicinal herb garden, an eighteen-tree orchard, community compost bins, a hoop house and a pollinator garden.

Peter Scott, Fields 4 Valor (F4V):  is a non-profit organization that provides food, education, and employment to veterans, veteran family members, and gold star families. F4V does this through providing members, at no cost, with; Farms Shares, Apiary Products, Fruit Shares, Value Added Food Products, Dry Goods, and Culinary Education.

Through these activities, F4V hopes to provide a healthy diet, ease the financial burden of transitioning from service, recovering from injury and/or disability, and continuing life after the loss of a loved one.

Benny Pino & Courtney Sauer, Loblolly Farm: an organic farm in Brandywine, MD producing seasonal flowers and produce and specializing in wedding and event design. Nestled along the corridor of the Patuxent & Potomac Rivers in Southern Maryland, they cultivate over 35 species of flowers in over 100 different varieties on their one-acre farm. They believe in slow, locally grown flowers, nurtured for their intrinsic qualities.

Neith Little, Urban Agriculture Educator, University of Maryland Extension: Little is the urban agriculture Extension Educator for Baltimore City. Her role is to help urban farmers learn what they need to better achieve their goals through one-on-one technical assistance, workshops, field days, written resources, and applied research.

Mike Klein, Good Fortune Farm: Long time MOFFA member, Klien runs a small diversified farm using organic methods located just 20 miles south of Washington DC near Waldorf, MD. Their primary crops are seasonal market vegetables. They also raise pastured eggs, chicken and turkey for meat.

Gerald Brust, Ph.D., University of Maryland Extension, IPM Vegetable Specialist: Brust is the IPM Vegetable Specialist responsible for providing leadership in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive agriculture and natural resources extension education and applied research program in vegetable crops. He develops sustainable production systems for Maryland’s commercial vegetable industry by supporting the commercial vegetable industry (including organic). Burst examines and develops new pest and nutrient management programs for growers by working with the industry through education and research to promote sustainable production practices that minimize environmental impacts.

Rachael Childress Nagle, Heritage Ferments and Cultures: Rachael is a fermentation alchemist who has been experimenting with fermentation for many years. She is extremely knowledgeable about the science of live cultures and shares many historical tidbits that will tweak your interest. Rachael lives in Delaware with her husband and 3 children.

Alan Leslie, Postdoctoral Research Associate UMD Department of Entomology: Alan Leslie earned his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Maryland, and is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Hooks Lab at UMD. His research focuses on cultural practices such as plant diversification and cover cropping that promote beneficial insects and suppress pests that can be applied to organic farming systems. Alan has also conducted research on aquatic invertebrates in agricultural drainage ditches and insects in restored salt marshes in the Chesapeake Bay. His talk is entitled “Controlling Weeds in Organic Vegetables with Living Mulches”.

Eric Rice, Willow Oaks Craft Cider: Eric and Lori Rice craft their farmhouse style cider from certified organic, American heirloom apples on their 35-acre farm in Middletown, Maryland. Their farm is a productive, small, family farm located in the heart of the Middletown Valley of Maryland. The farm is the state’s first certified organic orchard, with over 1800 apple, cherry, pear, peach, and apricot trees. As an early advocate for organic agriculture, Eric participated in the beginnings of the organic program in Maryland, collaborating to write the state regulations as well as helping to found MOFFA.

Dr. Kris Nichols, Soil Microbiologist & KRIS Systems Education & Consulting Services: Dr. Nichols is a leader in the movement to regenerate soils for healthy food, people and a planet. She is currently the founder and principle scientist of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration In Soils) Systems Education & Consulting Services and a sub-contractor with Soil Health Consulting, Inc. Her current focus is to address current and future agricultural needs by exploring the similarities between the soil and gut microbiomes by looking at the carbon key. Kris builds upon a soil health foundation to identify biological methods for agricultural production and tools and practices to reduce pest issues, soil erosion, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Nick Maravell, Nick’s Organic Farm: Nick has farmed organically since 1979 and he emphasizes value added on-farm processing and direct marketing. He uses a diversified farming system to produce vegetables, forages, grains, seed, beef, poultry, eggs and poultry feed. Nick has also been active for many years at the national and state level in the development of organic legislation and standards, organic research priorities, and organic marketing issues. He is a founding board member of MOFFA, has served as a steering committee member on the Scientific Congress on Organic Agricultural Research and actively participated in drafting its National Organic Research Agenda, published in 2007.

Mike Tabor, Licking Creek Bend Farm: Owner and social activist, Michael started Licking Creek Bend Farm in 1972 and two years later he participated in his first farmers’ market in Washington, D.C.  His mission is to provide delicious and nutritious food at an affordable price. He is a long-standing member of MOFFA.

Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director at Organic Consumers Association: Baden-Mayer is a lawyer and activist who has contributed to some of the organizations most successful projects, including the Millions Against Monsanto campaign.