MOFFA has a Great Variety of Speakers Lined Up for Winter Meeting


Kirsten S. Traynor, PhD, Flickerwood Apiary– studies how pesticides impact honey bee health for the University of Maryland in the lab of Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp and is the editor of Bee World, published by the International Bee Research Association.

Bernie Fowler, Jr., Farming 4 Hunger (F4H) is a non-profit organization formed in 2012 to serve those in need of fresh food in Southern Maryland. The organization grows and distributes over a million pounds of locally grown, fresh food each year. Bernie Fowler Jr., founder, had a vision through his own personal struggles to help people in his hometown gain better access to fresh fruits and vegetables. F4H accomplishes its mission through unique partnerships with 27 local farms, 20+ churches, local businesses and schools, the Maryland Food Bank, the Department of Corrections, and a great network of community volunteers.

Jason King: UNSUNG,  is the app for ending hunger in America, creating everyday superheroes. The “sharing economy” has never been this awesome. A a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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 “Managing cover crops to suppress weeds in organic vegetables”.

Bonnie Raindrop, Chair of Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, Maryland Pesticide Education Network The Central Maryland Beekeepers Association,Strive to educate our members on the best methods and practices for successful beekeeping, and to educate the public on the importance and value of honeybees in our ecosystem.

Cleo Braver Cottingham Farm Growers of certified organic heirloom vegetables and herbs on the banks of the Goldsborough Creek in Talbot County, Maryland Bee advocacy and  pesticide policy and legislation in Maryland

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.  His talk is entitled “ How changes in conventional pest management practices are impacting organic farming”.

Mitchelle Stephenson, Fair Farms: Fair Farms Maryland is a movement of environmental and public health groups, businesses, consumers, and farmers committed to a sustainable food system. She will lead a discussion about the Atrazine legislation in Maryland that is being introduces by MD Senator Will Smith.

Justine Beaulieu, GAPs educator with UMD Plant Sciences Department The training will cover the basics of food safety for pre and post harvest.  Attendees will receive a certificate of training from MDA.

Nick Maravell, Nicks Organic Farm, Mike Tabor, Licking Creek Bend Farm, Rick Hood, Summer Creek Farm: Farmer discussion of Organic Issues

Marjory Hudson, Mitchelle Stephenson, Fair Farms, Mike Tabor: Workshop on Mobilizing Community Action. How one community is winning the fight a against concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO).

Deana Baldwin, MDA:  The Maryland Produce Safety Program will provide outreach, education, inspection and enforcement of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule.

Beckie Gurley Chesapeake Farm to Table, Veronica Cristo Chesapeake Bounty North Beach Market and Kitchen and Deena Kilmon, Chesapeake Harvest: Food Hub Aggregation

Michael Weese, Michael Weese is a Mycologist and fungal enthusiast in the Mid-Atlantic region.  His work involves being a local teacher, guide, consultant, mushroom cultivator, social sculptor, web administrator, operations manager, photographer, writer, soil engineer, permaculturist, ecologist, environmental steward, conservationist and friend to nearly all he meets. Michael has influenced many people across the globe to forage and cultivate their own mushrooms through sharing his knowledge and experience firsthand online, in the classroom, and field.

Lincoln Smith: Lincoln Smith runs Forested, a 10-acre forest garden in Bowie, MD. He tests forest farming methods, educates aspiring forest farmers, consults on new forest farms and brings forest products to market. He runs a forest garden CSA, designs edible landscapes, and holds forest-to-table events. Creating a Forest Garden Forest gardens produce food and supplies from thriving ecosystems. Learn how to create a layered, polycultural food forest. We’ll discuss forest garden methods, some of the great plants you can grow, and how to take care of them. Learn from Lincoln’s 10 years of forest garden successes and learning experiences.

MOFFA’s 26th Annual Winter Meeting, on Saturday February 11, 2017, 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. Register and get more info at


Don’t forget our wonderful Potluck Lunch too! Bring a dish to share.

Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association Pollinator Farmer Survey

bee-pollinating-fruit-treeWe all need pollinators on our farms, but the pollinators need our help too.

MOFFA is working with the Smart on Pesticides Coalition to protect Maryland pollinators and we ask that you please take 5 minutes to complete this 5 question survey about your experience on the farm.

Thank you in advance for your timely survey response.

MOFFA Members on the New Federal Regulations that could Threaten Local Farms

Bees love the sunflowers in my Maryland Garden
Bees love the sunflowers in my Maryland garden

Maryland Organic Food and Farming Members Mike Tabor and Nick Maravell speak out about how new federal regulations could threaten local farms.

“Each week at farm stands in the Maryland area, we try to explain a peculiar situation to our customers. On the one hand, they want to buy our fresh fruit and vegetables. However, I tell them, that in a few years, these will all be illegal to sell!


Because they have some degree of dirt and bacteria on them. The strawberries for instance, have some trace amount of straw and soil on them. As do the tomatoes, beans and cucumbers. We do rinse them before leaving the farm — but we won’t put them through a disinfectant bath nor pack them in antiseptic plastic containers and put “PLU” labels on them. That’s not what consumers want at a farm market — nor is it something we’ll ever be able to do.

Regulations for a new food law — FSMA, the Food Safety Modernization Act — administered by the FDA are currently in the process of being finalized. Although the act originally had protections for family farmers like myself, we see those being ignored or phased out over time.

Common sense and following the data of recent food safety scares lead us to a very strong conclusion: the further the food travels from the farm to the consumer, the more opportunities it has to become a food safety problem. The current cyclospora food poisoning problem in bagged salads is a good example.

This is one reason why 20 million consumers come to farmers markets like ours and want fresh produce from our fields — preferably grown without pesticides, herbicides or GMO seeds. And sadly, protecting consumers from these synthetic perils is not addressed by FSMA.”

Read the entire article in the Gazette.