Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association to Hold Conference in Annapolis

MOFFA, the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association, announces its 25th Annual
Winter Meeting, on Saturday February 20, 2016, 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.

Go Back to the Future with Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association: Combining the old tried and true sustainable organic farming techniques with the latest science and research.

At this public meeting, you can join farmers, consumers, advocates, and researchers to:
● Learn how Maryland producers are going back to the roots of organic agriculture, and
beyond organic into the future.
● Add your voice to discussions about nutrition and agriculture, climate change, soil and
sustainable organic farming and gardening.
● Network with some of the pioneers of the organic food movement.
● Find a local CSA, Farmer’s Market, or organic food resource.

MOFFA Chairperson Holly Budd said, “Whether you are a consumer or distributor looking for good sources of local organic food, or a farmer or gardener in search of new ideas, techniques and inspiration, the MOFFA Winter Meeting has something for you.” The day will consist of presentations, panels , and workshops , including research talks by Extension and UMD researchers.

Attendees:
● Should bring a dish to share for the Potluck Lunch , one of the highlights of the meeting.
● Can bring seeds to exchange with the other participants in the MOFFA Seed Swap .
● Are encouraged to donate an item for the Auction to support MOFFA.
● Members may bring display materials and table space will be available in exchange for
auction item donations.

Registration is $20 for non-members and $5 for 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 marylandorganic.org.

Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) was established in 1991 as a
non-profit organization. MOFFA strives to build a sustainable network of individuals and
organizations that support small farms, family gardens and ecologically sound businesses.

Equipment demo at the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association winter Meeting
Equipment demo at the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association winter Meeting

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Climate Change: Sequestering Carbon the Easy Way

Learn how restoring ecosystems can reverse global warming in 16 years. Plants absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can fix it permanently as carbon in the soil using already proven organic farming practices.
Learn how restoring ecosystems can reverse global warming in 16 years. Plants absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can fix it permanently as carbon in the soil using already proven organic farming practices.

While much attention has been given to stopping global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, little attention has been given to the fact that even if we reduced carbon emissions to zero, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere would still remain above 400 ppm and the devastation of global warming would continue. Only if the carbon dioxide concentration is brought down to 350 ppm or below will we be able to return to a comfortable climate again.

The Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis is holding a program at the Annapolis Friends Meeting House on November 14, 2015. The mini-conference will address how the carbon dioxide concentration can be reduced.

By photosynthesis and fixing the carbon in the soil using organic agricultural systems, carbon dioxide concentration can be potentially reduced to 280 ppm in 16 years,   even with continued emissions from burning fossil fuels, though reducing fossil fuel emissions would certainly help.

The key to increasing carbon fixation in the soil is restoring the micro organisms in the soil that convert some of the plant sugars (from photosynthesis) in the roots into humus, which permanently fix the carbon. Grazing animals on grasslands accelerates the process.

The organization providing the speakers for the program  is Biodiversity for a Livable Climate. The D.C. Chapter is directed by Philip Bogdonoff.  Biodiversity for a Livable Climate has presented other conferences on climate change, carbon sequestration, and organic farming, including, Tufts, Harvard Science Center , and University of the District of Columbia.

Climate Change: Sequestering Carbon the Easy Way is sponsored by the Greater Annapolis Climate Stewards, the Maryland Sierra Club, and the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association, (MOFFA). The program will be  on Saturday afternoon, November 14 at 2 PM. For further information, contact Dick Vanden Heuvel,  410-267-9009.

At the MOFFA Winter Meeting – soil health tops the agenda

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 6.21.58 PM
Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune

Face it. Most humans treat soil like. . .well dirt. At USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), there is a new urgency for people to know more about our soil, as good soil is disappearing due to erosion, compaction and loss of organic matter. NRCS has created a new Soil Health Division to focus on education. Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) attendees were fortunate to have the Division’s new Chief, Dr. Bianca Moebius Clune, to be the featured speaker at their Winter Meeting.

Of course, organic farmers must know and appreciate the value of healthy soil. But withoutScreen Shot 2015-02-25 at 7.04.55 PM being able to use herbicides, most organic farmers have to till their soil. Dr. Clune says that intensive tillage is “like a little earthquake” for the soil. It breaks up soil structure, damages the biota, and can compact soil and reduce absorption. It can even affect pest management. For organic farmers, some tillage is inevitable to reduce weed pressure, but they can take actions to reduce the impact and they can monitor the conditions of the soil.

Dr. Clune provided information on how to take shovel tests to check for  compaction and how to evaluate the roots for soil health and where to send your soil for testing to get a more complete analysis of soil condition, such as the Cornell Soil Health Assessment.

She urged farmers to get in touch with local NRCS offices for assistance and to  be aware of the EQIP Organic Initiative that “provides financial assistance to implement a broad set of conservation practices to assist organic producers in addressing resource concerns including, but not limited to assistance with:

  • Developing a conservation plan
  • Establishing buffer zones
  • Planning and installing pollinator habitat
  • Improving soil quality and organic matter while minimizing erosion
  • Developing a grazing plan and supportive livestock practices
  • Improving irrigation efficiency
  • Enhancing cropping rotations and nutrient management”

To learn more contact Lindsay Haines, Lindsay.haines@wdc.usda.org, an EQIP program specialist.

Re-posted from the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission blog by Greg Bowen

The MOFFA meeting is on for tomorrow, as originally planned

The MOFFA meeting is on for tomorrow, as originally planned.

If the weather looks too severe for the afternoon, the meeting may be shortened.

The MOFFA meeting is on for tomorrow, as originally planned

ALL ARE WELCOME to the MARYLAND ORGANIC FOOD AND FARMING ASSOCIATION 2015 WINTER MEETING

FEBRUARY 21, 8AM-5PM

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

PRESENTATIONS on: soil health; pollinators in peril; social justice at farmers’ markets; farm to faith; connecting with chefs and distributors; farming with horsepower; and more!

HOMEGROWN ‘EAT LOCAL’ POTLUCK, SEED SWAP, SILENT AUCTION.
SEE EVENTS PAGE FOR DETAILS & SCHEDULE.

MOFFA WINTER MEETING 2015 POTLUCK LUNCH

Bring a dish to share at the Homegrown ‘Eat Local’ Potluck Lunch!

A potluck is a gathering of people where each person or group of people contributes a dish of food prepared by the person or the group, to be shared among the larger gathered group.

MOFFA’s Potluck lunch is one of the highlights of the Winter Meeting. Bring a dish to share at the best local lunch around!

We are looking for some volunteers to make some of the wonderful dishes that they make last year!

  • soups and stews both meat and veggie based
  • bread, no more than 2-3 loaves(my notes from last year said we had too much bread)
  • salads
  • casseroles
  • desserts(my notes from last year said we didn’t have enough)
  • breakfast items-muffins, quiche, sweet breads

Fay Walton, our Hospitality Coordinator (Yay Fay!),  will be making pumpkin something, (bread or muffins) for the morning, and egg pie. For lunch, something with chicken, (casserole maybe) and pumpkin crisp for dessert.

MOFFA will provide the following:

  • Cheese
  • Coffee, tea, juice and milk
  • Cream, honey, and sugar
  • Butter
  • Water

I can hardy wait! See you soon!

Check out the great Schedule

MOFFA WINTER MEETING 2015

FEBRUARY 21, 2015

(Snow Date February 28)
 

8:00 AM-5:00 PM

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

Keynote at MOFFA meeting: “Turning your dreams of healthy soil into reality”

At the upcoming MOFFA meeting (3 days away!), the keynote speaker, Dr. Moebius-Clune, the Director, Soil Health Division, USDA-NRCS, Washington, DC will speak on:
“Turning your dreams of healthy soil into reality.”

The keynote will be delivered from 9am-10am this Saturday, February 21, at the Maryland Department of Agriculture in Annapolis ( 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway).

Hope to see you there!

MOFFA Winter Meeting Schedule Available

logo  

WINTER MEETING 2015
Emcee: Erroll Mattox
When: February 21 (snow date Feb. 28) 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Maryland Dept. of Agriculture 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis
Only $5 for members; $20 for non-members
Hope to see you there!

Please note: Presentations and times are subject to change.

8:00-8:30    Registration, Coffee
8:30-8:45    Welcome & Announcements
Holly Heintz Budd, MOFFA Chair
8:45-9:00    Introduction to the United Nations International Year of Soils                              Tanya Tolchin, MOFFA Vice-Chair
9:00-            Keynote Speaker on Soil Health:
10:00           “Turning your Dreams of Healthy Soil into Reality”
                      Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune, Ph.D.
Director, Soil Health Division, USDA-NRCS, Washington, DC
10:00-         Coffee Break
10:30           Silent Auction, Seed Swap, Display Tables, Book Sales Table                                      (Donated by Storey Publishing, 100% of proceeds for MOFFA)
                      Break into separate rooms

10:30-11:00
A) Connecting with Chefs & Distributors
Chris Miller, MOM’s Organic Market
Jonas Singer, Union Kitchen
Terrance Murphy, We’ll Juice Mobile Bar and La Fromagerie
B) Can Reduced Tillage and Cover Crop Residues be used to Manage Weeds in Organically Grown Vegetables?
Cerruti RR Hooks, Ph.D. & Guihua Chen, Ph.D., University of Maryland

11:15-noon
A) Pollinators in Peril
Kirsten Traynor, Ph.D.
University of Maryland and Bee World magazine
B) The Ethnic Crops Program at UDC
Yao M. Afantchao, Extension Agent, Ethnic and Specialty Crops Program, Cooperative Extension Service, CAUSES, University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

12:00-      Homegrown ‘Eat Local’ Potluck Lunch, Silent Auction, Seed Swap,
1:20          Networking
1:20-         Board Elections & Announcements
1:30

1:30-2:15
A) Outreach to Low & Moderate Income Shoppers at Farm Markets
Michael Tabor, Licking Creek Bend Farm, will screen his video and share questions & skepticism about current approaches to increasing access to fresh foods.
B) Integrating Horsepower & Livestock into the Diversified Farm
Tom Paduano & Sarah Rider, Owners and Farmers, Flying Plow Farm

2:15-     Silent auction winners announced, Seed Swap, Display Tables
2:30      Grab some coffee, Break into separate rooms

2:30-3:15
A) Farm to Faith: Growing Connections
Rev. Rebecca Iannicelli, United Methodist Church
Rev. Darriel Harris, Baltimore Food and Faith Project
Mike Klein, Good Fortune Farm
B) Organic Certification FAQ
Deanna Baldwin, Maryland Department of Agriculture. Certified Organic or considering certification? Deanna Baldwin will update you and answer questions about NOP interpretations and compliance with all of the rules.

3:15-4:00
A) Bio-Fuels
Jay Martin, Provident Organic Farm
B) Good Agricultural Practices
Shirley Micallef, Ph.D. & Sarah Allard, University of Maryland, will give updates on GAP research and practices for organic farming.

4:00-4:45
A) The Monsanto Experiment: What GMOs & Pesticides Are Doing to Human Health & the Environment
Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq. Political Director, Organic Consumers Association
B) MOFFA Discussion Session
Holly Heintz Budd, Chair, MOFFA & Tanya Tolchin, Vice-Chair, MOFFA Are you new to MOFFA? Have you been a member for a long time? Join this session for a chance to meet others and share your interests, what you’re working on, and why you’re part of MOFFA.

4:45- 5:00 Wrap-up

PESTICIDES AND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED PROJECT EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING

EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING PESTICIDES AND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED PROJECT OCTOBER 6, 2014 9:45 AM - 3:45 PM MOFFA MEMBERS ARE INVITED TO THE
EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING
PESTICIDES AND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED PROJECT

OCTOBER 6, 2014
9:45 AM – 3:45 PM
PEARLSTONE CONFERENCE AND RETREAT CENTER, REISTERSTOWN, MD

REGISTER AT: mdpestnet@aol.comWITH YOUR NAME, TITLE & AFFILIATION
REGISTRATION DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 19TH

PRESENTERS

  • Moderator: David Love, PhD, MSPH, Project Director for Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
  • Keynote Speaker: Melissa J. Perry, Sc.D., MHS, President, American College of Epidemiology; Chair, Dept of Environmental & Occupational Health, George Washington University Milken School of Public Health; will discuss pesticide impacts in the Potomac River Valley
  • Dennis vanEngelsdorp, PhD, Assistant Professor of Entomology, University of Maryland, is Maryland’s top bee expert and will discuss the plight of bees in our nation & region – and what can be done
  • Vicki Blazer, PhD, Fish Pathologist, USGS National Fish Health Research Lab, will present current research on fish impacts in the Bay watershed from endocrine disruptors & pesticide contamination
  • Cathleen Hapeman, PhD, Environmental Organic Chemist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, will discuss the Long-Term Agro-Ecosystem Research Network and identifying areas where conservation practices would be most useful
  • Greg Allen, M.E.M. Environmental Scientist, USEPA Chesapeake Bay Program, will provide an update on the Chesapeake Bay Agreement

RSVP at mdpestnet@aol.com with your name, title & affiliation

Meeting agenda and details

Our Eighth Annual Meeting brings together Project stakeholders and others interested in protecting the Bay watershed, sharing cutting-edge research and monitoring data on pesticides, discussing initiatives of the Project’s four working groups and collaborating on the direction of the Project. Registration is free and an organic lunch and snacks will be served.
Registration is free & an organic lunch and snacks will be served. Directions to Pearlstone: http://goo.gl/bsxtk4

A Call for Food Transparency

Mike Tabor of Licking Creek Bend Farm, asks Marylanders to contact their legislators to support bills SB0778 and HB1191, before March  2014 in support of GMO labeling.
MOFFA Member, Mike Tabor of Licking Creek Bend Farm, asks Marylanders to contact their legislators to support bills SB0778 and HB1191. Please call or email before March 11, 2014 in support of GMO labeling.

Regarding the March 11th hearings on GMO labeling legislation, Marylanders should contact their legislators to support bills SB0778 and HB1191.  As a farmer and consumer, I believe we should have the right to know if genetically modified organisms are in our food, just as we do with the amount of calories, preservatives and food coloring that consumers fought to have on food labels.  We’re intelligent enough to read, research and choose, if we have the information. Thus, we need to have GMO foods labeled.

Regarding the FDA’S role in protection of the public, FDA does no independent testing of GMOs.  They rely on short term tests conducted by the bio-tech industry!  And FDA’s Chief of Food Safety, Michael Taylor, has been a Monsanto Vice President.  Are these tests and individuals impartial?  You can’t blame the public for being skeptical.

On the argument of selective breeding of seeds, I do want the most disease and pest resistant varieties of seeds when I farm.  But, genetic engineering is a hit or miss, new and risky process of splicing genes from one species (usually animal) into the DNA of another (vegetable).  This is not “natural” and not what is meant by the age old practice of “selective breeding” within the same species.  GMOs are not an extension of “natural breeding”, but rather ultimately meant for company profit because bio-tech companies have received patents on these new life forms.

Monsanto, Syngenta and other bio-tech companies want control of what seeds farmers use.  They have bought up the majority of the smaller seed companies in this country.  The purchase of their GMO seeds mandates the use of their exclusive chemicals such as Roundup (glyphosate) and Atrazine, which have created super weeds that their chemicals can no longer kill.  These chemicals flow into our drinking water.  Syngenta recently lost a $100 million class action suit against many states and municipalities to clean the Atrazine out of the drinking water. Maryland has one of the nation’s highest amounts of Atrazine in its drinking water, but for some unknown reason it was not part of the suit and did not receive any money for the cleanup.

The issues of GMO health dangers have raised enough questions that 64 countries, including the European Union, require labeling.  The bio-tech industry cannot prove to them that GM foods are safe. In fact, we, the American public, never had that choice – and in the end we are really the bio-tech industry’s guinea pigs.

I am always saddened by the fact our governor, and our senate president, and most members of the
General Assembly turn to the MD Dept of Ag for guidance on these issues.  Its head, Buddy Hance, was the former president of the MD Farm Bureau.  The farming sector, which represents only 2% of the Maryland GNP, controls public policy when it comes to the health and safety of 100% of its citizenry, the environment, and health of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Farm Bureau, although composed of family farmers like myself, mostly represents the interests of large corporate farming including the multi-billion dollar profits of the biotechnology chemical companies.  They pour millions of dollars into state campaigns against the labeling of GMO foods because they believe it will cut down on company profits.  Our health and well-being are not a concern of theirs.

So, we, the citizens of Maryland, have the right to know, so we can make informed choices, which is the backbone of a democratic society.  We need to pass a GMO labeling law for ourselves, our children and the future.  Call your state delegates and let them know that!

Michael Tabor is a farmer, consumer and Maryland resident. For more information, visit needtoknowmaryland.org.

 Mike Tabor

Takoma Park, MD
esiegel2@igc.org
240-505-6282 cell