At the MOFFA Winter Meeting – soil health tops the agenda

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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

Cow Share and Raw Milk Legislation in Maryland

Liz Retzig will be presenting an update on cow share and raw milk legislation in Maryland at the 2014 MOFFA Winter Meeting.

In Maryland it is illegal to sell raw milk (as in unpasteurized, fresh-from-the-cow milk).

It is not illegal to drink fresh milk from the cow that you own, but it is illegal to even own a share of a cow in Maryland.

The Maryland General Assembly is considering lifting the ban on raw milk by reinstating cow shares which have been criminalized since 2006. This bill would do wonders for Maryland farmers who wish to engage directly with eager consumers wanting raw milk from their own animals. This legislation, once passed, would repeal the ban on cow shares (and goat) and allow people to contract directly with the farmers of their choice for raw milk.  http://nourishingliberty.com/raw-milk-could-be-legal-in-maryland/

Liz is a Mother, a MOFFA Board Member, and the Co-Founder, Farm Food Freedom Coalition. Liz has been working hard to realize the availability of raw milk in Maryland. She blogs about the right for food choice at Nourishing Liberty .

The Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association 23rd Annual Winter Meeting, is on Saturday February 15, 2014, from 8 am to 5:00 pm, at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis.

Registration is $20 for non-members and $5 for members. Membership is $25 for one year or $45 for two years. Registration is at the door.

Exploring Low Tech Food Dehydration to Increase Profits on Small Farms

Tanya Tolchin will be Exploring Low Tech Food Dehydration to Increase Profits on Small Farms at the MOFFA Winter Meeting on February 15, 2014.

Tanya says,

 “One of the challenges we face on our farm is that we often grow more produce and flowers than we can market during the peak season. We are hopeful that dehydrating some of our fresh produce and creating new products like kale chips, dried tomatoes, dried herbs and dried f lowers, will help our farm be more profitable and resilient in the changing marketplace. In early 2013, we received a “Farmer Grant” from USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) to build and test the two commercial scale dryers on our farm, one solar and one electric.”

Tanya is one of the newest member of the MOFFA board and the Vice Chair.  She stepped in because she has dreams of MOFFA growing into a bigger and more  powerful entity like the great Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. She is hoping to help MOFFA win grants and attract a broader membership base. Tanya and her husband Scott Hertzberg grow vegetables and flowers at Jug Bay Market Garden just 20 miles from Washington DC and around the corner from Heron There Farm. She is a manager  of Israeli Harvest , a small business that supports farmers in Israel by selling organic olive oil and dates in the US. She writes about farming, parenting and Jewish life on her blog, On the Lettuce Edge, and else where. Prior to farming, she worked for Sierra Club in Washington DC for ten years on efforts to help protect national forests and build new strategic partnerships.

MOFFA, the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association 23rd Annual Winter Meeting, is on Saturday February 15, 2014, from 8 am to 5:00 pm, at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis.

Registration is $20 for non-members and $5 for members. Membership is $25 for one year or $45 for two years. Registration is at the door.

Ethnic Vegetable Production

Erroll Mattox from UMES – Maryland Cooperative Extension will be talking about ethnic vegetable production at the MOFFA Winter Meeting on February 15, 2014.

Demographics in America are changing and we can grow food for the world/ethnic market here in Maryland. Erroll will share some thoughts on what we can grow for the South Asian consumer and  insights on marketing.

Erroll is a Farm Management Specialist with the Small Farm Program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He describes his job as “helping farmers make money”. He owned and operated an organic farm on The Shore for more than twenty years.

MOFFA, the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association 23rd Annual Winter Meeting, is on Saturday February 15, 2014, from 8 am to 5:00 pm, at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis.

Registration is $20 for non-members and $5 for members. Membership is $25 for one year or $45 for two years. Registration is at the door.