Posts Tagged ‘NOFA’

toddler in the garden with black eyed susansEvery year, we attend trade and garden shows where companies peddle their latest, greatest green wares. There is often someone promoting their “100% certified organic” 4-step lawn service, and I have fun pretending I’m a homeowner and grilling them about their methods. Why? Currently, no agency “certifies” landscape or lawn care practices or companies as organic. So, how do you know that your lawn service is keeping your family safe and your landscape healthy?

Here’s the deal:

OMRI (the Organic Materials Review Institute) certifies organic materials, like fertilizers and composts, and certified organic produce growers must use products certified by OMRI or other agencies.  The National Organic Program (NOP), part of the USDA also certifies organic produce, but not landscapers or ornamental growers.So, how do you know your landcare company is legit?

NOFA (the Northeast Organic Farming Association) was one of the leaders in certifying organic fruit, vegetable, and livestock production in the United States.  Now, they are the leaders in setting and training in a voluntary standard for organic lawn and landcare.  NOFA-Accredited Landcare Professionals pledge to maintain these standards in the landscapes we design, install, and maintain.  There is currently no audit or certification process beyond that.If your “all-natural” landscaper is not NOFA accredited, ask what materials, methods, and principles they use in their work.  Also, consider their overall business practices: if they are paying fair wages to their workers, providing proof of insurance and other certifications, and getting involved in serving their community, there is more of a likelihood that they are also “walking the talk” when they say that they are “green.” Greenscapes, a local environmental non-profit, has developed a helpful consumer guide for choosing an environmentally-responsible landscaper.

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Join me for Gardening in Small Spaces: Living densely has many benefits, but may come at the price of growing our own food or relaxing outdoors. Yet, we can nourish our bodies and souls using space afforded by a roof deck, patio, or small yard. Learn about small space design, edibles for containers, and vertical gardening, plus small-scale bioshelters, composting, and rainwater harvesting.

Other workships of interest to the home gardener include:

  • Organic Seed Starting
  • Plants and Plans for an Organic Vegetable Garden
  • Cooking and Baking with Maple Syrup
  • Preparing the Vegetable Garden Soil
  • Composting for Home Gardeners
  • Eco-friendly Design
  • Starting a Backyard Organic Apple Orchard
  • City Chickens: Keeping Hens in Cities and Suburbs

Conference highlights:

  • Joel Salatin to present keynote speech and all day seminar “Introducing Livestock to your Farm”
  • 50 workshops on organic farming, gardening, landscaping, and sustainable living.
  • Lively exhibit area, NOFA/Mass Annual Meeting,  great children and teens program, potluck lunch!

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA/Mass)
23rd Annual Winter Conference – “Food From Farms For Families”
January 16, 2010  9am-5.30pm
Worcester Technical High School, Skyline Drive, Worcester, Ma

General registration fee $50 with discounts available.  Registration for Salatin seminar $115 (includes entrance to entire conference). For more information visit http://www.nofamass.org/conferences/winter/index.php or contact Conference Coordinator, Jassy Bratko,  jassy.bratko [at] nofamass.org  or  978-928-5646

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