Tag Archives: organic farming

Hancock Permaculture Courses Lucky Dog Organic Farm

flooded field in GoshenPURE CATSKILLS

LEARN HOW THIS ORGANIC FARMER AND NEW YORK CITY PROTECT THE WATERS THAT SERVES OVER 8 MILLION PEOPLE BY CAREFUL CONSERVATION OF THE LAND AND FORESTS THAT FORM THE WATERSHED.  YOU WILL APPRECIATE HOW THIS NOFA-NY CERTIFIED ORGANIC FARM SURVIVED THE DEVASTATING  EFFECTS OF 100 YEAR STORMS WHICH OCCUR WITH MORE FREQUENCY AS WE ADDRESS THE ISSUES OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN THIS HANDS-ON PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE.

 

Hancock Permaculture Design Course

Spring 2014 – begins June.

CONTACT: Andrew Leslie Phillips

Greenman124@yahoo.com

917-771-9382

Hancock Permaculture Center

HAMDEN, NEW YORK: To be held at Lucky Dog Farm, Hamden N.Y. With additional field visits to local regional farms and homesteads and the New York City Watershed.

 Five weekends over five months – June thru October – miss one, make it up later. Graduates receive the official permaculture design certificate which enables you to teach permaculture.

Lucky Dog Farm is a working organic farm, catering business, farm store, food hub, three hours from NYC in the picturesque northern Catcalls. Accommodation available at Lucky Dog’s Hamden Inn. Camping also available. Contact: hollyway@gmail.com

Special guest lecturers:

Wes Gillingham, Project Director, Catskills Mountain Keeper, the north-east’s leading antifracking organization.

Laurie Schoeman, founder Intervention Green addresses climate change and city planning.Laurie works on climate change and sustainability issues with government agencies in NYC.

LEAD INSTRUCTORS:

Andrew Leslie Phillips

: Hancock Permaculture Center;. Studied with Geoff Lawton and Bill

Mollison and known for his approachable teaching style.

Maria Grimaldi:

Degree in Environmental Psychology and diversified background teaching

gardening, farming, plant science, cooking with New York Botanical Gardens, Brooklyn Botanic

Garden, Cornell Cooperative Extension, NOFA-NY and Sullivan County Community College

.

ASSISTANT INSTRUCTORS:

Kyle T. Murray

: Catskill Mountain native brings youthful energy to this group. Studied with Andrew

Leslie Phillips, Hancock Permaculture Center, Albert Bates and Christopher Nesbitt at Maya

Mountain Research Farm, Belize. Alumni Paul Smiths College of the Adirondacks. Skills and

project experience include Land Surveying and Forestry, Arboriculture, Watershed Management,

and Natural Building

Erika Medina:

Certified Master Gardener and Naturalist. She lives in an off-grid homestead where

she runs a small CSA, raises bees, chickens, heritage ducks and turkeys. She and her husband

own and operate

One Earth Energy, a renewable energy design and installation company,

Dr Nancy Eos:

Family & holistic medical doctor, attorney. Studied with Dave Jacke (i2008).

Graduate of first Financial Permaculture course, Hohenwald, TN. Active with Transition Towns

Sullivan and Transition Towns Delaware – localized credit cards, stock exchanges, time dollar

enterprises, business funding, Think Local First campaigns.

WHEN

: Five modules over five months – first weekends May thru September.

WHERE

: Hamden N.Y., northern Catskills. Three hours from NYC. DIRECTIONS

COST

: $220 per weekend with five organic meals.

DEPOSIT

: $440 covers two sessions and ensures a place in this course.

Send check and register:

Hancock Permaculture Center

372 West Front Street Hancock NY 13783

Greenman124@yahoo.com

917-771-9382

More course details at:

http://www.hancockpermaculture.org/

“Care of Earth. Care of people. Return of surplus to both.”

 

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Filed under Alternative Energy, EDUCATION, Environment

Community Farm to Table Thanksgiving Dinner and Food Drive

A WONDERFUL WAY TO CELEBRATE  AN ORGANIC THANKSGIVING IN COMMUNITY AND FOR A GOOD CAUSE!

NOFA-NY ORGANIC FARMERS AND OTHERS HAVE PARTNERED TO PUT ON THIS SPECIAL THANKSGIVING FEAST IN LAKE HUNTINGTON  NEW YORK. PLEASE MAKE RESERVATIONS BEFORE NOVEMBER 21. ALL ARE WELCOME AND IT IS FREE TO ATTEND! TRANSPORTATION IS PROVIDED AS WELL. CALL 888-551-8625 OR EMAIL info@NaturalContents.com

communitythanksgiving

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Filed under FARMERS MARKETS, Local Farm Food Event, Transition Towns

Call Your Senator Today!

NOFATHUMBNAIL

Demand Fix to Important Farm Programs

This fall, Congress made a mistake that prevents farmers from signing up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year, leaving over 9,000 farmers high and dry.
Today, the Senate will take up their own version of the bill to fund government programs through the rest of 2013. They have a chance to fix this mistake and restore funding for key sustainable agriculture programs. 
Don’t let Congress leave these programs stranded.  Speak out today!  Please call:Senator Gillibrand at (202) 224-4451

Senator Schumer at (202) 224-6542

 

An example message is:

“I’m calling about the Continuing Resolution.  Please tell the Senator to fix the Conservation Stewardship Program so USDA can hold a farmer sign-up this year.  Also tell the Senator to support mandatory funding in the bill for the programs that were stranded in the farm bill extension, including:

  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
  • Organic Agriculture Research & Extension Initiative
  • National Organic Certification Cost Share Program

These programs are important to sustainable NYS farmers, and they must be funded.”
Just a few minutes of your time will make a real difference in the lives of sustainable NYS farmers.
Sincerely,
Kate
Kate Mendenhall Executive Director, NOFA-NY

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, EDUCATION, Environment, Local Business, Workforce Development

New York Organic Farmers Protest Fracking and Support Ban on Hydro-Fracking Albany January 23.

Environmental groups, including New York farmers rallied in Albany on January 23, 2012 to call for a legislative ban on hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells, saying that no amount of regulation can make the process safe.

According to today’s article in the Washington Examiner, there are several Bills pending in the New York State Legislature that are likely to pass as activists lobby for the passage of several bills.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2012/01/environmental-groups-rally-ny-fracking-bills/2125121

On January 20, 2012 at the Annual NOFA-NY Members Meeting at the NOFA-NY Conference in Saratoga Springs  a policy resolution was  passed to ban hydraulic fracturing worldwide. The majority of members felt that there could be no compromise on the issue.

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Filed under CONFERENCE, Environment, Gas Drilling Hydro-Fracking

Producer, Actress Artists Celebrate Agriculture Agrarian Acts and Farm Trucking Dogs

Its been a tough year for many farmers in the Catskill, Hudson and Delaware Region, but many of our NOFA-NY members take a break to have some fun and celebrate the new farmers culture.

Tannis Kowalchuk , director of the NACL theatre in Highland Lake, New York  produced  AGRARIAN ACTS and has sent along a  video for those who missed it last September in celebration of the NOFA-NY Locavore Challenge.  Tannis farms in Abramhamsville PA with her husband Greg Swartz at Willow Wisp Farm, a NOFA-NY Certified LLC farm,  in addition she is an actress and theatrical producer and has devoted her life to theatre and growing herself, her family and organic food.

vimeo http://vimeo.com/32789028

Mark Dunau of Mountain Dell Farm in Hancock New York produced this film with his friends to reflect on his weekly trucking schedule to New York City restaurants, with all of his dog friends. Every week after an abundant harvest of gourmet greens Mark and his crew, some of them canine,  truck to New York with the harvest. Mark sent us this to help us develop a sense of humour and survival after a difficult farming season. Mark served on the NOFA-NY Board of Directors for many years  and instituted the NOFA-NY Farmers’ Pledge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vONA8Ji3Rmg

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, Local Farm Food Event, Locavore Challenge Event, Sustainable Farming

Carrot Project 2012 Greater Berkshire Fund Loans for Farmers in New York Dutchess Columbia Counties

Greater Berkshire
Agricultural Fund:

Serving NY, CT and
MA

The Carrot Project is
pleased to announce we plan to offer loans through our Greater Berkshire
Agricultural Fund beginning in 2012, for up to $75,000 in the following
counties: Berkshire, MA, Litchfield, CT, Dutchess, NY and Columbia, NY.  Please
contact us at any point this fall with questions, or to begin working on your
prequalification and application:

www.thecarrotproject.org/programs/loan_programs

Or
contact Benneth Phelps at:
bphelps@thecarrotproject.org or
617.674.2371

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, FARM GRANTS

IMPORTANT POLICY LETTER FROM NOFA-NY TO DEC COMMISSIONER MARTENS

July 13, 2011

Commissioner Joe Martens

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-0001

Dear Commissioner Martens,

I am writing to you today on behalf of our more than 1,400 organic farming, gardening and consumer members in response to the recent release of the updated SGEIS on the impacts of high volume hydrofracturing in the Marcellus Shale.  We appreciate the lengths to which the DEC staff have gone to review and address comments in revising this important impact statement. However, we do not believe there has been sufficient research on the impacts specifically to the state’s agricultural industry, an industry so crucial to rural economies and community areas targeted for Marcellus Shale development.

As you know, agriculture is one of the largest industries in the state, contributing heavily to New York’s economy and its work force, as nearly one-quarter of the state’s total land area is utilized as farmland.  Much of the land located within the Marcellus Shale region is active farmland, and we believe the impacts to farmers, farmland, the farm economy and food production has not been adequately studied at this point.

DEC staff, members of the Advisory Council and the consultant hired to prepare the Socio-Economic study lack the level of agricultural expertise necessary to fully assess the impacts to New York’s farming industry.

Therefore, on behalf of our members and the undersigned agriculture-related organizations, we ask the DEC to hire a consultant to assess the impacts of the permitting of high volume horizontal hydrofracturing on agriculture and the state’s irreplaceable farmland resources . As is the case with the other components of the revised draft SGEIS, this study of impacts on agriculture and farmland protection should be prepared and released to the public in advance of the official public comment period, so that the farmers of the region can properly assess its accuracy and completeness.

We ask that an Agricultural and Farmland Protection Impacts Study be produced including, but not limited to, consideration of the following:

  1. Statistics on the total estimated acreage and percent of farmland in the region that will be impacted-likely to be taken out of production due directly to gas infrastructure development (i.e., farmland lost due to drilling pads, pipelines, access roads, compressor stations, chemical, water, waste and equipment storage areas and other infrastructure). These statistics should be based on a cumulative, or “built-out” basis.

The current draft SGEIS calls for pre- and post-testing of water wells used for human drinking water in the vicinity of active drilling.  For agricultural purposes, surface water and springs are also used to irrigate crops and water livestock, which also experience ill effects from contamination.  An appropriate testing regimen to effectively mitigate any impacts on water sources used for agricultural purposes also should be devised.

  1. Effects of fragmentation of farmland due to access roads, pipelines and other infrastructure.
  2. Effects of settling and subsidence of ground associated with hydrofracking on drainage, both natural drainage and fields drained by installed drainage tiling, and impacts drainage changes may have on soil structure and crop productivity.
  1. Short and long-term assessment of available water resources for agriculture, residential and drilling and hydrofracking activities, by specific (i.e., town-level or smaller) area.  Report on the current use of water  by farming in the Marcellus Shale region by specific area, compared to the cumulative requirements for  drilling and related activities in that area.  For farming purposes, it is not practical to consider shipping water for irrigation or stock watering from adjacent townships.  This data should help determine the extent of potential competition for water between farms, residential water needs, and hydrofracking operations, and identify any localities of particular concern for potential water shortages.
  1. Effects on the availability and cost of farm labor & commodity trucking due to competition from the gas industry. Farmers are already paying increased cost per hundredweight for shipping milk to haulers serving New York’s dairy industry, that have experienced these impacts from gas industry development in Pennsylvania..  Is there enough appropriately skilled, licensed and available work force in these regions to provide for both industries, or will the gas industry  continue to drive up the price for farm- and agriculture-related labor  putting New York’s farmers at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace?
  1. Effects of competition for products used by both the agricultural and gas industries.    Anecdotal evidence suggests a loss of availability of certain products or a significant price increase on products, which would negatively impact farm production and profit margins.
  1. Long-term  impacts of impaired air and water quality on the health of soil, livestock, honeybees, fruit, vegetables, and other agricultural crops and production.  As elevated ozone, in particular, has more serious impacts on per-acre productivity for some crops than it does on others (example: grapes), this analysis must be crop-specific, so that the industry can understand whether mitigations must include changes in crop mix to remain competitive with other producing regions.
  1. Impacts that effects on wildlife may have on agricultural operations (example: will a reduction in beneficial insect populations due to air quality deterioration result in booming populations of crop-eating insect pests no longer kept in check by natural predators?)
  1. Identify  how farmers will be compensated for losses and damage  due to water or soil contamination or other gas industry related incidents and accidents, including any involving independent trucking contractors. A clear and timely mechanism must be developed to assign responsibility for bearing and paying these costs to allow clean-up to begin immediately, to prevent the spread of contamination or the loss of more than one year’s crop.  Payment of compensation must be up-front, not reimbursable, so as to not negatively impact farmers’ available credit for operations.  Compensation regulations need to be crop or product specific and market-price based, with strict oversight and enforcement by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, which will require additional resources to provide this enforcement.
  1. Effects on the organic certification of certified organic farms.  Because organic farmers must uphold higher environmental standards and provide adequate records that their farmland has not been contaminated by prohibited substances, how will farmers be assured that the hydrofracking activities will follow the organic requirements on organic farms as they relate to right of way pesticide application, water-quality, pesticide drift, and run-off?
  1. The Marcellus region includes the Susquehanna River Basin, which drains into the Chesapeake Bay and is subject to new regulatory restrictions.  The EPA recently imposed Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in this watershed, and farmers are subsequently faced with the burden and cost of helping the state and region achieve these targeted limits.  While gas development activities are likely to contribute to the sediment and nutrient loading of local waterways, this industry and its potential impacts were not included in modeling for the TMDLs, nor are they subject to accountability and oversight for their “contributions” to the problem.  How will agriculture be insulated from unfairly being required to shoulder responsibility for mitigating the impacts on TMDL for various pollutants created by the gas industry in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed area?
  1. 12.  Legislation such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Water Drinking Act have resulted in significant regulatory oversight and accompanying costs for agriculture.  The gas industry enjoys a special exemption from these laws.  If additional gas industry development creates significant changes in environmental status, will this put added pressure and costs on industries (like agriculture) operating in the same area, which may be forced to bear the burden of having to compensate for the exempted/unaccounted for environmental impacts of the gas industry?  How will this industry-specific discrepancy in the enforcement of federal laws be addressed, how will pollution impacts be allocated to industrial origin, and will additional mitigating actions imposed by regulators create economic burdens that impact agricultural profitability in the region?

 

  1. 13.  In some instances, owners of farms and farmland are the recipients of royalty payments associated with gas development.  Payments can be substantial for high-producing wells.  Impacts on farming and the agriculture sector as a whole can’t be accurately assessed without considering to what degree such payments are utilized as additional capital to expand or improve farming operations, additional family income to augment personal expenditures unrelated to the agricultural enterprise, or a source of primary income substantially replacing income made by working the farm.  Conversations with Soil and Water Conservation staff from Pennsylvania have indicated that a significant portion of farmers cease farming operations when royalty payments begin.  An estimate of these effects—including the potential for reclamation of any fallowed land by the owner or a leasee at such time that gas production declines or ceases—should be undertaken. 
  2. A recent Duke Study has shown there to be a significance of Methane contamination in shallow drinking water systems.  Livestock watering and irrigation systems use an even more fragile and sensitive surface water, not just water from wells. How does the SGEIS taken into account these significant risks to farm operations?

Thank you for your time and consideration in reviewing this letter.  We would be happy to review our requests with you in person or over the phone.

Sincerely,

Kate Mendenhall

Executive Director

NOFA-NY, Inc.

cc: Governor Cuomo, NYSDAM Commissioner Aubertine

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Filed under Gas Drilling Hydro-Fracking, Sustainable Farming