Meet Our Members
NOFA-NH's knowledgeable and passionate members make our organization great. That's why NOFA-NH offers our members with farms and farm-related businesses eligibility to be featured in the 'Meet Our Members' column in our e-news. Each month, we make our community a little closer by introducing you to someone new. Featured members are chosen by random lottery.
Click here to become a member or renew your membership.
Please Note: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of our members and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NOFA-NH, its staff, or Board of Directors. We reserve the right to reject content deemed unsuitable or inappropriate for our readership and distribution.
Meet Our Members! Introducing Ray Conner
Name and Occupation: Ray Conner, Manager and Hugh Herr, Owner
Business Name: Mermaid Hill Vineyard
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? 1- year, in this iteration. Ray was a very active NOFA-NH member and employee in the past while running her other farm. We are looking forward to taking better advantage of what NOFA-NH has to offer in 2020.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? We want to help foster a community of support (clients, growers, etc.) for organic viticulture and natural wine making in NH. More broadly, we want to support an organization that provides education, community connection, and advocacy on behalf of organic production in our state.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? Mermaid Hill Vineyard is very new on the scene (2019!), and hasn't engaged with NOFA-NH enough to see a direct impact on our business. However, we would love to work with NOFA-NH to educate members about organic wine production in our state (there's not much, and there are many reasons) and increase consumer access to a variety of locally grown (and soon to be natural!) wines. And, of course, the bulk order!
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? We think growing and maintaining the NOFA-NH grower community should be a priority. We love the speaker lineup at the 2020 Winter Conference, and appreciate this heartbeat event that brings so many of us together to reconnect during this slower paced time of year.
How could NOFA-NH better help your business grow? This is a really good start! Send members to our weekly Vineyard Tours and Tastings, hosted Saturdays, 1-4pm, starting in May!
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? Read the newsletters, attend events/workshops, and meet each other (your farmers)! The more you engage, the more you benefit!
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community?
Meet Our Members! Introducing Dan Lagueux
Name and Occupation: Dan Lagueux, Owner and Prime Minister of Good Times
Business Name: Hip Peas Farm
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? Two years.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? We believe in being an active part of the organic movement in New Hampshire, and NOFA is a great way to get new information and organic supplies.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? Each spring we buy organic fertilizers from the NOFA-NH Bulk Order to amend our fields. We also try to attend the NOFA conference as often as possible to stay as close to the organic community as possible.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? At Hip Peas Farm, we recently installed a passive solar “Climate Battery” heating system in one of our high tunnels. We are applying for a SARE grant to study how well these systems actually work and would love to speak to other growers about them. We feel that by making heating during winter more affordable, it broadens the impact of organic growers year round in our region.
How could NOFA-NH better help your business grow? NOFA-NH can help by promoting small farmers through their social media platforms, and through channels like this one.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? If you are interested in being a part of the organic movement, you should absolutely join NOFA-NH. It strengthens us as a community, and offers discounts on organic supplies during the spring bulk order.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? We currently sell wholesale Certified Organic Produce to the Hooksett area, and host periodic farm-to-table dinners on the property. The farm house can also be rented out to sleep up to 16 people, or the site can be booked for an event. Find more information on our website, and follow us on Facebook for event notifications, and Instagram for daily updates.
Meet Our Members! Introducing Mark Wilson and Mari Princiotta
Name and Occupation: Mark Wilson and Mari Princiotta, Owners & Farmers
Business Name: Marimark Farms, LLC
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? Two years.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? We were new to farming and were committed to using organic and sustainable practices. NOFA-NH was a natural fit.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? NOFA-NH’s website, Winter Conference, and Bulk Order program have provided education, best practices, and support as we reclaim our farm property.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? I would like to see NOFA-NH doing more community outreach to bring Organic farmers together in different types of forums – for each other and our larger communities.
How could NOFA-NH better help your business grow? NOFA-NH can do targeted advertising to gain support for its members, continue to provide educational opportunities, and perhaps provide information on various distribution channels available.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? Just do it – it’s a small price to pay to support the organic effort and membership will pay for itself in dividends through its programs.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? Marimark Farms has started planning for next year. Stay tuned!
Meet Our Members! Introducing Teresa Downey
Name and Occupation: Teresa Downey, Owner/Farmer
Business Name: Terra Basics
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? I joined this year, but have been a fan for many years.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? One of the fundamental values of Terra Basics is sustainable, organic farming. The community of like-minded farmers that NOFA-NH cultivates is aligned with our same passion for agriculture and we cherish the supportive connections.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? NOFA-NH has brought a higher level of recognition to Terra Basics by being a member of a dedicated and reputable association. The continued work and unwavering commitment to educating consumers that NOFA has brought to the state has helped Terra Basics as a new organic farm.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? Help promote farms. Provide a full listing of NH organic farms on the NOFA website with direct links to farm websites.
How could NOFA-NH better help your business grow? Offer a full listing of organic farms to NOFA-NH members and the wider community so that people can have the opportunity to support organic farming by connecting them with locally made and grown products. These product sales are what makes farming viable.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? By being a member, you can take advantage of the opportunities that NOFA-NH provides.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? We will be at the Ledgeview Greenhouses events on December 7th & 8th - come say hi! Visit our table at the Cole Gardens Winter Market for products and samples!
Meet Our Members! Introducing Natalie Reid
Name and Occupation: Natalie Reid, Owner
Business Name: Gap Mountain Goats
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? Since 2019.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? To support the organic movement; keep apprised of news and events going on around in our region
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? NOFA-NH provides information and resources, opportunities to network with other members, and attend interesting events.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? Get the State of New Hampshire to ban the sale of products containing glyphosate or at the very least stop advocating for its use by DES.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? Joining NOFA-NH is a great way to stay involved with people and organizations who all share the same goals.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? Managing Invasives with Goats Demonstration, Saturday Sept 14th (rain date 15th) at Marlborough Elementary School on Fitch Court from 10 am to 3 pm. From Memorial Day through October we run 2-4 goat crews simultaneously to combat invasive plant species and overgrown brush for homeowners, municipalities and non-profits while also educating on the importance of protecting and nourishing our precious soil rather than poisoning it with chemicals
Meet Our Members! Introducing Maggie and Ben O'Brien
Name and Occupation: Maggie and Ben O'Brien, Owners
Business Name: Three Sisters Farm
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? We've been members for 7 years.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? We became members because we like to stay connected to the farming community. The spring NOFA bulk order offers us huge savings on bulk seeds and supplies.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? The NOFA bulk order has given us access to the most affordable organic cover crop seed and farm supplies.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? We would love more workshops on no-till or low-till farming practices.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? We highly recommend becoming a member of NOFA-NH.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? Come visit us on Sundays at our stand at the Dover, NH farmers market!
Meet Our Members! Introducing Ted LeBow
Name and Occupation: Ted LeBow, Co-Founder & Entrepreneur's Best Nightmare
Business Name: Kitchen Table Consultants
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? For about a year.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? As an organization that works with sustainable farms and food related businesses in the northeast, we like to support regional organizations that create community, and NOFA-NH does that. It’s a great networking opportunity and a way to support our local communities.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? To this point we don’t have anything I can directly point to. What I can see is NOFA-NH provides a community forum, an annual conference, and community building – and for us that’s what’s most important.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? I would love to see NOFA-NH work to create a roundtable of farmers that share their financials. What we’ve found is that when farmers share their financials with each other it creates really great conversations and helps them succeed on one leg of the sustainability stool, which is the economic leg.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? Being a member is about being a part of a community. Make sure you take advantage of the events. Go out and meet people, talk to people, and leverage the network of people NOFA-NH brings together.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community?
One thing that’s been in the making for a while is the opening of Poppy’s, which is a grocer and “sister business” to Kitchen Table Consultants, co-owned by KTC’s principals. The soft opening is at the end of the month!
We’ll also be speaking or presenting at the following conferences, and would be happy to connect with you there:
Meet Our Members! Introducing Jennifer Wilhelm
Name and Occupation: Jennifer Wilhelm, Co-Owner
Business Name: Fat Peach Farm
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? Since 2013!
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? We really appreciate the work NOFA-NH does for organic growers; sharing resources, educating, advocating, and networking around sustainable agriculture.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? NOFA-NH has connected us to resources and people to help us manage our farm more efficiently.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? We would like to see a workshop/more discussion/policy around soil carbon credits. Soil carbon storage is an important part of regenerative agriculture, and incentivizing management practices that increase carbon storage would be good for farmers, local ecosystems, and mitigating climate change.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? Don't wait! Supporting NOFA-NH contributes to building a stronger, more connected organic agriculture community in the state!
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? We have our annual plant sale coming up on Memorial Day weekend. Check out our website for more details.
Meet Our Members! Introducing Mike Madden
Name and Occupation: Mike Madden, Owner
Business Name: Scooter's Farm of Woodmont
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? 1st year
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? To support and share ideas with the organic grower community.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? Our farm is in the transition period to become certified organic. Having the resources available from NOFA has helped us learn more about growing organically and the member forum discussions have helped us execute on new strategies.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? I’d like to see more on tree fruit and grapes, as those are our primary crops, and specifically on managing intercropping and companion plantings to help reduce pest pressure and increase beneficial insect populations.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? Do everything possible to expand your team as there is always something new to learn. The organic community has few options regarding support and resources in NH and NOFA is leading the voice for growers, consumers, or anyone interested in organic practices in NH.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? Not really, other than apple harvest in September!
Meet Our Members! Introducing Gene Jonas
Name and Occupation: Gene Jonas, Farmer
Business Name: Hungry Bear Farm
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? We moved up here in ‘09 and joined pretty soon after that. So, 10 years!
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? I started farming and looking around for different organizations that are into what I was doing, and NOFA popped up.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? It’s been a very positive organization in terms of promoting organics in different capacities. Early on, I learned a lot from the links and conferences, and continue to follow it. It’s been a supportive organization with values that coincide with what we’ve been doing for 10 years now.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? Policy is really important. The more I’ve come to learn, and still continue to learn, I think it can’t be understated how important public policy is to the rest of the farming community. So, any work along the lines of creating laws, or having programs set up that enhance, educate, and generally help the local food systems in the state, are really, really important.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? In general, I think the NOFA chapters in each state are pretty important to belong to if you are part of the organic farming community in this region. They are great sources of information. They send out newsletters, post events, host conferences and talks. You can find out a lot of information through NOFA. If you want to be involved, it’s critical to be connected with the NOFA chapter in your state.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? We sell mostly through our CSA. I’ve got trays started for the spring and am seeding onions now. We kick off our CSA in late March and run it for 32 weeks total. Hopefully, we’ll start doing some winter growing this year, too. Check out our website and Facebook page for links to our CSA. We’re looking forward to another season here, and to an early spring!
Meet Our Members! Introducing Dave Trumble
Name and Occupation: Dave Trumble, Farmer
Business Name: Good Earth Farm
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? Since the mid-1980’s.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? I was starting out as an organic farmer and wanted to be part of the organic community and have a chance to learn from other farmers.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? NOFA-NH got the ball rolling in this state for organic farming. NOFA-NH was the organic certification agency in our state in the mid-late 1980s, before the NH Dept. of Agriculture took over the program. I have been certified organic since 1987. At that time, I was very involved with NOFA-NH. I was on the board of directors and was the program director for NOFA-NH and was part of the NOFA-NH committee that certified farms as organic. Those experiences taught me a lot, which has stayed with me ever since. I have learned a lot about organic farming by being involved with NOFA-NH and by going to workshops, farm tours and meeting other organic farmers. NOFA-NH also helped start Local Harvest CSA, a multi-farm CSA, of which we have been farmers for the past 15 years.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? Encourage farmers to sign up for Organic Certification. It is not a perfect program, but I still believe it is the heart of the movement.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? It is a great chance to meet people who share your passion for organic gardening and farming.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? We sell organic plants by pre-order in the spring. Our order form is available on our website. We would be glad to sell seedlings to NOFA-NH members. We grow herbs, flowers and vegetables. Plant pickup is over Memorial Day Weekend.
Meet Our Members! Introducing Joanne Ducas
Name and Occupation: Joanne Ducas, Owner and Operator of Mountain Heartbeet
Business Name: Mountain Heartbeet
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? I've been a member on and off for probably 8 years.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? As an organic farmer, I feel it's really important to be a part of the organic movement in New Hampshire, and being a member of NOFA-NH is a great way to do that!
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? Most recently I participated in the the Fall Farm Share Program. This NOFA-NH program allowed me to give out two subsidized fall farm shares to folks in need in my community. I've also participated as a participant and presenter at several of the NOFA-NH Winter Conferences. NOFA-NH has helped me make connections in the greater community of eaters and organic growers in New Hampshire.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? There are at least two! There's a lot of policy stuff going on right now in terms of organics getting watered down. So, I'd like to really encourage education on what local organic means vs what big business organic means. My first priority, though, is growing the organic movement in New Hampshire and helping it become more visible: letting people know we're here, we're vibrant and we can do a lot for our state if we work together. This also means working on cultivating the next generation of farmers. If we want to keep feeding our community we need to grow more farmers and increase awareness about the benefits of eating local.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? That they should absolutely do it! It's a great resource for people interested in the organic movement in New Hampshire.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? I'd encourage people to get out to the winter farmers markets. I go to the Wolfboro and Tamworth markets, but there are plenty of great markets all over the state. It's important that we let people know that they can get delicious organic food all year round at the farmers markets, and that local farmers really benefit from that support. So, come on out and show your support!
Meet Our Members! Introducing Ryan Foster
Name and Occupation: Ryan Foster, Owner
Business Name: Home Grown Edible Landscaping & Nursery
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? This is my 1st year with NOFA-NH!
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? I became a member of NOFA-NH for potential networking opportunities and to keep up on news in the state in the organic farming community.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? NOFA-NH has been impactful by providing inspiration for the business through the news articles that are published. I love seeing what others are up to and how they engage their community in the work that they are doing.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? My number one priority for NOFA-NH this year is to go to the CRAFT farm mixer at Three Tomatoes Trattoria!
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? I would tell anyone thinking of joining NOFA-NH is to become a member and support an organization who supports you. Bringing people closer to the land that provides continuously for us.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? I don't have any upcoming events but would like to collaborate with someone who is looking to host a fruit tree grafting/clonally propagating work shop in the late winter/spring that I can offer my skills towards.
Meet Our Members! Introducing Julie Davenson
Name and Occupation: Julie Davenson, Executive Director
Business Name: Stonewall Farm
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? Since September 2018
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? To connect, network and share information and resources with other organic farmers.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? NOFA provides valuable resources to members. As a non-profit educational farm, NOFA has also helped us spread the word about the agricultural education programs we offer at Stonewall Farm, especially our new work as a Savory HUB for New England.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? We would like to see more incentives and support for farmers wanting to implement regenerative farming practices.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? Visit and talk with other NOFA members to learn more about the amazing farms we have in NH.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? Yes, we will be holding our annual Thanksgiving Farm Fare on Friday, November 16th from 4 to 7pm and Saturday, November 17th from 9 to 3pm. The Thanksgiving themed event showcases the best local farmers, food producers and artisans in the region. You can purchase everything thing you need for your Thanksgiving Feast at this festive fair, including an early start on holiday gift shopping. Cooking demonstrations are provided throughout the day on Saturday. The event is free and located at 242 Chesterfield Road in Keene, NH.
Meet Our Members! Introducing Irene LeMessurier
Name and Occupation: Irene LeMessurier, Founder
Business Name: Temple Mountain Permaculture
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? I joined just before the winter conference in March.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? I've been aware of NOFA for 35-40 years. I'm starting this place we're calling Temple Mountain Permaculture. At this point it's for myself, my two sons and their wives. In the future it could be more of a community. But at this point, that's what it's for. We're planning on farming to begin with for ourselves. We're trying to be sustainable and resilient, and we do have hopes that we will have some products to sell in the future. One of my sons is growing mushrooms now, not for market yet - shiitake and oyster mushrooms - and we have plans to put up a big greenhouse and grow micro greens and other things. Hopefully, a four-season growing space.
I knew that NOFA is full of all kinds of wonderful information and education, so I wanted to become a member and go to the conference. I'd say I've been aware of organic farming and gardening ever since I was about 7 or 8 when my mother got a hold of a bunch of organic magazines from Rodale in 1963. She tilled up the backyard of our suburban home outside of Boston. She was an organic gardener for my whole life. And then I married a man who was also into organic gardening. Both my mother and former husband were great fans of Helen and Scott Nearing.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? I don't think I can say it has impacted my business yet. Our business isn't happening yet. We're building a home for my son on the property. He and his wife just had a baby. We haven't started the farming aspect yet besides the mushrooms. I did meet other members at the conference from my area (but I already knew them). I got information from the conference that has already been somewhat helpful. One of the workshops was about growing berry bushes and I took a lot of notes. It helped me narrow down what kind of bushes would be good for us to grow.
We're calling it Temple Mountain Permaculture because it goes back to when I first moved to NH in 1983. I lived next door to what was then called Gap Mountain Permaculture in Jaffrey. I didn't learn too much about it then, but I was very aware of what it was about. Then, about 6 years ago, one of my sons started studying permaculture and took a permaculture design course, and really took off with his interest in that. Then last summer my other son and I took a permaculture design course. The focus we'd like on our farm is to grow perennials like fruit trees and nut trees and orchards, and to have it be sustainable and resilient the way permaculture teaches. So since the land we purchased is right next to Temple Mountain, it looks right at it, it was kind of a way to honor Gap Mountain Permaculture, to name it after a mountain.
It was really inspiring to go to the conference and see how many young people were there. It inspired me see, yes, this is happening, this thing of going back to the land that started in the 60 and 70s. It's exciting to me to see so many young people getting into farming. I hope that my sons and grandchildren will be inspired by that as well.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? I was particularly drawn toward the focus of the conference this winter discussing the certified organics and other labels that could be used and developed. That was super interesting to me because I was already looking into if I should have my farm certified organic before we start, whether it's better or easier to do it before hand. Maybe so. What I came away with was that it is still difficult to know what our goal should be as far as being able to say if our stuff is organic or not, what's the best route to go with for labeling it, or having certification. I feel the more work NOFA-NH does on that the better, to let the farmers know what's that best way to approach that.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? I would say don't wait! Don't put it off! It was very exciting for me to go to the conference, just a feeling, a great energy and interesting. It was very motivating.
Does your business have any upcoming activities or events you would like to share with the NOFA-NH community? We don't have anything planned right now. At this point the main activity that's happening is my son harvests timber and sells seasoned cord wood. So, he's got a lot of cord wood for sale!
Meet Our Members! Introducing Clai Lasher-Sommers & Grace Glasson
Name and Occupation: Clai Lasher-Sommers,
Owner and Co-Farmer; Grace Glasson, Co-Farmer
Business Name: New Dawn Farm
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? Since spring of this year.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? We became a member to access a broader community of farm folks and their various expertise.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? We don't think it's particularly impacted our customer base [yet], but it's given us another place to ask questions or reach out to people when something has gone amiss in our fields.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? Having a few different women-focused and/or queer-focused workshops at the next conference would be really helpful. There are many different kinds of people who farm in this state and it would be great to see them represented!
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? It's worth it! And definitely make sure you attend the conferences - it's a great opportunity to meet, mingle, and learn with other farm folks in the state.
Meet Our Members! Introducing Paul & Joan Richardson
Name and Occupation: Paul and Joan Richardson, Owners
Business Name: Grand View Farm
The previous owners of Grand View Farm were my husband's grandparents. This farm goes back 100+ years! They did dairy and vegetables, and other things. Of course, as they got older they weren't able to do it anymore. What's happened since is the grandchildren and great grandchildren have now resurrected the farm, and it's become very active again.
My brother-in-law, David Richardson, has 300 chickens, that are organically fed, and he sells the eggs to our farm stand, bakeries, other farm stands and restaurants. He also does broilers which are organically fed and sells those to those interested. He does this along with his daughter, Liz Kelley . David does the animal part of things and my husband and I do the vegetable part of things with help from many other family members.
It's not a new farm by any means, but a long history of the family having a business at Grand View Farm, and it's very dear to our hearts. The success of Grand View Farm has only been possible through the great help and support of all my family members.
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? For 6 years, since 2012!
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? I summed it up simply with my son: We were interested in being part of a community focused on growing healthy and locally sourced food. We could see that joining NOFA-NH, and becoming part of that family would help.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? By attending the excellent workshops and conferences over the years we have been able to really fine tune our practices, and implemented what we've learned on Grand View Farm, which has helped us a lot! And through NOFA-NH's Bulk Order program, we've been able to tap into the recommendations on soil amendments, pest and weed control, and cover crops. That has helped with the daily operations on the farm.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? NOFA seems to be doing so many good things with outreach and programs, and I haven't even tapped into the advertising that you can get through NOFA! I do think the Action Alerts are extremely important to learning what's happening on the legislative side of things. And I think in order for farmers to plan for the future, it's really important to know what's going on so we can talk to our representatives and have them act accordingly. Things are really changing quickly, and that seems like the most important issue right now - to keep us all apprised on what's happening.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? We would recommend businesses take part in all the educational services provided, and the meetings where speakers shed light on the challenges farmers encounter each season. These workshops make our operations go much more efficiently.
Does your business have any upcoming events you'd like to share with the community? What we have been doing recently is having some junior high school students come down to the fields and do some hands on planting for us. They love it, and they love being involved. We're teaching them all about the food process: where it comes from and how it gets on their dinner plates. It has been really fun to give these kids some education on that.
Another big event we do each year is "all you can carry pumpkins" on Columbus Day weekend. We have so many people come to the farm stands for the "all you can carry weekend" - which costs about 5 or 6 bucks for the year. The whole community shows up, the kids load up with pumpkins, and away they go!
Meet Our Members! Introducing Britt Phillips
Name and Occupation: Britt Phillips,
Owner & Operator of an organic lawn care service
Business Name: Complete Land Organics
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? Since 2008! That was right around the time I really started to know a lot more about organics, organic food and organic farming. When I started opening my eyes to that, I realized I wanted to go down this path instead of a conventional one.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? It was an organization that was very much in alignment with my beliefs and my philosophies and it was great to become part of a group where we all sort of have that bigger vision: that from a health stand point we want take care of ourselves, each other, and mother nature.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? I would say through the people that are NOFA-NH members. In particular, Lauren Chase Rowel, who is also someone involved in organic land care, and some of the other members. There was actually a period of time when we did have an organic land care group through NOFA-NH, but unfortunately - and I know it's the same thing with the farmers - you get really busy especially this time of the year, and especially as a single business owner. I just recently hired my first employee! I couldn't sustain putting my time into the organic land care group.
Beyond NOFA-NH, from a bigger standpoint, the NOFA organization, in general, was a huge support of my business foundationally, and one of the reasons I got into this business. I did the five-day organic land care course, which was through NOFA/MASS and CT-NOFA at the time. So, NOFA was an organization that I was starting to have a bigger connection with. The NOFA-NH members were a big help to my business with wisdom, support, and advice - just having conversations and talking. Even though [most members] are in the organic farming business and I'm in the organic land care business, we're both in business. So there's a lot to learn from each other. And the more I think about it, I realize I'm friends with a lot of NOFA people!
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? I did think it was important to have a NOFA-NH group that was specifically for NH organic land care professionals. This group was 3-4 years ago. I believe all of us were accredited organic land care professionals through NOFA/MASS and CT-NOFA. Eventually, once I train my employee, I'd like to investigate that piece again. I think it's really important. When you think about the bigger picture: there are organic farmers, but depending on where they are in the state, there might be a development right next door [that's spraying their lawns]. I feel the organic land care piece is so connected to the organic farming piece. And it was really nice to hang out with other organic land care people like myself. It's good to connect like that.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? I would say go ahead and do it! Become a member because it's an awesome group of people first off, and I think support is such a big part of this whole thing. What we're all trying to do with this organic movement, and sustainability movement, and regenerative movement in terms of land, and soils, and the food that we're growing, and the land care piece of it, and how we're caring for land, I just think it's really important [to support each other].
Generally, it's an awesome education. There are classes and seminars. You'll get all kinds of educational experiences you can take advantage of through NOFA-NH. Again, if you're interested, do it because you're trying to support this. The more people that get involved with these types of organizations the more change we're going to make. I don't know if activism is the right word, but it's a good way to be active in this type of a movement that's been going on for a long time, but that we're trying to sustain and teach to new people. Become a member because we're trying to keep all this alive, and going, and getting somewhere!
Does your business have any upcoming events you'd like to share with the community? Yes! It's a neat little event called the Dandelion Festival at the Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm in Tuftonboro on Saturday, May 19th. We all know there's a stigma against dandelions, but this event is going to have all things dandelions, and what you can do with dandelions, and they asked me to the come to the festival. So, I'm going to be there as a lawn person in support of dandelions!
Meet Our Members! Introducing Tracie Loock
Name and Occupation: Tracie Loock, Farm Owner
Business Name: Tracie's Community Farm, LLC
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? Since 2003, 15 years!
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? I wanted to support and grow the movement in NH and I loved the Natural Farmer publication so that was a nice bonus!
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? I've found information I've learned at NOFA conferences and workshops by other growers valuable for inspiration and ideas. I've found Farm tours to be helpful as well. We had a farm tour at our farm one summer. Articles in the Natural Farmer have also been helpful. The newsletter has come a long way and is a great resource for events, what's going on in the organic farming community and relevant policies.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? One hurdle I'd love to see NOFA NH work on is how to make sustainable farming sustainable for farmers and those working on farms. After almost 20 years of farming and growing the business, I have found that it feeds my soul and the souls of those who work here but it is a labor of love and not sustainable financially. You have to work really hard and long hours for little pay which was fine before having a family but not sustainable in the long run. We're farming about 10 acres and struggle to make it work financially. It's hard to compete with large farms.
I also saw a lot of growth in the local food movement as the farm grew over the years, but with that came an increase in farms. I think the interest has to continue to grow with the amount of farmers trying to make a living. So working on outreach is important, too.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? By joining you help support and grow the organic farming movement in NH. You receive the Natural Farmer publication - a great read.
Does your business have any upcoming events you'd like to share with the community? We have prorated spring shares for pick up at the farm on Thursdays through the end of May available. We also have summer shares delivered to your door or $60 off if you pick up at the farm available.
We have 3 paid part time and full-time positions open for the 2018 season. We value employees who want to grow with us over time and offer long-term employment for the right candidates. We also have work shares and delivery shares available as an opportunity to work or deliver baskets in exchange for your share. To find out more about us and how to purchase a share visit www.Traciesfarm.com .
Meet Our Members! Introducing Mary MacNicol
Name and Occupation: Mary MacNicol, DC, Chiropractor
Business Name: Mary practices out of
Whole Health Chiropractic in Concord.
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? I just renewed my membership and have been a member now for over two months. I was on the Board about 15 years ago and was a member for 3-5 years.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? NOFA and farming in general is close to my heart. I was involved in NOFA before I went to California for 5 years and came back with a chiropractic degree. I used to live on a farm in Francistown. We had 100 acres of mixed hay fields and woods, 30 acres of hay and a herd of sheep. Otherwise, we had a cow and a horse at a time. The land was under easement so it could never be developed, and it seemed obvious we would want to become organic. With the hay it was easy, and we started feeding the animals organic grain.
Having our own meat and milk in the freezer was much nicer when we didn't have the pesticide residues. We had a friend who worked at the dump and he said commercial beef made him sick. I brought him some of our ground beef, and ours didn't make him sick. These kind of things cemented for me that organic agriculture is healthy agriculture. Agriculture, if it's going to work, is about supporting the plants, not killing things. It's about making your plants so healthy that they throw off the bugs. It seemed so obvious that was the way we wanted to go.
Things like having a family member with prostate cancer whose wife said the only reason the chemo wasn't killing him was because they were eating organic, and the neighbor who worked at the dump who couldn't eat processed beef just reinforced what logic seemed to indicate: that you don't want to add toxins.
Since then, I found out that cows and sheep, especially, are not seedeaters. Either are horses. They're not supposed to eat seeds, soy or corn, but grass. And it turns out when we eat grass-fed butter, for instance, there are more vitamins present that aren't when animals aren't eating grass. We really need to go back to what the plants and the animals need, and that always seemed sensible to me. And I have to say it made for really tasty lamb! I don't have a farm or market garden now and I miss having animals, but hope to have them again in the future.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? NOFA hasn't impacted my current business yet, but I'm looking forward to supporting organic farming because even if I cannot have animals or a garden right now it's a way to support organic from the side.
I'm doing a workshop at the Winter Conference on Stretches & Strengthening that farmers and non-farmers can do to prevent and treat low back pain. Tight muscles actually hold us halfway in the fetal position, which pulls bones out of place. Knowing that the World Health Organization declared low back pain as one of the most common pains for people, I want to support people in learning how to take care of themselves, put the bones back into place when necessary, and then teach them to be self-supporting. I would love it if patients only have to come to me when they have something exciting happen, like they lifted that extra heavy bag, or had to carry an animal.
I look forward to seeing more NOFA members because as a chiropractor I would like to support our local farming community. I'm looking for patients who want to take care of their health, who aren't looking for someone else to fix it, and that's a farmer. A farmer is someone who wants to fix an engine themselves, not call a mechanic. Someone who wants to treat their animals first before calling the veterinarian. There's a lot we can do for our health and I want that to be common knowledge.
There are very simple stretches that can be done in your own house without having to go to a gym. And I especially want farmers to know about this because they are the basis of our food chain. I want NH organic farmers to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Its enlightened self-interest, too! I feel like I'm one of the hands trying to wash the other. It feels very natural and not a stretch.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? I have to say in this political environment just continue to exist. Gaining any traction is really helpful. Our future health as a species depends on our embracing organic agriculture to survive. So any way NOFA can continue to grow through this political time period would make me very happy.
To me, the point of NOFA and other organic organizations is that it's altruistic. It's not about making lots of money. It's about doing what's right. And this is not a very altruistic historical period. In this environment where profit is being recognized as an important factor, something that is altruistically based can be seen to be out of step with the current political environment, but the organic movement is actually trying to strengthen the branch we're standing on to make things more affordable. Having good health, surviving from cancer because we don't have pesticides in our food is ultimately profitable, but it might be coming from a more educated perspective. So I think in addition to surviving this time period, reaching out to help further educate the public is essential for NOFA, too.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? That membership is wonderful even if you don't have a garden or a farm. Just being part of the direction that we all need to go is a wonderful thing. I wish everyone would join! The people I met at NOFA are so nice. Going to the board meetings every month was so enjoyable, a great group of people and doing things to really help everybody.
Does your business have any upcoming events you'd like to share with the community? Our Winter Conference presentation on March 18th, Session III, Stretches & Strengthening: Reduce Low Back Pain, Headaches, and Sciatica Yourself.