Speakers & Workshops

Join us Saturday and Sunday, February 13 – 14, 2021 for our 19th annual Winter Conference focused on Cultivating Stewardship: Health, Harmony and Resilience. Workshops will address topics including Healing the Land, Soil Health, Ecosystem Balance, Food Justice, Creating a Fair Farm, Herbalism and Immune Health, Farmland Access and Social Justice, Organic Seeds, and more! 
Mukhtar Idhow ORIS.jpg

Keynote Speaker

Mukhtar Idhow

Exec​utive Director

Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS)

Mukhtar has led ORIS since its inception in 2005. In this role he harnesses the needs, skills, and dreams of the clients, board, staff, and partner agencies that make up ORIS, to guide the organization along a path true to the community it serves. A native of Somalia, Mr. Idhow attended secondary school in Kenya, and worked as the Farm Training Coordinator for the non-profit organization GT2, where he trained refugee camp residents on basic crop production. In the U.S., Mr. Idhow worked as an interpreter for the Manchester Community Health Center and for Southern New Hampshire Services before founding the Somali Bantu Community Association.

Learn more about ORIS and Fresh Start Farms.

Keynote Address:  Mukhtar will speak about how ORIS is working to cultivate stewardship, health, harmony, and resilience in New Hampshire through sustainable agriculture, food access, and economic opportunities with programs such as Fresh Start Farms, the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project, the Mobile Market, and the New American Farmers Cooperative.

Speakers & Workshops

Working With Living Soils In The Market Garden

Jean-Martin Fortier

Everyone’s talking about soil these days: no-till, no-dig, carbon farming, regenerative agriculture, and so on. What unites all these philosophies: living soils. In this information-packed session, you will learn the principles and practices to harness soil biology and maximize production while enriching the soil in the context of the market garden.

Jean-Martin Fortier (JM) is an expert organic farmer, educator and best-selling author of The Market Gardener. JM runs a research farm located in Southern Québec where he teaches his farming methods to cohorts of new apprentice in a 2-year program. JM also runs The Market Gardener's Masterclass, an online course for professional growers and is the editor in chief of Growers & Co Magazine.

Earth Repair: Here and Abroad

Judith D. Schwartz

Around the world, people are finding that even the most harsh and damaged environments can be restored. Judy will highlight what she’s learned from reporting on ecosystem restoration, across various ecological and social landscapes—and how these lessons can be applied in our region.


Judith D. Schwartz is a journalist who focuses on nature-based solutions to global challenges. The author of “The Reindeer Chronicles”, “Water In Plain Sight” and “Cows Save the Planet”, she lives and writes in Bennington, Vermont.

Indigenous Historical & Contemporary Stewardship of Our Lands & Food Ways

Paul & Denise Pouliot


Historical review of Indigenous food ways and use of N’dakinna, “Our Homelands” and waterways. Exploring Indigenous use of waterway intervals and wet lands called “medicine gardens.” The impact of Indigenous food plant contributions and cultivating practices. Promoting contemporary Indigenous activism to address local food insecurity and sustainability issues in challenging times.

Paul W. Pouliot has been the Sag8mo or Chief Speaker since 1990 and Denise K. Pouliot is the Sag8moskwa (Female Head Speaker) for the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook and Abenaki People. They serve as president and treasurer respectively of COWASS North America and the Abenaki Nation of Vermont since 1990. Paul is an Indigenous historian, lecturer, and a founding member of the New Hampshire Commission of Native American Affairs. Together they serve as Federal BOP Religious Advisors and are members of the Race & Equality in NH Advisory Panel and the NH Hanna Dustin (Unity Park N’Dakinna) Park Advisory Committee. They are also Affiliate Faculty members of the UNH Native American and Indigenous Studies Minor and are the founding members of the Indigenous New Hampshire Collaborative Collective. Denise also serves on the New Hampshire Commission on Native American Affairs, the DOJ Violence Against Women Act Steering Committee, and NH Public Health Association.

Empower Your Immune System with Herbs and Mushrooms

Maria Noël Groves

Learn how to use every day herbal remedies of commerce and the herb garden to improve resistance and help manage symptoms of common respiratory infections. Maria will share her favorite simple and safe herbs and approaches including recipes and how to choose the right herb for different situations and symptoms. 


Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), clinical herbalist, runs Wintergreen Botanicals, nestled in the pine forests of Allenstown, NH. Her business is devoted to education and empowerment via classes, health consultations, and writing with the foundational belief that good health grows in nature. She is the author of the award-winning, best-selling Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self Care and Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Learn more about Maria and herbs at WintergreenBotanicals.com

The Might of Tiny Victory Gardens

Acadia Tucker

Cultivating your own food is a meaningful way to promote resilience in your household and, by sharing your knowledge— along with the fruits and vegetables of your labors—with neighbors, it can do the same for your community. But what if you don’t have a yard? 


Container gardening allows just about anyone to grow a decent amount of food, no backyard required, and leads to many benefits. While growing food in pots may not do much to mitigate climate change like cultivating in backyard gardens, it can help us adapt to it by building stronger communities, supporting local pollinators, and expanding the reach of organic, regenerative agriculture. 


In this session, we’ll talk about the tools and instructions needed to grow your own tiny victory garden both indoors and out. One that can supply you with as much, or as little, food as you’d like, grown in a way that helps the planet and build more resilience into your life. 


Acadia Tucker is a regenerative farmer, climate activist, and author. Her books are a call to action to citizen gardeners everywhere, and lay the groundwork for planting an organic, regenerative garden. For her, this is gardening as if our future depends on it.

Before becoming an author, Acadia started a four-season organic market garden in Washington State inspired by farming pioneers Eliot Coleman and Jean-Martin Fortier. While managing the farm, Acadia grew 200 different food crops before heading back to school at the University of British Columbia to complete a Masters in Land and Water Systems.


She lives in Maine and New Hampshire with her farm dog, Nimbus, and grows hops to support locally sourced craft beer in New England, when she isn't raising perennials in her own backyard. She is also the author of Growing Perennial Foods: A field guide to raising resilient herbs, fruits, & vegetables and Tiny Victory Gardens: Growing food without a backyard.

Agricultural Justice: Creating a Fair Farm

Elizabeth Henderson


How to make our farms centers of fair relationships? What will transform work on farms for farmers/ farmworkers into respected careers with livable compensation for all? How can we build solidarity to change relationships on farms to make them fair to all involved. Liz Henderson will talk about the concept of domestic Fair Trade, the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) and the standards behind its Food Justice Certified label that include fair pricing for farm products that cover the farm’s full costs of production, and respectful and safe working conditions with living wages for farmworkers and others who labor in the food system.  She will share materials that will help farmers improve their approach to setting prices for their farm products and making employee policies more transparent to everyone on the farm.


Elizabeth Henderson farmed at Peacework Farm in Wayne County, New York, for over 30 years. She co-chairs the Policy Committee of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, and represents the NOFA Interstate Council on the Board of the Agricultural Justice Project. She is the lead author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (Chelsea Green, 2007).

Land Access and Social Justice: A Panel Discussion

Dr. Gabriela Pereyra, Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust (NEFOC)

Amy Manzelli, BCM Environmental & Land Law, PLLC

Ian McSweeney, Agrarian Trust and the Agrarian Commons

Over the next decade, nearly half of all U.S. farmland (400 million acres) is expected to change hands as 25% of the nation’s two million farmers and ranchers retire. Due to centuries of land theft, displacement, and systemic racism in the agricultural sector, today, 98% of private U.S. farm acres are controlled by white land owners, leaving just 2% for People of Color. The upcoming land transfer is an opportunity to work towards transforming existing land access models and policies into a just and sustainable future for farmers in the United States.   


This panel discussion will focus on how equitable farmland access is at the core of food sovereignty, and how fair access to farmland is necessary for healing both our communities and planet. 

Learn from and engage with Northeast land stewards and leaders, Dr. Gabriela Pereyra of the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust, Ian McSweeney of Agrarian Trust and the Agrarian Commons, and Amy Manzelli of BCM Environmental & Land Law in this important conversation. 

Dr. Gabriela Pereyra is a Venezuelan/Uruguayan transplant to NY. Her immense love for plant ancestors started at an early age, when she began to learn anything and everything about them, especially their relationship to people in agro-ecosystems. Gaby's current responsibility as Land Network Weaver at the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust (NEFOC) is to seed and strengthen relationships, networks, collaborations, and knowledge exchange among Black, Indigenous, and other land stewards of color. Over the past 15 years, Gaby has worked alongside farmers and land stewards from the Americas, Africa, and Europe, learning about the magical trade-off of carbon, nitrogen, and water between the soil, plants, and the sky. As a descendent of immigrant and refugee ancestors and as an immigrant herself, her commitment is to the re-connection of communities and land, under land tenure models that support human beings and non-humans beings, to create more equitable possibilities for our future ancestors.

Amy Manzelli is part owner of BCM Environmental & Land Law, PLLC, with offices in Concord & Keene, NH and Portland, ME, where she practices environmental, conservation, and land law across northern New England. Amy is a frequent presenter at environmental, agricultural, and land use seminars and conferences. She earned a B.A. in Spanish, with a minor in Biology, and a B.S. in Environmental Conservation in 1998 from the University of New Hampshire, where she is now a Distinguished Alumna. She earned her J.D. in 2005 and her Masters in Environmental Law in 2007 from Vermont Law School.

Ian McSweeney’s career and his life’s work has been focused on the human connection to soil and food. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of the Russell Foundation, a private foundation focused on assisting landowners and farmers through customized approaches to farmland ownership, conservation, management, and stewardship.

Ian has also participated in many farmland and food systems initiatives and has served as a consultant to a number of organizations, locally, regionally, and nationally. Ian speaks on farmland transfer, conservation, secure tenure, and fundraising models across the country. He was recognized as a “40 under 40” leader in New Hampshire and selected for the Leadership Institute at Food Solutions New England. Ian and his wife Liz protected their own small New Hampshire farm with a conservation easement, manage their forest as a Certified Tree Farm, lease their farmland to a Certified Natural vegetable grower, keep bees, manage habitat with an ecological focus, and spend as much time as possible with their two young boys, Dylan and Bridger.  

Ian is deeply committed to bringing about innovation to evolve farmland conservation to holistically address equitable, secure, and affordable ownership and tenure arrangements, farm viability, conservation, and community resilience to ensure regenerative, diversified food production that benefits soil, human, and community health.

Growing Fruits & Nuts: Twenty Years of Tree Crop Trials in the North Country

Keith Morris

Join Keith Morris of Willow Crossing Farm (VT) for a special focus on Fruits and Nuts for the Northeast - in an organic/ecologically regenerative context.  


We’ll look at dozens of multi-purpose and underutilized species from Kiwis and Korean Nut Pines, to Figs and Filberts, Peaches and Pecans, and more. We’ll explore the history and ecology of these potential crops and share a no-holds barred assessment of our successes, failures, challenges, and potential for regional collaboration. We’ll also discuss hedgerows, living fencing, riparian buffers, floodplain planting, windbreaks, hydric soils, and pasture/alley crop, or other agroforestry opportunities on the horizon - and the potential for ‘carbon farming’ and farm resilience with perennials and protracted planning. 


Keith Morris has been applying his lifelong love of nature and culture and experience as an activist to permaculture and ecological design since 1996. Since 2000, he has worked professionally as a designer, builder, and grower of ecologically regenerative, socially just, and culturally appropriate whole-systems in cities and country sides around the world.

He teaches at the University of Vermont, the Yestermorrow Design Build School, Sterling College, Paul Smiths College, Burlington Permaculture, and has worked for USAID ‘Farmer to Farmer’ in Nigeria and Ghana.

Creating Networks to Strengthen NH's Local Food System

Jessica Gorhan & Hanna Flanders

Creating network relationships has been key to improving local food systems through out the country. NH Food Alliance, Kearsarge Food Hub, Belknap Foodshed/Genuine Local, Three River Farmers Alliance, Food Connects, and Fresh Start Farms through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant have been working with Jessica Gorhan, to strengthen NH Food Hub relationships. Through this work they have been able to identify logistical opportunities to be more efficient, and are planning ways develop the network to create more opportunities for local food in all sectors.

Jessica Gorhan, MPH, is a systems change consultant specializing in relationship building, network development, collective impact, strategic planning, and evaluation. She has been working in food systems and community health for 9 years and business management/development for over 20 years. After 13 years of providing nutritional medicine services to people suffering from chronic health conditions, Jessica realized the issue was at the systems level. She went back to school in 2014 to get her Masters in Public Health where she focused on Community Health and the Collective Impact Model to improve the physical, mental, and economic health of communities and their members. She has been working as a food systems consultant over the last 4 years and has helped to create NH's 1st Food Council- Greater Nashua Food Council, improve school breakfast participation with NH Hunger Solutions, assess and map Delaware's Food Resources, guide the development of Montana Food Sovereignty Initiative (Tribal Nation Food Council), and most recently helping to create the NH Food Hub Network.

Hanna Flanders is a co-founder of the Kearsarge Food Hub (KFH), a small nonprofit working to reinvigorate community within a restorative local food system. She graduated from Smith College with a degree in Philosophy and Environmental Science and Policy, and set off on a path to help recast our relationships with ourselves, each other, and nature through growing food and community. Hanna currently serves as the Director of Community Engagement for KFH and actively invites the community to participate in the local food system, the local community, and the organization’s growth and development on many levels. She is passionate about relationship building, storytelling, and creating connections to cultivate a richer, more fulfilling and secure experience for all people. Hanna is driven by the human story behind the local food and community systems within which she is working, the need to respect and steward the lands and waters that sustain us, and by the urgent need to create a safe and prosperous future for her two young children.

Policies, Practices, and Economics of Healthy Soils

Steven Keleti & Sarah Laeng-Gilliatt

Healthy soil legislation brings wide-ranging benefits and mitigates many crises we face. A holistic approach can engender systemic change and real transformation that not only benefits farmers' bottom lines, but also ecological and social well-being. In fact, done thoughtfully, healthy soil policy can fan entirely new paradigms and holistic, life-affirming economics rather than reductionist, zero-sum economics of scarcity.  


This workshop will give an overview of the range of healthy soil legislation that is emerging in many states across the country. NH has a modest healthy soil bill before the legislature this year, and there is much more that could be done here. Given our local climate, we have tremendous opportunity to build soil much faster than most regions around the world and we believe state policy could incentivize farmers' seizing these opportunities. In terms of healthy soil practice, this workshop will touch on planned holistic grazing. Opportunity exists to promote Payments for Ecosystem Services and development of a Regional Ecological Systems Initiative (RESI) to complement the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). 


Summarizing input for a listening session done a year ago, we would love to hear from participants regarding what kind of healthy soil legislation would be most helpful for the Granite State. Come to listen and to bring your input! Let's organize together!

Steven Keleti has been a persistent advocate for state Healthy Soils legislation across the country, writing initial draft legislation, helping bring together groups, and working with groups to draft and move legislation forward in numerous states. He is supporting the work of all NOFA chapters on soil health legislation. Of the healthy soils bills on sixteen state dockets in 2020, he helped draft legislation and has supported groups in Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. He wrote the initial draft legislation that led to the “Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts Act” that passed unanimously in both chambers and was signed into law in 2019. He provides state healthy soils status updates to healthy-soils-legislation@googlegroups.com, which led to a collaboration to create and support http://healthysoilspolicy.org/. He helps state groups with strategy and coordination, and with pursuing funding for the creation of healthy soils action plans and healthy soils programs that include gathering cost-benefit data to support increased funding for soil health. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, he has a Ph.D. In Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri — Rolla, spending most of his professional career in imaging and remote sensing, while engaging in land conservation projects. He lives in the Boston, Massachusetts, area with his wife and two sons.

Sarah Laeng-Gilliatt is the cheesemaker and goat farmer at Main Street Cheese, LLC in Hancock, NH. Her business is inspired by both a devotion to artisanal production as well as a conviction that local, sustainable agriculture can help to usher in a new, life-centered generative economy through consumer and citizen action. She has worked for many years on economic justice, nonviolence, socially engaged Buddhism, and food policy. She was the Food Policy Coordinator at the New Mexico Acequia Association (the traditional ditch system for irrigating crops) as well as the Coordinator for the Food Policy Council in Rio Arriba County in New Mexico. Sarah is a member of the Multi-State Healthy Soil Policy Incubator, a former NOFA-NH Board Member, and the former NOFA-NH Policy Committee Chair.

Organic Seeds & You: Insights from the Seed World

Heron Breen, Fedco Seeds ​

Paul Feenan, High Mowing Organic Seeds

Pete Zuck, Johnny’s Selected Seeds

The intention of this panel is to “lift the veil” of the seed world including giving a behind-the-scenes explanation of organic seed development, production, and distribution. Topics covered will include: organic variety development and product “pipelines” (i.e., why certain varieties become available/disappear); current seed production challenges (i.e., why there are limited organic hybrid brassica varieties, why there is unreliable organic carrot seed availability, etc.); post-COVID seed availability concerns; Q&A opportunity to discuss certain organic varieties in-depth with farmers in attendance; Q&A to hear directly from farmers about their experiences and/or frustrations with seed companies and/or seed availability.

The CRAFT of Farming: Peer-to-Peer Education for Farmers & Farm Workers

Dan Birnstihl, Hip Peas Farm

Steve & Dawn Forde, Hop N Hen Farm

Sarah Hansen & Sam Bower, Kearsarge Gore Farm

Nico Kimberly, Mermaid Hill Vineyard

Julie Davenson, Stonewall Farm

Dan & Abby Kilrain, Work Song Farm

Discover NOFA-NH’s “The CRAFT* of Farming” (*Collaborative Regional Alliances for Farmer Training): a farmer-led peer-to-peer educational network and farm tour series focused on best practices in organic farming. In 2020, NOFA-NH hosted 6 virtual farm tours and live Q & A’s that convened local farmers, farm workers, gardeners and eaters to learn from one another and build a stronger organic farming community in NH. Hear from NOFA-NH’s CRAFT farmers, learn more about the program, the CRAFT model, and how to participate in 2021 at this information session.