WORCESTER – On January 11th, the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts Chapter (NOFA/Mass) will hold its 27th annual Winter Conference at Worcester State University (WSU). Mark Shepard, Restoration Agriculture author, offers this year’s keynote and all-day seminar.
Originally from Lancaster, MA, Shepard is a dynamic leader in permaculture and agroforestry design. He and his family have transformed a typical 140-acre annual row-crop farm, in Viola, WI, into a commercial-scale, perennial-agricultural ecosystem. The result is one of the first farm-scale models of permaculture in the United States. In addition to Restoration Agriculture techniques, Shepard will be discussing sustainability within agriculture. “If you have to plant your crops again next year, that’s not very sustainable. Perennial crops should have 10s of 1000s of years’ worth of a lifespan. We should never have to plant them again,” says Shepard.
This year’s diverse Winter Conference line-up includes more than 60 workshops, with topics ranging from crop production, farm management & infrastructure, health & nutrition, healthy food access, homesteading, livestock & beekeeping, pest management, policy, skill building, soil, and urban and backyard gardening. Presenter Suzy Konecky had this to say about her experience: “Anyone in attendance will be inspired to learn more, grow more, and make more connections.”
In 2013 the conference attracted over 1000 individuals from the state and region. The children’s conference, for ages 3-12, provides a lively educational experience for kids. Numerous regional vendors will exhibit throughout the day. An optional all-organic lunch is available for purchase. The NOFA/Mass Organic Land Care program will hold their annual Lawn and Turf Course at this year’s Winter Conference. Veteran instructors will offer practical, applicable information about organic lawn and turf management techniques.
Immediately following the Winter Conference, 9 am – 5:30 pm, conference attendees and the public can enjoy a seasonal, locally sourced, organic dinner with keynoter Mark Shepard. The delicious dinner, crafted by innovative WSU Chef Rich Perna, will be held at 6 pm.
Press passes and pre-conference interviews available by request.
For more information, visit nofamass.org/