2015 Conference Program

Updated August 10, 2015

Overall Conference Schedule

  1. Summary of NOFA Summer Conference Activities, 8-13 to 8-16


  1. Keynoters Keynote (Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride on Friday; Ronnie Cummins on Saturday)
  2. Pre-Conferences (GAPS, Herbs, Regenerative Ag, Poultry, Bees))
  3. Workshops by TIMESLOT (8 Time slots from Aug 14-16)
  4. Workshops by CATEGORY (27 Topic Categories; 144 Sessions)
  5. Workshops by TRACK
  6. View Workshop Titles by GRID

Music, Dance, Films, and Fun

  1. Friday Night: Dance and Film
  2. NOFA Fair Schedule Summary: Saturday, Aug 15, 3-6pm, Free to the public.
  3. Saturday Afternoon: NOFA Summer Conference Fair Activity Descriptions
  4. Saturday Night: Drumming; Dance; Film
  5. Sunday Afternoon: Auction

Youth Conferences

  1. Children's Conference (Ages 2-12)
  2. Teen Conference (Ages 13-17)


  1. Domestic Fair Trade for the Northeast (Fri., Aug. 14)

Download the 2015 Summer Conference Program Book (PDF)
Download the 2015 Summer Conference Program Addendum


Friday August 14, 9-11:30pm
Contra Dance:
Members of The Moving Violations
Campus Center Auditorium
David Kaynor, musician, dance caller, teacher, organizer, and chicken barn cleaner, is the founder of the vibrant Greenfield dance scene. He'll draw on his decades of experience calling dance events across the nation to lead all comers in an evening of contra-dancing you won't forget in a hurry. Eric Eid-Reiner- pianist, arranger, and composer on keyboard and Ron Grosslein on fiddle are members of The Moving Violations contra dance band, known for inspired musical goofing off and compelling dance music. The group is excited to play for the conference!

Friday August 14, 9:00pm
"Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective" (60 Minutes)
Campus Center 163C
Inhabit is a feature length documentary introducing permaculture: a design method that offers an ecological lens for solving issues related to agriculture, economics, and governance. The film presents a vast array of projects, concepts, and people, and it translates the diversity of permaculture into something that can be understood by an equally diverse audience. For those familiar, it will be a call to action and a glimpse into what's possible - what kind of projects and solutions are already underway. For those unfamiliar, it will be an introduction to a new way of being and a new way of relating to the Earth. For everyone, it will be a reminder that humans are capable of being planetary healing forces.

Saturday Afternoon, August 15, 3:00PM-6:00PM, UMass Pond Lawn
Free and open to the Public


Browse the Exhibit Tent and Market at the Fair
Exhibit Tent
Check out what local farmers and artists have for sale at the market on the lawn. There will be a selection of fresh organic vegetables, fruits, baked goods, preserves, and locally made crafts.


A) Ox-Plop
Pond Lawn Site E:
Meet at corner of North Pleasant Street and Fine Arts Center service road Try your luck at the "ox plop" - a recently-fed ox meanders over a pre-laid grid while anxious fair-goers await his "plop," hopefully on the square that they have bet on! Visit the fair tent to place your bet: $3 for one square, $5 for two squares. Buy your tickets by 4:30pm. The lucky winner takes half the ticket receipts.

B) Teacup Raffle
Registration Tent
Support the farming education funs for the NOFA Summer Conference by participating in the teacup raffle! This year, the raffle highlights some fantastic products from our vendors, and some thoughtful donations from good souls. With a variety of books, gift certificates for services, local honey, natural products, and much more! Tickets can be preordered with your registration, or available for sale at the raffle table in the registration tent during regular registration hours (Friday 11 am - 7 pm, Saturday 7 am - 1 pm); and throughout the fair until raffle winners are drawn at 5:00 pm Saturday. Teacup raffle tickets are $1 apiece, or six tickets for $5. We're not able to hold or mail raffle prizes, so any raffle items that remain unclaimed as of 11am on Sunday will join the post-conference auction at 3pm on Sunday.


C) Parade with Children, Adults, and Expandable Brass Band
Parade Starts outdoors at the main entrance to the Campus Center and cavorts its way to the Pond Lawn.
Celebrate the opening of the NOFA Fair! We'll kick it off with the annual NOFA Parade! Join us as the children and the Expandable Brass Band lead the parade from the Campus Center to the fairgrounds on the Pond Lawn. Bring a sign or yourself in costume, and dance with us as we celebrate the role of food and soil in our lives.


D) "Food Chains" (52 minutes)
Campus Center 163C
There is more interest in food in the United States today than at any time in our history. Yet, there is very little interest in the hands that pick our food - the hundreds of thousands of people to whom we are all connected through our purchases at grocery stores, farmers' markets and restaurants. Food Chains explores critical human rights issues in American agriculture from wage theft to modern-day slavery and exposes the powers that perpetuate these un-American violations of human dignity. The film stars dozens of farmworkers as well as Eva Longoria (Executive Producer), Dolores Huerta, Eric Schlosser, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Barry Estabrook, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

E) "Small-Scale Farmers Cool the Planet" (17 minutes)
Campus Center 163C
This new short documentary from the Fair World Project highlights the role of industrial agriculture in climate change while expounding on how small farmers are combating the climate crisis through regenerative organic agriculture

F) "Bought" (90 minutes)
Campus Center 163C
(Following the film, there will be a discussion led by Beth Ingham from 6:00- 6:30pm.) The hidden story about vaccines, drugs and food…three huge topics in one film. Why put all this in one movie? Because these issues are directly related, and we have an opportunity to harness the millions of us engaged in each of them to overcome the noise put out by the medical- industrial conglomerate. You peel back the layers and see what's really driving our industrialized food, our vaccine expansion, and our dependence on pharmaceuticals - it's the same culprit. Huge corporations funded by individual misery, one broken life at a time. These three story lines converge on Wall Street, but this story takes us beyond the problem to the inspiring and empowering role mothers are now taking in uniting to protect their families.


Gather with other folks who share a common passion during the Fair. This is a wonderful opportunity to network and discuss topics with people who have many things in common. Meet your facilitator by the sign with the name of your meet-up group.

G) Homesteaders Meet-up
Pond Lawn Site H:
Meet at the four trees by the intersection of the diagonal walkway and pond lawn roadway Join Becky Reed, a new Amherst homesteader, to network and share ideas and stories.

H) Jewish Farmers Meet-up
Pond Lawn Site H:
Meet at the four trees by the intersection of the diagonal walkway and pond lawn roadway Make connections with other Jewish Farmers. Meredith Cohen, Field Apprentice of Adamah at the Isabella Freedman Center, invites you to share and brain- storm what it means to you to be a Jewish farmer. Are these two identities con- nected for you? Does your Jewish practice affect your farming practice? What is it like trying to have Jewish community as a farmer?

I) Christian Farmers Meet-up
Pond Lawn Site H:
Meet at the four trees by the intersection of the diagonal walkway and pond lawn roadway Join with other Christian farmers to discuss Christian faith and organic farming. Chuck Papalia, from Pumpkin Brook Organic Gardening, will lead a discussion about where you see God's promises or blessings in your life?

J) All Things Herbal Meet-up
Pond Lawn Site H:
Meet at the four trees by the intersection of the diagonal walkway and pond lawn roadway Join fellow herbalists and herb-enthusiasts for a gathering focused on network- ing, resource sharing, and getting to know one another. Bring any particular challenges you'd like to discuss and stories and resources you'd like to share. Facilitated by Jade Alicandro Mace, Community Herbalist of Milk & Honey Herbs in Shutesbury, MA. www.milkandhoneyherbs.com

K) Beekeepers Meet-up
Pond Lawn Site H:
Meet at the four trees by the intersection of the diagonal walkway and pond lawn roadway Bee-have! Or not, depending on your mood. Bring your honey products, liquid, crystallized or creamed, to share with fellow beeliever Anita Deeley. Let's bee friends.


Goat Walks
Pond Lawn Site H:
Meet at the four trees by the intersection of the diagonal walkway and pond lawn roadway. Alisande Sweeney of Juniper Hill invites you to bring your human kids on over to walk the goat kids. "It's really apparent why they're both called kids!" she says. We'll discuss training goats for leash walks and goat carts, and see what plants might be part of their natural diet

M) Meet the Draft Horses
Pond Lawn Site F:
Meet at line of oak trees along N. Pleasant Street. Pamela Rickenbach, Brian Jerome, and Ruth L. diBuono of Bluestar Equiculture in Palmer will bring horses to the fair for participants to ask him questions, pet the horses, and walk around for the afternoon.

N) Meet the Alpacas
Pond Lawn Site I:
Meet in grassy area between Exhibit Tent and N. Pleasant Street. Keith Tetereault will be walking around the fair with his alpacas, steering clear of the dogs, of course because alpacas don't mesh well with dogs. He's happy to answer your questions about alpacas! He will also demonstrate felted soap making and participants will be able to felt their own soap with alpaca fiber.

O) Dogs Herding Ducks
Pond Lawn Site D:
Meet at the two oak trees by the Fine Arts Center service road, halfway between N. Pleasant Street and the Pond. Jill Horton-Lyons and Jim Lyons of Winterberry Farm return this year with their presentation of "dogs herding ducks," one of the entertainment highlights of the fair. What do herding dogs do? What do they not do? What kinds of dogs are good herders? Should dogs herd kids? How are the dogs trained? How do individual dogs differ? We'll watch the dogs work and talk about what we're seeing, then let kids try herding themselves.


P) Sauerkraut Making
Pond Lawn Site I:
Meet in grassy area between Exhibit Tent and N. Pleasant Street. Come learn about lacto-fermentation, the original and healthy way of pickling vegetables. Heather Wernimont will talk about the key concepts you need to know to make delicious fermented pickles at home such as salt concentration and temperature. She'll demonstrate preparing small batches of sauerkraut in mason jars and have some finished samples on hand for tasting. Heather Wernimont is the fermentation manager at Real Pickles.

Q) Attracting Native Bees and Pollinators to your Garden
Pond Lawn Site I:
Meet in grassy area between Exhibit Tent and N. Pleasant Street. Tom Sullivan of Pollinators Welcome will share which plants to grow for bee- friendly gardens and landscapes. He also has plants for sale.

R) Wool Spinning and Rug Hooking
Pond Lawn Site I:
Meet in grassy area between Exhibit Tent and N. Pleasant Street. Watch how to hook rugs with hand-spun wool! Carol Adams lives on a small farm in Colrain and has been spinning for over 30 years. She teaches spinning at the Sheep and Shawl Shop in South Deerfield.

S) Preserving the Wild Food Harvest
Pond Lawn Site I:
Meet in grassy area between Exhibit Tent and N. Pleasant Street. Wondering what to do with all the abundant wild food in New England? Join Carly Leusner of Acorn Kitchen to learn how to make wild berry syrups, chutneys, and other preserves to stock your pantry for the winter.


T) Face Painting
Pond Lawn Site I:
Meet in grassy area between Exhibit Tent and N. Pleasant Street. It wouldn't be a summer celebration without it! Two sisters, Emily and Sharlow Hitchcock share their artistic talents of face painting with kids and adults. What flower, animal, or fun design do you want to wear on your cheeks all afternoon?

U) Victorian Games
Pond Lawn Site G:
Meet at single tree at the intersection of the diagonal walkway and N. Pleasant Street. After the parade, let's get the party started with classic country games and contests. Bring the kids over to play fun games lead by Jennifer Byington. The games will range from active, such as Leap the Creek, to quiet, like Poor Pussy.

V) Pie-Eating Contest
Pond Lawn Site I:
Meet in grassy area between Exhibit Tent and N. Pleasant Street. Bring your appetite and chopstick skills to the Pie-Eating Contest! Even if you don't win, you still get to taste a delicious homemade blueberry pie. We're all winners!

X) Make a Splash Water Festival
Pond Lawn Site W:
Meet on the incline between the Diagonal Walkway and N. Pleasant Street Cool off at the Make a Splash Water Festival: A celebration offered by Colleen Burke that includes water with relays, water olympics and laugh-out-loud "Wictionary."

Y) Traditional NOFA Fair Games & Contests
Pond Lawn Site I:
Meet in grassy area between Exhibit Tent and N. Pleasant Street. Peanut in a Haystack, Sack Race, Watermelon Seed Spit, Egg Spoon Race


Z) Sing Alongs with Ben Grosscup and Sarah Stockwell-Arthen
Campus Center, 10th floor, Amherst Room
Ben and Sarah will lead sing-alongs on numerous topics: farming, struggles for justice, peace. If you have sing-alongs that you want to lead, please bring them.


Saturday, August 15, 7:30-9pm
Drumming Journey with Steve Leicach (during keynote)
Cape Cod Lounge
Join master percussionist Steve Leicach as he takes you on a drumming journey through Africa, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Featuring masterful, exciting demonstrations using a variety of traditional drums and percussion instruments, fun audience participation and rhythm chants, body percussion, and a special hands-on workshop at the end of the evening, this experience is unparalleled. That beat you hear? Yes, it is a different drum. This program welcomes people of all ages, including children and teens.

Saturday, August 15, 9pm
Dance Party:
On Spot Trio
Cape Cod Lounge
On The Spot Trio is a fiercely funky threesome of musicians from Santa Cruz, CA, determined to take decisive action in espousing the doctrine of soul jazz dance parties across the land. Their inspiration is rooted in 1970's soul jazz and funk, which has been steeped in a millennial soup of rock, jazz, afro beat, and improvisational groove. Come on down and get funky tonight!

Saturday, August 15, 9pm
"Symphony of the Soil" (104 minutes)
Campus Center 163C
Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil's key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time. Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet.


Sunday, August 16, 3:00-3:30pm
Post-Conference Auction to Benefit the Farming Education Fund
Registration Tent
Join us for a quick auction after the last workshop session, where you can score great deals on organic drinks, baked goods, coffee, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and snacks. These products, provided by local farmers and health food stores, constitute the majority of the conference menu. What's left can be had for rock-bottom prices, along with double your recommended daily serving of sarcasm and ridicule, from auctioneer Chuk Kittredge. Bring cash, an empty carpetbag, and your shrewd bargaining skills. All proceeds benefit the NOFA Farming Education Fund.


Open Meeting: Domestic Fair Trade for the Northeast
Friday August 14, 9:00 am-12:30pm

Campus Center 903
The NOFA Summer Conference provides an opportunity to bring together people from around the Northeast who are engaged in projects and organizing that come under the broad heading of Domestic Fair Trade. The Domestic Fair Trade Association Vision statement provides a sense of this field of action:


The agriculture and economic system is a healthy community where all look after and support each other, everyone feels safe, and all contribute to and benefit from a clean and harmonious environment. Family-scale and community-scale farms and businesses thrive. All people recognize the realities, challenges, and effects of production, distribution, and labor and choose to participate in fair trade. Our vision includes a world where:

  1. Contributions of all workers and farmers are valued
  2. Human rights and human dignity are affirmed and promoted
  3. Fair Trade is synonymous with fair wages, fair prices, and fair practices
  4. Risks and rewards are equitable and shared, and this information is open and available to all stakeholders
  5. Information is readily available on the origin, processing, and distribution of every product
  6. All practices are environmentally, economically, and socially just, sustainable, and humane
  7. Direct trade and long-term relationships dominate the economy
  8. Strong local communities are the foundation of society
  9. Power is shared; development is community-driven and cooperative
  10. Cultural and indigenous rights and diversity are recognized, honored, and protected.

Here is the draft agenda for August 14:

  1. Welcome - why we are gathered together
  2. Panel of speakers on domestic fair trade - its history, current state of play, vision for future development
  3. Introductions from participants - getting to know one another: who we are; what activities we and our organization are currently engaged in relative to domestic fair trade; do we collaborate with others in this work, if so, with whom;
  4. Brainstorm - set further agenda together - what can we share together, where are the most promising areas for collaboration or exchange
  5. Discussion
  6. Next steps

There is no charge for attending this meeting! If you would like to come, please RSVP to elizabethhenderson13@gmail.com.


Check-in: The Children's Conference will be based in the Cape Cod Lounge in the Student Union. Children may be dropped off 15 minutes before workshops begin and picked up 15 minutes after they end. Families are strongly encouraged to allow 20-30 minutes for check-in at the children's conference area when first arriving at the conference. All children must be registered and must be wearing a name tag with cell phone numbers for their guardians at the Conference. If you do not have a cell phone, we will request a list of locations where you might be found, especially if you are the parent of a 2-4 year old child. Children without name tags will not be admitted into the Children's Conference area or workshops. Children 2-4 years old will be with experienced caretakers. They will have opportunities for various activities, indoor & outdoor. A change of clothes and diapers are recommended.

Workshops: All Children 5 to 12 years must be signed in by their guardian before and after workshops. There will be workshop sign-up sheets for the entire conference. Workshops will have a maximum number of attendees and are first come-first serve. Guardians are encouraged to assist children in planning their first, second and third choice of workshops in each time slot by studying the offerings on the website before coming to the conference and then to help them sign up for the workshops upon arrival. Read a detailed list of the children's workshops, listed along with all the adult workshops under Workshop Descriptions By Timeslot.

Also check the bulletin board at the children's conference for changes in the program. Please take note of age requirements in the workshop description. When it is time for their chosen workshop to begin, a teacher and presenter will go with the children to the appropriate location. Please make sure your children understand your plans for picking them up from the Children's Conference area, and please explain that they must stay at the Children's Conference or with Children's Conference staff until a parent comes and signs them out. Items to Bring: Old clothes for painting and projects, musical instruments or fun attire for the parade, extra dry clothes and a towel for potential water play, a book for breaks and relaxation times. Ball or frisbee for outdoor games.

Items not to Bring: We would love for the youth to interact and participate fully in the activities, so we strive for a "device free" environment.

Snacks: There will be snacks provided each day of the conference after the first workshop. Please have your children bring water bottles and reusable plates with names written on them to use for snacks. Feedback: Please speak to your children about their experience and let us know what they have to say by filling out an online evaluation form after the conference. Please see bulletin board for workshop suggestions and to sign up to present in 2016. We welcome parents as presenters!

The on-sight Children's Coordinator is Rachel Silverman. For questions preceding the conference contact Valerie Walton at aallspice@aol.com.

Keynote Childcare: There will be child care in the Cape Cod Lounge (also the location for "Drumming Journey with Steve Leicach" on Saturday, August 15, 7:30-9pm) during the Friday night keynote from 7:15-9:15 pm and during the Saturday night keynote from 6:45-8:45. Children 5-12 are welcome to attend without parents. Children 2-4 are welcome with a parent or guardian.


Come meet other teenagers from all over the Northeast for a weekend of good fun, delicious food, and fun things that you can learn about organic food, farming, and ecological sustainability. You are the future of NOFA. Come learn and grow stronger!

Workshops: Teen workshops are geared toward ages 13-17. We will be using the UPUB in the Campus Center as a workshop space and meeting place. It is here that we will attend informative, challenging workshops and eat yummy organic snacks. Teens are encouraged to attend workshops with other teens but may also attend any adult or child workshops. Regardless of which workshops you attend, stop by the UPUB at the beginning and end of each conference day or for the snack break after the first workshop to find others your age. Read a detailed list of the teen workshops, listed along with all the adult workshops under Workshop Descriptions By Timeslot (http://www.nofasummerconference.org/pdfs/2015_workshop_descriptions_by_timeslot.pdf).

Items to Bring: Bring musical instruments (with a plan for where you will store them safely and out of heat for the conference). Music is always and important part of any gathering. It would be great to share songs that are meaningful to the organic movement or just songs that bring us together for good times and good memories. It would be a wonderful contribution to the NOFA community if we could bring a song from our teen community to march to in the parade, Saturday at 3:00 pm with the children and NOFA banners. Musician Tad Hitchcock will be presenting a workshop for age 10 and up at the Cape Cod Lounge at 10:00 am on Saturday to prepare music for the parade.

Items not to Bring: We would love for participants to interact and participate fully in the activities so we strive for a "device free" environment.

Feedback: We hope that teens will take the time to give written and verbal feedback on the workshops they attend and workshops they would like to attend or to present in the future. We hope that through these discussions the teens can take more ownership of their portion of the annual NOFA Summer Conference.

Help the Children's Conference: Also, teens that enjoy working with children would be welcome to join the children's conference Campus Center for the parade prep workshop from 1:00-3:30 on Saturday. For those seeking it the youth coordinator would be happy to provide documentation of community service for this work.