BFA Newsletter: March 2015


Soil & Nutrition Conference 2015

On February 11-12, the BFA held its fourth annual Soil and Nutrition conference in collaboration with NOFA/Mass at First Churches in Northampton, MA. A crowd of 150 attended to listen to mixed panel of presentations, all of which are available on our website library for free listening to anyone who is interested.

John Slack, an agro-geologist from Ontario Canada presented in two slots on the underlying makeup of soil geochemistry and its effect on soil system function — an illuminating topic for many attendees. John will return to the Northeast US to begin the long awaited BFA project of soil profiling to help growers better understand what underlying deficiencies are present in their areas and what local rock minerals can be used to correct them. John will be profiling in NY on April 13th and VT on the 18th with schedules for MA, CT, RI, NH and possibly ME to be determined between the 14th and the 17th. Those interested in attending these events are welcome to register for the locations nearest them. We are requesting $50 per participant to help cover John's travel and time costs.

Preeminent consultant and agronomist Mark Fulford presented two topics: revitalizing worn-out pastures economically and efficiently, and "The Soil as Ecosystem", in honor of Jerry Brunetti who was supposed to be the keynote presenter at this year's conference, but passed in December. Mark's presentations were the most highly reviewed of the event and did justice to Jerry's understanding and wisdom. We miss Jerry deeply and know he has had a chance to fully appreciate the love sent to him for a lifetime's service to nature and humanity. Before he passed, Jerry agreed to provide access to his complete line of Agri-Dynamics fertility products at discounted prices for BFA members. Products from Agri-Dynamics, as well as bulk minerals, other inoculants, and trace elements are now available through new BFA online ordering functionality. Contact your local chapter for details on when bulk orders are planned in your area. See the chapter pages here.

BFA board member and farmer Derek Christianson presented on detailed fertility plans by crop type and season for those growers looking for a nuanced and experienced perspective on managing high production, high quality annual vegetables. Derek's level of tracking what works how and when is a great help to those growers.

Connecticut farmer Bryan O'Hara presented on making your own ferments, and no till annual cropping. These DIY and low tech practices Bryan uses to amazing quantities of high quality crops throughout the year were very illuminating for those growers looking to take more compete control of their farm nutrition supply chain, and operate with a light touch on the land.

BFA Executive Director Dan Kittredge presented on the food quality research project performed by the BFA and collaborators last year, and plans for this year's iteration of the ongoing endeavor. Look in subsequent issues of this newsletter for updates and opportunities on this front. The BFA has assembled a professional team to develop this ongoing organization objective and much solid work is going on behind the scenes.

Recordings and presentations from the conference are now available online in our Library. While waiting for the snow to finish melting here in the Northeast, download them and play them in your cultivation area. If you weren't able to make this year's conference, or just want to go back to have another listen to glean new information and insights, it's all there for posterity, as well as previous conferences for you to peruse. Visit the Soil & Nutrition Conference Archive and dig in! Great food for thought for the growing season ahead of us. Happy Spring,
Dan


 
In this Issue
  1. Soil & Nutrition Conference
  2. RBTI Workshop
  3. BFA Chapters
  4. QA with Dan
  5. Recommended Reading
  6. Your Stories
  7. Community Postings
  8. Survey invitation



Coming Next Month:
Q&A with Dan Kittredge

As you implement your plans to grow higher-nutrient crops, what are your burning questions? We'd like to highlight our readers' practical questions and make this a forum to collectively advance our knowledge and skills. To submit a question for next month's newsletter, please write to newsletter@bionutrient.org with Subject: "Q&A for Newsletter". Thank you!




   RBTI Workshop with Steve Westin


The BFA is excited to present a two-day workshop focusing on the art, science, and practice of Reams Biological Theory of Ionization (RBTI), led by Steve Westin, student of Dr. Carey Reams. Steve is both a teacher and a consultant, and has refined this two-day Workshop over the last thirty years.

Dr. Reams theories were foundational to many in the field that followed, and are the basis of cutting edge agricultural practices adopted by the Bionutrient Food Association. Understanding the idea of energy as promulgated by Reams can advance our understanding of how to grow bionutrient-rich foods.

This workshop offers growers the opportunity to develop a deeper level of understanding of the health and energy of their soil, and the resultant nutrient quality of their crops, as well as an in-depth look at RBTI and its insights with regards to human health.

A truly unique event not to be missed!

Learn more


 
RBTI Workshop

April 22-23, 2015
@ Kittredge Farm in North Brookfield, MA
Day 1:
    RBTI/Soil Health
Day 2:
    RBTI/Human Health
 

Register today!




   Local BFA Chapters Growing Strong


The Bionutrient Food Association local Chapters are the grassroots, on-the-ground embodiment of the BFA message, helping members pursue real-world, tangible impacts on the quality of the food supply. Since launching a year ago, the number of local chapters has steadily increased, with 12 chapters or discussion groups now formed. If you know of a group, or are starting a group in a new area, please let us know!

One major milestone we recently passed was the establishment of the local mineral depots for BFA chapters. BFA members of official chapters may now place online orders for a range of liquid, biological and dry minerals, and we are actively working on adding more products. While not all chapters will likely be able to buy all the products initially (due to order size minimums), the enthusiastic responses we've received so far seem to indicate that this membership benefit will be very helpful in expanding chapters to new areas and creating more interest among growers.

In coming months we'll create materials to help chapters get established, organize and grow. We'll create materials to help chapters host informative meetings, establish their own local BFA bank accounts, improve inter-chapter communication, and we're planning to host more regular teleconferences for our BFA chapter leaders.

The full benefit of membership in the organization, and our fulfillment of the mission of the BFA, is dependent upon having engaged members taking these ideas into their communities, and this is much easier to do when you have a functional local chapter at your side.

We appreciate the support of those who have stepped up to start, or get involved with a local chapter, and encourage everyone to reach out to people in your area. Please contact us if you'd like any help with anything related to local BFA chapters. Thank you.


 



Local BFA Chapters

Boston, MA
North Shore/Metro West   Boston, MA
Hartford, CT
Greater Hardwick, VT
Rhode Island
Westchester, NY
Western Catskills, NY
Northern NJ
Amesville, OH
Cleveland, OH
Chicago, IL
Front Range, CO
 

Learn more




   Recommended Reading


Remineralize Soil to Grow Nutrient Dense Crops

Grit Magazine recently published an excerpt from Ben & Penny Hewitt's new book, The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family's Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit. From their chapter on Soil & Gardens, the article is an engaging recap of their experience putting BFA principles into practice following Penny's participation in a two-day "High Bionutrient Crop Production Workshop" with Dan Kittredge.

Teaser:  "Over the years, we began to observe that despite our so-called optimum soil test results, our crops sometimes lacked vigor and results were inconsistent. Sure, we were still producing lots of food, and we continued adding the amendments necessary to replace what our harvests took from the soil. But in truth, it felt as if we could be doing better. We were starting to get wise to the fact that growing our own did not necessarily mean optimal nutrition."
 

Read more...
 

Thank you, Ben & Penny, for sharing your story, and many thanks to Chelsea Green Publishing and Grit Magazine for publishing it!


 

The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family's Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit.




   Your Stories


Proof is in the Pudding

Welcome to a new BFA newsletter feature! Here, we'll share success stories from growers of all sizes - commercial farmers, homesteaders, home gardeners, and community garden members alike. Thank you, Patty, for offering your story!

My name is Patty Gentry. I own and operate Early Girl Farm in Brookhaven, NY. Early Girl is an intensively planted, highly diversified two and a half acre farm that grows produce primarily for wholesale to restaurants.

Before starting a career in farming 5 years ago, I worked as a Chef in the restaurant business for over 20 years. I have lasting memories of ingredients that captured my heart and taste buds over the years like the first time I tasted a tender stalk of spring asparagus, a sweet English Pea or the bittersweet crunch of a perfect head of escarole.

Each time I plant a seed I envision a perfect, healthy plant growing in the field with vibrant color - its taste a perfect blend of sweet, sour, salty, bitter or spicy flavors in my mind's eye. I see the plants thriving and forming shiny, green leaves, shoots, roots and fruits loaded with nutrients and depth of flavor — like the ones I remember from the kitchens I have worked in from the past. The reality in my fields, however, was often quite different from the utopia I had created in my mind. I realized that I lacked a deep understanding of how the living soil works.

Read more...


 


Got a "Proof" story of your own to share with readers? We'd love to hear it! Click here to submit your story or email our new team member Sharon@bionutrient.org. If we publish it, in addition to our profuse thanks, you'll receive a gift copy of the 2015 New Farmer's Almanac or "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson.



   Community Postings


Help Wanted – Join the BFA Volunteer Brigade!

BFA runs on a shoestring budget — in great part thanks to the volunteer contributions of many highly capable individuals who lend their time and talent to help host workshops and myriad other tasks that go into operating a growing organization.

Highlighted Needs
Copywriters! Do you love to craft stories? Do you have some familiarity with "growing for bionutrients" methods? If so, BFA would greatly appreciate your assistance as we work to document stories from growers. Please contact Sharon@bionutrient.org and she can fill you in on the details!

Web Developers! We are ambitiously working toward expanding our online network to engage and connect chapters, members, and farmers with a series of online social tools. We are in the early stages of building out our vision for a central hub of communication that will further our goals by coordinating resources as well as insights, and providing a platform for community building, especially among local BFA Chapters, both established and nascent. Sound fun? It is, but it is also no small undertaking, and we are looking for experienced developers fluent in Drupal/PHP/MySQL to help with this project. If interested, please contact web@bionutrient.org!

Land Available for Bionutrient Dense Farming in Oxford, MA

20+ Acres open for growing crops and / or animal grazing. Currently growing hay. Looking for some one to manage some or all of the land as recommended and taught by the Bionutrient Food Association. Also, 60+ Acres of forest land available for growing mushrooms, ginseng, and other forest farming. Please contact Susan for more information: 508-667-6719.

Looking for an Internship position

I am currently studying sustainable agriculture and food systems at Green Mountain College, with a focus on Nutrition and Biodiversity. Looking to work on a farm or other food related jobs. Paid Internship is ideal. Areas of interest are: (1) Central NY state, (2) Boulder, CO, and (3) Oregon. Please contact Amelia at brussa@greenmtn.edu

Seeking presenters for NOFA conference

I am seeking presenters who like to work with youth to present at the NOFA summer conference in exchange for conference admission and a small stipend. Please spread the word. I can be reached at aallspice@aol.com. Thank you - Valerie Walton, Youth Conference Coordinator - NOFA Summer Conference


 

   Invitation to Our Readers


Help us improve our educational offerings for producers!

Have you participated in a BFA workshop such as the "High Bionutrient Crop Production" workshop conducted by Dan Kittredge?

If so, please invest 5 minutes to participate in our brief online survey! BFA's future work with producers will be shaped by your input - please help us reach our target of 100 responses. Click here to view the survey. THANK YOU for your consideration!


 












 

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