An update from BFA Chapter Coordinator, Kris McCue
This has been a busy spring! There is much interest in forming new BFA Chapters and Discussion Groups all around the United States and also in Canada, and continued commitment among existing Chapters and Groups. In the past 2 months I have taken the opportunity to talk with BFA Chapter and BFA Group leaders from all over the US and Canada. There are so many dedicated people in our midst, working tirelessly in running their families and farms and businesses and yet they are committed to sharing their knowledge of restorative biological growing and their time with their fellow gardeners and farmers.
This spring we are welcoming the following New BFA Discussion Groups ~ all are a work in progress ~
Southeastern Massachusetts led by Kelly O’Neill
Kelly brings to her group the experience of many years working on biological farms as well as her experiences as a home-gardener incorporating the biological techniques she learned while farming. To get involved with this group email SoutheasternMA.BFA@gmail.com and get on their email list.
Ontario, Canada led by Ian Graham
Ian will bring to his group the experience of a farmer whose enthusiasm was sparked by attending the BFA’s Soil & Nutrition Conference - since then he’s been doing much research on biological principles and is looking forward to bringing together others who are knowledgable about or students of biological growing and soil and food health.
Sullivan & Delaware Counties, New York led by Amy Gillingham and Lisa Wujnovich
Amy and Lisa will bring to their group many years of combined organic farming experience and a strong commitment to their families and their communities. They have incorporated some biological ways such as soil testing and amending lost nutrients, making inoculants, and have both attended Dan Kittredge’s workshop on Principles of Biological Systems where they were inspired to share the message about biological growing with others.
Saginaw, Michigan Area led by Coleman Shepherd
As a market gardener, Coleman is very involved in soil and food health. He uses biological practices on his urban farm and is looking forward to working with other farmers and gardeners to create a biological food hub in the Saginaw area. To learn more about this group like them on Facebook. They are Michigan Bionutrient Farmers at https://www.facebook.com/Michigan-Bionutrient-Farmers-822063807985831/
Rhode Island led by Meredith Spitalnik - This month’s Featured New Group Leader! Read more below.
Contact Meredith to join this group: firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell 401-374-1853
Meredith’s story and what inspired her to start a BFA Discussion Group
Meredith’s interests in the connections between food and health go back to the 1980s. Jump ahead to 2006, Meredith and family planted their first garden and began to notice the connection between soil health, plant health, and flavor, which they intuitively connected to nutrition. Powdery mildew and late blight were huge problems in their first years of gardening, and in 2011 Meredith found the BFA’s 2-Day course, Dan Kittredge’s workshop on “Principles of Biological Systems”, which she took in the Spring of 2012.
Meredith proved out Dan Kittredge's theories in a 5 year experiment using two fixed 50' rows of tomatoes out at the community gardens/microfarms which were founded also in 2012 under the name of the nonprofit, Sustainable Aquidneck. In the first year, the truth was borne out, as 2012 was a terrible year for late blight in tomatoes, and many local farms lost their entire crops early in the season. In the row treated to the maximum per year of mineral applications according to BFA teachings, the late blight hit, and the plants suffered - but they continued to produce bushels of saleable tomatoes for 3 more weeks before they gave out. The row treated according to conventional organic practices, when the late blight hit, the plants and tomatoes were hit evenly, and they were only able to harvest a single tomato in the first week that the blight hit, and none after that. Both rows were planted with the same varieties from the same seed packets started in the same flat, the only difference was the soil treatment before planting. Meredith was able to continue the experiment for 4 more years, and the remineralized row continued to improve year on year until those tomatoes were nearly immune to late blight, with only minor leaf blemishes and they produced excellent tomatoes until the frost hit. Meredith closed out the experiment when Sustainable Aquidneck reorganized into Aquidneck Community Table and that portion of the field was leased to one of their micro-farmers, Garman Organic Farms. Unfortunately, that particular spot has been in cover crops ever since, so Meredith has been unable to observe any difference in those crops from the soil amendments. Meredith has also watched pest problems decrease over time in their home gardens as they have improved the soil fertility and nutrition. Meredith says she hasn't seen powdery mildew in years, and has stopped buying seeds with specific resistance to it.
I am very much looking forward to welcoming all of these new groups to our BFA Family, and am excited to work together to restore flavor and nutrition to our communities’ tables!
Our current BFA Chapters and Discussion Groups have lots of great events and activities planned for this summer so be sure to look them up when you are in their area! Newcomers always welcome! Find their schedules and contact info here: http://bionutrient.org/site/chapters/local-chapters
We have Chapters and Groups in the following states: MA, VA, IL, CT, CA, MI, OH, IA, NH, and NY
Here is a small sampling of what our Current BFA Chapters and Groups offer...
Westminster, MA Discussion Group has ongoing hands-on lessons on container gardening, Hugelkulture Mounds, and all aspects of soil health, plant nutrition, and keeping biology active. Visit their demonstration garden including raised beds at the Forbush Memorial Library.
Westchester County/NYC, NY Chapter has ongoing hands-on lessons and potluck meetings all year round! They focus much on restorative soil techniques and plant health including cover cropping, foliar spraying, harvesting indigenous microorganisms and making fermented amendments to boost soil biology, and so much more! They have a demonstration garden at the Westchester Land Trust in Bedford, NY. You can also check them out on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvLI2OcZl80grWsjyNRQQaA
Chicago, IL Chapter has a biological demonstration garden at the Monticello Community Garden in Chicago. They welcome visitors! They also have monthly discussion meetings which will include multiple methods of composting, foliar spraying, mulching and watering systems, cover cropping and more.
Southern New Hampshire Chapter has monthly talks at the Peterborough Library on soil health, seed starting, irrigation and foliar sprays along with other biological growing topics.
Hartford Area, CT Chapter has a biological demonstration garden in Simsbury, CT that is open to visitors every Tuesday from 2 PM to Sunset through July and August, and this summer they have scheduled biological farm and homestead tours along with the discussion meetings at their biological garden. June’s topics at the BFA garden are Foliar Sprays and Maintaining Garden Tools In-season. Check us out on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8A7jrDaMQZxbjZTW60lcvg
To quote Joel Salatin, "This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy.”
Cheers to all who are part of this Regenerative, Restorative and Resilient Legacy!