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NOFA-NH’s annual winter conference returns (virtually)

Whether you’re looking for advice on how to grow your own organic food at home or you want to learn about the state’s many networks connecting consumers to the local food system, you’ll find those topics and more during the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire’s 19th annual winter conference. Normally a one-day event with more than 40 workshops, a keynote speaker and a Q&A session, this year’s conference will be held virtually over two days, on Saturday, Feb. 13, and Sunday, Feb. 14, featuring seven sessions on each day.

The theme of the conference is “cultivating stewardship,” with workshops that will cover topics such as soil health, herbalism and immune health, growing organic seeds and more.

“Farmers, gardeners, homesteaders and anyone who’s just interested in organic food and the sustainable food system in New Hampshire can attend,” said Nikki Kolb, operations manager for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire.

Previous conferences have split the workshops into several tracks to choose from. But this time around, Kolb said, ticket holders have access to all 14 workshops — each is an hour long, beginning at 9 a.m. and with 15-minute intervals in between.

Notable speakers will include Maria Noel Groves, clinical herbalist at Wintergreen Botanicals in Allenstown and author of the book Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. She’ll be leading a discussion about how simple herbs grown in your garden can benefit your immune system. Keith Morris of Willow Crossing Farm in Vermont is on the schedule to talk about growing organic fruit and nut trees, while regenerative farmer and author Acadia Tucker will explore the topic of container gardening at home, both indoors and outdoors.

“The whole conference is going to be livestreamed over Zoom, and each workshop incorporates a Q&A session, so you’ll be able to interact with the speaker during that period,” Kolb said. “Everyone will be emailed a link to access them. … They’ll also be recorded, so ticket holders will be able to go back and view them afterward if they can’t attend all of them.”

The workshops will conclude with a 90-minute keynote address on Sunday at 4:15 p.m., featuring Mukhtar Idhow, executive director of the Manchester-based Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success, as the speaker. The organization also operates the Fresh Start Farms program, a collective brand of local farms run by new Americans.

An ongoing Green Market Fair is also usually held during the conference, featuring dozens of local craft vendors, demonstrations and other exhibitors. That too is going virtual this year, Kolb said — exhibitors’ listings are available to view on NOFA-NH’s winter conference web page.

“MainStreet BookEnds [in Warner] … has books published by several of the authors that we have speaking at the conference, and they’ve added other books for sale that fit under the umbrella of the discussions,” Kolb said. “Twenty percent of the proceeds of all books sold will go to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire.”

19th annual NOFA-NH Winter Conference
When
: Saturday, Feb. 13, and Sunday, Feb. 14; seven one-hour sessions will be held virtually over each day via Zoom, beginning at 9 a.m.; the keynote speaking event is Sunday, from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m.
Cost: $50 for NOFA-NH members, $60 for non-members; includes access to all workshops throughout each day, as well as the virtual Green Market Fair
Visit: nofanh.org/winterconference

Featured photo: Keynote speaker Mukhtar Idhow. Courtesy photo.

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