NOFA Vermont hosted its 28th Annual Winter Conference this past weekend at the University in Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. The event attracted more than 1,500 organic farmers, consumers, gardeners, and homesteaders. This year’s theme, Celebrating the Heart of Organic, explored how local and organic agriculture provide solution for challenges in climate change, inequities in food access and the demand for good food grown closer to home. Special guest U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack, Senator Bernie Sanders, activist LaDonna Redmond and cornerstone dairy farmer Jack Lazor offered words of wisdom, inspiration and foresight thoughout the two day gathering.
NOFA VT also coordinated more than 70 informative workshops, intensive dairy and livestock and vegetable and fruit growers’ tracks, a NOFAvore Saturday party, a young farmer mixer, a children’s conference, and a post-conference intensive workshop presented by Vermont’s own Richard Wiswall. Whew! When it was all said and done, we sang a song.
Here is some footage from the On Farm Slaughter and Butchering Basics workshop. Mark and Kristin Kimball are the incredible team that runs Essex Farm on 500 acres in Essex, NY. It is a full-diet, year round, all-you-can-eat, draft horse powered CSA, providing meats, eggs, dairy, grains and flours, vegetables, and maple syrup for a hundred members. Marc shows how to gut and skin a small hog. For a lively read about Essex Farm and the marriage that keeps it going, check out http://www.7dvt.com/2009back-land-again