The 36th annual summer conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association—to be held August 13 to 15 at UMass-Amherst—will kick off with a Raw Milk Symposium, featuring talks by two leading experts in the field. Sally Fallon Morell, founder of the Campaign for Real Milk, will talk about health issues related to raw milk. Peter Kennedy, an attorney and president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, will discuss legal issues pertaining to raw milk. In addition, there will be a panel discussion featuring dairy farmers who sell raw milk.
The Raw Milk Symposium takes place on Aug. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the Cape Cod Lounge of the Student Union. The event is open to the public; cost is $20 for NOFA members and $25 for non-members.
The symposium is just one of hundreds of events scheduled during NOFA's summer conference. The events cover an impressive array of topics, with some geared to farmers and others to gardeners, consumers, home cooks or anyone with an interest in topics such as sustainability, local agriculture and nutrition.
The weekend also includes a Teen Conference and events for kids. Keynote speeches will be given by Sally Fallon Morell and Fernando Funes, a physician regarded as the "father of the Cuban organic agricultural movement."
Workshop coordinator Ben Grosscup says he worked hard to include a diverse range of topics in the conference schedule, in recognition of the diverse interests that bring people to the event. "NOFA is a coming-together point for a lot of folks who are just trying to improve the way they do food, basically," he says. For non-farmers, he adds, it's empowering to find ways they can do this in their own gardens and kitchens.
"For us at NOFA, 'organic' is not only about a label and a way of certifying organic practices," Grosscup says. "That's a part of it. Another part of it is a way of life: how we relate to food, how we relate to nature, how we relate to each other."
For more information on the NOFA conference and the Raw Milk Symposium, go to www.nofasummerconference.org.