NOFA ORGANIC LAND CARE PROGRAM
E-News December 2009
In this issue:
___________________________________________________________________________________Thank you 2009 Update Course participants!
More than 200 people came to this year's Update Course on December 8th in Sturbridge, MA. Based on your evaluations, it was an educational success and a rewarding celebration of the OLC Program's 10th Anniversary. The founding and current members of the Organic Land Care Committee greatly appreciate your continuing commitment to organic land care. Thanks so much for being an attentive audience. Congratulations to Acorn pin recipients, who have maintained their accreditation for five or more years. A special thanks goes out to Priscilla Williams who gave a wonderful speech about the
history of the Organic Land Care Program. Congratulations to Bill
Duesing, Mike Nadeau, and Kim Stoner, recipients of the Environmental Service Award.
OLC Members: Priscilla Williams, Kim Stoner,
Michael Nadeau, Bill Duesing
Course Follow-up...Here are links to articles by Kevin Smith, that relate to his presentation:
Are trees long-lived?
Abstract: Trees and tree
care can capture the best of people's motivations and intentions. Trees are
living memorials that help communities heal at sites of national tragedy, such
as Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center. We mark the places of important
historical events by the trees that grew nearby even if the original tree, such
as the Charter Oak in Connecticut or the Wye Oak in Maryland, has been lost.
Disposable LandscapesAbstract: Whether we are a
traditionalist or on the cutting edge of landscape care, we need to take a deep
breath and think about what we are trying to achieve, before we select a
specific treatment or practice for tree care. We should measure that treatment
or practice against what we know about the tree system. I say
"system" because the recent years of Modern Arboriculture (Shigo
1991) have demonstrated the value of seeing trees as responsive, integrated
organisms and landscapes as living communities.
Plants' essential chemical elements
Every garden center and hardware store sells fertilizer guaranteed to "feed"
plants. In a strict sense, we can't feed plants. Food contains an energy
source. Green plants capture solar energy and make their own food through
photosynthesis! Photosynthesis and other metabolic processes require chemical
elements in appropriate doses for plants to survive and thrive. We can help,
directly or indirectly, to provide plants these essential chemical elements.Janice Thies offered to share some information and resources with you:
The Waste Management Institute at Cornell is a rich resource. For
example, you can learn about Soil quality testing,
and a search for information on topics such as biological residuals and
NPK will turn up articles of interest.
Bill Cullina's latest book, Understanding Perennials--A New Look at an Old Favorite, sold out
, except for one copy that we found after he left the Conference. If you want to purchase that book, please email Carol.The 2010 Update
Course will take place on December 7, 2010 with Doug Tallamy as our Keynote Speaker. Location and more details to be announced.
|A Call for Volunteers and Photos!The 2010 Organic Land Care Accreditation Course
will be offered in four states again this year. Please encourage your
friends and colleagues to "go organic" and call 203-888-5146 to
Your photo could be the next 2010 NOFA Guide to OLC cover!
It's that time of year again where we encourage all AOLCPs to submit photos for the 2010 Guide to Organic
Land Care. We are also in need of photos for the new NOFA OLC website
scheduled to launch in March! If you are interested in submitting your
photos for use, contact Ashley for specs and instuctions on how to submit.
The Scene Has Changed... To What?
the OLC update course on December 8, David Eggleton (OLC class of 2007,
continuously accredited since then) initiated a comparison of the NOFA
Standards for Organic Land Care, 4th Edition and the recently
released Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009 of the Sustainable
Sites Initiative. David wants all AOLCPs and the OLC program
administrators to soon share a familiarity with the new factor, which is a site
rating system with four grades of recognition, because it may rapidly alter
market dynamics. The likelihood of its ability to do so arises
from LEED, the building/development rating system of the U. S. Green
Building Council, which it emulates. David will continue the comparison
on his own, but welcomes interested and true collaborators. If you
would like to participate in any phase or aspect of the project, please notifyDavid.
The Sustainable Sites Initiative
is also seeking site and landscape projects as pilot projects for the Sustainable Sites Initiative Rating System, released on November 5,
2009. Accepted pilot projects will be the first projects to demonstrate their
application of The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance
Benchmarks 2009. Feedback will be used to revise the rating system and
inform the technical reference manual. Download the Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009 here. Projects may only be submitted online through
February 15, 2010. Pilot projects will be selected to ensure a broad range of
project types, sizes, budgets, geographic diversity and phase of development.
The minimum project size is 2,000 square feet. For more information on the
Pilot Program, please click here. For other questions or technical problems with the form below,
please send an email.
NOFA Organic Land Care Accreditation Course
Please contact Kathy (Massachusetts), Ashley (Connecticut), Clara (New York), and/or Sheryl (Rhode Island) if you can help us get the word out by distributing brochures about the 5-day course or if you would like to serve as a volunteer at one of the courses. Thanks for whatever you are able to do to promote this effort.
For more information, check out this brochure at the OLC website.
Massachusetts: January 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 2010
(Snow Date: Jan. 21) - Newburyport, MA
Connecticut: January 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 2010 (Snow Date: Jan. 29)
- New Haven, CT
New York: Feb. 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 2010 (Snow Date: Feb. 17) - Westchester County, NY
Rhode Island: Feb. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 2010 (Snow Date: Feb. 27) -
Speaking of accreditation...be sure to re-accredit for 2010!
If you attended the Update Course, you need only send your re-accreditation fee of $100 before the end of the year in order to re-accredit for 2010. (We have a record of your attendance.)
If you earned credits at New England Grows in 2009, send Carol an email if you haven't already done so.
For all other approved events, you need to send a completed Re-accreditation form, signed by the presenter, to CT NOFA, P.O.Box 164, Stevenson, CT 06491.
If you have any questions about re-accreditation requirements, check the OLC website.
The re-accreditation fee remains $100, but there is a $25 late fee after January 1, 2010.
Opportunities for AOLCPs
AOLCPs can join a photo group on Flikr for LawnReform. You can put some photos in this pool, which is available to the media and has the potential to get you market exposure.
Conference Workshop Leaders Sought
Are you an expert at what you do? Would you like to share your knowledge with
participants at the NOFA Summer Conference, happening Aug. 13-15, 2010 at UMass
Amherst in Amherst, MA? We are looking for AOLCPs interested in teaching
various methods of organic land care for the special OLC track at the Summer
Conference. Creative ideas welcomed! Please email or call Kathy Litchfield at (413)
773-3830 with your workshop ideas. Thanks very much.
Volunteer at New England Grows
If you'd like to volunteer to staff the NOFA Organic Land Care Program table at
New England Grows, Feb. 4-6, 2010, please email or call Kathy Litchfield at (413)
We are also seeking AOLCPs of 3 years or more to staff a "Q&A with
AOLCPs" panel during NE Grows, on Thursday Feb. 5th. Please let Kathy know if
you're interested in participating.
AOLCPs in Action...
Massachusetts AOLCPs Donald Bishop and Michael Murray Partner with Ayer
and Stoneham to Implement Grant-Funded Organic Lawn Demonstration Projects
BY KATHY LITCHFIELD -
Two Massachusetts AOLCPs have embarked upon exciting and substantial projects, highlighting the work of the NOFA
Organic Land Care Program. Donald Bishop of Gardens Are. Inc. in Marlborough
and Michael Murray, of Organic Soil Solutions Inc. in Woburn, are each working
with municipalities to implement organic practices onto public lawn areas,
thanks to a generous $10,000 grant awarded to NOFA/Mass from the Toxics Use
Reduction Institute (TURI) at University of Massachusetts Lowell.
In Ayer, Bishop is working with
Parks Supervisor Jeff Thomas to transition the lawns at Sandy Pond Beach to
organic management. Sandy Pond is the town's public swimming area, renovated in
2006 into a park environment with basketball, volleyball, playground and picnic
areas as well as new sod installed.
"Because the turf at Sandy Pond Beach abuts the town's main
recreational body of water and users of the facility are often barefoot and lie
on the grass, having organic lawn care will likely create more ideal conditions
for both those who visit the park and those who use and live on Sandy Pond,"
said Thomas. The pond also suffers from thriving invasive aquatic weeds, and
local residents are working with the Conservation Commission to limit the use
of commercial fertilizers on homeowners' lawns in this area to help alleviate
runoff, which they have stated is part of the problem.
In Stoneham, Murray is working with Groundskeeper Rick
and DPW Deputy Manager Larry Brophy to implement organic
the center circle of the Town Common, surrounded by the Town Hall, Police
Station and Fire Station. This circle is used year-round for special events
including parades, road races, holiday events as well as for general recreation.
Arzillo said the project "is a great example, to show us
what possible improvements this might make in our overall organic program. We'd
like to continue in this direction and are happy to have
the help of a NOFA
Accredited Organic Land Care Professional."
Both Thomas and Arzillo previously attended the NOFA Organic
Lawn & Turf Course on full scholarships, again thanks to TURI, who awarded
NOFA/Mass with two $1,000 grants in each of 2007 and 2008.
Two environmental groups, the Nashua River Watershed
Association and the Greenscapes Program of the Massachusetts Bays Estuary
Association, are also partnering on the grant to help with publicity and
further their mission of protecting waterways from lawn chemical runoff and
Work began at both sites in October, with the application of
compost topdressings, overseeding and the addition of humates/kelp on the two
properties. Next Spring, a public
kick-off ceremony at each site will highlight the work done and promote organic
land care at the municipal and homeowner levels.
As part of the grant, a customized homeowner's brochure will
be created describing the benefits of organic lawns, listing websites for
resources and listing the local AOLCPs. A "tool kit" will also be created,
detailing the overall project, to be used by other municipalities wishing to do
organic lawn demonstration projects.
The grant is being coordinated by Kathy Litchfield, OLC
Program Coordinator for NOFA/Mass.
For more information about the Organic Lawn Demonstration
Projects, email or call Kathy at (413)
The TURI Community Program strives to help organizations
raise awareness of the hazards of toxic chemical use and introduce safer
alternatives within their neighborhoods. It supports the work of many community
organizations by providing grants, training, education and outreach on toxic
use reduction methods, alternatives and resources. For more information on
TURI, visit www.turi.org or contact
Joy Onasch at (978) 934-4343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Letter to the Editor
Update Course Content
It was great to see
you this past week and you folks did a wonderful job organizing matters.
However, as I enjoyed Professor Janice Thies from Cornell and her Bio Char
Science discussion I was deeply and unfortunately disgruntled with the talk by
Cornell student who's name is not listed working on her thesis. She fed the
entire group propaganda with the presentation on the " pragmatist versus
opposition to Bio Char.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is
one of my personal mentors and has been a proponent for the Organic economic and
social agriculture movement for many years world wide. Now people who were not
familiar with her work might view her under negative light due to the Cornell
student propaganda. Sounds to me that the wisdom of Dr. Shiva comes clear with
what could be if Bio Char falls into the wrong hands with the global
marketplace, Officially I am not an opponent of Bio Char as mitigation
to climate change or soil ameliorant.
Let that be said. My
concerns are far bigger picture than that and I might consider with more data
for my organic farm in the future.
Small scale on farm
possibly however, if Bio Char becomes deregulated it could cause greater harm to
farmers around the world and I think Dr. Shiva has had much experience and as I
said wisdom with this. As some people put it in class discussion "Until we fix
the waste stream problem " can we talk about the issues brought forth by this
Thanks for reading my
concerns and once again it was great seeing you folks . Other than that part of
the course I truly enjoyed all aspects of our schooling. Physiologist and tree
expert Kevin Smith was fabulous He has a great sense of humor and Bill Cullina
what can I say except that I love microbiology and his microscopic
photography is fascinating. I enjoyed the other speakers and commend all
organizing efforts on the part of you and your
Hope you have a great
Rebecca Lipton, Fresh Idea Organic
Land Care Management
We invite you to continue this discussion. Comments can be sent to Ashley for inclusion in our next e-news or on our website.
Rebecca also recommended the following links:
Make a Difference: Report Pesticide Impacts on Wildlife and the Environment!
There is a new reporting mechanism online, and it was designed be quick and easy for busy professionals. This new portal from the National Pesticide
Information Center is intended for pesticide incidents that affect
wildlife and the environment. You are encouraged to report such
incidents at this website.
Articles of interest
Here is an interesting article on the Permaculture Course (a credit opportunity) being offered by Cynthia and Stuart Rabinowitz in Bethlehem, CT.
And here are links to additional articles one on Leaf Mulching
and another, entitled "Save Time and Money and Have a Greener Healthier Yard."
Current AOLCP Credit OpportunitiesJanuary 1: Postmark Deadline for Re-accreditation for 2010
January 5-26: Botany for Gardeners - Stockbridge, MA
January 6-27: Designer Tool Kit I - Observation & Analysis - Stockbridge, MA
January 7 - 28: The Business of Horticulture - Stockbridge, MA
January 13-14: Native Landscape Design - Villanova, PA
January 13-14, 2009: CNLA Winter Symposium - Wallingford, CT
Jan.15 - Nov. 22: Permaculture Design Course -Shelburne Falls MA
January 15-16: Native Landscape Design - New London, CT
January 16: Winter Botany-Whately, MA
January 16: NOFA MASS WINTER CONFERENCE - Worcester, MA
January 19: Spirit: Garden Inspiration - Cambridge, MA
January 20: Winter Lawn Care Conference - Sturbridge, MA
January 23: Pruning in Winter - Cambridge, MA
January 28-29: CT Grounds Keepers Assoc. Turf & Landscape Conference - Uncasville, CT
January 30: Native Seed Propagation Workshop - Whately, MA
NOFA Standards Review
Consult NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care for guidance on the characteristics of well-decomposed or finished compost and a caution on herbicide contamination of compost. Here are a couple of excerpts from those pages, with the suggestion that you follow the above link to the Standards in order to review the entire entry on Compost found on pp. 21-23.
"Improperly composted organic matter that has gone anaerobic (or putrified) may contain compounds toxic to plants and may have offensive odors from production of ethanol, ammonia or hydrogen sulfides. Check with your compost supplier for evidence of proper quality control to avoid this problem. Under specific conditions, anaerobic compost may be used to create proper growing media for wetland plants." (p. 21)
"Be aware of [herbicide contamination] hazards, discuss them with your compost suppliers, and ask them if they have conducted bioassays on any potentially contaminated materials. For more information, see the magazine BioCycle. Review articles are posted on their website. (p. 22)
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