Free Registrations To NOFA Summer Conference for Beginning Farmers!

PRESS RELEASE                        FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT DEB POUECH, REGISTRATION COORDINATOR debpouech@nofamass.org or 860-684-0551 FREE REGISTRATIONS AVAILABLE FOR BEGINNING FARMERS TO NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMING ASSOCIATION SUMMER CONFERENCE Amherst, Ma - The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) is pleased to announce that it will offer 6 free full registrations earmarked for beginning farmers to its 35th Annual Summer Conference.  The conference runs from August 7-9th at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  The scholarships will enable the recipients to attend the conference for three days, participate in 8 workshops and take advantage of a multitude of opportunities to network and collaborate with other farmers and service providers.  The sessions they attend can be chosen from the extensive conference workshop program according to their individual educational requirements.

The scholarships are funded by a grant from University of Vermont Extension Focusing on Beginning Farmers Initiative, with support from Northeast SARE.  They will be offered to practicing farm apprentices who have a strong desire to continue farming as a profession and immigrants or minorities who are hoping to start a new farm. Anyone interested in receiving a scholarship should send a one page letter of request to Registration Coordinator, Deb Pouech outlining their farming background, five year goals, financial need and at least one reference.  The applicant will be informed prior to the conference if their application is successful but no money will be sent ahead of time.  Their Beginning Farmer registration packet should be picked up at the registration desk upon arrival at the conference.  The scholarship will be held until 2pm on Friday when the workshops begin.  If the recipient has not registered at that time, and has not contacted Deb Pouech to notify her of an unavoidable delay, the scholarship will be awarded to another qualified recipient. In exchange for free registration, successful applicants will be required to complete a special evaluation form that will be included in their registration packet.  They must also agree to participate in a short phone interview in November.  Both the conference evaluation and the follow up phone interview will help NOFA/Mass gauge each workshop’s overall usefulness, relevance, and ability to accomplish its stated objective.  There will also be space for comments, suggestions for improvement and follow-up questions that will help in planning future programming and workshops for beginning farmers. The value of the scholarship is $155 which is the full cost of a 3-day conference registration.  It does not include the cost of housing or food, which is the responsibility of the recipient. Letters of request should be emailed to Deb Pouech at debpouech@nofamass.org or mailed to her at 281 Monson Rd, PO Box 9, Stafford Springs, CT, 06076.  Complete information on the conference can be found by visiting www.nofasummerconference.org or by requesting a printed registration form from the NOFA/Mass office at 978-355-2853.

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