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By Nora Owens, NODPA Field Days Coordinator
We all have been through a lot this past year. The COVID-19 pandemic kept us apart; even led to the postponement of the 20th Annual NODPA Field Days. All of the in-person meetings and conferences were canceled and are now being held virtually. I sincerely thank all of the people responsible for organizing the virtual conferences, weekly lunch meetings, webinars, and discussion groups.
This has challenged everyone but the creativity that emerged has been remarkable. For some, the opportunity to attend virtual events was terrific since it meant they wouldn’t have to leave the farm in order to extend their learning. For others, there has been a longing to see everyone in person, chatting in the corner of a conference room or walking together through the fields at a farm tour.
It seems everyone is anxious to gather together, enjoy sharing their news, learning new information, and breaking bread together. So, it’s really exciting to announce that we are now planning the 21st Annual NODPA Field Days. Last year, we were forced to postpone Field Days (not cancel it!) and are now moving ahead with plans to hold it on the coast of Maine, at the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment and Organic Dairy in Freeport. Wolfe’s Neck Organic Farm is situated on over 600 acres of picturesque coastal land in Freeport, Maine. The farm has been in operation since 1959 when it was operated as an organic beef farm, and has evolved into an innovative educational and research center with an organic dairy.
Wolfe’s Neck Center (WNC), a public non-profit and community resource since 1997, offers a wide variety of programs including their immersive farmer training programs, farm-based education and research, the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program, a community garden, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, Community and Visitor programs, seasonal events and festivals, and a campground.
The NODPA Board is confident that by late September it will be safe to bring people together in a setting that incorporates all of the COVID-19 safety protocols. We will be able to hold the meeting in a setting (large barn) that has excellent ventilation-including the requirement that the main doors be open all the time; plenty of space to allow for everyone to be spread out; access to a large outdoor space (weather permitting) for workshops, dining, and socializing. Another perk of this setting is that the barn is located away from the main campus so that our group will be kept separate from the general public. We even have the capacity to have a robust trade show.
The NODPA Field Days have been held in Maine two times. The first one was in NODPA’s early days and Henry Perkins promised every attendee a lobster dinner to lure them to Maine. It was a smashing success! The last time, 10 years ago, NODPA Field Days was held at the MOFGA headquarters. On this 21st anniversary, we are excited to partner with Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment to bring you a full educational program and two farm tours. We will have more information about the program in the May NODPA News, and online at http://nodpa.com, and will be sending out sponsorship and tradeshow information to our advertisers and industry partners within the next month. If you have questions, call Nora Owens, NODPA Field Days Coordinator, at 413-772-0444.
Posted: to Field Days on Mon, Apr 12, 2021
Updated: Mon, Apr 12, 2021