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The mission of the Northeast Organic Farming Association's Organic Land Care Program (NOFA OLC) is to extend the vision and principles of organic agriculture to the care of the landscapes where people carry out their daily lives.
Organic land care is a sustainable ecological landscaping system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-site inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony and beauty in urban and suburban landscapes and gardens. Organic, in particular, means landscaping with no synthetic pesticides of any kind (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.) and with no synthetic fertilizers or soil amendments.
The NOFA OLC Standards further define organic land care as an approach that:
· Focuses on building healthy soils that reduce the need for watering and fertilizing
· Increases biodiversity and avoids invasive species
· Reduces the risk to children and pets from any kind of pesticides
· Protects water resources from excess nutrients and pesticides
Our program educates professionals and the general public about sustainable organic landscaping and gardening practices that improve the health and well-being of the people and web of life in their care.
The Organic Land Care Committee first developed NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care, Practices for Design and Maintenance of Ecological Landscapes in 2001 to present a vision of how organic agricultural principles can be applied to the landscaping profession. Through an education and accreditation program based on these Standards, we hope to make available to the public organic landscaping services that will meet or exceed these standards. We also hope to educate the public about the importance of using standards-based organic landscaping services, because - unlike agriculture - in landscaping there is currently no regulation on using the word “organic.” The Committee reviews and updates these Standards approximately every three years. The fifth edition, published January 2011, is now available.
Over 1200 professional landscapers have taken The NOFA Accreditation Course in Organic Land Care over the past 10 years. 511 of these trainees maintain their Accreditation with the NOFA Organic Land Care Program. 300 professional landscapers have taken the NOFA Organic Lawn and Turf Course.
10,000 free copies of the Guide to Organic Land Care are distributed each year, mostly by Accredited Professionals in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Guide contains a directory of our 511 Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals, who mostly own small, local businesses.
1000 land care professionals receive the monthly NOFA AOLCP eNewsletter with pertinent information about courses and events, big issues that have an impact on landscaping in Connecticut, and strategies for AOLCPs to help market themselves and their organic methods to their client base
1000 Homeowners, mostly Connecticut residents, receive our quarterly newsletter, “Organic with the Seasons” Homeowner eNewsletter with information on issues about organic lawn and yard care and seasonally relevant resources. NOFA Organic Land Care also has a Facebook page with over 300 fans and a broad reach to 500-1200 people each day. Over 200 homeowners have attended our 90 minute workshops on organic land care.