2013 Upcoming Events

Organic Lawn & Turf Day **Worth 4 AOLCP credits**

  • January 11, 2013: Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
  • Cost: $95 NOFA members and AOLCPs; $105 non-members
The NOFA/Mass Organic Land Care Program is pleased to present this one-day intensive workshop on organic turf management. Organic lawn care is the fastest-growing sector of the green industry-and the NOFA Organic Land Care Program has been a pioneer in sustainable, chemical free land management for over a decade. Learn more and register here. This event is for lawn care professionals who already have organic lawn care experience; for an introductory course about organic lawn care, register for our Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course.

  • January 14-17: 100 N. 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA
  • February 11-14: 574 New London Turnpike, Norwich, CT
Click here to learn more and sign up.

Refer a Friend
If you refer a friend who signs up and attends the course, you will receive a $25 OLC credit that can be used toward future workshops and your accreditation. Just make sure they mention your name as the person who referred them when they register.

  • January 24: Manchester Community College, Manchester, CT
  • February 26: Three Rivers Community College, Norwich, CT
This course gives an introduction to organic lawn care and isn't recommended for AOLCPs - please attend the NOFA Mass Organic Lawn and Turf Day for a more advanced program. The course will begin with two hours of environmental education co-taught by Judy Preston and Diba Khan-Bureau so you can learn about the state of water quality in your area, and how pesticides and excess fertilizers runoff into fresh and salt water creating algae blooms and pollution harmful to animal life. Chip Osborne will discuss soil testing to reduce excess nutrients, lawn cultural practices, addressing insects, weeds and diseases. Frank Crandall will teach marketing organic lawn care to customers.

Learn more about the LISFF grant and our Lawn Certificate Course here. Sign up for the NOFA Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course here.

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Report From Our Annual Gathering

2012 Annual Gathering

Our 2012 Annual Gathering, Success With the Organic Land Care Market, received positive reviews from attendees, speakers, and exhibitors. For those who attended and filled out an evaluation, thanks so much for letting us know your thoughts! Your input will help to make next year's event even better.

This year we held the Annual Gathering at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, MA. The hotel staff did a wonderful job working with us to plan the most seamless event possible. The hotel's conference center provided an excellent venue for the day, as well as a delicious lunch. Many thanks to Caro Roszell from NOFA Mass for contributing fresh local winter vegetables to serve as part of the meal!

Emcee Frank Crandall leads a ta'i chi demo

An engaging lineup of speakers highlighted the day, including keynote Eric T. Fleisher and Oregon Tilth's Organic Land Care Program Manager Dave Alba. Speakers addressed a wide range of current hot topics in the organic land care industry, from how to reduce plant disease to building a national organic land care movement. We even had a brief t'ai chi lesson from emcee Frank Crandall! If you couldn't make it to this year's Annual Gathering, you can view descriptions of each presentation here.

Thanks to all of our presenters, volunteers, exhibitors, organizers and to the Sturbridge Host Hotel. We had a great time and we hope all of you did as well!

Check out the slideshow of photos from the event, as well as Jenna Messier's 2012 Update on the Organic Land Care Program here.

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Reaccreditation Reminder

It's that time of year again! Make sure to reaccredit by January 1st in order to avoid the $25 late fee. This year, we've made the process even easier! Follow these steps to reaccredit for 2013:

  1. Make sure you have obtained at least 4 continuing education credits. You must have 4 in order to stay accredited in 2013. Not sure how many credits you have? Call us at 203.888.5146 or email us to find out. If you've attended events or taught classes in 2012 that are at least partially dedicated to organic land care, you can apply for credits. Apply for credits online here.
  2. Choose either the $75 Supporter or the $150 Business Tier for your reaccreditation. You can view the benefits of each tier here.
  3. Officially reaccredit. Online reaccreditation is fast and easy - click here for the form. You can pay for your reaccreditation over the phone, online, or by mailing us a check.

Questions? Call us at 203.888.5146 or email us for more information.

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AOLCP Marketing

As part of our new marketing campaign for Business Tier AOLCPs, we are starting a new marketing section in this newsletter that will feature timely updates and tips. Here is what we've got for you this month:

  • If you are reaccrediting with the Business Tier, now is the time to take a look at your profile on our online searchable database to make sure it's up to date. Our new marketing strategy places a lot of emphasis on this database as a way for potential clients to find information about your business, so it is essential to make sure you have posted the most up to date and accurate information. Click here to view your profile on our website. If you need assistance with updating your profile, give us a call at 203.888.5146 and we'll work with you after the first of the year.
  • In January, we will be rolling out a set of web and print ad templates (read last month's newsletter for more information) for you to use in your marketing area. If you are reaccrediting at the Business Tier, you will receive an email in January with a link to templates that have already been customized with your business information. We can further customize your profile for you for an additional fee. Learn more here.
  • To help promote the great work that you do, we are launching our new Organic Lawns and Gardens Campaign in the new year. This includes our Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course, as well as another initiative intended to promote organic lawn and garden care in the school system. As part of our outreach to schools, we have just finalized a new set of stickers that will be given out to schools and will also be offered for AOLCPs to purchase and use in their own marketing. Stay tuned for information at our online store about new promotional packages for organic lawn care practitioners that include these materials.

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Guest Bloggers Sought

Love our blog? Want a chance to get more involved?

We are now accepting guest articles to feature on the NOFA Organic land Care Program blog. If you have expertise and passion for organic land care issues, and experience with writing either on a blog or in another journalistic outlet, you can become a guest blogger for NOFA OLC! Interested? Send us an email detailing your relevant experience with writing and sustainable land care and, if our needs match, we'll set you up as either a one-time blogger, or a scheduled guest writer.

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In The News

American Academy of Pediatrics Offers Stern Pesticide Warning

In a stirring report linking pesticide exposure to children's illnesses, a major American agency issued a call today to limit exposures during the most susceptible period of life. The findings mirrored the work of other medical bodies in Canada and elsewhere that have long found associations between pesticides - insect and weed killer and fungicides - and negative impacts on children. Many American agencies, however, have been reluctant to make the same connections until today, which has led to an outpouring of health care professionals nationwide calling on parents, doctors and the government to make significant changes. More>

AOLCP in the News: The Jump to Organics

Kristina MacPherson knows all about the challenges of providing organic services. And if you are thinking of adding organic services, don't fret because it's the same challenges that you face - customer expectations. More>

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Spring Bulk order opens January 1, 2013!
Do you buy cover crop seed, fertilizers, mineral amendments, compost, potting soil, potato and allium seed? Would you like to save money on those items? If so, the bulk order might be perfect for you. Early in January, NOFA/Mass organizes a bulk order with popular suppliers for distribution at sites around MA/CT/RI. NOFA members receive a 10% discount, so consider becoming a member today! Learn more about the bulk order here.

New England Leaf Out Project Needs Your Help!

Scientists need your help to monitor leaf out times of trees in New England. We want to find out how rapidly trees are responding to warming temperatures across the region. Are trees leafing out earlier now than in the past? Do trees leaf out at different times across New England? We hope you will help us gather observations of leaf-out times of trees this coming spring from where you live to add to our database of current and historical observations from New England. Interested in participating? Check out the project's webpage here.

Horticultural Business Seminars each worth 4 AOLCP credits

January 9-10, 2013

10th GEM I (Growth, Effectiveness, Management) Horticultural Business Seminar, 8am-5pm, Westerly/Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce. Taught by Frank Crandall. Topics include estimating, company finances, sales techniques, employees, management tips, marketing, small business loans, mistakes to avoid and more. Text: "The Essential Horticultural Business Handbook;" daily lunches included. Cost: $395/person; discounts for AOLCPs, MNLA and RINLA members. To register: email Frank Crandall or call (401) 742-7619.

February 21, 2013

GEM II (Growth, Effectiveness, Management) Horticultural Business Seminar, 8am-5pm, Broad Meadow Brook Audubon Sanctuary, Worcester, MA. Taught by Frank Crandall. Topics include refining your company's mission and vision, effective leadership styles, seasonal cash flow planning, adapting estimate, job costing and pricing system to your business and social media marketing. Text: "The Essential Horticultural Business Handbook;" lunch included. Cost: $295/person; discounts for AOLCPs, MNLA and RINLA members. To register: email Frank Crandall or call (401) 742-7619.

Current AOLCP Credit Opportunities

The following classes and events have been approved for OLC credits. In order to see a complete description of an event and the number of credits that will be awarded for attendance, please go to the credit opportunities page of our website. When you click on an event title, a complete description, including time, place, registration information, and number of credits will open.

1/9/13 - 10th GEM Business Seminar, Westerly, RI
1/11/13 - Organic Lawn & Turf Day, Boylston, MA
1/15/13 - Landscape Integrated Pest Management (IPM), New Brunswick, NJ
1/29/13 - Organic Turfgrass Management, New Brunswick, NJ
2/12/13 - Reducing Pesticide Inputs and Exploring Organic Options for Sports Turf, New Brunswick, NJ
2/21/13 - GEM II Horticultural Business Seminar, Worcester, MA
12/31/13 - ONGOING - Natural Turf Pro DVD, Northeast

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NOFA Standards Review

We're now heading into the coldest and darkest part of the winter, and that means many of us are spending time thinking about the best ways to heat our homes. It also means more electricity use during the extended dark hours. Just as many considerations go into energy use choices for the home, so too is the organic land care professional faced with choices regarding energy use in the landscape. The following excerpt describing the principles of energy use can be found on page 14 of the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care.
  • Energy use and climate change are critical issues at this time in history, and landscaping and land use patterns have a major impact on climate.
  • Organic land care practitioners consider the embodied energy of the materials and resources used in their work to minimize the total energy used to make, deliver, and dispose of materials.
  • Organic land care practitioners should strive to minimize or eliminate the use of fossil fuel-powered equipment and seek to reduce energy use through the design of their offices and workshops and the scheduling of jobs.
  • Landscape plantings can be designed to reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool houses and other structures. Shade trees can be planted to block the summer sun; evergreens can be sited to deflect prevailing winter winds.

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