Northeast Organic Farming Association Organic Practices Handbook Series
The project is to create, with farmer participation, eight new manuals on organic agricultural practices: Whole Farm Planning; Crop Health; Compost/Vermicompost/Compost Tea; Crop Rotation/Cover Cropping; Eggs & Poultry; Marketing/Community Relations; Seed Production & Saving; Milk & Dairy Products
We will also add to two manuals previously created: Weed Management and Soil Fertility Management.
Designed for practical use by relatively experienced organic growers and commercial farmers transitioning to organic in the Northeast, the manuals are up-to-date, illustrated, highly readable and around 100 pages long. As a set, they complement each other in approach, format, philosophy, and content and form a reliable, integrated regional information resource on organic agriculture.
Of the 35 farmers directly involved with the creation of the manual series, 25 will report a change in their farming or business practice as a result of the invovement.
Of the 1000 farmers who buy a copy of one or more of the manuals, 80 will report that the manuals made a change in their farming or business practice within two years.
The project is a month or two behind in meeting its milestones. Milestone #6 says all eight books are to be published by the end of December 2004. I anticipate that six of them will be, and the seventh will be at the printer, but the eighth won’t be at the printer until January, 2005. I attribute the lateness of a month or so in this three-year project to two factors: the withdrawal of Chelsea Green last year as publisher, which required me to undertake graphic and layout responsibilities, and my own underestimation of the work involved in coordinating such an undertaking. Editing has also taken more of my time than expected.
We have five SARE-assisted manuals in print now, on key aspects of organic farming (Crop Health, Whole Farm Planning, Composting-Vermicomposting-Compost Tea, Crop Rotation-Cover Cropping, and Marketing and Community Relations). The sixth (Poultry Production) has passed scientific review and is laid out and being proofread. The manuscript for the seventh (Milk and Dairy Products) is in hand and reviewed, and will laid out, proofread and at the printer by the end of December, 2004. The eighth (Seed Saving and Production) is close to the final draft and will be at the printer in January.
Farmers from Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine have participated, along with a scientific reviewer from Arkansas. A great many people in the organic farming movement—farmers and educators, as well as consumers who are NOFA members are aware of the project. The four SARE-assisted manuals that have been distributed have sold approximately 1,000 copies, joining the two published earlier (Weeds and Soil) that have already sold around 1,100 in three printings.