TEACHING LAND CARE PROFESSIONALS TO “GO ORGANIC” FOR ELEVEN YEARS
The Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Organic Land Care Program (NOFA OLC) has announced the dates and locations of the Accreditation Course in Organic Land Care. The first course, in Worcester, MA, is scheduled for January 9-13. The New Haven, CT course will be on February 15, 16, 17 and 21,22 and the final course, in Charleston, RI, is from February 27-March 3.
Bill Duesing, Executive Director of Connecticut NOFA and one of NOFA OLC’s founders explains “Our course instructs students on landscaping that is healthier for people and the environment. Organic land care replaces toxic chemicals that get in our skin, lungs and water with methods that promote biodiversity, create habitat and protect water quality.”
The NOFA Organic Land Care Program was founded by a volunteer committee of scientists, activists, and landscapers from the Massachusetts and Connecticut Chapters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. The Accreditation Course curriculum is based on the committee’s Standards for Organic Land Care: Practices for Design and Maintenance of Ecological Landscapes published in 2001, now recognized and implemented across the U.S. and internationally.
This 5-day, 30-hour course features a faculty of respected scientists and experienced organic land care practitioners. Class topics include: Site Analysis, Design and Maintenance; Rain Gardens and Storm Water Infiltration; Soil Health; Fertilizer and Soil Amendments; Lawn Alternatives; Wetlands; Pest Management; Wildlife Management; Disease Control; Mulches; Invasive Plants; Client Relations and Running a Business. Four hands-on case studies are also included in the course. The NOFA/Mass OLC Program Coordinator, Caro Roszell observed “a lot of motivation from professionals to create safer, healthier, and more naturally beautiful landscapes, and their clients are demanding it too. They want to offer an effective, competitive organic program, so they come to us.”
Attendees may take an optional exam to become NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals (AOLCPs). Benefits of accreditation include use of the NOFA Organic Land Care logo and listings in widely distributed print guides and in a searchable database at www.organiclandcare.net. To date, over 1200 land care professionals have taken the NOFA course from 22 states. Frank Crandall, now chair of the OLC Education Committee, earned his NOFA accreditation in 2005 and said the NOFA course “is the best educational course I have ever taken . . . I immediately made a plan to convert my landscape business into a completely organic company over three years.”
For more information on and registration for the Connecticut and Rhode Island courses please visit our website at www.organiclandcare.net or call the CT NOFA office at 203-888-5146. For information on the Massachusetts course, contact Caro Roszell at (508) 360-0874 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nofamass.org/programs/landcare/ to register online.