Watch as Farmers Grow

Farmers ask West Amwell Township Committee for Municipal Conditional Approval to use traditional farming practices to cultivate cannabis.

June 17th, 2022 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on Farmers ask West Amwell Township Committee for Municipal Conditional Approval to use traditional farming practices to cultivate cannabis.)

Below is the exact presentation made to West Amwell Township Committee, after filing a complete proposal, consistent with the requirements of Applying to the State of New Jersey for a Cannabis Cultivation License for a Sun Grown, Traditional Farming operation, in West Amwell, NJ. For more information, please contact Mike at 609-647-9754. Our Proposal is consistent with the West Amwell Master Plan, while the current Land Use Ordinance is in contradiction to the Master Plan, one has to ask, why is this happening? Why would the Township exclude Agriculture from the best chance to encourage investment in Traditional Agricultural Development maybe ever. The Township Committee has made a mistake, and needs to correct it.

Presentation to West Amwell Township March 16, 2022

NJ Grow Free llc; Cannabis Cultivation as Agriculture.

Good evening and thank you for your attention. My name is Michael Rassweiler and I have been a
resident and farm owner / operator in West Amwell Township since 1995. My wife, Colleen and I and
our Co­ owner Scott Morgan formed the Entity NJ Grow Free llc for the purpose of pursuing a
Cannabis Cultivation Approval and State License, to be established on our existing Organic Farm,
located on Rock Road East.

We have submitted to the Township Committee, an information packet to provide details about our
proposed Cultivation Center. With great respect for the difficulty of the Township Authority in managing this new Industry, and as a West Amwell Organic Farmer for over 25 years, I ask for your patience to hear our Proposal, as there are some concerns we have about why Traditional Agriculture seems to be unfairly excluded from the Opportunity.

West Amwell Ordinance 06, 2021 establishes that “the Township supports the safe and appropriate
siting of cannabis related…businesses, including cultivation centers…” The ordinance defines a
Cultivation Center as “a building, structure or Premises used for the cultivation of Cannabis.”
Cannabis, as defined in the ordinance, does not include Hemp. The Ordinance also states that
“There shall be no limit on the number of Cannabis Cultivation Centers,” and, somewhat ironically that, “the look and design of such facilities shall be in keeping with the agricultural nature of the region.”

Cannabis cultivation centers were originally permitted as a conditional use in all Land Use
zones, though our zone RR6 was removed, from that list, except as a micro business, in Ordinance
10, 2021. The decision to remove the opportunity of a property owner, located in a Rural
Residential Zone from receiving conditional permission, is consistent with the Township seeking to
discourage applications, but it should not preclude the Freedom of a Citizen to Apply for a
Variance according to standard Land Use and Zoning Board public Hearing process. Especially when
Ordinance 09 2021 clearly states “ensuring the citizens of the Township of West Amwell are provided
ample opportunity to participate within this new Industry.”

There are other complexities to the situation as defined by the Township Ordinances 06, 09 and 10
2021, but none of them should be considered insurmountable and in the interest of Supporting
Agricultural Opportunity in West Amwell, we respectfully request that the following items be

While the NJ Cannabis law states that no Farmland Assessed Properties shall be licensed to
cultivate Cannabis, there is no reason why an existing farm might not give up its Farmland
Assessment, on a designated area, Pay the Rollback Penalty and have the Area designated for
cannabis cultivation, reassessed as a “Special Use Area Qualification”, thereby protecting the
continued Land Use as Agriculture but yielding the Township a higher Property Tax rate and income. Furthermore, if West Amwell cares about supporting a resident to “participate within this new Industry” it seems logical that this method would be structured without penalties and with the assistance of the Tax Assessor, especially when it ultimately supports Traditional Agricultural Practices.

Additionally confusing, the Township Ordinance after stating that Cannabis is not Hemp, refers to
Permitting Outdoor Cultivation under Special permit for the Cultivation of Hemp. We can only
remind the Township Authority that it is clearly confirming that the Outdoor Production of Hemp,
which in all but the concentration of THC, is the same plant as Cannabis, producing the same smells
and is allowed by the Township and the State of New Jersey. This needs to be taken in context with
the consideration of smells and the prohibition of them. Permitted fields of Industrial Hemp, grown
outdoors is now well established in NJ and surrounding States, and smells from outdoor Cultivation
has not been a problem. The problem with smells from Cultivation are from Indoor, Year-Round
intensive energy and actively ventilated warehouse production, especially those located in close
proximity to residences, and commercial workplaces. The clear recognition of the Township that
outdoor Hemp Production is a permitted use should demonstrate that Outdoor Production of Cannabis
should also be Conditionally Permitted. The State Cannabis Law clearly delineates those
requirements for outdoor cultivation including Secure and Alarmed Fencing, that encloses the
Cultivation Area and does not allow the public to see inside, and the Township Ordinances refer to
the State requirements as inclusive of Township requirements already.

We are not asking the Township Committee to explain these complexities·tonight.

We are asking the Township Committee to recognize that Traditional Agriculture must also be
provided Ample Opportunity to participate within this new Industry. That among the Unlimited
Cultivation permissions there must be representatives like NJ Grow Free that are owned and operated
by long standing local farmers like Colleen, Scott and Myself. We are here tonight to ask for
your Support for Traditional Agriculture, in these matters, and are pleased to answer any questions
you may have.

In the Packet there is a draft letter that we need from the Township Authority, recognizing that NJ
Grow Free has the right of any West Amwell Property owner to follow existing standards of
practice, to request Variances from Land Use Ordinances that are unduly constrictive, allowing for
the involvement of our community and judged by the Boards already formed for this purpose.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Submitted Wednesday March 16, 2022

The Township Committee Minutes approved by the Township Committee for March 16, 2022 and on April 6, 2022, Rassweiler provides WAT Master Plan quotes that demonstrate Cannabis Cultivation is Agriculture and West Amwell should be supporting its Farmers, not telling them to “move to another Town.”

3-16-2022tcm.pdf (

4-6-2022tcm.pdf (

NOFA NJ Sunday Brunch!

November 8th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on NOFA NJ Sunday Brunch!)

Please register at, or Call 609-647-9754 (lv message).

Join us on Sunday November 14, 11am – 1pm, for an Outdoor Celebration, perfect with Brunch by Jammin Crepes with Coffee provided by Small World Coffee and Specialty Herb Teas from North Slope Farm!

Please dress warmly, with sturdy shoes/ boots. We’ll be outside, served by Jammin Crepes Food truck with plenty of shelter, from the Event Tent, to warm Greenhouses. We expect our Lisianthus beds (pictured in header) will be blooming in time for the Gathering, should be very pretty!

The Eggs and veggies are local and Fantastic, NOFA NJ will be represented by Board Members and longtime supporters, as well as new and renewed Collaborators..

The Walking Tour of the Farm will take you through Greenhouses, in seasonal transition, visit the Sprouting Grains Project and the Hens who will benefit! Also Visit the Hazelnut Orchard, in its second year of Growth, with hay fields, Winter Wheat and Cover cropped Production fields, as well as our Permanent Raised production Beds.

North Slope Farm originally certified Organic in 1997, and is Certified Today. Organic Production is focused on fostering life and diversity in our Agricultural and Ecological Systems – to promote health, vigor and adaptability in a challenging World. Farmer Mike Rassweiler learned farming day to day, over more than 30 years, and is pleased to partner with NOFA NJ to celebrate Organic Practices and Living, as a clear path, for an Organic Future.

This Event has been provided for by Contributors to NOFA NJ, So your Generous Donation will go into future Programming and Regenerative practices!

Organic Open House – October

October 17th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops | References - (Comments Off on Organic Open House – October)

Adventures in Farming – Adopting New Strategies, adapting equipment and judging the results..

NOFA NJ is pleased to hear from and share with you, a report from the fields of Stephens Farm in Sussex NJ. This is a family, Certified Organic Farm, and they have been adopting the Practice “Cover Crop Termination with a Roller Crimper”.

North Jersey RC&D has been providing assistance for Farmers to terminate Cover Crops, in preparation for No-Till Plantings, and we will provide links to their findings and opportunities on this page, in preparation for the October presentation.

Also, Rodale Institute, has been recording data on different productions strategies for Decades, and we will include Links to their resources as well.

The Open House will be structured to present a fairly quick presentation of the Guests and their Info, starting at 6:05, to start, then we will open up for discussion and questions. The presentation will be recorded and available along with other NOFANJ YouTube videos, on line.

Please consider a donation to, your contribution is tax deductable and serves our Mission and Vision.

Organic Open House – September

September 27th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on Organic Open House – September)

Organic Open House this September, will be held at Morganics Farm in Hillbourough, NJ.

Join us from 4-6 pm for a gathering of Farmers and Friends to talk about Organic Farming Practices, Discussions of experimentation in Reduced Tillage, and processing results, lessons and adjustments to practices.

NOFA NJ is a not for profit organization that welcomes your support, Please donate at, such that we can continue to provide workshops, education opportunities and Foster our ORGANIC FUTURE.

Organic Open House – July

July 28th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on Organic Open House – July) Journey Person Program and Farmer Mentoring

Traditionally, if you wanted to learn how to Farm Organically, you would find a farmer who offerred an internship, and hope for the best.

NOFA-NJ, long ago realized that individual Farmers could only provide a limited experience for their apprentices and we worried that one farm might offer great learning and another less so.

Twilight Meetings were established, so Apprentices could visit multiple farms during the season and two very important things occurred. One was that new farmers saw that many farmers approach problems in many different ways, and no single answer is true for everyone… ie, dont be afraid to be unique, or to think outside the box, it might work for you. Another thing is that Farmers in Training, and Farmers themselves got to see that everyone’s Farm has problems and limitations..! Visiting another farm, during the season, you see the broken tools, the weedy beds, the harried washing station, and you realize, “My farm is not a failure, struggling with loss and hardship, is part of the Process, other farmers are also struggling with these things and somehow that is a relief..

NOFANJ is focused on Education and so we put our effort into an Annual Winter Conference, that changes year to year, and Annual Programs and Events..

Additionally, NOFANJ invested in developing a Journey Person Program – Designed to identify New Farming Operations that could use the support and encouragment of a Dedicated Farmer Mentor.

The FARMER MENTOR is a farmer, or retired farmer, who will actively meet with, ask questions of, seek resources for and follow up with, the Journey Person Farmer. NOFA-NJ welcomes folks who would like to be a recognized Journey Person Farmer, and we will connect you with a Farmer Mentor, as we have done for years. It is our hope that NOFA-NJ can also promote the Journey Persons, as we do by linking JP’s Social Media on our Journey Person Web page at

There have been many Journey Persons over the years, below is just a sampling of some that have been through the program but arent yet listed at;

John Knox, Dogwood Farms

Martenette Farms

Clifford Family Farm

Fields without Fences

Abes Acres

I encourage you to check out these Farms listed above, and to visit the Journey Persons social media links found under “Education/ Journey Person Program” at, to see whats going on, on Organic Farms in New Jersey, many of them supported by your support of NOFA-NJ.

Organic Open House – June

June 29th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on Organic Open House – June)

NOFA-NJ and NorthSlopeFarm are pleased to welcome three experts from Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Dr Andrew Wyenandt – Vegetable Pathology

Joseph Ingerson-Mahar – IPM coordinator, vegetables

Kristian Holmstrom – IPM Program Associate, vegetables

Organic Management Practices are the guides by which farmers can develop systems and strategies on their farms to avoid pest and disease problems.

Every Season has new challenges, and we hope to hear some stories from the field, about making sense of putting best management practices to work.

If you are unable to join the conversation, please look for the NOFANJ YOUTube page for this and other great recordings of Open Houses and alot of Programs!

Summer Solstice Celebration

June 29th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on Summer Solstice Celebration)

Sunday June 20, 2021

At 5 pm, Farmer Mike will lead a fast paced field walk, to check out our Organic Hazelnuts, Hay Fields, Waterways, Special Projects, High Tunnel, Grain Trial Production, and Intensive Market Garden.  This will be FAST WALKING, and Brief Presentations of “what are we looking at..”  Self Paced tours encouraged, Questions and Discussion all Night..

6 PM Gather as the Community we Are, Attuned to the Sun and our Planet, Aching for the Losses, but Confident that the Earth is about LIFE, our Star is about ENERGY, and we all PART OF THE WHOLE.

POT LUCK DINNER, FAMILY FRIENDLY no dogs tho, physical distancing encouraged, social re-connection also encouraged.

Dress for the weather, Sneakers and Socks reccomended, Farm Parking at 386 Rock Road East, 08530.

Thanks everyone for a great evening!


June 10th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on COVID POLICY AND GUIDE)

In Person Events at North Slope Farm require that each individual be responsible to contain any Infections they may carry.

WEAR A MASK IF AT RISK, and to protect others,




napkins and paper towels to hold things, and wipe

things off, Dont handle things without realizing,

touching puts you (and others) at Risk of contacting

COVID and other contagious infections.


and items above, ARE THE BEST WAYs TO CONTROL


a risk to self or others.

Organic Open House – May

May 26th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on Organic Open House – May)

This months Topic is a continuation of the Three Year Soil Health Grant, initiated by NOFA Massachusetts, with participation from 9 farmers in 3 States; Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

New Video Footage, By Kennette Productions, of this years soil monitoring, by the Project Leader, Caro Roszell, followed by comments and farming insights shared by the NJ participating Farms; IronBound Farm, Morganics Family Farm and North Slope Farm.

“This project supports the development of a learning community of northeast organic farmers who are integrating reduced and no-till methods currently on their farms, maps out what they are already doing and how it is working, defines what it currently means to be reduced/no-till in the northeast right now, and encourages further innovation, development, and education around these techniques to the wider farming community. The ultimate focus and goal of our investigation is to refine and educate about organic tillage reduction methods.” (NOFA Massachusetts website.)

This Open House will be recorded, and availble by searching for the NOFANJ YouTube Content.

Ill provide a link at this page once its posted!

Thank you for your interest in Organic and Soil based Farming in New Jersey, we love NJ and care to see it have a healthy and vibrant future.. Please follow this link to and offer your support by donating today!

Organic Open House – April

April 28th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on Organic Open House – April)

Spring Planting requires planning and actions that start long before the Planting Date, Mike will present a quick roundup of images from NJ Organic Farms across the State.

Also, Following the Spring Update, we switch topics and Delve into Growing Organic Grains in New Jersey.. There will be a video presention of Grain growing operations at Zeng Farm and Morganics Family Farm, and an update from the NOFA-NJ Demonstration Grain Plots at NorthSlopeFarm, Wheat, Spelt, Rye and Eincorn.

Join us the Last Wednesday of every Month, 6pm -8pm. We are still in ZOOM mode (link on our home page for tonight), but hope to return to in person gatherings at NorthSlopeFarm, by late summer.