Watch as Farmers Grow

Urban Agriculture in Philadelphia

March 30th, 2021 | Posted by Tara Narezo in References - (Comments Off on Urban Agriculture in Philadelphia)

Organic Open House – March

March 19th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on Organic Open House – March)

Urban Agriculture is a great concept – Urban is so much of our New Jersey Reality, and Agriculture is about Food, Fiber and Human Investment in Providing for Ourselves.

Join Our March Organic Open House, to hear from guests, engaged in Urban Agriculture, and participate in discussion on the Topics that emerge!

Allen Shelton, Zena Floyd and a Youth Entrepreneur share their vision and experience working with Fresh From Zone 7, NJ Farm and Food Experts, to pull together a Pop Up Farmstand, in Montclair NJ, despite all the Challenges of the Pandemic. Allen hoped to connect his Youth Team to a local farm, but Covid restrictions made them have to shift the plan. Hear all about it, and their thoughts about expanding activities!

Isles, Self Reliant Families and Sustainable Communities in Trenton NJ, will be represented by Bitnari Kim, Urban Agriculture Coordinator. Isles Inc has been serving Trenton New Jersey since 1981. I first learned about their work through Howell Living History Farm, who has partnered with Isles by bringing Oxen in for Spring Plowing in Downtown Trenton! Lots of stories there, just for starters. Isles has many offerings, but we will be asking Bitnari to share stories of Urban Agricultural Projects.

The Capital City Farm, in Trenton New Jersey, represents an effort that reflects the potential of Urban Settings. How to identify underutilized Space, to focus investment, to foster something that offers an opportunity for healthy production. We will hear from John (Jay) Watson, currently with the NJ Conservation Foundation, as he shares the story of Capital City Farm, how it began, some lessons and where the future lies..

Amy Rowe, Ph. D., County Agent II and (Associate Professor), with the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension of Essex and Passaic Counties, will also be joining us. Amy will help us connect the discussion to the perpective of the Cooperative Extension for New Jersey – what factors do we consider when discussing Urban Agriculture, what resources exist, to understand and address the challenges and opportunities?

Agricultural Adventurer, Adam Forbes, has shared a slide show with some video clips of Urban Agriculture in Philadelpia. Adam wont be able to join our discussion but CLICK HERE, to visit the References Post where you can see inspiring photos of People Feeding Themselves in Urban Settings!

The Open House is an informal setting, to hear from special guests, speaking on a specific topic. We all can ask questions, and contribute to the discussion. Its a place where you can introduce yourself, please share your business contact information in the CHAT, so others can connect with you, networking is welcome and encouraged.

If you are unable to register in time, at, You can text Mike, up to the few hours before the event begins, and I’ll reply with an invite link for the zoom meeting. 609-647-9754

Equipment, Education and Services Cost Sharing Available – NorthJersey RC&D – April 15 deadline.

March 19th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on Equipment, Education and Services Cost Sharing Available – NorthJersey RC&D – April 15 deadline.)

Now is the time to Apply for Cost Sharing – from 50 % for new Equipment to 90 % for fencing to protect waterways, as well as cost sharing for Education, cover crop seed and soil testing. While you might not want to spend money on equipment or fencing, it is always worth exploring the opportunities, and this has many benefits.

North Jersey RC&D is offering Grants to Farmers in select regions of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, Click on this text to visit Their Website.

North Slope Farm and NOFA-NJ are encouraging eligible farms to benefit from this opportunity! Contact North Jersey RC&D directly, Bridgett Hilshey or Sam Loscalzo, or or feel free to contact Mike, at NorthSlopeFarm; 609-647-9754, if you are interested in assistance with presenting your Farm Plan.

North Slope Farm and NOFA-NJ are focused on supporting NJ Organic Farms, in any way possible. Education opportunties are good and NOFA-NJ has excellent Training Programming. NOFA-NJ also offers mentorship, and this could include a farm at any stage – New or Established.

New Jersey needs viable, vigerous farms and North Slope Farm and NOFA-NJ believe there is room for Specialist Training – to work with Farmers to access the resources they need. The opportunities North Jersey RC&D for cost sharing are the types of things that can help, but sometimes having extra support to get signed up is helpful. Let us know, we’d like to see Farmers Get Ahead..

609-647-9754 to connect with North Slope Farm – “What’s the Next Step?”

New Farm Ventures

March 3rd, 2021 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs | Events and Workshops | References - (Comments Off on New Farm Ventures)

To get prepared,
to Start and Maintain a Farm..
Look: Find similar examples of what you want to do..
Listen: Be honest about the challenges of which you hear..
Feel: Your Work Experience will become your greatest Asset..

But don’t be afraid to change course, and adjust your expectations. The first 5 years are probably the steepest learning curve.

  • You will learn your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Take Note of Resources,
  • Make efforts to Network,
  • Be aware of your Social Support, like family and friends, be upfront with them about your Vision and Plans, many times the support we need comes from previously unknown connections. The easiest examples being, the people we come to know, and Mentors along the way.

NOFA NJ Journey Person Program

ORGANIC OPEN HOUSE – Last Wednesday of the Month Discussion Topics

Thanks to the Exploring the Small Farm Dream Class 2020, and

Instructor: Jess Niederer


January 25th, 2021 | Posted by Casey in Wild Fitness - (Comments Off on FRIDAY 5K TRAIL RUNS)





Organic Open House – January

January 13th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on Organic Open House – January)

Organic Open House – January

Zoom Gathtering – see and instruction below for connection

The Journey Persons Path.

NOFA-NJ and North Slope Farm host our monthly Organic Open House, to Gather folks around a topic. For January and February, we are going to Focus on the NOFA-NJ Journery Person Program, starting with a presentation on the concept, and introduction of current and previous JP’s and Introduction to the Program for 2021.

Please Join this conversation, if you, or someone you know might be interested in working with a Farm Mentor. Even just saying so, is the beginning of the Journey.

A Journey Person, by definition, is leaving the comfort, of what is known, and safe. NOFA-NJ invests in providing a Farmer Mentor, to support our Organic Farming Journey Persons. A Mentor’s job is to make significant contact, to ask hard questions, to process hard topics and to develop a lasting relationship, with New Organic Farming Operations, or Existing Organic Operations that want to connect with a Mentor. Journey Persons need to demonstrate a profound Committment to their path, and Mentors are intended to pay attention, to question, to provide support and to encourage.

To learn more, join us on the last Wednesday of January and February, 6-8pm.

Registration on the website is best, but if unable to register or join, text your email address to 609-647-9754, on the Wednesday of the event, for a zoom link.

Also – The Organic Winter Conference is virtual this year, very affordable (free to Students and Veterans), and will have a 3-4pm session of NJ Organic Farmers and Journey Persons on Sunday 1/31. Register at

Soil Health and Insect Scouting 2020

December 31st, 2020 | Posted by miker in Special Projects - (Comments Off on Soil Health and Insect Scouting 2020)

North Slope Farm 2020 Insect Scouting Report

Scouting and Report by Paige Sirak

(Apologies – Photos were not loading properly, and will be added asap.)

From late June to August of 2020, I scouted insects on three major crops to monitor the effects of the reduced tillage practices on soil biology, namely the insect population. These crops included summer squash, green beans, and carrots. While each vegetable faced its own issues, there was a common presence of beneficial insects among all three.

The summer squash had two main obstacles in the insect world: squash bugs of varying life stages and adult cucumber beetles. The squash bug grows quickly in size and goes through multiple life cycles in a growing season. They are a piercing-sucking insect that causes interruptions in the transport of nutrients to the plant and often leads to chlorosis, wilting, and death of a leaf or a plant (Hahn). This type of damage was commonly seen in the summer squash, especially in the more mature crops (see Figure 1). Although the squash bug caused visible damage, the mature plants were able to cope with the loss of a few leaves in favor of focusing their energy on producing the fruit. Secondly, the cucumber beetle was present on almost every summer squash that was scouted. The cucumber beetle is a biting-chewing insect that feeds on leaves, stems, flowers, and the fruit of the plant, leaving holes and brown spots (see Figure 1). This damage was not severe, but the cucumber beetle is also known to carry and transmit disease (Snyder). Beyond its feeding habits, its high mobility most likely played a part in the spread of powdery mildew among the later generations of summer squash. The powdery mildew, which is transmitted through small spores, had affected much of the later generations of the squash (see Figure 1)(Wyman). However, as these later generations were mature, they were still able to yield fruit without much loss. While there was a significant presence of harmful insects, the summer squash produced marketable fruit and was not critically damaged.

The second crop, green beans, was only slightly affected by insects but was more heavily affected by disease. The bugs that were often found on the beans were flea beetles. These biting-chewing beetles left small holes in the leaves (see Figure 2). The damage was typically reduced to 10-15% of the leaf and did not cause any severe issues. Previously, flea beetles had affected napa cabbage on the farm, but as that crop was not present, the population was not as significant. The beans were facing issues with a fungus, bacteria, or another disease that caused them to brown, curl, and shrivel (see Figure 2). Due to the lack of severe harmful insect presence, it can be concluded that the green beans’ slight struggle was with another foe.

The carrots, the third crop monitored, were experiencing significant rotting damage due to what was previously believed to be the carrot rust fly maggot. The carrots that were monitored often had tunnels that were eaten away and rotting (see Figure 3). In order to identify this pest, the carrots would be pulled and observed, and the soil would then be sifted through to look for any living insects, specifically larvae or maggots. The damage was found mostly on the more mature carrots. While the affected location of damage fluctuated, it became clear that, as the carrots matured, the marred surface appeared on the top/middle of the carrot, as opposed to near the tip. It was this fact that allowed an expert at a NOFA event to identify the pest to be the carrot weevil. The damage between the carrot rust fly and carrot weevil are nearly identical with the exception of the location of the affected area. As carrot weevils are notoriously difficult to get rid of, this issue is expected to persist and harm future carrot crops.

While these crops experienced some unfortunate insect-related issues, there was also a strong presence of beneficial species that were common to all three vegetables. One insect often found was the ladybug in varying life stages (see Figure 4). Ladybugs typically consume harmful pests such as aphids, whiteflies, mites, and cabbage moths (Telkamp). Further beneficial insects included pollinators, such as varieties of bees, butterflies, and moths (see Figure 4). The presence of flowers being grown for market and the wildflower populations on the farm ensured that pollinators were frequent visitors. Additionally, native milkweed was found between fields, which supported lots of these beneficial insects. It served as a habitat for monarch butterflies and caterpillars, as well as for other pollinators and bugs looking for a wild strip of land.

At the end of this project, it became apparent that while the squash and beans interacted with insects in their own ways, they were able to overcome these obstacles and yield a sufficient crop. While the conclusion to the mystery of the carrot weevil was not what we had been hoping for, it helped me gain real-life experience for practices such as the scientific method and research. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to engage in hands-on experience and to have worked with such wonderful and knowledgeable mentors.

Works Cited

Hahn, Jeffrey. 2020. “Squash bugs in home gardens.” University of Minnesota Extension.

Snyder, William E. 23 December 2019. “Managing Cucumber Beetles in Organic Farming Systems.” eOrganic.

Telkamp, Mike. n.d. “What do Ladybugs Eat?” HGTV.

Wyman’s Home and Garden. 1 July 2018. “Powdery Mildew and How to Control It.” Wyman’s Home and Garden Blog.

Season Summary 2020

December 31st, 2020 | Posted by miker in Season Summary - (Comments Off on Season Summary 2020)

Details to come

August Open House 2020

September 30th, 2020 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops | References - (Comments Off on August Open House 2020)


Discussion of Post Harvest Handling

Resource Link: Post Harvest Fact Sheet UC Davis

Resource Link: Properties and Recommended Conditions for long term Storage of Fruits and Vegetables; Compiled by Marita Cantwell

Resource Links thank to Meredith Melendez, NJ Agricultural Extension Service


Become a Member of NOFA-NJ, and support 35 years of

Organic Farming in NJ

Organic Open House June 24

June 15th, 2020 | Posted by miker in Events and Workshops - (Comments Off on Organic Open House June 24)

Direct To Consumer, Farmer Interface.. 6pm to 8pm

6-6:30 introductions, 6:30-7:30 Special Guests, 7:30-8 discussion and sharing.

Our monthly gathering will be Zooming again this month. Register at the NOFA-NJ webpage, or if trying to join on that Wednesday, text me 609-647-9754, your email address and Ill send you an invitation to join, around 6 pm.

Check out these Links:

Rutgers On Farm, Food Safety Covid-19 info

Fresh From Zone 7 ;Farm Products

West Windsor and Trenton Farmers Markets

Dogwood Farms ; NJ Organic Farm and Retail

Bone-In Food; Home Delivery Quality Foods

Special Guests confirmed to date; Meredith Melendez, County Agricultural Agent, to discuss Food Safety Best Management Practices. Mike Azzara, Zone 7 Produce Supplier, to discuss managing changing marketing strategies and staff topics. Chris Cirkus, Manager of West Windsor and Trenton Farmers Markets, to relate experiences from the front lines of protecting food access and farmer outlets. Also, Jon Knox of Dogwood Farms, Ron and Virginia from Bone -In Foods, to discuss managing home delivery. Organic Farmers to share insights and discuss strategies.

Join us, to hear from these folks, collect some good info, ask questions and generally connect with our NJ Organic Community.