In this monthly feature, we recognize one of our members as a way to celebrate all the wonderful people who make up the NOFA-VT community. This month we talked to John & Joy Primmer of Wildstone Farm in Pownal, Vermont.
Why are you a NOFA-VT member?
It's an organization that supports the values that we believe in, strongly. We are not joiners, but if we are going to join something, it's going to be a group that aligns with our values. We really value the community, the conferences, and the workshops.
What do you value most about NOFA-VT’s work?
The best thing about NOFA is the way it builds community around organic agriculture. We are vegetable farmers and especially appreciate the way NOFA promotes and supports farmers markets, and supports lower income people with programs such as Crop Cash. Another program we value is the Loan Fund. Back in 2001 we were farming our 10 acres when the adjacent parcel of 10 acres came up for sale. John was out for a run when he saw the 'for sale' sign one the road, and we decided we wanted to buy it. Our son was in college, and we didn't have a lot of cash. We put $500 deposit down and called Enid [Wonnacott], who helped us get a loan through NOFA, and we were able to buy the land next door and expand our farm.
How long have you been a member?
We moved to Vermont in 1984, and we probably joined right after we moved. We were NOFA Mass members before.
Do you identify as a…. (eater, gardener, homesteader, farmer, etc.)?
We are farmers.
How have you been involved with NOFA-VT in the last year?
This is our 30th year being certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers, which is part of NOFA-VT. We are currently receiving some technical assistance from Jen Miller, through NOFA and the Farm Viability Program. Also, we are proud to have planted an apple tree that is part of Enid's Orchard.
Why does organic matter to you?
Terrestrial life on this planet is supported by a relatively thin layer of soil, and we ought to take care of it. We have to eat, which makes agriculture necessary, as we're not likely to go back to being hunters and gatherers. We must treat the soil with respect, and this means organic agriculture.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-VT this year?
This is a big transition year for NOFA, with the new executive director coming on board. We hope the transition goes smoothly. Also, we're very concerned about the erosion of the organic standards by the NOP.