2022 Annual Membership Meeting

The 2022 Annual Membership Meeting was held virtually on February 17, 2022. This meeting was an opportunity for all NOFA-NY members to contribute to the strategic direction of our organization by voting on Board of Directors nominations and policy resolutions.

Newly Elected Board Members

Board members come from the membership of NOFA-NY and may serve up to two consecutive three-year terms. Each year members are asked to submit nominations to the Board, which are then reviewed by the Board of Directors and voted on by the membership at the annual meeting. Newly elected Board Members for the term starting February 2022 are listed below.   

Don Cimato has served on the Board of Directors for NOFA-NY, Inc. for the past three years, two and one half of those as treasurer.  He has been the farmer of Homecoming Farm, one of the first CSA projects certified organic on Long Island and a ministry of the Sisters of St. Dominic in Amityville, for over ten years. Prior to his life as an organic farmer, Don worked in the wine industry, in refugee resettlement in Connecticut and New Hampshire and in disaster response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region. Committed to teaching about organic farming, he welcomes apprentices and interns to the farm to help them learn about farming and life. In addition to organic principles, Don incorporates some Biodynamic practices on the farm. He is especially interested in seed saving for preserving rare cultivars and in growing vegetables originally from the Middle East, Siberia, Tibet, and Central Asia. 

A fifth-generation farmer in Homer, NY, Robert has been involved with NOFA-NY since 1983. After studying horticulture, Robert settled on milking cows, running greenhouses, producing maple syrup, growing certified organic vegetables and field crops, and running a CSA. Robert has served on the NOFA-NY Standards Board, and worked for many years as an organic inspector for NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC before joining NOFA-NY Inc. as our Grain and Field Crops Coordinator. Today he oversees grain and field crop conference workshops and Field Days, and helps coordinate NOFA-NY’s renowned Winter Conference Trade Show. Robert brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to answer grain and field crop questions from all over the state, plus any other organic farming question. Robert will be taking a staff seat on the NOFA-NY Board. 

Bhavani Jaroff is the founder of iEat Green, LLC, a multi-faceted organization providing chef services and educational demos. She is the host of iEat Green with Bhavani, a weekly radio show on the Progressive Radio Network, and chair of Slow Food North Shore. Ms. Jaroff has a Master’s in Education, along with Waldorf Teacher Certification, which brought together her passion for cooking, teaching, nutrition, gardening and bio-dynamics. Ms. Jaroff transformed the cafeteria at The Waldorf School in Garden City into a holistic, educational, food service program, with a community service component. She has over thirty five years of experience cooking and teaching about nutrition and natural foods. 

Sean Barrett (he / him) is a cofounder of the Dock to Dish Community Supported Fishery (CSF) of New York State, as well as The Montauk Seaweed Supply Company which is pioneering a “sea to soil” movement to revive an ancient symbiotic relationship between regional farm lands and local oceans. He serves as an appointed member on the Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), advisor to the federal Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and has been named Person of the Year by the United Restaurant and Tavern Owners (URTO) Association of New York State.   

Sean has been placed on Grist’s list of the Foremost 50 People Fighting for a More Sustainable Future; ranked as one of the Top 7 Leaders of the Future of Food by Bon Appetit magazine; and designated as New York State’s ambassador to the “United States of Healthy” by editors of Cooking Light magazine. His work has also been featured in the Guardian, TIME Magazine, the New York Times, NPR, VICE, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, New York Magazine, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times; and aired on PBS, the Smithsonian Channel, ABC and the award-winning independent documentary film Fish & Men

Zaid Kurdieh, managing partner of Norwich Meadows Farm has amassed more than 35 years working in the agriculture industry in different capacities. While pursuing an MBA from the University of South Dakota, Zaid simultaneously worked for the USDA and Farmers Home Administration as an agricultural management specialist. Following that chapter, he did some graduate study work in agricultural economics at Kansas State University. In the fall of 1996, Zaid then took a position with Cornell Cooperative Extension as a farm business specialist where he worked closely with farmers and other agricultural businesses assisting them with planning, analysis and marketing.  

In 1998, Zaid and his partners decided to start Norwich Meadows Farm to produce and provide certified organic fruits and vegetables to the market. What started as a two acre farm has grown into a 230+ acre business, with 180 high tunnels and 50+ employees. During peak season, Norwich Meadows Farm is present at eleven farmer’s markets each week, has 600+ CSA members and supplies more than 200 high-end restaurants in addition to wholesale customers. 

Zaid was also a member of the faculty at SUNY Morrisville, Norwich campus, teaching business statistics for two and a half years.  He has also contributed as a speaker at Farm AID and several agricultural conferences and symposiums. He is also a board member of Chef’s for Impact, a non-profit aimed at empowering people and connecting communities to make sustainable food decisions through media, programs, and advocacy. 

Approved Policy Resolutions

Policy resolutions serve as the foundational guide to NOFA-NY’s advocacy and policy efforts. Not all resolutions are acted on, but they allow NOFA-NY to support initiatives reflected in the resolutions. Resolutions are drafted each year by the Policy Committee and are voted on by the Board of Directors to move forward for a vote by the full membership at the annual membership meeting. All members are called upon each year to submit suggested policy resolutions. Each policy resolution is voted on individually. The approved policy resolutions are listed below.

Whereas 2021 was the hottest summer on record in the United States, the average temperature throughout the year has risen 2.4 degrees since 1970 in New York State, and more frequent extreme heat is likely as the climate changes; 

And whereas, doing physical labor, like farming, can be stressful to the human body when the heat index, which is how the body experiences the combination of temperature and humidity, is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause heat exhaustion, heatstroke, kidney damage, fainting and dizziness, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion; 

And whereas, agricultural workers are reported to  die of heat-related causes each year in the United States;  

And whereas, employers can reduce the chance of heat-related illness and death by providing employees with cool drinking water, shade, and extra and extended breaks during hot weather, by gradually acclimating workers to working in hot conditions, and by watching for signs of  heat-related illness in their employees and by training employees about these symptoms, so they can watch for these symptoms for themselves and their co-workers; 

And whereas, the states of California, Minnesota, and Washington already have rules that protect workers from the dangers of heat on the job; 

And whereas, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced in October 2021 that it was beginning the rule-making process for a heat safety standard; 

The members of NOFA-NY resolve that we urge New York State and the federal government to adopt rules and regulations that protect farm employees from heat illness. 

Whereas, the New York Organic Action Plan, which NOFA-NY released in 2018, calls for an increase in the amount of local, organic food available in institutional settings, like schools and hospitals, throughout New York State;  

And whereas, based on a model first adopted in Los Angeles, community organizations have worked in local coalitions in cities and counties across the country, to advocate that local public institutions adopt Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) standards, which are administered by the Center For Good Food Purchasing, leading to the adoption of GFPP in places such as Oakland, Minneapolis, and Cooke County, Illinois; 

And whereas, the government of New York City is working with the Center For Good Food Purchasing to implement the Good Food Purchasing framework; 

And whereas, the Good Food Buffalo Coalition has been advocating for the implementation of GFPP in institutions in Buffalo, NY since 2018; 

And whereas, the GFPP standards fall into five value categories, Local Economies, Environmental Sustainability, Valued Workforce, Animal Welfare, and Nutrition; 

And whereas, participating institutions must meet baseline standards in all five value categories, choosing from a list of options in each value category of how to improve the food purchased; 

And whereas, buying locally and regionally grown food, especially from smaller producers, is one way that institutions can choose to meet standards in the Local Economies standard; 

And whereas, buying Certified Organic food is one that institutions can choose to meet standards in the Environmental Sustainability and Animal Welfare categories; 

And whereas, New York school lunch programs that spend 30% of their food budgets on NY food products are eligible for reimbursements of up to twenty-five cents per meal, providing a model for how better institutional food buying can be incentivized and supported;  

And whereas, buying food from Food Justice Certified farms, which is the label of the Agricultural Justice Project, of which the NOFA Interstate Council is a partner, is one way institutions can choose to meet standards in the Valued Workforce Category. 

The members of NOFA-NY resolve that we urge NYS school districts, municipalities, county governments, and the State University Of New York system to adopt Good Food Purchasing standards for their institutions, and urges the state and federal government to allocate funding to school districts and municipal and county governments in support of such efforts. 

Whereas, ecocide means mass damage and destruction of ecosystems and severe harm to nature which is widespread or long-term and includes (but is not limited to) oil spills, industrial fishing, plastic pollution, deep-sea mining, fracking, deforestation, industrial livestock farming and industrial agrochemical farming, mining and, mineral extraction, mountaintop removal, tar sands, textile chemicals, chemical disasters and weapons, nuclear spills and waste, contamination from nuclear testing, and industrial emissions. 

And whereas, ecocide committed repeatedly over decades, has created the climate and ecological emergency that we now face. Ecocide examples from above have been known by the companies and agencies responsible, yet little to no action has been taken by those at the top of industry, finance, and government to prevent and remediate the damage to natural systems.   

And whereas, the International Court of Justice will be able to prosecute ecocide as a crime like genocide so that actions can be brought against governments and corporations for environmental destruction.  And whereas the independent expert panel of Stop Ecocide International defines ecocide as follows:  

  1. For the purpose of this Statute, “ecocide” means unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.  
  1. For the purpose of paragraph 1:  
  • “Wanton” means with reckless disregard for damage which would be clearly excessive in relation to the social, and economic benefits anticipated;  
  • “Severe” means damage which involves very serious adverse changes, disruption or harm to any element of the environment, including grave impacts on human life or natural, cultural or economic resources;  
  • “Widespread” means damage which extends beyond a limited geographic area, crosses state boundaries, or is suffered by an entire ecosystem or species or a large number of human beings;  
  • “Long-term” means damage which is irreversible or which cannot be redressed through natural recovery within a reasonable period of time;  
  • “Environment” means the earth, its biosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, as well as outer space.  

The members of NOFA-NY resolve that we stand with Stop Ecocide Foundation’s proposed definition of ecocide and call for the adoption of ecocide as an international crime. 

Whereas climate change as the result of human activities is underway, as we farmers and gardeners, people who live close to the land, have been aware for three decades, causing wild swings in the weather with massive hurricanes, flooding, drought, wildfires, and heatwaves;  

And whereas, greenhouse gas levels hit a record high in 2020, according to the United Nations, heading the world towards 2.5 to 3 degrees of warming. Meanwhile, governments are still planning to use more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius; 

And whereas, the United States has been both the principal driver of climate change with per capita greenhouse gas emissions that far surpass other countries (the richest 1% are responsible for more emissions than the poorest 50% of the entire world population) and the Group of 20 major economies (G20) accounts for 78% of global greenhouse gas emissions.. 

And whereas the U.S was a major barrier to coordinated worldwide climate action, under Clinton refusing to ratify the Kyoto protocols, under Obama opposing mandatory emissions cuts, and under Trump pulling out of the climate accords altogether; 

And whereas, the August report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, summarizing eight years’ worth of climate science, laid out the consensus among climate scientists in stark terms: Humans have warmed the planet about 1.1 degrees Celsius so far, and if there is still any hope of halting warming at 1.5 degrees, governments must act to decarbonize within the next two decades; 

And whereas, in NYS alone, it is estimated that air pollution, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, kills 3,000 people annually with the heaviest toll in low-income communities of color and results in $30 billion in increased health care costs while an estimated 5 to 10 million die annually worldwide from air pollution; 

And whereas, like asbestos, tobacco, and opioid manufacturers, the fossil fuel industry has known for a long time that their products were contributing to the warming of the planet, and instead of taking steps to prevent climate change and investing in renewables, the industry concealed that knowledge, discredited climate science and continued with business as usual;   

And whereas, big banks, fossil fuel corporations, and food conglomerates are proclaiming “net-zero by 2050” pledges, “net-zero” is not the same as “zero emissions;” these claims are misleading distractions that paint a false facade of climate action while continuing to exacerbate the crisis in order to protect profits and power while using off-setting schemes that contaminate vulnerable communities and make money from investments in unproven technologies that threaten interference with the Earth’s atmosphere through geoengineering.   

The members of NOFA-NY resolve that the US government must declare a national Climate Emergency to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis and unlock specific statutory powers that the federal government can use to ban crude oil, and LNG exports and promote clean energy development.  

  • To meet the 1.5 degree Celsius target, the State of New York and the federal government must:   
  1. halt all new permits for fossil fuel infrastructure,  
  2. cease leasing state or federal lands for drilling,  
  3. increase commitments to emissions reduction (the “Nationally Determined Contribution”) to reduce emissions to near zero by 2040, and  
  4. commit to the rapid transformation of land use to regenerative organic systems that restore soil health and build organic matter with its many benefits.
  • The government must support a research agenda that focuses less on forecasts for climate change, and more on predictions of the societal consequences of future warming and how to weather them.
  • In addition, the US must meet its commitments to provide financial and technological support to poorer countries so that they can reduce their emissions and enable vulnerable communities to survive the climate disruption already underway. 

Whereas, milk is the number one source of nine essential nutrients in young Americans’ diets and provides multiple health benefits, including better bone health, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes.  

And whereas, milk is a source of three out of four under-consumed nutrients – calcium, potassium, and vitamin D and no other beverage naturally comes close to this level of nutritional value; 

And whereas, numerous comprehensive scientific reviews have shown that dairy foods have, at worst, a neutral association with cardiovascular health, regardless of the fat content with two clinical trials in 2016 finding no difference in heart disease and diabetes risk factors when consuming whole milk compared to lower-fat milk; 

And whereas, recent review has shown that institutional consensus supporting the decades of dietary low-fat dogma was based on researcher bias, cherry-picked data, lack of thorough and unprejudiced information, inadequate scientific inquiry, conflicts of interest, and payments to researchers by the sugar industry in the 1960s to place blame on saturated fats rather than sugar for the epidemic of heart disease; 

And whereas, in 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which amended nutrition standards in the School Lunch Program mandating that flavored milk must be fat-free within the program; this law, along with lower participation in the program, led to an alarming decline in milk consumption in schools since 2010; 

And whereas, from 2014 to 2016, schools served 213 million fewer half-pints of milk despite the fact that public school enrollment was growing; children over four years old are not meeting the recommended daily servings of dairy in the Dietary Guidelines of America and given the nutritional value of milk, and the fact that young minds need to be well-nourished to perform at their best, this is cause for concern; 

And whereas, to combat this decline in consumption of dairy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized a rule in February 2019 that included the option for schools to offer flavored, low-fat (1%) milk to children who participate in the school meal programs; while whole milk is still outlawed for use in schools participating in the National School Lunch Program.  

The members of NOFA-NY resolve that we support and promote the passage of legislation which will again allow flavored and unflavored whole milk to be offered under the National School Lunch Program as well as lower-fat options and calls on all New York State Members of Congress to co-sponsor and support H. R. 1861, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2021 and future versions of this legislation.  

If you have questions, please call our office at 315.988.4000 or email policy@nofany.org.