The NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) Summer Conference was held at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts on August 10th through 13th, 2006, and Randall cattle were there! The Registry set up an exhibit for the 3 day event, and many Conference goers got their first look at a Randall heifer. Over the course of the event, three Randall heifers from Howland Homestead Farm, "Mandy", Astilbe", and "Doris" took their turns two at a time acting as ambassadors for the Randall breed and Registry. Registry officers Cynthia Creech, Phil Lang, and Dianne Lang also took turns making the trek to Amherst to man the exhibit and spread the word about Randall cattle.
The NOFA Summer Conference is an annual affair and this year was its 32nd. It is a multi-faceted event, a chance for like-minded people to get together and learn new things, get to know each other, have some fun, and hopefully return to their farms and lives with some new energy. There were many workshops of all descriptions, panel discussions, exhibits and vendors, and much more than can be covered here. A Children's Conference and a Teen Conference running concurrently provided something of interest for all age groups. Conference attendees could opt to stay at the college for the weekend either in a dorm or at a campsite, and Organic meals were served.
The Conference was officially kicked off on Friday night with a keynote address, this year delivered by Sr. Miriam Therese MacGillis, co-founder of Genesis Farm in New Jersey. Genesis Farm is a biodynamic farm and learning center, where "people of good will are welcome to search for more authentic ways to live in harmony with the natural world and each other". In addition to the Conference this year there was a "Pre-Conference", which was held Thursday through Friday morning. On Saturday afternoon there was an "Old-Fashioned Fair and Farmers' and Crafters' Market", which brought in many additional vendors and offered contests and games, music, a trick riding horse show, and much more.
Mandy, Astilbe, and Doris performed perfectly for a Conference crowd of well over 1000 people, many of whom came by the Registry's exhibit to see and pet them. They took their role in Satruday's parade in stride, despite being closely followed (and sometimes engulfed!) by over 50 boisterous children. The weather was perfect, with low humidy and temperatures in the high 70's.
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