MOFGA’s FARM TRAINING PROJECT
May - September 2014
Taking place on premier farms throughout Maine
Learn farming skills from farmers themselves
Discover the diversity of Maine agriculture
Help keep alive the tradition of free exchange of ideas that makes the Maine organic farming community so vibrant and innovative.
These workshops are designed for and targeted to participants in MOFGA's Apprenticeship Program, but are free and open to anyone interested. They are intended to give apprentices and other young, beginning, and aspiring farmers the chance to visit other farms, learn from farmers about their areas of expertise, and socialize with peers.The workshops follow an informal format, beginning with a farm tour, followed by a presentation on the topic of the day. Participants are then invited to stay for a potluck supper – bring a place setting and a dish or something fresh from the farm to share.
For more information about or directions to any of the workshops, email Abby or call 568-4142. To join the email list click here.
Tuesday, May 20 5pm at Ararat Farms, Lincolnville
Wednesday, May 21 5pm at Laughing Stock Farm, Freeport
The greenhouse is a key part of any organic farm. As “the place where it all starts,” but also the place where a whole lot can go wrong in a hurry, learning proper greenhouse management is essential. Come see how Lisa and Ralph Turner of Laughing Stock Farm and Jed Beach and Emilia Carbone of Ararat Farms use their greenhouses as well as how they manage fertility, water, pests and diseases inside.
Starting with the Soil: Sustainable Soil Management
Tuesday, May 27 5pm at Village Farm, Freedom
Wednesday, May 28 5pm at Broadturn Farm, Scarborough
Healthy, living soil is the foundation of successful organic agriculture. Join MOFGA staff and several successful organic farmers for an introduction to organic soil fertility management and the use of rotation, composting, green manures, cover crops, and tillage strategies to build organic matter and enhance the health and productivity of farm soil.
Wednesday, June 4 5pm at Deri Farm, Yarmouth
***NO POTLUCK ***
Join staff from MOFGA and farmer Justin Deri for an introduction to basic farm equipment anatomy, safe operation, and maintenance. We’ll cover tractor operation and safety; attaching, adjusting, and operating farm implements; and basic preventative lubrication and maintenance. Participants will get a chance to practice driving tractors of different models and sizes and attaching and operating implements.
Ecological Pest Control
Monday, June 9 5pm at Fisher Farm, Winterport
Tuesday, June 10 5pm at Six River Farm, 496 Browns Point Rd, Bowdoinham
Effective ecological pest control starts with a farm system design based on the fundamental principles of diversity and complexity. Join Eric Sideman and Dave Colson, MOFGA’s crops specialists, for a comprehensive perspective on managing pests in organic vegetable systems.
Creative & Collaborative Marketing
Monday, June 16 5pm at The Pickup Cafe & CSA, Skowhegan
Thursday, June 19 5pm at Cultivating Community's Packard Littlefield Farm, Lisbon
1 King Road, Lisbon, ME Cars should turn into the gravel parking lot across from King Road. There will be a Cultivating Community sign at the mouth of the parking lot and someone to help direct parking.
Small farmers need to be creative and innovative marketers to be successful. The best are those that cultivate community involvement in their farms and nurture face-to-face relationships with their customers. Learn from the folks at Cultivating Community and The Pickup Café and CSA how they’ve approached collaborative marketing. This workshop will cover some of the basics of marketing and focus in on creative marketing channels such as farm stands, bringing EBT to a farmers market, Senior Farm Share, becoming a WIC vendor, low-income CSA shares, double voucher coupons, selling to food pantries, and the benefits and challenges of collective marketing. Potluck to follow at both locations.
Ecological Weed Management
Monday, June 23 5pm at Black Kettle Farm, Lyman
Tuesday, June 24 5pm at Morning Dew Farm, Newcastle
Weed control is a primary challenge in organic farming systems. This workshop will offer ecological and cultural approaches to weed management with staff from MOFGA and farmer expertise. It will also feature a primer on weed control using the various forms of cultivation equipment available to vegetable growers.
Farm Woodlot Management
Monday, June 30 5pm Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson
Woodlots are a ubiquitous, and essential part of farms in Maine. Whether the forest provides a heat source for your home and greenhouse, vital habitat for pollinators, foraging potential for livestock, maple syrup, or lumber for your buildings it must be managed with skill and vision. Hidden Valley Nature Center manages 1,000+ acres of forest for diverse purposes and you're invited to tour a portion of their activity with HVNC Director Andy McEvoy and co-founders Tracy Moskovitz and Bambi Jones. This workshop will emphasize the need for creativity at the intersection of field and forest, as well as a look at innovative tools, equipment, and processes. HVNC works in collaboration with MOFGA's Low Impact Forestry Project and aims to promote the thoughtful and sustainable inclusion of forests into the future of farms in Maine. HVNC was named the 2014 Outstanding Tree Farm in Maine.
Wednesday, July 9 5pm at Frith Farm, Scarborough
An important principle of sustainable small-scale farming is diversity, and livestock play many key functional roles in a diverse farm system. Come see how Frith Farm rotates broilers, layers, sheep, and pigs through pasture and woodlands to spread fertility, manage plant growth, and promote animal health. This event will be held in partnership with Maine Farmland Trust. Frith Farm is a Forever Farm and information about this program will be available.
Horse Farming & Work Song Hootenany
Thursday, July 17 5pm North Branch Farm, Monroe
Using animals for draft power has a number of economic, environmental, and social benefits; but it is not easy. North Branch Farm is a highly diversified, multi-family farm that incorporates draft horses into their field and woods work. Come learn the basics of this genuinely solar-based system of farming; and meet a few of Maine's skilled horsefolk. We’ll also have a an opportunity to learn and sing work songs, led by Bennett Konesni and Edith Gawler.
Livestock & Vegetable Integration
Monday, July 21 5pm at Crystal Spring Farm, Brunswick
Wednesday, July 23 at King Hill Farm, Penobscot
Ecological agriculture is based on close mimicry of natural cycles; and we as farmers are seeking to limit the use of off-farm inputs for soil fertility and livestock feed. One great way to operationalize these principles is to integrate livestock and crop production on our farms. Crystal Spring Farm and King Hill Farm have developed great systems for doing so.
Put Your Hoe Down - A Raucous Square Dance Party in Celebration of Maine Farmers
Saturday, July 26 8pm at Topsham Grange, Topsham
Vermont Dance Caller Will Mentor and Old Time Fiddle Tunes by Sassafras Stomp
All Welcome! Sliding Scale Admission $5-$20
Tuesday, July 29 5pm at Avena Botanicals, Rockport
Join herbalist and biodynamic herb gardener Deb Soule for an informative walk through Avena Botanicals' medicinal herb gardens. Deb and a crew of three gardeners collect over 1800 pounds of medicinal herbs by hand each year from 2 1/2 acres. These herbs are then immediately processed on-site into a variety of tinctures, teas, oils and salves. Avena is the first Demeter-certified biodynamic farm in Maine and Deb will include an introduction to biodynamics as part of this tour.
Preserving the Harvest
Monday, August 4, 4pm at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
Wednesday, August 6, 4pm at University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Lisbon Falls
"Putting food by” is a fundamental skill to master if you want to be able to enjoy your garden’s bounty all winter long. Join Master Food Preserver Kate McCarty in Lisbon Falls and Rosey Guest & Cheryl Wixson in Unity for a session on the basics of food preservation and all its various strategies – from pickling, to canning, to freezing, to root cellaring. Be prepared for a hands-on workshop.
Please register for this workshop in advance either online or by calling Abby at 568-4142. Space is limited and free for MOFGA Apprentices. $15 for MOFGA members and general public. Registration closes WEDNESDAY July 30th.
Conservation Farm Tour
Wednesday, August 13, 4pm at Good Dirt Garlic, 518 Fletcher Road in Monticello
Learn about the diverse benefits of cover cropping sequences, at this year's Conservation Farm Tour at Good Dirt Garlic. This informal farm tour and discussion will provide real life examples of how a well designed cover crop sequence can lead to the soil health conditions favorable for marketable crops.
Please RSVP to Katy Green at MOFGA if you plan to attend: firstname.lastname@example.org or 568-4142.
Cooperative & Permaculture Farming
Monday, August 18, 5pm Frinklepod Farm, 244 Log Cabin Rd., Arundel
This workshop will explore different forms of cooperative farming and how to bring permaculture values into farming. Frinklepod Farm is bringing permaculture values into their annual farm production, balancing long-term permaculture design with the economic needs of the farm. Noah Wentworth will share how these values come together in creating a farm. Neverdun Farm is a cooperative homestead farm where the residents all farm together to feed their community. Marylyn Wentworth will share about how the garden is coordinated and how the residents grow and preserve food together. Jonah Fertig, of Cooperative Fermentation and a Neverdun Farm resident, will share about different forms of cooperative farming and how farmers can work together to access lands and markets.
Adventures on a Permaculture Homestead
Wednesday, August 20, 5pm at Schoodic Hollow Farm, 53 Hooper Rd., Franklin
See what 10 years on a piece of formerly abused downeast land looks like when you're working to bring the tilth back. Find out how looking forward to the next 10 and beyond shapes the farm vision.
Thinking Outside the Vegetable Box
Monday, August 25, 5pm at 3 Level Farm, South China
3 Level Farm, at its South China location, was started in November of 2011. The vision is to develop a viable, diversified farm organism – built around the concepts and practices of Biodynamic agriculture – that provides food, shelter and income for up to eight households during the next ten to twenty years. The 145-acre property consists of: woodlot, a 44 tree apple, peach and pear orchard, small fruits, pasture, cropland, a year round brook and abundant wildlife. The potential for integration of a variety of enterprises to accomplish the vision is already visible and will develop with each passing season. Forest products, grains, fruit, livestock: dairy goats (for meat, milk and cheese), pigs, poultry and vegetable production, some of it marketed through our farm store, all play a role in the work that has begun. The partners are somewhere beyond the dreams of the planning sessions and are making their way toward viability. Come hear their story. May it inspire you to stretch a little further.
Next Steps: From Apprentice to Farmer
Wednesday, September 3, 5pm at Whatley Farm, Topsham
MOFGA estimates that Maine needs about 150 new farmers a year just to maintain the infrastructure we need to support our local food system – so every new farm operation in Maine is a reason to celebrate. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get started in farming. Join several of MOFGA’s current Journeypersons as they share their insights and enthusiasm about how they are managing their first few years farming independently. Several key service providers will also discuss how their programs can help. If you are considering farming for a living, please come and contribute to this important discussion.
Tuesday, September 9, 5pm Seven Tree Farm, Vassalboro
Roberta Bailey of Fedco Seeds operates Seven Tree Farm, 18 acres with three field plots an orchard and grape arbor and many fruit and berry plantings. The farm also includes a solar house, root cellar, and many post and beam buildings, including a new barn and woodworking shop. The focus of their operation is to grow much of our food and to raise commercial seed crops on a small farm scale. Seed crops can work well with the home garden or the field production gardens, further diversifying a farm operation's income and securing seed supply in some situations. The talk will focus on interplanting seed crops in your gardens or field plots, using the by-products of the crop for food production or value added products to sell, and on basic seed saving and plant genetics, crop nutrition, rotations, isolations, and how to harvest and dry seed. The talk will cover biennials such as beets and carrots as well.
Common Ground Country Fair
Friday, September 19 - Sunday, September 21
MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
If you’ve ever been to the Fair, you know — and if you haven’t been, anyone who has will tell you — it’s an event like no other, that brings together so many people from so many walks of life, all in the spirit of celebrating the rural and agricultural traditions of Maine. Volunteer shifts of four hours or more gain you free one-day admission, a meal, one night of camping and a Fair t-shirt.