MOFGA’s FARM TRAINING PROJECT
May - September 2015
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.
Workshops are designed to augment the on-farm learning of the MOFGA's Apprenticeship Program, MOFGA’s Farm Training Project (FTP) workshops follow an informal format, usually beginning with a farm tour, followed by a presentation on the topic of the day. Participants are invited to stay for a potluck supper – bring your own place setting and a dish or something fresh from the farm to share. All events are held rain or shine and are free and open to the public.
For more information about or directions to any of the workshops, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 568-4142.
2015! KICK-OFF! POTLUCK! SOCIAL!
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13 – 5PM AT SHEEPSCOT GENERAL, WHITEFIELD
Join the folks at Sheepscot General for a purely social gathering (and kick-off the FTP season) to meet up with fellow apprentices and check out a great community space. Sheepscot General is a one-of-a-kind country-style store situated on a working farm in Whitefield. The farmers grow 5 acres of MOFGA certified organic produce and pick-your-own strawberries, as well as beef and hay. A remodeled milking parlor complements the store as a popular place for hosting events, classes, art shows, movies, and meetings. Bring something to share for our potluck and don’t forget your own place setting including your plate, glass, and silverware. We look forward to seeing you there!
TUESDAY, MAY 19 – 5PM AT FREEDOM VILLAGE FARM, FREEDOM
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. Polly Shyka and Prentice Grassi of Freedom Village Farm have recently added a second greenhouse for seedling production with innovative heating and ventilation systems. Come see how they use their greenhouses and high tunnels, and how they manage fertility, water, pests and diseases inside. Potluck to follow.
STARTING WITH THE SOIL: SUSTAINABLE SOIL MANAGEMENT
TUESDAY, MAY 26 –5PM AT PEACEMEAL FARM, DIXMONT
WEDNESDAY, MAY 27 – 5PM AT NEW LEAF FARM, DURHAM
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. Potluck to follow at both locations.
SO YOU WANNA WORK WITH STEEL?
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3 – 5PM AT BAHNER FARM, BELMONT
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3 – 5PM AT SIX RIVER FARM, BOWDOINHAM
Find out how you can make machines work for you, and not the other way around! Join host farmer Mike Bahner of Bahner Farm or Nate Drummond of Six River Farm as they show off some of the equipment and systems that make their farms run smoothly. They will discuss how tillage needs, soil conditions and cultivation systems overlap to inform intelligent and financially-responsible equipment acquisition. Learn about the equipment decisions these farmers made in the development of their farms and how those choices have impacted the scale, efficiency, and bottom line of their operations. Potluck to follow at both locations.
ECOLOGICAL PEST CONTROL
MONDAY, JUNE 8 – 5PM AT HATCHET COVE FARM, WARREN
Effective ecological pest control starts with a farm system design based on the fundamental principles of diversity and complexity. Join Dave Colson, MOFGA's Agricultural Services Director, for a comprehensive perspective on managing pests in organic vegetable systems. Potluck to follow.
ECOLOGICAL WEED MANAGEMENT
TUESDAY, JUNE 16 – 5PM AT RIPLEY FARM, DOVER-FOXCROFT
WEDNESDAY, JUNE – 17 5PM AT FRITH FARM, SCARBOROUGH
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. Come learn from Gene and Mary Margaret Ripley how they use hand tools and both rear- and belly-mounted tractor cultivation to keep back the weeds without any black plastic at Ripley Farm. Daniel Mays will address weed management in the no-till system he has developed at Frith Farm. Potluck to follow at both locations.
TUESDAY, JUNE 23 – 5PM AT MOFGA COMMON GROUND EDUCATION CENTER, UNITY
**NO POTLUCK THIS SESSION**
Join us for an introduction to basic farm equipment anatomy, safe operation and maintenance. We’ll have a group of experienced farmers, educators, and mechanics on hand to 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.
CREATIVE AND COLLABORATIVE MARKETING
TUESDAY, JUNE 23 – 5PM AT THE PICKUP CAFE & CSA, SKOWHEGAN
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24 – 5PM AT MORNING DEW FARM, NEWCASTLE
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 Morning Dew Farm and The Pickup Café & CSA how they've approached innovative and collaborative marketing. This workshop will cover some of the basics of marketing including 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.
FARM WOODLOT MANAGEMENT
TUESDAY, JUNE 30 – 5PM AT 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. Potluck to follow.
TUESDAY, JULY 7 – 5PM AT HAMILTON FARM, WHITEFIELD
WEDNESDAY, JULY 8 – 5PM AT KING HILL FARM, PENOBSCOT
An important principle of sustainable small-scale farming is diversity, and livestock play many key functional roles in a diverse farm system. Patti Hamilton of Hamilton Farm and Barred Owl Catering will talk about her dairy sheep and goats, and pastured broilers and turkeys. Come see how King Hill Farm rotates broilers, layers, cattle, and pigs to spread fertility, manage plant growth, and promote animal health. Potluck to follow at both locations.
VALUE ADDED ON THE FARM
TUESDAY, JULY 14 – 5PM AT WINTERBERRY FARM, BELGRADE
Winterberry Farm is a certified organic horse- and oxen-powered family farm well-known for its Route 27 farmstore full of a wide range of value-added products. In their on-site commercial kitchen they produce up to 25 varieties of jarred products – from pesto to piccalilli and everything in between – and also spin their own wool and knit socks. Host Mary Perry will discuss these and some of the creative ways she has found to make a living on the farm with her three children. Potluck to follow.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 22 – 5PM AT WINTER HILL FARM, FREEPORT
In recent decades, many small dairy farms have had to 'get big or get out' as the rising cost of operating a small scale, pasture based dairy has grown beyond economic sustainability. In order to become profitable, many producers have gotten creative – by diversification, value-added production, and innovative marketing strategies. Winter Hill Farm is a small, diversified, family-run dairy operation milking rare breed Randall cows alongside Jerseys on 55 acres in Freeport. Come see how farmers Steve Burger and Sarah Wiederkehr have changed the business model of the farm to ensure long term economic sustainability. They have added yogurt and cheese making, along with pastured egg production, whey-fed Berkshire pork, and seasonal vegetables and flowers. Learn about their marketing strategies for this diversified operation and how the different aspects of the farm complement each other. Potluck to follow.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 29 – 5PM AT BLUEBIRD HILL FARM, JEFFERSON
While energy costs have continued to rise, and the ecological foundations of our current fossil-fuel-based energy economy have become increasingly unstable, Bluebird Hill Farm has been generating its own energy – with help from the sun and the wind – for 20 years. Come see how hosts Rosey and Bill Guest have made off-the-grid living at this homestead/small market garden work for them for over 30 years. They will share their perspective on the benefits and challenges of being independently powered. Potluck to follow.
FARMING WITH HORSES
TUESDAY, AUGUST 4 – 5PM AT HORSEPOWER FARM, PENOBSCOT
Using animals for draft power has a number of economic, environmental, and social benefits; but it is not easy. Horsepower Farm is a diversified, multi-generational family farm that relies on draftpower for all aspects of their operation – from tillage to haying to woods work. Come learn the basics of this genuinely solar-based system of farming; and meet a few of Maine's skilled horsefolk. Potluck to follow.
CUT FLOWER PRIMER
MONDAY, AUGUST 10 – 5PM AT BROADTURN FARM, SCARBOROUGH
Come spend an evening flowering with Stacy Brenner of Broadturn Farm. Learn a few of the basics about what goes into a diverse flower operation. We’ll provide a brief overview of growing, harvesting, and bouqueting cut flowers. Potluck to follow.
FARMING WITH CARNIVORES
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12 – 5PM AT TWO COVES FARM, HARPSWELL
Conservation biologist, Geri Vistein, together with host farmers Laura and Joe Grady, will share what it is like to live well with the carnivores present on your farm. A discussion on effective animal husbandry practices and carnivore behavior will be followed by an opportunity to meet their guardian dog and the livestock she watches over. Get ready for some amazing stories. Potluck to follow.
NEXT STEPS: FROM APPRENTICE TO FARMER
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19 – 5PM AT TENDER SOLES FARM, RICHMOND
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 hosts Rich Lee and Kate Del Vecchio on their new farm along with 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. Potluck to follow.
PRESERVING THE HARVEST: HANDS-ON FOOD PRESERVATION
TUESDAY, AUGUST 25 – 5PM at UMaine Cooperative Extension, 24 Main St., LISBON FALLS
**NO POTLUCK THIS WEEK**
Ever wonder how to preserve all those great garden vegetables? This hands-on food preservation workshop taught by UMaine Cooperative Extension volunteers and staff will teach you the basic steps for canning and freezing. Participants will receive a "Preserving the Harvest" food preservation packet, and will learn recommended methods for preserving foods, the latest and safest recipes, about equipment to insure safety and how to check for properly sealed jars. Please bring a potholder and mason jar with you to the workshop. $10 fee. REGISTER HERE.
JOHNNY’S SELECTED SEEDS TOUR
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26 – 5PM AT JOHNNY’S RESEARCH FARM, ALBION
**NO POTLUCK THIS WEEK**
In addition to a portion of its seed production, Johnny's research farm in Albion is home to active crop breeding and evaluation programs. Senior Trial Technician (and farmer) Andrew Mefford will give us a tour of the facility with a special emphasis on vining greenhouse crops like tomatoes and cucumbers. Come see what's new and learn some innovative growing techniques under cover.
SEED SAVING AND CROP DIVERSITY
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 – 5PM AT KHADIGHAR FARM, INDUSTRY
**NO POTLUCK THIS WEEK**
Khadighar is home to host Will Bonsall’s Scatterseed Project – a program responsible for preserving the diversity of our crop heritage by growing out, isolating, and saving seed from thousands of unique varieties of vegetables, legumes, small grains, and tree fruits that are hardy in our Maine climate. Will's farm features extensive terraces, solar-powered irrigation, biointensive beds, and the use of ramial wood chips in a strictly veganic system of agriculture. We will tour seed propagation plots, discuss pollination control strategies and explore the value of maintaining plant genetic diversity in order to identify varieties that are suited to specific local conditions and uses.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 – 5PM AT HOPE’S EDGE FARM, HOPE
The emphasis of much of our farming activities is often placed on physicality – things we can measure, weigh or otherwise observe with our physical senses. One of the premises of Biodynamic Agriculture is that underlying the world that we experience with our senses is a super-sensible world of forces – spiritual forces to be more precise. Join us in a discussion of how we at Hope's Edge Farm work with and try to understand these two realms of substance and forces. Some hands on experience will be possible. Potluck to follow.
Common Ground Country Fair
Friday, September 25 - Sunday, September 27, 2015
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.