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MOF&G Cover Fall 2004
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  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerFall 2004Turner Editorial – Fall 2004   
 Raising Organic: Your Contributions Make All the Difference Minimize

By Lisa Turner, 2004 MOFGA President

Usually in my editorials I ask you to support local, organic farmers by buying their products – directly, if possible. Today I’m asking you to support your farmers indirectly by supporting MOFGA. Every farmer needs technical advice now and then, and typically that has come from such government agencies as Cooperative Extension and land grant universities. In the past, that advice was rarely of the organic variety, but for over three decades MOFGA has provided technical, organic help to farmers and gardeners state wide. The government has caught on, and now many of those professionals give (and prefer to give) an organic answer, but since agriculture is not considered “an important economic sector” like high tech, those agricultural positions have suffered budget cuts. That, coupled with the huge increase in interest in organics, means that MOFGA is needed now more than ever.

Because of the support received over the years from more than 4,300 members and donors, MOFGA has been able to do the necessary work, from helping our 250 certified organic growers (and at least that number again of growers who do not seek certification) and innumerable gardeners, to influencing both state and national public policy regarding pesticides use, farmland conservation, and more.

I have yet to meet a MOFGA staffer or volunteer who isn’t full of great ideas about what MOFGA should be doing. Their energy and enthusiasm carry us a long way, but nearly every good idea has an associated cost. You, our members and donors, have been right there over the years to back these ideas financially. As our mission continues to grow, the board and fundraising staff of MOFGA will be turning to you in the coming months (and years) to help MOFGA continue matching its mission-driven momentum with revenue.

Approximately 79% of MOFGA’s budget – an impressively high percentage – is allocated for direct program services. The remaining 14% for overhead and 7% for seeking sustaining funding for the organization allow MOFGA to provide quality programs without sacrificing the sound infrastructure needed to continue our mission of outreach throughout Maine and to sustain a healthy organization over the long term.

Less than one-half of 1% of our funding comes from government sources. The remaining, more than 99%, comes from private sources, including you, our members and donors.

Revenue Source Percent of Budget
Government Grants 0.5%
Private Foundations 2.0%
Program Service Fees and Membership 76.3%
Individual Contributions 21.2%

Here are examples of what your contribution could provide for the organization:

• $50 to plow the driveway once during the winter;

• $100 to print a technical bulletin for gardeners and farmers;

• $250 to mail information to members and the larger community about an upcoming educational event, such as the Low Impact Forestry Workshop;

• $1,000 to provide one-quarter of the staff time required to plan and run our Farmer to Farmer Conference. Conference fees charged to farmers who attend cover the costs of accommodations, food and speakers, but that fee is all most farmers can afford, so MOFGA needs funding every year to continue this important educational event;

• $2,500 to allow our technical services staff to provide on-site technical expertise to 10 of MOFGA’s 250 organic growers. The foremost organic growing expert in the state is employed by MOFGA, and expert technical advice to organic growers is at the heart of MOFGA’s mission;=20

• $5000, $10,000 or more to provide significant programs and technical support services to Maine’s struggling dairy farmers. Since the Northeast Dairy Compact was razed, Maine’s dairy industry has been in deep trouble. MOFGA is working diligently to help Maine’s dairy farmers not only survive, but thrive long term. Sustainable, organic and value-added approaches are the heart of our focus, as is the idea that “smaller is better,” but farmers who learned dairying from their parents and grandparents tend to have as steep a learning curve to transition to organic as do our many start-up organic dairy farmers.

Your donations have sustained us over the years. Together, we have made a powerful statement. Since the need for organic information continues year after year, so does the work. To help the work continue, we ask that you contribute to MOFGA, year after year. Many of you already do, and we thank you, most sincerely, for every gift.

Much work remains to be done, and MOFGA has the energy, expertise and passion to do it and do it well. We can continue changing our corner of the world, but we can’t do it without you. In fact, we must do it together: $10 by $10 and $100 by $100 and $1,000 by $1,000 and $10,000 by $10,000. Please give what you can. Thanks.


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