Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association




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APRIL 12, 2013

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Right to Know - GMO Resources Available for Download

The following fact sheets are available for download on

MOFGA's GMO - Right to Know Labeling Campaign - 287K

GMO - Right to Know Facts and Figures - 299K

Talking Points for Letters to the Editor - 147K

GMO-Right to Know Resources page

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Rep. Lance Harvell (R-Farmington) has more than 100 co-sponsors for LD 718, a bill about labeling foods with genetically modified ingredients.
April 23 Hearing Scheduled for Maine's Right to Know-GMO Labeling Bill

91.1 percent of Mainers want to know...

A public hearing on LD 718, "An Act to Protect Maine Food Consumers' Right to Know," is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at 1 p.m., in the Joint Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) Committee in Room 214, Cross State Office Building, Augusta.

Please join MOFGA from noon to 1 p.m. for a rally and press conference at the Capitol Welcome Center and Breezeway between the Capitol (State House) and the Cross State Office Building. Please bring positive signs and banners.

Let the public and the legislature know that you are among the majority of Maine citizens who want GM foods labeled! A scientific poll of Maine voters by PanAtlanticSMS Group of Portland, just released on April 2, found 91.1 percent of respondents support a labeling requirement for foods containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients. This result is consistent with national polls conducted in recent years and shows massive popular support for GMO labeling in Maine.

At the 1 p.m. hearing, tell the ACF Committee why you want GM foods labeled. Bring 25 copies of your written testimony to give to ACF Committee members. This will make sure we establish a strong foundation for labeling, should Monsanto sue Maine for ensuring its citizens’ right to know.  

More information and reasons to testify.

To request to speak at the press conference or rally, or to RSVP that you will be at the public hearing, please email, or call 207-949-7371.

Come out on April 23rd to demand the Right to Know!

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Maine Legislative Update - April 12, 2013

The Maine Legislature is considering many bills of interest to organic farmers, gardeners and consumers. MOFGA members may want to comment on bills to promote sustainable food policies; to increase food sovereignty in local communities; to use mobile poultry processing units; and more. A list of bills of interest and ways to take action on them appears on our Maine Legislation page at

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Lawmakers Urged to Get Toxic BPA out of Children's Food

April 10, 2013: Augusta - The message from parents, physicians, scientists, and health advocates was loud and clear on Wednesday: get toxic BPA out of children's food. The Legislature's Environment and Natural Resources Committee heard from dozens of testifiers on LD 902, a rule that would phase-out the use of BPA in infant formula and baby food packaging. Read more.

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Eight in ten U.S. parents report they purchase organic products

Washington, D.C., April 4, 2013 - U.S. families are increasingly embracing organic products in a wide range of categories, with 81 percent now reporting they purchase organic at least sometimes. This finding is one of many contained in the Organic Trade Association's newly released 2013 U.S. Families' Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study. Read more.

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Buy your share of the Maine harvest!

Now is the time to sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share for the coming season.  Find farms near you offering CSA shares with MOFGA's Maine CSA Directory.

Income eligible seniors are entitled to a free $50 Senior Farm Share. More details available from the Get Real Maine website.

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Common Ground Country Fair

MOFGA is now accepting applications for Presenters, Entertainers, and exhibitors in the Agricultural Demonstrations, Health & Healing, and Media areas at the Common Ground Country Fair. Links to presenter, entertainer and exhibitor applications and guidelines for participation in the Fair are all available online at Look for the "Areas" link to find the application for each area.

Interested in giving a presentation at the Fair? Please submit your proposal online via our Presenter Application.

The application deadline for Presenters and Agricultural Demonstrations, Health & Healing, and Media exhibitors is May 15th. The Entertainment deadline is May 31st. If you need assistance or have questions, please contact April at 568-4142 or

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Job Openings at MOFGA!

- Executive Director

- Volunteer Coordinator

- 2013 Fair Assistant
The Common Ground Country Fair is looking for a resourceful and creative individual to join our team this spring as the Fair Assistant for the 2013 Fair. If you have experience organizing live events, large gatherings, campaigns, or other endeavors featuring a grand culmination after months of planning and work; working with volunteers to accomplish a complex project; computer skills that include a friendly relationship with website content management, databases, Excel and Adobe InDesign; the willingness to learn new systems and programs; and the capacity to prioritize in a bustling workplace teeming with distractions, we would love to hear from you. To apply, submit a cover letter and resume in PDF format via email with the subject line "Fair Assistant Job Position" to Jim Ahearne at

Please see our Employment Opportunities page for full details.

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Flower and greenhouse crop growers: The New England Greenhouse Update posts information about flower and greenhouse crops from university Extension specialists who note current observations at greenhouses in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. For example, an April 5 update reads, "As temperatures warm and days get longer, expect pest activity to increase. Thrips, aphids and whiteflies were found in greenhouses this week along with an ongoing problem with Botrytis. See this week's message and links to more information:" To be added to this email list, contact Tina Smith, or call 413-545-5306.You can also visit UMass Extension Greenhouse Crops and Floriculture on Facebook from:

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MOFGA's Spring Growth Conference on Garlic a Big Success
David Stern of Rose Valley Farm and the Garlic Seed Foundation (left) and Doug Fox of Unity College at MOFGA's Spring Growth Conference.

About 100 growers are much more knowledgeable about garlic since MOFGA's March 30 Spring Growth Conference.

David Stern of Rose Valley Farm and the Garlic Seed Foundation in New York gave a detailed keynote speech about what makes garlic tick - or develop cloves, grow to a good size, avoid disease and more. He later joined a panel of Maine growers - Amy LeBlanc, Tom Vigue and Mark Guzzi - who talked about their experiences with this crop.

One of the main take-home messages was that farmers and gardeners who grow garlic should be very careful about where they get their planting stock because of the increased incidence of disease, including garlic bloat nematode. "Be careful with what you share," warned MOFGA's organic crop specialist, Eric Sideman. "These diseases tend to be carried by seed (cloves) and some could be devastating."

One grower said of the conference, "I learned a lot that was extremely pertinent and answered some questions I've had for a long time. I thought the timing was perfect and the speakers were awesome."

We plan to post Stern's Powerpoint soon and to cover the conference in detail in the June-August issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Stay tuned for more information.

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Plant Peas: It's Patriotic

If you want peas for the Fourth of July, it's almost time to plant! Many Maine gardeners use Patriots' Day as the traditional planting date. Peas are one of the first vegetables that can be planted in the spring because they grow well in cool soils.

That was Russell Libby's message five years ago, in an article posted on The article details how to plant peas - assuming your ground is dry enough.

So this Monday, we hope you'll be able to think (and plant) some patriotic peas.

If your soil is too wet for planting, you might consider transplanting. New York farmers Paul and Sandy Arnold switched from direct seeding to transplanting peas - not because of wet soils, but because worms kept eating their pea seeds! They talked about their pea-planting adventures and lots more at MOFGA's 2010 Farmer to Farmer Conference. Read the article.


Mark Your Calendar

April 13 - Sagadahoc MOFGA Chapter meeting. Saturday, at the home of Willow Schwartz and Jeremy Blaiklock. We will meet at 4:30 p.m. for those who want to see the baby lambs and at 5 for pruning blueberry bushes and a walk-and-talk. The conversation will be about shrubs and bushes - attracting birds, discouraging pests, using edible plants, etc. Bring your ideas and, if you want to prune, bring pruning tools if you have them. Dress warmly if the weather is cool. A potluck will follow. For more information and directions, contact Sally Fesler at

April 13 - Herbs and Meditation for Calming the Mind and Easing Despair and Grief,
with herbalists Deb Soule and Kahadish Waadabi. Saturday, 10 to 11:30 a.m., Avena Botanicals, Rockport, Maine. Part of the "Our Living Earth, Living Soul Series," four talks about herbs to honor and raise funds in memory of Russell Libby. The speakers are donating their time, and all proceeds go directly to the Russell Libby Memorial Fund. Classes are by donation only, with suggested donations of $5 to $500. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. For information and registration call Avena Botanicals at 207-594-0694.

April 13 - Permaculture Design Certificate Course,
MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Meet one weekend per month, April through September. FMI: Lisa Fernandes,

April 16 - Film: The Greenhorns.
6 pm to 8 pm, Belfast Free Library. Panel of Maine growers and producers after the 50-minute-long video. Cosponsored by the Belfast Co-op Store, the Belfast Free Library and MOFGA.

April 18 - 11th Annual Biology Lecture: Slow Food and Its Health Benefits - From Field to a Healthy Body.
Noon to 1 p.m., Randall Student Center, Room 138, University of Maine at Augusta. Live broadcast to Bangor campus room 104 Eastport Hall. Speaker: Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, PhD, professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Maine and cooperating professor or Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University, Athens, Greece, and the University of Milan, Italy. Free and open to the public. For information, contact Sheila Bennett, University of Maine at Augusta (; 207-621-3279).

April 18 to 21 - Four-day timber frame class.
Thursday to Sunday, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson. Basics of post and beam construction, starting with standing trees and ending with a finished small building. Co-sponsored by MOFGA, which offers some scholarships ( $500 ($450 for HVNC, SWOAM & MOFGA members) includes breakfast, lunch and all materials. Information: 586-6752, or

MOFGA Organic Orcharding Workshops
April 20, April 27

A series of workshops, covering theory and hands-on practice in organic fruit tree and orchard management. Designed for beginner to intermediate orchardists managing backyard plantings to larger orchards. Pre-registration is required for all workshops. Information.

Join your friends and the MOFGA community for an enjoyable and productive Earth Day!
Earth Day Volunteer Work Day at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center in Unity, Maine, on Sunday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Volunteers are needed for the following projects:
- Transplanting Korean nut pines
- Cleaning, raking and mulching gardens
- Light carpentry
The work day will take place rain or shine, so participants are asked to dress appropriately. Volunteers should bring work gloves and favorite garden tools. A hearty organic lunch will be provided as well as volunteer T-shirts for all participants. For more information or to RSVP for the work day, please contact Joe Dupere, Landscape Coordinator at MOFGA, or at or call 568-4142.

April 21 & 28 - Basic chainsaw safety class. Sundays, 9 am to 4 pm, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson. Two-day class for those new to chainsaws, especially designed for women who want to use chainsaws. Includes light maintenance and troubleshooting. Co-sponsored by MOFGA, which offers some scholarships ( $140 ($130 for HVNC, SWOAM and MOFGA members). 586-6752, or

April 24 - Waldo Organic Growers meeting. Wednesday, MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center. 6:00 p.m. Potluck (please bring table service as well as food to share); 7:00 p.m. Speaker: Michael Gendreau of Maine Community Health Options will speak about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.

April 27 - 19th Annual HOPE Festival. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Student Recreation & Fitness Center, University of Maine, Orono. Visit the MOFGA booth! Poster (PDF, 2.7 MB). Information.

Empty Bowl Supper
April 27 - 6 p.m., Belfast. Please join the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee for its annual fundraiser - the Empty Bowl Supper - at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Miller Street in Belfast. Tickets are $15 at the door ($35 maximum for families). Get a beautiful, Maine-crafted bowl, fill it with delicious soup, and enjoy the company of about 100 MOFGA friends and supporters while listening to Tom Luther and Mike Whitehead of Algorithm play jazz, ambient and improvised music. We’ll have a brief update on Salvadorans’ work to stop gold mining.

April 27 and 28 - Beekeeping Class at MOFGA.
8:30 am to 4:00 pm both days, MOFGA Common Ground Education Center, 294 Crosby Brook Road, Unity. Led by Christy Hemenway, author of The Thinking Beekeeper, A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives. Tuition $150 before April 15th, $175 thereafter. Organic/Natural/Local breakfast and lunch are included in tuition. Meet and greet and eat breakfast at 8:30 am each day. Class will run from 9am to noon. Lunch will go from noon to 1. Class resumes from 1 to 4. Information and registration.

July 25 and 26 - 2013 Kneading Conference and 5th Artisan Bread Fair, Skowhegan, Maine. 30 workshops, talks, and panel discussions for everyone interested in local grains, craft breads, wood-fired ovens, and restoring regional grain networks. $300 includes (delicious!) meals. Information.

MOFGA Low Impact Forestry Workshops

Sugarbush Maintenance and Improvement
May 2, MOFGA & Kinney's Sugarhouse

Join the Maine Forest Service and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s (MOFGA) Low Impact Forestry Project for a full day of presentations and site visits highlighting the silviculture and business of managing for maple syrup. Please contact Morten Moesswilde of the Maine Forest Service at 441-2895 or for more information. To register for the Sugarbush Management workshop on May 2, 2013 please go to You may also register by calling the Maine Forest Service at 207-287- 2791 or 1-800-367-0223.

MOFGA's Chainsaw Safety, Level I
May 4, Cambridge, Me. 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
May 19, Bethel, Me. 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Come join us May 4th in Cambridge, ME or May 19th in Bethel, Maine. This one-day course covers all the fundamentals of safe and effective chainsaw operation. Whether you are an aspiring logger, woodlot manager, or plan to use a chainsaw occasionally this course is invaluable. The chainsaw is an amazingly powerful tool, and without proper training and knowledge it can be a very dangerous tool. Work with our highly skilled instructors for the day and learn to use your chainsaw safely. Register at the online MOFGA Store.

Low Impact Forestry Level II, Draft Animal Logging
July 26-28, Bethel, Me.

This 3-day workshop builds on the skills that students developed in the Level I Draft Power Logging Workshop. Students are expected to have completed LIF's Level I course, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience. Register at the online MOFGA Store.

Many other events are posted on MOFGA's on-line Calendar.


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