Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association


Bulletin Board

JANUARY 4, 2014

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MOFGA To Unveil 2014 Common Ground Country Fair Poster

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association will unveil its 2014 Common Ground Country Fair poster during its annual meeting on January 7 at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show. The meeting takes place at 1:30 p.m. in the Piscataquis/Sagadahoc rooms at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Common Ground Country Fair poster is the highly anticipated image that promotes MOFGA's annual celebration of rural living.

This year's winning design features medicinal herbs. The artist, Kate Seaver, is a MOFGA journeyperson and co-operator of Up-Beet Farm in Porter, a MOFGA certified organic market garden. Her art highlights a celebrated aspect of the Common Ground Country Fair, which features more than 1,400 exhibitors and speakers. This year's Fair will occur on September 19, 20 and 21.

Every year MOFGA holds a poster contest and welcomes all Maine residents and MOFGA members to enter submissions. Guidelines and application for the 2015 Fair.

For more information about the unveiling or the poster contest, please contact Fair director April Boucher at
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MOFGA Day at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Each year at Maine's Agricultural Trades Show, MOFGA offers a series of presentations and discussion groups covering a wide range of sustainable agriculture subjects. All presentations are free and open to the public. Schedule.

MOFGA has an information exhibit during all three days of the Trades Show. Staff and Committee members are available to answer questions about MOFGA's ongoing programs.

MOFGA members are encouraged to attend the Association's Annual Meeting, which will be held at 1:30 pm in the Piscataquis/Sagadahoc Rooms.
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Beginning Farmer Resource Network 

The Beginning Farmer Resource Network, a coalition of farm service providers (including MOFGA), will hold workshops for new farmers at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center. See the schedule at BFRN workshops are planned from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9. Farmers can also talk with a BFRN representative in the networking room - the Knox Room - open Jan. 7-9 during the hours of the Trades Show.

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Maine Migrant Health Program

The Maine Migrant Health Program is a non-profit organization with over 20 years of providing health care to Maine's migrant and seasonal farmworkers. We are now ready to help farmworkers get signed up for a health insurance plan. Our services are free and available to the public.

Our Certified Application Counselors will be at the Agricultural Trades Show in the Exhibition Hall January 7-9 to answer questions. Together with Consumers for Affordable Health Care, we will offer a presentation on the Affordable Care Act on the following dates and times (in the Aroostook room):  
-Tuesday, January 7: 2-3 p.m.
-Wednesday, January 8: 4-5 p.m.
-Thursday, January 9: 9-10 p.m.

Please call Liz Charles at 207-441-1633 or Eduardo Cortes at 207-485-5553 for more information or to schedule an appointment.  

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Training Session for General Use Pesticide (Including Organic) Applicators

All Maine fruit, vegetable and grain growers who sell edible produce to consumers or to processors to be made into products for human consumption should know about a new law that may require them to be licensed by April 1, 2015, to use over-the-counter pest control products.
A new Maine law requires the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) to begin licensing growers who use only general-use (over-the-counter) pesticides and annually sell more than $1,000 of plant or plant products intended for human consumption.
To obtain a license, growers must pass the BPC core exam. The BPC and University of Maine Cooperative Extension are offering a three-hour training session to help prepare growers for the core exam at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show on January 8.  Exam candidates should review the Pesticide Education (Core) Manual before taking the exam. The Pesticide Education (Core) Manual is available online from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension or by calling 1-800-287-0279 in Maine, 207-581-3880 outside of Maine.
This three-hour training session will help prepare growers for the Private Pesticide Applicator Core exam and will be offered at the Augusta Civic Center in the Washington/York Room on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. The schedule is as follows:
9:30 to 12:30 - Private Pesticide Applicator Core Exam Training - Jim Dill, UMCE, and Gary Fish, BPC
1:30 to 4:00 - Private Pesticide Applicator Core and Commodity Exams Administered
Many more sessions will be planned before the requirement becomes fully enforceable on April 1, 2015. The exam can also be taken at the BPC office in Augusta (207-287-2731) or at County Cooperative Extension offices. Contact the BPC office to have the exam mailed to the Extension office, and then make arrangements with Extension for taking the exam.
The three-year license will cost $15. You will need to obtain one hour of continuing education per year to maintain your license.
Pre-registration is required. Please call 207-287-2661 or email to reserve a seat.

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Open Forum - Maine Board of Pesticides Control, Maine Integrated Pest Management Council and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
January 8, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
Agricultural Trades Show, Augusta Civic Center, Kennebec/Penobscot Room
Co-hosted by the Maine Board of Pesticides Control and the Maine Integrated Pest Management Council
Do the acronyms FSMA, GAP, HACCP, IPM and BMP ring a bell? Are the Maine Board of Pesticides Control and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry meeting their legislative mandates of promoting and supporting the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) and minimized reliance on pesticides? How can we all work together to better achieve these mandates? What can we do to assist growers and other pesticide users to comply with regulatory requirements?

Everyone is welcome to participate in a productive and constructive conversation about ways Maine can continue to protect our food and fiber supply, while safeguarding the environment and the people of Maine.  
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The Perry family of Winterberry Farm in Belgrade. Jay Goldsmith photo.  

Know Your Organic Producers! 

Meet Mary Perry and her children, of MOFGA certified organic Winterberry Farm in Belgrade. Mary and Kenya, 18, Gil, 13, and Sage, 7, grow vegetables and flowers at their horse- and oxen-powered farm. At their full-service farm store, they sell their homemade pies, breads, soups and preserves as well. They have a summer and winter CSA and sell at the Waterville and Skowhegan farmers' markets. "Our commitment to sustainable agriculture allows us to produce abundant food without depleting resources or polluting the environment," says Mary. "Our organic food is produced specifically with families in mind, to ensure the health of our children and the land on which they are raised."

Please support MOFGA certified organic farmers and producers!

Search for local certified-organic food on
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Cole's Quince, a Maine heritage apple variety.

Contribute to MOFGA's Fruitful Future!

The farmers at Blackbird Rise in Palermo are pleased to announce a fundraiser to support our educational programs.

For every $25 you contribute to MOFGA, you will receive a 2-year-old, grafted, MOFGA certified organic apple tree as thanks for your support! Trees will be available for pick-up at MOFGA's April 12, 2014, orchard planting event. There you can learn how to plant and care for your tree. More details.

Download the donation form from Blackbird Rise.

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USDA Requests Public Input on "Agricultural Coexistence" - GMO/GE Contamination
USDA is seeking comments by March 4 on its proposals for coexistence among farmers who use genetically engineered crops and those who don't (including organic growers and conventional growers who do not use GE/GMO seed).

The National Organic Coalition (NOC), of which MOFGA is a member, says coexistence is not enough.

USDA has been talking about the need for coexistence for several years. The NOC has countered that coexistence is not possible until USDA addresses all the issues around "contamination prevention."

USDA is asking for feedback on:
- identifying ways to foster communication and collaboration among those involved in all sectors of agricultural production, including conversations among neighboring farmers regarding planting dates to prevent cross-pollination;
- compensation mechanisms such as crop insurance (purchased by organic and others not using GE seed) to deal with economic harm from GE contamination.

Farmers and handlers should tell USDA about their experiences and costs for preventing GE contamination, or about being contaminated.

Comment online via the Federal eRulemaking portal at;D=APHIS-2013-0047-0001 or mail comments to
Docket No. APHIS-2013-0047
Regulatory Analysis, and Development
PPD, APHIS, Station, 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

Farmers and handlers may send an anonymous comment outlining their experiences and costs through the NOC at The NOC will include your comments in its comments submitted to the Docket. For answers to questions about this process or its anonymity, please call Liana at 914-443-5759.

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Direct Marketing Conference
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Vermont Law School, South Royalton
The annual NOFA-VT Direct Marketing Conference provides networking and educational opportunities for farmers marketing through farmers' markets, Community Supported Agriculture shares, and farm stands. This year we also have a special track for farmers' market managers and organizers.

The 2014 Direct Marketing Conference features "FarmsTED" Talks by Richard Berkfield of Food Connects, Mari Omland of Green Mountain Girls farm, and Eric Rozendaal of Rockville Market Farm; 16 workshops for farmers, plus four in-depth working sessions for market managers; networking sessions; and coaching for new farmers and those interested in expanding their social media presence. 
Events in Maine and Beyond - Mark Your Calendar!
January 5 - Beginning Women Farmer Holistic Management Classes start. Contact Gail Chase, Maine's WAgN coordinator,

January 6 to February 20 - Permaculture Design: Fundamentals of Ecological Design, an online certificate course offered through Cornell University's Department of Horticulture distance learning program. More about the 6.5-week-long course online. The program will offer two other online permaculture design courses in March-April and April-May. Completing all three gives students the portfolio necessary to apply for an internationally recognized certification in Permaculture Design though the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute.

January 7 - Tri-State Greenhouse IPM Workshop, Longfellows Greenhouses in Manchester, Maine; January 8, UNH, Durham, N.H.; January 9, Gardeners Supply, Burlington, Vermont. Special guest: Carol Glenister, IPM Laboratories, Inc., Locke, N.Y., speaking on the wild side of biocontrol and banker and guardian plants. FMI: Chery Frank, Details.

January 7 - MOFGA annual membership meeting. 1:30 p.m., Maine Agricultural Trades Show, Augusta Civic Center. Hear reports from MOFGA board members, staff and committees; vote on a slate of board members. Q&A period. This is also MOFGA Day at the Trades Show - a full day of presentations and workshops on organic production in Maine. Free.

January 7 to 9 - Maine Agricultural Trades Show, Augusta Civic Center. Free admission.

January 9 - Free community screening of "The Next American Revolution: Beyond Capitalism and State Socialism." 6:30 p.m., Belfast Free Library, with historian, political economist, activist and writer Gar Alperovitz, whose illustrated presentation points to efforts already under way in communities across the U.S., from co-ops and community land trusts to municipal, state and federal initiatives that promote entrepreneurship and sustainability. Rob Brown, Maine Cooperative Development Specialist with CDI, will lead a post-film discussion.

January 9 - "Land, Food and Justice in the Hebrew Bible," a talk by Natan Margalit. 6:30 to 8 p.m., Adas Yoshuron Synagogue, 50 Willow Street in Rockland. Co-sponsored by the Camden Conference. Details.

January 11 - NOFA-Mass. Winter Conference.
7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Worcester State University, 486 Chandler Street, Worcester, Massachusetts. Includes an all-day seminar and keynote by Restoration Agriculture author, Mark Shepard, as well as the annual Lawn & Turf Course. Information: call (508) 572-0816; email or register online.

January 12 - NOFA-VT Direct Marketing Conference. Sunday, Vermont Law School, South Royalton, Vt. Details.

January 15 - Slow Money Maine Gathering. 1 to 4 p.m., Viles Arboretum, Augusta. Details.

January 17 - Deadline to apply for new enrollment in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for federal fiscal year 2014. CSP participants receive an annual land use payment for operation-level environmental benefits they produce. Information and a link to a checklist that can help you determine if the CSP is right for you.

January 22-25 - The Ecological Farming Association's 34th Annual EcoFarm Conference, Gather & Grow, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California. More than 65 workshops featuring educational and technical sessions for farmers, ranchers, distributors, retailers, activists, consumers, students and educators; exhibitor marketplace, live entertainment, discussion groups, mixers, delicious meals and libations. Visit for more info and to register.

January 26 - Maine Farmers' Market Convention, Maple Hill Inn and Conference Center, Hallowell. Co-sponsored by MOFGA. Details.

January 30 to February 1 - Seventh Organic Seed Growers Conference. Corvallis, Oregon. This is a unique opportunity to trade knowledge, techniques and ideas that strengthen our rapidly growing organic seed community. The agenda includes 70 experts in organic plant breeding, seed research, enterprise development, seed economics, policy and more. Register.

February 5-7 - New England Grows commercial horticulture conference and expo. Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Reduced registration rates for students and educators. Details.

February 5 to 8 - Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture 23rd Annual Farming for the Future Conference, State College, Penn. Details.

February 8 (snow date Feb. 15) - Growing Good Seed: From the Ground Up. Noon to 6 p.m., U. of Maine at Farmington. Fourth annual seed saving conference organized by Farmington Seed Savers Group. Free. The 2014 conference will focus on growing plants to save seed. Classes will include soil nutrition, isolation, insect control, seed-borne diseases, basic seed saving and advanced seed saving. Watch for a detailed brochure around mid-January.

February 18 - Organic Orcharding Workshop. 6-8 p.m., Belfast Free Library. Presented by C.J. Walke, MOFGA's organic orchardist. Free presentation about organic orcharding techniques to grow apples, pears, plums and peaches, focusing on soil requirements and methods of tracking and trapping fruit pests. No-spray pest management and how various materials boost the health of fruit trees. Plenty of time for discussion. Co-sponsors: MOFGA, Belfast Free Library and the Belfast Co-op. Free.

February 21-23 - Camden Conference: The Global Politics of Food and Water.

February 24 - Deadline for applying for Value-Added Producer Grants.
This program helps agricultural producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or develop specialty and niche products. Grants may be used for working capital and planning activities. The maximum working capital grant is $200,000; the maximum planning grant is $75,000. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups. Funding priority is given to socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers or ranchers and to small- to medium-size family farms, or farmer/rancher cooperatives. Details.

February 26-27 - Sustaining the Living Landscape, Ecological Landscaping Assoc., Springfield, Mass. Keynote: Dr. John Todd, "Healing the Waters: A Tale of Ecology and Living Technologies." Brochure.

March 12 - Climate Solutions 2014 Expo and Summit, Augusta Civic Center.
Many more events are posted on MOFGA's on-line Calendar.


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