Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association


Bulletin Board

JULY 10, 2014

Aktan Askin of Lor Farm in Thorndike

Know Your Organic Producers!

Meet Aktan Askin and Erin McWalters of Lor Farm in Thorndike. Lor Farm, a sheep and goat dairy farm and cheese house, produces halloumi, ricotta, feta and sheep's milk yogurt based on recipes of Anatolian and Mediterranean origin. Aktan and Erin sell from the farm, at the Downtown Bangor Farmers' Market and at the Saturday Orono Farmers' Market. Aktan has been MOFGA's landscape coordinator and was a MOFGA journeyperson and volunteer. He will now be working for Fedco.           

Please support MOFGA certified organic farmers and producers!

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Put Your Hoe Down - A Raucous Square Dance Party in Celebration of Maine Farmers

Saturday, July 26, 8 p.m., at Topsham Grange, Topsham
Vermont Dance Caller Will Mentor and Old Time Fiddle Tunes by Sassafras Stomp

This is a celebration for all the alumni of MOFGA's farm apprenticeship program, for apprentice host farms and for current and future apprentices!

All are welcome to join the fun! Sliding scale admission $5-$20, to benefit MOFGA's new farmer programs.
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MOFGA Farm Training Project Coming Up
These informal tours and presentations, most followed by a potluck, are aimed at MOFGA apprentices but are open to the public. Please bring a place setting and a dish or something fresh from the farm to share.
Horse Farming and Work Song Hootenany
Thursday, July 17, 5 p.m., 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 horse folk. We'll also have an opportunity to learn and sing work songs, led by Bennett Konesni and Edith Gawler. More information.
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Organic Seed Alliance Distributes National Survey

Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) has begun distribution of a 2014 organic producer seed survey. This national survey is conducted every five years to monitor organic seed availability and use, challenges in sourcing organic seed, and organic plant breeding needs, among other topics. The data collected will inform the organic community's understanding of the barriers and opportunities in building the availability, quality, and integrity of organic seed.

OSA published its first State of Organic Seed report in 2011. Findings from the survey released this week will be included in an updated version of this report. The report will be made public with detailed recommendations for improving access to seed that is optimal for U.S. organic agriculture.

Certified organic crop producers are encouraged to take the survey. The survey assesses producers' attitudes and perceptions regarding organic seed, as well as their current use of organic seed and any obstacles that restrict organic seed sourcing. The survey also asks which crops and traits should be prioritized through organic plant breeding programs.  Certified organic crop producers can access the survey at

This project is made possible thanks to generous support from Clif Bar Family Foundation's Seed Matters initiative. Organic Seed Alliance advances the ethical development and stewardship of the genetic resources of agricultural seed. Learn more. 
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Maine Agriculture is Growing and Unique

Maine agriculture is growing and is unique in many ways, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture. We have the most farms of the New England states; the land in farms and size of farms increased since the 2007 Census; and organic products increased from $23.3 million to $36.4 million. Gary Keough summarizes these and several other points in "Maine Agriculture is 'Up' in More Ways than One."
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Register Online Now To Volunteer for the Fair!

Online registration for volunteering for the 2014 Fair is open. You can now log in and select your shifts. Please make sure to update your profile information as well. We want to make sure you get the right T-shirt size!

If you want to sign up an entire group for a volunteer shift, please contact Anna, our volunteer coordinator, directly.

MOFGA continues to develop its year-round volunteer program to help run the organization's many ongoing projects and programs. If you are interested in volunteering for any of MOFGA's other programs, or if you have any questions about volunteering for the Fair, please e-mail Anna at or call 207-568-4142.
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2014 Common Ground Country Fair Poster
This year's 2014 Common Ground Country Fair poster 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, please contact Fair director April Boucher at
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Attention All Craft Food Producers!

The people of the Good Food Awards, having heard about Maine's burgeoning craft food scene and exceptional products, recently contacted MOFGA to solicit entries for their prestigious competition. The awards were created to honor people who "make food that is delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions." Entries are judged at a blind tasting with 150 food movement leaders. Benefits for recipients of the award include a Good Food Awards seal, national coverage, VIP invitation to the awards ceremony in San Francisco for you and a guest, ability to sell at the Good Food Awards Marketplace, and introductions to local and national buyers in the industry. Past recipients have reported up to a 400 percent increase in sales.

The entry period ends August 1. To enter your product go to (there is a $65 fee to cover cost of storing, sorting and transporting the entries). For questions about entering contact Katherine Harris of the Good Food Awards at 408-656-1155 or
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The Art of Giving Gala to Benefit MOFGA

In honor of its 60th anniversary, Down East magazine is partnering with six Maine artists to raise money for Maine organizations. Artist William Wegman is joining Down East's Art of Giving Gala to help raise money for his organization of choice: MOFGA! More about William Wegman and his work.

For more about The Art of Giving Gala, to be held at the Portland Company Complex on Thursday, August 14, from 5:30-9:00 p.m., see At the Gala, you can meet the artists, win art, and enjoy Maine foods and music.
Events in Maine and Beyond - Mark Your Calendar!

Events sponsored by NOFA-Massachusetts

Events sponsored by NOFA-New Hampshire

Events sponsored by NOFA-Vermont

July 20 - Bowdoinham Open Farm Day. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., tour nine farms, including five certified organic farms and six Forever Farms. Several will have displays, farm-raised products for sale, fun activities and tasty samples. Barbecue and music at 3 p.m. Details.

July 23 - Slow Money Maine Gathering. 1 to 4 p.m., Viles Arboretum, Augusta. Details.

July 24-25 - Maine Grain Alliance Kneading Conference. Thursday 8 a.m. to Friday 5 p.m. Two-day conference fee is $300. (Includes delicious meals). Many participants arrive on Wednesday, July 23 and stay to attend the free Artisan Bread Fair on Saturday, July 26. Registration.

July 26 - Maine Artisan Bread Fair. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Skowhegan State Fairgrounds. Free! Over 60 vendors. Parking $2. Details.

July 27 - Open Farm Day. Sunday. Many farms throughout Maine open to the public on this day. Details.

July 31 - Deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for American Program guaranteed loans for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement. Details.

Aug. 8-10 - NOFA Summer Conference, Amherst, Mass. Details.

August 9 - MOFGA's Organic Orcharding Workshop: Bud Grafting with Seth Yentes. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., North Branch Farm, Monroe. Details.

August 9 - 6th Annual Backyard Locavore Day. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Self-guided tour of multiple Cumberland county backyards, provided by University of Maine Cooperative Extension's Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver volunteers. $15 in advance, $20 on the day of event; children under 12 free. Details.

August 13 - Conservation Farm Tour. 4 p.m., Good Dirt Garlic, 518 Fletcher Rd., Monticello, Maine. Learn about the diverse benefits of cover cropping sequences during this informal farm tour and discussion. The tour is free, but please RSVP to Katy Green at MOFGA if you plan to attend: or 568-4142.

August 22 - Free screening of Symphony of the Soil. 7 p.m., Camden Opera House. Sponsored by the Camden Conference and Maine Farmland Trust. Debra Koons Garcia, the film's director, writer and producer, will be joined for a live discussion after the film by sustainable agriculture visionary Fred Kirschenmann and John Piotti, president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust. Details.

September 6 - Seed Saving Workshop with Will Bonsall. 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Deer Isle Hostel, 65 Tennis Rd., Deer Isle ME. $40 (lunch included). Details.

September 6 - Seed Saving 101 & The Scattered Seed Project. 4 p.m., Blue Hill Library (Howard Room), Blue Hill. Free. Presented by Deer Isle Hostel; co-sponsored by the Blue Hill Public Library and MOFGA. Information.

September 9-11 - The National Heirloom Exposition, Santa Rosa, California. Details.

September 19, 20 and 21 - MOFGA's Common Ground Country Fair


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