Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
October 31, 2013

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Bulletin Board

OCTOBER 31, 2013

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Food Safety Modernization Act
Proposed Rules Threaten Maine Small Farms
Public Comments Due to FDA by Nov. 15

The FDA's proposed food safety rules could require weekly tests for irrigation water, may forbid rotating animals onto land used for vegetable production, and may classify farms that source other local produce to bolster their CSA shares as "facilities" - with prohibitively expensive food safety requirements.

Read about our comment template (Word, 66K).

MOFGA urges farmers and consumers to comment to the FDA by its November 15 deadline. Consider holding a letter-writing campaign in your community. Here are some options for submitting comments:

Comment online at!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0921-0199

E-mail comments to or fax comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attn: FDA Desk Officer, FAX: 202-395-7285. All comments should be identified with the title "Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption."

Mail comments to Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

More information and links to national comment campaigns:
National Organic Coalition
The National Young Farmers Coalition
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

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We have the 2013 Common Ground Country Fair oxen design on T-shirts, nightshirts, tote bags, aprons and more ON SALE now through December 24th.

Share the Fair with friends and family members this holiday season and support MOFGA.

Visit the MOFGA Country Store today!

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A MOFGA Chapter in Penobscot County?

To test the waters for forming a MOFGA chapter in Penobscot County, MOFGA members and prospective members are welcome to a Stone Soup Social on Jan. 11, 2014 (snow date Jan. 25), at the Bangor Grange, 1192 Ohio St., Bangor. Doors will open at 1 p.m., and a meal will be served around 2:30.

Come enjoy this community social and warm yourself on a cold winter day with soup and socializing. Please RSVP to Galen Young,, noting how many people you are bringing and what you plan to bring.

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Elsie Gawler and Anna Shapley-Quinn, and MOFGA apprentice Miriam Goler, of North Branch Farm.

Know Your Organic Producers!

Meet MOFGA certified organic farmers (left to right) Elsie Gawler and Anna Shapley-Quinn, and MOFGA apprentice Miriam Goler. Elise and Anna, with Seth and Tyler Yentes, own North Branch Farm in Monroe - 330 acres of field and woodland with 4 acres of vegetable fields, a 4.5-acre orchard, 1 acre of highbush blueberries and a fruit tree nursery. The farmers also raise grass-fed meats and have a seasonal dairy operation. They use a combination of horse power, hand power and tractor power. North Branch sells through its winter CSA, at the Common Ground Country Fair Farmers' Market, to the Natural Living Center, Belfast Co-op and Fresh Off the Farm, to Cleonice, Shepherd's Pie, Natalie's and Francine's Bistro and through Crown O' Maine Organic Cooperative. Visit the North Branch website at

Please support MOFGA certified organic farmers and producers!

Search for local certified-organic food on

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Great Maine Apple Day a Success

About 250 people came to The Great Maine Apple Day. The event really was great, with apple ID, info, tasting, grinding and pressing. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Photo: John Bunker identifying apples at The Great Maine Apple Day.

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Support MOFGA's Maine Heritage Orchard

MOFGA's Maine Heritage Orchard will be the home for Maine's apple and pear heritage collection and a site featuring innovative and sustainable orcharding practices. Sales of this beautiful 2014 Heritage Orchard Calendar will help support MOFGA and the orchard. The full-color photos of apples originating in Maine were taken by widely acclaimed Portland photographer Russell French and include Black Oxford, Gray Pearmain and others. $15. Available at MOFGA's Country Store.
You can also support our Maine Heritage Orchard by buying a poster painted by John Bunker and depicting seven heirloom apples, available through the Country Store. 22.5" x 15.5" - $10. Buy at the MOFGA Store.

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MOFGA's Farmer to Farmer Conference
Saturday, November 2 to Monday, November 4 - Registration at the door. Point Lookout Resort, Northport

Saturday Farm Tours to Morning Dew Farm, Newcastle, and Straw Farm & Dandelion Spring Farm, Newcastle. 22 workshop sessions - sign up for the full conference or participate in workshop sessions a la carte! Accommodations at the beautiful Point Lookout Resort in Northport. Keynote Address: Creating Change Through Relationships, by Atina Diffley, Organic Farming Works, Farmington, Minn. - Organic farmer, consultant, activist, and author of Turn Here Sweet Corn Available at the MOFGA Country Store

Conference information.

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A Novel Nutritional Approach to Rearing Organic Pastured Broiler Chickens

Join eOrganic for a webinar on a nutritional approach to rearing organic pastured broiler chickens by Michael Lilburn of the Ohio State University. The webinar will take place on November 5 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Central, 12 p.m. Mountain, 11 a.m. Pacific Time). Registration is free and open to the public and advance registration is required.

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Low Impact Forestry Workshop
November 14 to 17, Thursday to Sunday
MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
Three options for participation

Register via the
MOFGA Country Store or by calling the office.

Contact MOFGA 
Events Coordinator Grace Oedel for more information.

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CSA Raffle to Benefit MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee

The MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee, which partners with Salvadoran organizations similar to MOFGA, is raffling two CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares, with winners to be drawn at a MOFGA CSA Fair in early March.

Details and tickets at the MOFGA Country Store.

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Peggy Smith
Dec. 7 & 8 - From Conflict to Connection: Fundamentals of Nonviolent Communication

Fundraiser for the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee
Learn to improve your relationship with yourself, your family, co-workers or community, with certified Nonviolent Communication Trainer Peggy Smith. In this workshop, you will gain skills for using daily conflicts to relate more authentically and compassionately - building trust in a multi-sensory learning experience that fosters safety, depth and fun. This event has a value of $140; as a fundraiser for MOFGA and two other environmental organizations, it is offered to the public by donation. Information and registration.

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New Design Sought for MOFGA-Certified Organic Logo

MOFGA wants to focus on ways to boost the impact of MOFGA-certified organic for both farmers and consumers. We want more producers to seek certification through MOFGA and the best way to do that is to strengthen the MOFGA-certified organic logo in the marketplace. Our logo needs to be the label that everyone recognizes and seeks out when buying food and farm products. By redesigning our certification logo we hope to improve overall marketing of the MOFGA-certified organic brand. Toward that end, a Request for Proposal (RFP) has been published, and we encourage our producers to share it far and wide. The deadline for proposals is Monday, 30 December 2013.

Access the full RFP here. (PDF download, 381k)

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LifeFlight Donates AED to MOFGA

MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center is now a safer place, thanks to a generous donation by LifeFlight, Maine's emergency medical helicopter service, and Zoll Medical Corporation, the leading manufacture of AEDs (automated external defibrillator). The new AED, which will be located outside the first floor bathrooms in MOFGA's main building, can be used in case of a heart attack.

"In the event of a major medical emergency, time is of the essence," says Tom Judge, LifeFlight's executive director. "Having an AED close by can make the difference between life and death. LifeFlight and Zoll were happy to make MOFGA's headquarters a safer place to work and hold meetings."

LifeFlight provides advanced emergency medical care using two helicopters, one based in Lewiston and one in Bangor. Each year LifeFlight cares for more than 1,500 critically ill or injured people from all across Maine.
"This AED is an important piece of medical equipment to have on our site," says Chris Hamilton, MOFGA's associate director. "We are grateful to both LifeFlight and Zoll for making this especially generous donation."


Events in Maine and Beyond - Mark Your Calendar!

NOFA-New Hampshire Fall Series - A wide range of topics at workshops held throughout New Hampshire during the fall.

November 2 - Chainsaw Safety Level II. Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson. Co-sponsored by MOFGA's Low Impact Forestry Program. Registration and details available online at

November 2 to 4 - MOFGA's Farmer to Farmer Conference
Saturday to Monday, Point Lookout Resort, Northport, Maine.

November 5 - Meetup: What Consumers/Gardeners Need to Know About FSMA.
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Zero Station/The Resilience Hub, 222 and 224 Anderson Street, Portland. $1.00 admission (suggested). Share potluck food (6:30 p.m.) followed by expert panelists to walk us through the highlights of FSMA: Dave Colson, MOFGA Ag Services Director, and Ben Tettlebaum, Conservation Law Foundation. Details.

November 14 - 4th Annual Slow Money Maine Day-Long Gathering.
8:30 to 4:30, Hutchinson Center, Belfast. Details.

November 14 to 17 - MOFGA Low-Impact Forestry Workshops.
MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. For beginners and experienced people. Sustainable woodlot management, logging with animals and low-impact machinery. Details and registration.

November 14-16 - Soils Conference with Arden Andersen in Bangor: "Grow the Food the World Wants" - How Farmers Farm Determines How the Rest of the World Lives.
Dr. Arden Andersen will present the latest on nutrient-dense biological agriculture and how healthy soils make economic and environmental sense, at Heart of Maine's Annual Soils Conference in Bangor. MOFGA is cosponsoring this event. Information:,, 207-200-3603.

November 15 to 16 - MOFGA Chainsaw and Forestry Safety. MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Level I: two days on basics of saw mechanics, operation, maintenance, safety; opportunity to learn and practice safe felling. Full: Wait list only.

November 16 - Sagadahoc MOFGA: Elizabeth Nilsson, Certified Nurse-Midwife/Holistic Health Coach, will talk about "Food as Medicine" which emphasizes organic and local foods. The focus is chronic disease treatment and prevention using food as medicine. The event will take place from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM in the Community Room of the Patten Free Library, 33 Summer Street in Bath. For information, contact Sally Fesler:

November 16 and 17 - City of Bangor's Maine Harvest Festival.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Cross Insurance Center, Bangor. Includes sampling and the chance to purchase from more than 125 Maine farmers and producers, hourly cooking demonstrations with Maine chefs and celebrities, sampling from Maine wineries, breweries and distilleries, live music from Maine musicians, and a presentation on Maine barns by author and builder, Don Perkins. Visit the MOFGA booth at the Festival! Website.

November 21 - Negotiation and Conflict Management Skills for Farmers and Landowners.
8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Presented by the Maine Agricultural Mediation Program, administered through Volunteers of America Northern New England, and co-sponsored by MOFGA, Land for Good and Maine Farmland Trust. Understand the negotiation process and techniques and skills to build a stronger negotiation base. Registration is limited and will close November 13. Registration.

December 2 - Deadline for Northeast SARE Farmer Grants.

December 3 - Volunteer Work Day at MOFGA.
9 a.m., Tuesday, MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center. Volunteers will work with Cheryl Wixson to prepare food for MOFGA events and organize the Common Kitchen. Lunch will be served. RSVP to MOFGA Volunteer Coordinator Anna Libby

December 4 - Kitchen Licensing Workshop.
Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Designed for farmers and others interested in home-food processing for resale. Includes a tour of MOFGA's Common Kitchen. Details. Register at the MOFGA Country Store.

December 5 - High Bionutrient Crop Production Workshop. 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., The Resilience Hub, Portland. Two-session workshop: second session Feb. 27, 2014. The cost for a two-sessions workshop is $150, or $125 for returning students. Scholarships available. Information.

December 7 & 8 - From Conflict to Connection: The Fundamentals of Nonviolent Communication.
With certified Nonviolent Communication Trainer Peggy Smith. This event has a value of $140; as a fundraiser for MOFGA and two other environmental organizations, it is offered to the public by donation. Information and registration (PDF).

December 12 - Volunteer Work Day at MOFGA. 9 a.m., Tuesday, MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center. Volunteers will work with Cheryl Wixson to prepare food for MOFGA events and organize the Common Kitchen. Lunch will be served. RSVP to MOFGA Volunteer Coordinator Anna Libby

December 17, 18, and 19 - New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference, Manchester, N.H. Website.

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


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