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  You are here:  PublicationsBulletin Board ArchiveNovember 7 2013   




Bulletin Board

NOVEMBER 7, 2013

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Billi Barker

Know Your Organic Producers!

Meet MOFGA certified organic farmer Billi Barker, who grows vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers - and Sweet Annie - at Fire Fly Farm in St. Albans. Barker markets through fairs and festivals (including the Common Ground Country Fair, where her Sweet Annie flower crowns are famous), at the Belfast, Skowhegan, Orono and Bangor Farmers' Markets, and through her baking and catering business, Enchanted Kitchen (www.enchantedkitchen.org). Billi's savory baked goods and glowing smile are favorites at markets - and her mobile Enchanted Kitchen pull-behind trailer can travel anywhere.

Please support MOFGA certified organic farmers and producers!

Search for local certified-organic food on MOFGA.net

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A Good Time to Renew Your MOFGA Membership

In 2014, MOFGA membership rates will increase slightly. This will be the first membership rate increase since 2004.

MOFGA membership comes with great benefits, including free admission to all three days of the Common Ground Country Fair; our quarterly newspaper; a free classified ad in each issue of the paper; weekly email updates highlighting MOFGA events, legislation and other local, regional news; technical farming and gardening advice; assistance with organic farm certification; and optional affiliation with local chapters.

We appreciate the generosity of MOFGA's supporters and hope you will join or renew at the highest level that fits your budget. We continue to offer a $20 Seeding membership for students, seniors on fixed incomes and other people who may need the reduced rate. Thank you for any support that you can give. We are happy to have you as a member!

Renew now at the MOFGA Country Store!

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MOFGA's Farmer to Farmer Conference a Success

MOFGA's organic farmers and others shared valuable ideas and experiences at our annual Farmer to Farmer Conference held at Point Lookout in Northport (site of a MOFGA certified organic vegetable operation) last Saturday through Monday. We were also treated to one of the best keynote speeches ever as Atina Diffley talked about the ecosystem services that organic farming provides and how communicating that value saved her farm from being sacrificed to an oil pipeline. Read the story in her memoir, Turn Here Sweet Corn (available for sale at the MOFGA Country Store).

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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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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 http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0921-0199

E-mail comments to oira_submission@omb.eop.gov 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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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.
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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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John Blood with the cargo bike that he donated to MOFGA.

A Big Thanks

A big thanks to John Blood of Brunswick, who donated this cargo bike to MOFGA at this year’s Common Ground Country Fair. Blood’s business, Coastal Barge & Mooring (www.coastalbarge.com/), is one of the principal mooring service providers on Casco Bay. In winter, when Blood isn’t moving things on the ocean, his Woodside Cargobike (woodsidecargobike.com or farmtrike.com) business makes different styles of cargo bikes designed for farmers, other businesses, or for folks going around town. He brought the bike shown here to the Fair for UMaine's Agribility display, and then donated it to MOFGA. Blood is a long-time Fair volunteer, has seen many MOFGA apprentices work on a friend's farm and calls the apprenticeship program "a great thing." You can contact Blood at woodsidecargobike@gmail.com or 207-841-1587.


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 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 alibby@mofga.org.

November 12 - eOrganic webinar on Organic Dry Bean Production Systems and Cultivar Choices. 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Presented by Thomas Michaels, Craig Sheaffer, Claire Flavin and Hannah Swegarden of the University of Minnesota. Free and open to the public. Advance registration is required. Participants will be able to type in questions for the speaker. Register.

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: www.heartofmaine.org, info@heartofmaine.org, 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. 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Community Room, Patten Free Library, 33 Summer Street, Bath. For information, contact Sally Fesler: fesler11@gmail.com.

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.

November 21 - Green Landscape Equipment and Green Zones.
3-5 p.m., The Holiday Inn, Boxborough, Mass. Presented by Dan Mabe, President of The GreenStation (Woodlawn, Calif.) Will include videos of green equipment used by municipalities, corporations, campuses and homeowners to achieve quieter, emission-free maintenance. Free. 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 alibby@mofga.org.

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

January 30 to February 1 -  Seventh Organic Seed Growers Conference. Corvallis, Oregon. Register.

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


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