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"We need to wean the American food system off its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on a diet of contemporary sunshine."
- Michael Pollan
MOF&G 2008 Fairbook Cover
Read the 2008 Fairbook edition of our quarterly newspaper, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener!

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 MOFGA Notes – Fall 2008 Minimize

Livestock Barn Under Construction
Volunteers building the new livestock barn at the Common Ground Education Center. Photo by Vernon LeCount.

Volunteers Building Another Livestock Barn for Fairgrounds
Renewable Energy Update
MOFGA Hires New Administrative Assistant

Volunteers Building Another Livestock Barn for Fairgrounds

The Kennebec Valley Woodworkers Association has volunteered to construct another livestock barn at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity. On July 12 and 13, seven members of the woodworkers’ group started building this pole barn, which measures 75 feet long and has 12 stalls that are wider than those of other livestock barns on the grounds. The wider stalls can accommodate larger animals and allow livestock gates to swing both ways for different uses.

The barn will require a few more volunteer workdays to be completed before the Fair. If you would like to join these very talented crafts people while they erect a barn, please contact Vernon LeCount (vernon @mofga.org). This knowledgeable crew from the Kennebec Valley Woodworkers Association has a few tricks to show other volunteers. Join us and learn a little about constructing an inexpensive pole barn. The Buildings and Grounds staff hopes to organize at least two more volunteer workdays before summer ends to complete this barn.

– Vernon LeCount

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Renewable Energy Update

The Bergey 10 kilowatt wind generator continues to operate wonderfully for MOFGA, making power that will be credited against the electricity used by MOFGA year round. The Buildings and Grounds staff will have an accurate idea of the total power MOFGA can derive from the wind generator after it has operated for a year. As Mainers know, our best wind comes in winter, and the machine has not seen a full winter of operation yet.

Since installing the generator, MOFGA has been fielding many calls from people interested in reducing their electric power bills as well as people considering wind generated power to heat their homes and farms without oil. The American Wind Energy Association has a good Web site, with a page that deals specifically with small wind power generation in Maine. The U.S. government also has a good site for information about all types of renewable energy: http://www.eere.energy.gov.

The solar hot air collector mounted recently on MOFGA’s sprinkler building has allowed us to remove the petroleum-based heating system that previously kept the sprinkler tanks from freezing. Heating one less building helps reduce our expenses and carbon footprint.

Most exciting to Buildings and Grounds staff is the current construction of a solar wall to help us heat the main building and exhibition hall with solar energy. This closed-looped hot water system will feed hot water to an existing 1500-gallon water tank in MOFGA’s boiler room. The solar wall is ground-mounted near the south end of the building behind the kitchen. The wall will be built in stages, with 16 panels going in this year. The panels will be of various designs, some pre-manufactured, some homemade, and a combination of the two. Next year we hope to add more of our own solar hot water panels and add a few sophisticated evacuated-tube panels donated by various solar heating contractors. This will allow local contractors to show their products to the public while reducing our carbon footprint.

A ground-mounted solar collector system takes advantage of sunlight reflected from snow, provides MOFGA easier maintenance, and allows fairgoers to see the panels closely. Also by installing various types of hot water solar panels, the Buildings and Ground staff can monitor the efficiency of the panels versus their original cost. Members and fairgoers will be able to learn much about this renewable energy source to keep their homes and farms warm in winter.

– Vermon LeCount

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MOFGA Hires New Administrative Assistant
Kacey and Katy
Kacey Weber (left) and Katy Green.

In July, MOFGA hired yet another amazing staff member: Katy Green is the new administrative assistant and the front desk person who will greet visitors to the organization. Green takes over for Kacey (Collett)
Weber, who moved into the database manager role and provides program assistance for MOFGA's membership and development efforts. Weber, in turn, takes over for Abby Sadauckas, who is now developing MOFGA’s year-round volunteer program and coordinating logistics for educational events.

A graduate of Mount Desert High School, Green earned a B.S. from the University of Maine, Orono, in ecology and environmental sciences with a concentration in soil and water quality. She has worked with Cooperative Extension in Maine and New York, including (in New York) organizing activities for the Oswego County Fair and doing education and outreach in water quality for the Lake Neatahwanta Project of the Lake Neatahwanta Watershed farming community. Green has also been an AmeriCorps/Maine Conservation Corps/U. Maine Cooperative Extension Water Quality Office "Buffer Brigade Crew Leader" employee; a field research assistant in the Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department at Orono; and a registrar and administrative assistant at the Page Farm and Home Museum in Orono.

Welcome, Katy Green!

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