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MOF&G Cover Fall 2012

  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerFall 2012Notes – Fall 2012   
 MOFGA Notes – Fall 2012 Minimize

MOFGA Farm & Homestead Day

Danya Klie Leaves Home and Property to MOFGA
MOFGA Staff Profile: Diane Schivera
Successful Farm and Homestead Day at MOFGA
Maine School Gardens Open Sept. 29
MOFGA Hires Chris Hamilton
Fair Assistant Hired
Volunteer Coordinator
Congratulations to …
Condolences to the Family and Friends of …

 

Weaving demonstration at MOFGA's Farm & Homestead Day. English photo.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Danya Klie
Danya Klie arriving at the 2011 Common Ground Country Fair. Photo courtesy of Ginny Klie.

Danya Klie Leaves Home and Property to MOFGA

Over the decades, several MOFGA members have left gifts of money or property to our organization in their wills. Danya Klie, a consummate MOFGA volunteer who died in May 2012, joins those who have remembered us generously: She left her Belfast home and property to MOFGA to sell to a farmer or gardener.

We asked Danya’s twin sister, Barbara, why. She responded eloquently.

“Even before Danya was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the end of August of 2011, her physical energy had become extremely low, and remained that way. But her mind was still very active, and she gave herself time to write ‘Musing on Dying’ and also a very well thought out will.

“The very first item in the will states, ‘I give and devise my land and buildings situated in Belfast, Maine, to MOFGA... ,’ and then she included some stipulations and desires.

“Family, a couple of neighborhood children, and other favorite organizations also were included in the will. She even thought of the Penobscot Indian Nation, saying, ‘I have lived uninvited on what I consider to be your land for about two decades, and I thank you.’ What a nice thought!

“So, why did she give land and home to MOFGA? We did not talk about it in depth. I do know that she loved the organization and the people at MOFGA, and felt loved and appreciated in return. That became even more apparent to me with the warm greeting I got from so many when I went to MOFGA a few weeks after Danya died. She felt so at home there, and people at MOFGA made me feel the same.

“Danya's garden was a very important part of her life – being outdoors, getting ‘real exercise,’ being as self sufficient as possible, improving the soil, growing food for herself and to give away, experimenting every year with something new... She wanted to see the garden keep going.

“She also did not want me to have the ‘burden’ of trying to sell the place. What better idea than to put the ‘burden’ on MOFGA, which would have no trouble finding a farmer or gardener to buy the land. And in return, MOFGA would have the proceeds of the sale.

“I believe that is why Danya came up with the idea of donating her land and home to MOFGA; it just made common sense, and Danya loved common sense.”

If it makes sense for you to include MOFGA in your planned giving, please contact Chris Hamilton, MOFGA’s associate director, at 568-4142 or chamilton@mofga.org.

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Diane Schivera
She dances, too! MOFGA’s organic livestock specialist Diane Schivera answers questions about, writes about, leads workshops on and tends her own livestock. Look for her in the MOFGA tent at the Common Ground Fair – or with the Morris Dancers.

MOFGA Staff Profile: Diane Schivera, MOFGA’s Organic Livestock Specialist

When did you start working for MOFGA?

May 20, 1998.

What is your background in animal science?

I earned an associate in applied science degree in veterinary science from the State University of New York, Delhi, in 1975. I spent lots of time in the school’s dairy barn milking cows, and this began my love of livestock – cows in particular. I got a bachelor’s degree in animals sciences from Cornell in 1977 and a master’s in agricultural education from Cornell 1981. I worked for veterinarians for many years, with large and small animals. I have a strong interest in herbal and homeopathic medicine and have studied herbs on my own since the 1970s; and I’ve been in a homeopathic study group since the early 1990s. I have raised chickens for eggs and for meat, a couple of pigs and a few naughty sheep that got out of the fence a lot. I have a funny donkey and a Milking Devon cow who has a love-hate relationship with the donkey: She picks on the donkey but bellows if I take the donkey out of the paddock or pasture.

What do you do in a typical day or days?

No day is typical. I spend time answering e-mail and phone calls, reading newsletters and going to meetings of the Maine Grass Farmers Network, which I helped start with a SARE Grant in 2004. I go to board meetings of the Maine Sheep Breeders Association and the Maine Poultry Growers Association. I’ve been on the poultry board since it started in 2002 and have composed its newsletters since 2003. The best part of my job is visiting farms and journeypersons every year. I try to do that as much as I can.

What are the biggest issues facing farmers with organic livestock?

The three biggest are the price of grain versus the price of product sales (milk, meat, eggs and fiber), the availability of meat processing facilities, and parasites in sheep and goats. I think those have been the biggest issues since I started. Control is improving, but everyone in the industry still needs to work on these issues.

The University of Maine at Orono and MOFGA (with support from Organic Valley) have been encouraging Maine farmers to produce grain in the state. That is moving forward and will at least reduce shipping costs for grain. But all consumers must help by purchasing organic farmers’ livestock products and realizing that the farmers are not getting rich but are just making a living with the prices they are charging.

Maine has a working group, organized by the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society, focusing on meat processing, and a Northeast Meat Conference is scheduled for next March in New Hampshire. I am involved with both of those.

We hope to have had a meeting of sheep and goat farmers this summer to inform them about possibilities for eliminating barriers to becoming certified organic. One barrier is internal parasite control. We are working with a couple of controls and hope more farmers will test different methods of control.

You can contact Diane with your questions about organic livestock care at dianes@mofga.org or (preferably) 568-4142.

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MOFGA Farm & Homestead Day
MOFGA's Farm and Homestead Day was hands-on all the way, whether planting a square-foot garden, learning to milk a goat or learning to weave (photo at the top of this page). English photos.
MOFGA Farm & Homestead Day
 

Successful Farm and Homestead Day at MOFGA

Some 300 people attended Farm and Homestead Day at MOFGA in June. The day started out cloudy but became beautiful for more than 30 workshops covering eight subject tracks, including chickens, from incubating and brooding through pasturing, slaughtering, butchering and cooking. Other workshops covered working with herbs, tree ID, and wild foraging. Hands-on skills-building workshops included assembling a beehive, building bird nesting boxes, building a goat milking stand and making split shakes out of pine.

Fiber arts workshops taught spinning, weaving, skirting wool fleeces and making felt, and a spin-in occurred in the fiber tent. People learned to mow with scythes in the amphitheater, to scythe in tight places and to maintain a scythe blade. The gardens hosted workshops on companion planting with fruit trees, soil amendments, gardening with hand tools, creating a hugelkultur bed, and a “Kids can Grow” raised bed demo. Blacksmith demos occurred all day; a lunchtime panel discussed various types of CSAs, and a session on making hand-cranked home-made vanilla ice cream was popular.

Among comments on our exit surveys were these:

• “Keep up the good work – we all can learn more useful basics of life, this is a good event.”

• “Thank you for a great morning : )”

• “You need more workshops, because there were so many people. Clearly this is meeting a need for many people.”

• “It was a great day. I enjoyed the trail walk.”

Many of the staff received verbal compliments on the day, and many folks expressed appreciation for the event and want it to return next year.

We encourage anyone who is interested in helping to plan next year’s event to join the “Planning Rabble” as we embark on the next exciting installment of Farm and Homestead Day. Join the planning committee, volunteer for set up and take down and to help organize and/or teach workshops. Please contact us at farmandhomesteadday@myfairpoint.net.

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Maine School Gardens Open Sept. 29

The Maine School Garden Network’s School Garden Open House takes place on Saturday, September 29, 2012, in conjunction with Maine Harvest Lunch week (September 26 to 30.) Schools and educational gardens across Maine will be open to raise awareness of the myriad benefits of garden programs for youth. Last year a dozen schools participated in the Open House and offered student-led garden tours, cider pressing, a compost workshop, garden art projects, garden-themed games, and garden-sourced food samples. This year will see opportunities to plant garlic for UMaine Cooperative Extension’s “Garlic for Good” project. All School Garden Open House events are free and open to the public. For details about these events or about the Maine School Garden Network, see www.msgn.org or contact info@msgn.org.

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Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton. English photo.

MOFGA Hires Chris Hamilton

Chris Hamilton of Whitefield is MOFGA's new associate director, responsible primarily for fundraising. He will also help with organizational management and state-level public policy.

For the past five years, Hamilton has been director of development for LifeFlight Foundation, Maine’s emergency medical helicopter service. Before that he spent two years as director of The Bahamas National Trust, a nonprofit that manages the country’s national parks. He was on Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s senior management team for nine years as director of communications and public policy, was the founding treasurer of Maine Farmland Trust and is an active member of Rotary International.

Chris and his wife, Patti (MOFGA’s frequent chef and coordinator of the Common Kitchen), own an organic farm in Whitefield. They and their two children, Becca, 22, and Abe, 19, have been involved with the Common Ground Fair for nearly 20 years.

MOFGA has seen tremendous growth in its membership, program offerings, educational, technical and certification services, and infrastructure at its year-round Common Ground Education Center in Unity – thus the need for high-level development guidance to support the vision and commitment of its volunteers, staff and diverse constituents.

“I am excited to join the wonderful and dedicated people at MOFGA to help promote access to healthy food, train aspiring farmers and follow my personal passion for farming in Maine,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton earned a bachelor’s degree from College of the Atlantic in 1985 and, in 1988, a master’s in environmental policy from the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources.

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Fair Assistant Hired

Renata Christen joined MOFGA this summer as Common Ground Country Fair assistant.

Since moving to Maine last year, Christen has immersed herself in Waldo County's agricultural community, volunteering at Common Ground and working with Mark and Paula Fulford, Will Bonsall, and at New Forest Institute. Before moving to Maine, she worked for High Mowing Seeds on a seed trials crew and in the marketing department; in California at the Green String Institute’s 7-acre farm; in Rhode Island at the Southside Community Land Trust, where she created the online Urban Agriculture Resource Center and blog; and in New York City as a writer and blogger for Flavorpill. Christen manages a farmstead in Montville.

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Volunteer Coordinator

Eleanor Salazar of Montville, the Common Ground Fair’s volunteer coordinator, answers questions from prospective volunteers and Common Ground Country Fair planning team members. An accomplished jeweler, Salazar moved to Maine in 2005 and last year settled in Montville where she and her husband are renovating and revitalizing an old farmhouse and farmstead.

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Congratulations to …

Holli Cederholm, hired by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association in May as its general manager in charge of technical assistance, organizational development and communications. A graduate of the environmental writing program at Unity College, Cederholm was MOFGA’s previous farmer-in-residence with her partner Brian St. Laurent; their Proud Peasant MOFGA-certified organic farm is now in Washington, Maine. Cederholm is a freelance writer for The MOF&G, a farmers’ market vendor at the Common Ground Fair, and sells seed to Fedco.

Paul Birdsall, who received the 2012 Espy Land Heritage Award from Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Birdsall has led farmland conservation efforts for more than three decades. He helped found the Blue Hill Heritage Trust and Maine Farmland Trust; donated a conservation easement on his own 383-acre Horsepower Farm in Penobscot to Blue Hill Heritage Trust; and had conservation easements on two local farms that he purchased and resold to young farmers. Horsepower Farm has hosted many MOFGA apprentices. Birdsall divided his $5,000 Espy grant between the two land trusts he helped found.

• MOFGA member Glen Mittelhauser, who co-authored with Linda Gregory, Sally Rooney and Jill E. Weber The Plants of Acadia National Park. The 2010 book published by the University of Maine Press won two prestigious national awards: the Sarah Chapman Francis Medal from the Garden Club of America for “outstanding literary achievement related to any aspect of the Garden Club of America interests” and the Association of Partners for Public Lands’ Media & Partnership Award in the category of “non-partner-published book.” Mittelhauser is executive director of the Maine Natural History Observatory.

Russell Libby, MOFGA’s executive director, who received the John Merck Fund’s annual Sparkplug Award for leadership.

• MOFGA member Jo Barrett, hired as the Land for Good field staff person for Maine. MOFGA has a partnership with Land for Good and Maine Farmland Trust.

• MOFGA member Sara Trunzo, who received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Unity Area Rotary Club. Trunzo, the Unity College Food and Farms Project coordinator and a 2008 alum of Unity College, served for two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer focusing on local food security. She’s active in area agencies and on multiple advisory boards that address issues of hunger, food access, sustainable agriculture and community development. She helped develop the hunger-relief project Veggies for All, which grows about 15,000 pounds of storage crops for area people, and she works closely with Unity’s Volunteer Regional Food Pantry.

• MOFGA member Florence Reed, founder of Sustainable Harvest International of Surry, Maine. Reed won the 2012 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service, given to a returned Peace Corps volunteer who continues to make a sustained and distinguished contribution to humanitarian causes at home or abroad or is an innovative social entrepreneur whose actions will bring about significant long-term change.

10 MOFGA employees who joined together to eat healthier foods, exercise and lose weight – with an incentive. Each put $40 in a kitty for the one who lost the largest percentage of weight in four months. The winner was Kacey Weber, MOFGA’s database manager and program assistant for membership and development, although Janice Clark, MOFGA’s finance administrator and advertising manager, says, “Hopefully, we all win in getting healthier.”

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Condolences to the Family and Friends of …

Richard Hall of Mount Vernon, who died in June. Hall was a MOFGA certified organic dairy farmer.

Roberta "Joan" Lipfert, who died in July. Joan helped found MOFGA, worked in its office, and helped organize the Common Ground Country Fair. Says MOFGA member and volunteer Beedy Parker, "I loved working with, or near, her as a volunteer in the MOFGA office, back when Don [Lipfert] was president. Calm and kind and knowing things." Joan raised chicken, sheep, goats and a half-acre garden. She and Don raised their children and foster children in Woolwich, where they started the Jacataqua School, an alternative high school. Don died last year.

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