|Fire Flower Garden and Pottery. Holli Cederholm photo.
Art in the Garden: Fire Flower Garden and Pottery
By Holli Cederholm
Fire Flower Garden and Pottery is a cornerstone of MOFGA's annual Common Ground Country Fair Farmers' Market. Its array of MOFGA certified organic, dried and fresh flower bouquets, farm-harvested willow baskets, and inscribed pumpkins have long highlighted the harvest season for fairgoers perusing the Rose Gate market.
Grow Your Own Witlof Chicory
By Will Bonsall
Exclusive restaurants call them “chicons” and will serve you a pair of half-heads doused in vinaigrette in exchange for your firstborn male child. Yet these so-called gourmet luxuries are surprisingly easy to grow in your own garden.
By Joyce White
Gardening has been an abiding interest since my first 4-H garden at age 10. The year was 1942 and we called it my “victory garden,” because President Roosevelt, “FDR,” had inspired the nation – well, some of the nation, anyway – to plant victory gardens as a patriotic endeavor, a part of the concerted war effort.
Distributism: A Third Way
By Doug Fox
Long days, hard work. Efficiency of mind and body. Good soil, developed over time. Knowledge of plants, soils, insects, fungi. Community benefits beyond good, healthy food. All this, and yet net farm incomes are so low – small farms net about 15 percent of gross – that farmers cannot reduce their selling price to make their food more affordable to low-income earners. Even farmers themselves struggle to purchase some food that they do not produce. Clearly, increased revenue from future advances in farm efficiency needs to go to increasing net farm income, not into lowering food prices. Food security as well as support for farm viability will need to come from changes in the larger economic system.
|GMO labeling rally at the Maine State House.
Maine Legislature Passes Bill To Label Genetically Engineered Foods
Governor promises he’ll sign in January
Two hundred people rallying under Maine Governor Paul LePage’s windows at the State House; 91 percent of Maine people polled saying they want labeling; Rep. Lance Harvell working the halls of the Legislature endlessly, rallying unprecedented support; Jim Gerritsen driving repeatedly from his Aroostook County farm to Augusta: Maine had an exciting and comprehensive campaign this year to label genetically engineered (GE) foods, a campaign driven by several committed groups and individuals.
Farm Viability – Another Way to Assist Farmers
By John Piotti
In 1999, MOFGA’s executive director, Russell Libby, and several other leaders in sustainable agriculture – all MOFGA members – created Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) in response to a clear need. We saw protecting farmland as fundamental to the future of farming, and not just for the most obvious reason that good farmland is essential to raising crops and livestock. We also understood how Maine needed to protect farmland to ensure that more land would be affordable for the next generation of farmers.
MOFGA Seeks Farmers-in-Residence
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) seeks applicants who are committed to organic agriculture and public outreach to be Farmers-in-Residence at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity, Maine.
|Mondrian “Moe” Shumate (left) and Andrea Boothby continue Danya Klie’s care for the environment and people at Toads End Farm. Photo by Marta Madden, martamadden.com.
By Betsy Garrold
This is a story about women, community and music. When Danya Klie was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2011, she knew that her time was short and that she did not want to “burden” her twin sister, Barbara, with her farm at Toads End in Belfast and with the task of selling it. Among Danya’s many community involvements, she had been a longtime volunteer at MOFGA, so she bequeathed her farm to MOFGA with the stipulation that it be sold to a woman or women farmers.
U.S. Farm Policy: Will the Farm Bill Move Us Forward?
By Dave Colson
Whether we have a new Farm Bill that will continue to move agricultural policy in the direction of sustainable and organic practices or just an extension of the status quo is the big question. How we farm, how we support the people who produce our food, and how we provide for those who are hungry – these questions need to be part of the national discussion. MOFGA urges Congress to take up these issues and pass a Farm Bill that moves us into the realities of the 21st century.
Fall Cleanup, or Not?
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Gardeners do not often think of themselves as managers, but they are. At this time of year, which I refer to as Fair time, gardeners have to make a very important decision about how they manage fall cleanup of their gardens. Farmers, who know they are managers, are also deciding whether to clean up crop debris or leave it in the field as organic matter to decay and build soil. After all, every bit of organic matter does good, from feeding microbes in the garden to improving soil tilth. So leaving it seems like the better choice. Sometimes it is not.
|Spring bulbs in full bloom. English photo.
Fall Bulb Primer
By Roberta Bailey
Maine winters are long, but our cool, wet spring season is made longer by our impatient yearnings for fresh greens, dry paths and more color in the landscape. Spring bulbs are the bright spots, the color-rich buoys of hope in a sea of mud and sloppy snow squalls.
By Diane Schivera, M.A.T.
Want to save money and feed your animals well at the same time? On most farms the biggest cost for keeping livestock is feed. The quality of the feed can seriously impact the health and production of livestock. For ruminant animals, most if not all of their feed will come from forages in the form of hay, balage, haylage or silage. Learning to select quality forages to feed your animals is a valuable tool.
Get the Sugar Out!
By Cheryl Wixson
For a variety of health, social and environmental reasons, I’ve been tweaking a number of my recipes to get the sugar out. Table sugar, or sucrose, is obtained by refining the juice from sugar beets or sugar cane. Today, about 80 percent of the white table sugar consumed in the United States is manufactured from genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets – and GE crops tend to increase the use of pesticides, concentrate the seed business in the hands of few and threaten to contaminate non-GE crops. From a health standpoint, 1 teaspoon of sugar has 4 grams of carbohydrates and 20 calories – and little to nothing in terms of vitamins, minerals and other healthful ingredients.
|Ted Quaday. Nicole Formenti photo.
Four Good Cookbooks, All from Maine
By Roberta Bailey
Here are four cookbooks by Maine authors that will inspire the seasoned gardener as well as the new locavore. Far better than the quick online search, paging through each of these books inspires and fires up the desire to cook creative and delicious dishes from the garden or farmers’ market. Something about holding the book, perusing the pages, was so comforting.
Ted Quaday Is MOFGA’s New Executive Director
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) is pleased to announce that Ted Quaday, of Santa Cruz, California, will become the organization’s next executive director. MOFGA began recruiting for this position in January, conducting a thorough, nationwide search for an inspiring and visionary leader to advance the organization’s goals. Quaday will attend MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair in September and will officially start as executive director on October 1.
Labeling Effort In Overtime – Collaboration Can Pull Maine Through
By Heather Spalding
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” This observation, widely attributed to Charles Darwin, rings true when considering the last session of the Maine Legislature. After five campaigns since 1993, we are inches, though months, away from a Maine law mandating labeling of genetically engineered foods. Come January, when the Legislature returns for its short session and Governor LePage signs our bill into law (as he has promised), we will celebrate a victory built on diversity, passion, creativity, respect, really hard work and, above all, collaboration.
Damned If You Do…
It’s hard to make friends when the choice is between mosquito-borne diseases and pesticides
By John Jemison, Chair of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control
Being a pesticide regulator has never been a recipe for winning a popularity contest. The art of balancing the rights and concerns of all constituents inevitably leaves all camps feeling less than ecstatic.
|John Bunker of Super Chilly Farm talked about all the miracles in life, at a MOFGA Farm Training Project workshop. English photo.
Dig in with MOFGA, for Blessed are the Miracles
By Jean English
Everything around us is a miracle. That was John Bunker’s message to the dozens of people – pilgrims, almost – who visited his and Cammy Watts’ Super Chilly Farm in Palermo during MOFGA’s Farm Training Project workshop there this July.
Why I Support MOFGA
By Peter Mendall
In 1978 my parents were teachers on North Haven Island in Penobscot Bay. We belonged to a local co-op, and once a month we volunteered our family van to go “off island” to pick up the group order and bring it back to the school gym where we would divide up all that fine produce. That September a group of the co-op members traveled to see the Common Ground Country Fair in Windsor.
Reviews & Resources
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Food Rights: The Escalating Battle over Who Decides What We Eat
Eco Barons - The New Heroes of Environmental Activism
Fresh from Maine: Recipes and Stories from the State's Best Chefs, 2nd Edition
The Resilient Farm and Homestead, An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach
Plowing with Pigs and Other Creative, Low-Budget Homesteading Solutions
The Planet Whizbang Idea Book for Gardeners
The Mobile Poultry Slaughterhouse
University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Enterprise Budgets