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  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerSpring 2009MOFGA Notes - Spring 2009   
 MOFGA Notes – Spring 2009 Minimize


Growing Peace Workshop at MOFGA
Spring Growth Conference 2009
Fruit Tree Pruning Class
Seed Swap and Scion Exchange
Earth Day Volunteer Work Day
Empty Bowl Supper
MOFGA’s Low Impact Forestry News
USDA to Conduct Nationwide Organic Production Survey
Certification Program Preparing For Next Audit
MOFGA Staff and Member News


Growing Peace Workshop at MOFGA


Learn how to nourish your inner peace and your peace work in the world on Sunday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity. As a fundraiser for the MOFGA-El Salvador Committee, Peggy Smith will offer this one-day introduction to Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication with a workshop called “Growing Peace Within Myself and the World.” Snacks and lunch featuring local, organic foods are included. Details.

Participants will learn the basics of Nonviolent Communication (www.CNVC.org) and will explore how this practice nourishes their inner peace and their peace work in the world. They will begin to explore how conflict can be used as a vehicle to manifest connection. Participants will learn how to create more connection in their daily communication; how to listen with empathy; and how to express themselves authentically and clearly by observing facts without evaluation or judgment, identifying and expressing feelings, expressing the needs behind those feelings, and making clear and concrete requests for actions. They will also learn to release judgments of themselves and others and to speak more authentically from the heart; to stay centered and in a compassionate nature when triggered by someone’s words or actions; and to resolve conflict in ways that meet everyone’s needs.

Peggy Smith brings her extensive teaching skills, humor and presence to this work. A certification candidate with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, Smith offers workshops, courses, seminars and coaching to individuals, organizations and businesses. She has studied with Marshall Rosenberg, the NVC Training Institute, and is mentored by certified CNVC trainer Gina Cenciose. Smith has also studied with Zen teacher and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh and is an active member of his Order Of Interbeing. A co‐founder of the Maine NVC Network and founder of NVC for ME, she is passionate about bringing NVC to Maine.

This workshop is a fundraiser for MOFGA's El Salvador Sistering Project, which pairs MOFGA with two Salvadoran grassroots organizations working toward sustainable agriculture. The committee explores issues such as organic certification, free trade, marketing, etc., that affect farmers in both countries.

The workshop and lunch are a $75 value. Participation is by donation. All funds above cost go to the MOFGA El Salvador Sistering Committee. To register, please send a donation check made out to MOFGA. Write “El Salvador Sistering Committee” on the notation line. Mail the check and registration form to Peggy Smith, NVC for ME, 2807 Atlantic Hwy., Lincolnville, ME 04849. FMI: www.MaineNVCnetwork.org or www.CNVC.org

Registration Form
for March 8, 2009
Growing Peace within Myself and the World
MOFGA El Salvador Sistering Committee Fundraiser

Name: _______________________________________________________

Address:______________________________________________________Phone:

________________________ email:_________________________

I am making a $_______________ donation to MOFGA’s El Salvador Sistering Project. This donation will be refunded if the event is cancelled due to weather. There is no snow date.

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Spring Growth Conference 2009: Growing Grains In Maine

Commercial and home-scale grain growers can learn about grain varieties, soil fertility requirements, harvesting and storing grains, saving their seed and cooking with whole grains at MOFGA’s Spring Growth Conference on March 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center in Unity. Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens of The Martens Farm and Lakeview Organic Grain will be the keynote speakers. The Martens, once conventional growers, now farm over 1,300 acres organically in Penn Yan, New York, and supply some three-quarters of New York organic dairy farms with corn and soy. (See New Farm article.) Other contributors include Mark Fulford of Teltane Farm and Nursery in Monroe, Maine; Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm in Vermont; Elisheva Rogosa of the Heritage Wheat Conservancy; and Dorn Cox from New Hampshire. For a schedule and registration form, visit www.mofga.org.

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Fruit Tree Pruning Class
Kicks Off 2009 Organic Orcharding Class Series

On Saturday, March 21 (with a snow date of March 22), from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., MOFGA experts will demonstrate fruit tree pruning at three Maine locations: Russell Libby will be at Rambler's Way Farm in Kennebunk; Scott Miller at Raven Hill Orchards in Waterboro; and Phil Norris at Clayfield Farm in East Blue Hill. The day will be geared toward beginners and experienced growers, with a hands-on format and plenty of time for discussions and questions. Bring clippers, pruners, saws and a bag lunch.

This will be one of four orcharding classes that MOFGA will hold this year. The all-day, hands-on grafting class with Tim Seabrook and Delton Curtis will be at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity on April 25. Organic Orcharding 101 with Michael Phillips, author of The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist, will be on May 16, also on MOFGA’s grounds. Delton Curtis, bud grafter for Fedco Trees, will teach this skill in Thorndike on August 1. For registration details and more information, call MOFGA at 568-4142 or visit www.mofga.org.

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Seed Swap and Scion Exchange

The Maine Tree Crop Alliance, the Maine Seed Saving Network, Fedco and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association will host the 10th annual combined Seed Swap and Scionwood Exchange on Saturday, March 28, from noon to 4 p.m., in MOFGA’s Common Ground Exhibition Hall in Unity. For gardeners and orchardists, the event is like the most wonderful flea market in the world – except that most of the best stuff is free!

Educational workshops will include grafting techniques and basics of seed saving. Please bring seeds, scionwood or cuttings that you want to share freely with others. Last year scionwood of more than 100 fruit varieties was given away. These contributions make the day a success. Labels, tape and markers will be supplied free, and T-shirts, books, grafting supplies and rootstock will be sold. There is no admission charge, although donations are welcome. For more information, call MOFGA 207-568-4142 or visit www.mofga.org, where a schedule is posted.

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Earth Day Volunteer Work Day

On Saturday, April 18, 2009, MOFGA will host its annual Earth Day Volunteer Work Day at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity. Join MOFGA’s landscaping committee as we prepare the gardens, grounds and orchards for the growing season. The day will start at 9 a.m., and projects include garden clean up, tree care and small carpentry projects.

This is a great opportunity to meet other MOFGA supporters, to learn about organic landscape maintenance, and to get fresh air in your lungs and dirt under your nails! A local, seasonal lunch will be provided, and volunteers will receive a free T-shirt. For more information, please contact C.J. Walke at cjwalke@mofga.org or (207) 568-4142. We hope to see you there!!

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Beautiful Bowls, Savory Soup, Friends and Music
MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee Empty Bowl Supper

Want to buy a handsome, Maine-made bowl and support the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee’s work at the same time – all for just $10? Come to the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee’s Empty Bowl Supper on Saturday, April 25, at 6 p.m. in Belfast.

Each year MOFGA's El Salvador Sistering Committee and the Green Sanctuary and Social Justice Committees of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast serve an Empty Bowl Supper to raise funds for the El Salvador Committee’s work. Those funds have helped bring a delegation of Salvadorans to Maine to tour farms, meet with community organizers and agricultural officials, and participate in the Common Ground Country Fair; have helped fund events relating to the Central American Free Trade Agreement for our sistering organizations in El Salvador; and helped with work to prevent mining companies from destroying our Salvadoran sisters' mountains and agricultural lands.

Empty Bowl Suppers started in Michigan in 1990, when a high school art teacher helped his students raise funds to support a food drive. A class project to make ceramic bowls for a fundraising meal evolved. Guests were served a simple meal of soup and bread, and were invited to keep the bowl as a reminder of hunger in the world. Subsequently, Empty Bowls developed into a project to provide support for food banks, soup kitchens and other organizations that fight hunger. The Imagine/RENDER Group, a 501(c)3 organization, promotes the project, and Empty Bowl events now raise millions of dollars worldwide to help combat hunger.

This year the Empty Bowl Supper will be held on Saturday, April 25, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Miller St. in Belfast. Please join us for delicious soups, breads and desserts and to socialize. Enjoy live music and take home a beautiful bowl, handcrafted and donated by a Maine potter. For more information, please call MOFGA or check www.mofga.org/. Tickets will be available at the door.

Seeking Bowl Donations

MOFGA’s El Salvador Committee is seeking bowls made by Maine potters for its Empty Bowl Supper. Seconds are fine! Anyone who would like to donate bowls may contact Jean English, jenglish@midcoast.com, 763-3043. Thanks!

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Cartload of Logs
A cartload of logs at MOFGA’s Low Impact Forestry Workshop. Photo courtesy of Eli Berry.

MOFGA’s Low Impact Forestry News

A wet but wonderful November workshop at the woodlot in Unity concluded the 2008 season of MOFGA’s Low Impact Forestry (LIF) group. Participants chose among numerous options and spent most of the weekend engaged in hands-on learning in small groups with multiple instructors. The menu of opportunities continues to grow each year with new tools, teams and talents.

Guest veterinarian Don McLean spent time with many animals and provided insight into bovine and equine health and well-being. Carl Russell, a Vermont farmer, logger, forester and founder of Northeast Animal Powered Field Days, presented a clear vision of how and why LIF practices and principles don’t just make sense but build value for woodland owners. While small “crews” worked in the woods, other attendees took advantage of our large and diverse group of trainers, discussing and solving many common frustrations and challenges of the animal-handler relationship in a safe and encouraging atmosphere.

The expanded woodlot road system and new bridge and lumber yard allowed operations to cover more ground and put more space between work stations. We have greatly enhanced our ability to use multiple styles of extractions, to combine different tools and to improve opportunities for safe instruction.

I am struck every year by the great energy that surrounds these events. I can never tell which is the best teacher of humility: working in a fellowship of friends, working in close partnership with individual animals or working immersed in, and often at the mercy of, the living organism we call a forest or a woodlot. Every year brings a renewed dedication and affirmation that the skills and experiences shared here matter now more than ever.

– Eli Berry

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USDA to Conduct Nationwide Organic Production Survey

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is preparing to contact farmers who grow organic crops and livestock for the first Organic Production Survey. “Many people have commented on the popularity and growth of organic agriculture. The value of organically produced crops and livestock was measured in the 2007 Census of Agriculture, but little is known about livestock inventories, crop acreages, and costs of production,” says Gary Keough, director the NASS New England Field Office. “The Organic Production Survey will provide the most complete view of the organically produced crops and livestock to date.“

The NASS will mail surveys to producers in May 2009. Recipients are required to complete and return their forms by July 17, 2009. Results will be published in the fall of 2009. As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is protected by law. NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified.

For more information about the Organic Production Survey, call (800) 642-9571 or visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

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Certification Program Preparing For Next Audit

MOFGA Certification Services, LLC, is preparing for an audit this spring that should clear the way for final accreditation by USDA. MCS is one of about 20 programs around the country that is going through this second stage of review, resolving questions raised in the first review. A recent news article suggested that this is an unusual situation. MOFGA has been providing organic certification services since 1972, independently, under state legislation, and now under federal laws and rules. We are confident that we will continue to provide Maine's organic farmers and consumers with quality food long into the future.

– Russell Libby, Executive Director

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MOFGA Staff and Member News

Wood Prairie Farm of Bridgewater, Maine, received a Green Thumb Award from the Mailorder Gardening Assoc. for its new ‘Organic Prairie Blush’ potato. The potato is one of the association’s top six plant introductions of 2009. ‘Prairie Blush’ is a chance discovery of a clonal variant – a pink blushing tuber from a single hill in a field of ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes growing at Wood Prairie in 2001. The early mid-season, golden-fleshed potato has exceptional flavor and texture, beautiful blush skin markings, excellent storage qualities and very good suitability to organic culture. (Wood Prairie Farm, 1.800.829.9765, www.woodprairie.com/)

Johnny’s Selected Seeds (www.johnnyseeds.com) was chosen as the 2008 Merchant of the Year of the Maine Merchants Assoc. because of its commitment to Maine, its mission to “help family and friends to feed one another,” and for outstanding work in the community. Johnny’s also received one of six Mailorder Gardening Assoc. Green Thumb Awards for its ‘Honey Bear’ winter squash.


Melissa White Pillsbury, MOFGA’s organic marketing coordinator, had a baby boy, Richard, on Nov. 10, 2008. Richard attended his first Maine Agricultural Trades Show in January.
Russell Libby & Janice Clark
Russell Libby thanks Janice Clark for her 20 years of work with MOFGA at MOFGA’s annual meeting. English photo.

Janice Clark, MOFGA’s finance administrator and advertising manager, was honored at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show for her 20 years of employment at MOFGA.

Eric Rector finished his term as MOFGA Certification Services LLC board president in January. Dave Colson is the new board president.

Jacomijn Schravesande is now associate director of crops for MOFGA Certification Services LLC. This position focuses primarily on clients with vegetable and small diversified farms.

Kate Newkirk is now associate director of processing/handling for MOFGA Certification Services LLC.

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