"The soil is, as a matter of fact, full of live organisms. It is essential to conceive of it as something pulsating with life, not as a dead or inert mass."
- Albert Howard, The Soil and Health, 1947
News & Events
The Good News
Genetic Engineering (GE) in the News
Board of Pesticides Control
BPC on Notification, New Genetically Engineered Corn
Bt Corn Safety Questioned but Varieties Approved
Pesticide Application Rule Violations
Spring Growth Conference 2010 – From the Ground Up
2010 Organic Orcharding Class Series
Seed Swap and Scion Exchange
Earth Day Volunteer Work Day
Empty Bowl Supper
MOFGA Farmers in Residence: Greetings from Proud Peasant Farm
MOFGA’s Library – Open for Research
Host Your Own Garden Parade
Wilma Johnson and Wilma Stewart, the Two Wilmas
Art by Holly Meade Chosen for 2010 Fair Poster
Apply to be a Vendor or Exhibitor
Help Create the 2010 Fair
Start Planning for the Fair
Summer Fair Assistant
|| The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener – Spring 2010
|2009 Farmer-to-Farmer Conference
Is Organic Farming Sustainable?
Keynote by E. Ann Clark, University of Guelph, Ontario
The premise of Ann Clark’s keynote speech at the 2009 Farmer to Farmer Conference was that agriculture, including organic, is not ecologically sustainable because it was never designed to be sustainable.
Marketing Cut Flowers – Adding Value Through Bouquets, Arrangements and More
By Dr. Lois Berg Stack and Jean English
Linda and Jim Mercer of Sheepscot Flower Farm in Newcastle, Maine, and Dr. Lois Berg Stack of the University of Maine talked about cut flower production and sales at the 2009 Farmer-to-Farmer Conference in Northport, cosponsored by MOFGA and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Keeping Natural and Organic Honeybees for Crop Pollination
Presentation by Ross Conrad, Christy Hemenway and Luis Feliciano
Roughly one-third of the world’s crop plants depend on insects for pollination. On Maine farms and homesteads, with their emphasis on fruits and vegetables, pollinators are important for fruit set and crop yield – but environmental problems are reducing pollinator numbers.
Organic Seed Production
Presentation by Jodi Lew-Smith and Jim Gerritsen
Finding reliable sources of quality organic seed continues to challenge farmers, and market development for organic seed has been slower than anticipated. At the 2009 Farmer-to-Farmer Conference, seed producers and consumers discussed issues of organic seed quality and availability.
By Polly Shyka
When little pigtailed Flora started running laps around the slide projector while her parents were speaking, no one at the 2009 Farmer to Farmer session seemed even slightly miffed. Not only was the 3-1/2-year-old an important part of their conference presentation, she is an important part of their farm. A dynamic duo, Stacy Brenner and John Bliss cultivate 20 acres of vegetables, flowers, herbs and livestock at Scarborough’s Broadturn Farm.
The Kneading Conference: Celebrating Bread from Earth to Hearth
By Holli Cederholm
The Kneading Conference, held annually in Skowhegan, Maine, brings together people who love bread: from growing and milling the grains to baking and tasting the finished product, and everything in between. Each year amateur and professional bakers, farmers, earth oven enthusiasts and food fanatics gather for two days of seminars, hands-on workshops, social networking and, of course, delicious food.
By Will Sugg
MOFGA.net is the online community of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. The goal of MOFGA.net is to complement our other Web site, MOFGA.org, by offering an interactive online community for learning and sharing through the three major components of MOFGA.net: discussion forums, user profiles and the MOFGApedia.
Higher Education Gets Smarter: UNH Commits to Sustainable Food
Becoming a Sustainable Food Community
By Marina Schauffler
Many Maine colleges and universities are taking significant steps toward greater sustainability, but few have made as substantial a commitment as the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham to fostering a sustainable food community – on campus and beyond.
Is There a Place for Wheat in Your Garden?
Part I: Types of Wheat, Weed Control, Planting
By Will Bonsall
If you’ve been following world news in the past year or two, you’ve probably heard a lot of predictions of worldwide grain shortages in the near future. Fuel costs, bizarre weather events and financial crises are all seen as pointing to an impending famine of global proportions. Whether or not such alarm is well founded, I’ve always considered it prudent to be able to produce my own grain right in my own backyard.
In Praise of Pole Beans
By Adam Tomash
Tired of getting inundated with loads of green beans that come in all at once? They taste OK canned, but that’s a lot of work. Frozen bush beans are tasteless mush. What to do? Try pole beans.
Late Blight Again? It’s Up to Us
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
As everyone knows, last summer was wet and late blight was widespread on farms and in gardens. Some of you may be tired of hearing about it, but whether the crisis repeats in 2010 depends greatly on the weather and on what gardeners and farmers do to prevent the disease.
Effects of Regano on Sheep and Goat Parasites
By Diane Schivera, M.A.T.
Coccidia (Eimeria sp.), which are parasitic protozoa, and other internal parasite infestations are a major problem for many livestock farms, reducing growth rates and weight gains in young animals and thus reducing farm income.
Building a Local Food System One Business at a Time
By Melissa White Pillsbury
The buzz in the food scene lately has been “locally grown” – and even though the nature of buying your food locally from “farms with a face” goes against the predominant commodity-based supply system of supermarket chains and national food brands, it’s not stopping many of those mega-businesses from trying to cash in on the marketing value of “locally grown” – where “local” may be many states away from the supermarket. Such markets also advertise with terms such as “free range,” which has no legal definition and no third-party verification.
Company Profile: Barrels Community Market
After several years of planning, Barrels Community Market opened in July 2009 in a formerly vacant storefront on Main Street in Waterville in the “Barrell Block,” named for former owner Charles Barrell. The market emphasizes community in everything it does. Products sold at the market are sourced primarily from area farmers, food producers and crafters.
Who’s Your Farmer?
More and more Maine families buy food directly from local farmers. Here are a few simple questions you can ask your farmer to get a better idea of how your food is being produced – and a few key concepts to listen for when you are having those conversations.
Maine Local Twenty: More Maine Food on Maine Plates
By Cheryl Wixson
As a foodie, I’ve often contemplated the ideal of a local food system including products fished, foraged or grown in the Blue Hill peninsula area. In developing an organic marketing strategy for MOFGA, my work became focused on a broader question: Can Maine feed itself?
Harvest Kitchen: A Tart New Taste for Spring
By Roberta Bailey
Pulling out a cookbook or two can spark new ideas, or at least inspire a new twist on the same old root cellar and freezer fare This spring’s new twist is tarts, both sweet and savory. They make leeks and carrots strut their stuff anew. Spinach gets all dressed up with feta. Broccoli dances with celeriac in a potato crust.
Planting More Soybean Seed Means Fewer Weeds
Cuphea Good in Grain Rotations
Hard Frost and Oxalic Acid in Rhubarb Petioles
Our New Farmers
By Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
In February, a few of us sat down to interview the 34 people who applied to be MOFGA journeypersons this year. Every story and situation is different, but one message came through loud and clear: MOFGA’s support of beginning farmers is making a huge difference on the ground.
The Truth is Out There: Keep It Natural, Smarty!
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
The KISS design principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid – does not translate to farming and gardening. To farm and garden in environmentally sound ways requires intelligence; complexity in planting plans; and observing nature as a working model. KINS – Keep It Natural, Smarty.
If you’d like to host a tour of your farm or garden this summer, we can put you on our “Daytripping” list, to be published in the June-August issue of The MOF&G.
Reviews & Resources
Lifting the Yoke: Local Solutions to America’s Farm and Food Crisis, by Ron Krupp
A Spring without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply, by Michael Schacker
Pastures of Plenty; The Future of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Conservation in New England, by John Carroll
2010-2011 New England Vegetable Management Guide
Maine Food Trader
Cornell University Berry Program