|MOFGA president Heather Albert-Knopp (left), Walter E. Whitcomb, commissioner of Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, and MOFGA’s interim executive director, Heather Spalding, at the 2013 Maine Agricultural Trades Show. English photo.
On Jan. 8, 2013, Heather Albert-Knopp took over MOFGA’s presidency from outgoing president Barbara Damrosch. Following are Albert-Knopp’s remarks at MOFGA’s annual meeting.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge and thank Barbara Damrosch for guiding us with such grace and skill over the past two years. I first met Barbara 15 years ago, when I spent a summer working on her farm in Harborside, and was awe-struck by her remarkable gardens, her dexterity with words and language, and her passion for good food. Working with Barbara on the board and executive committee has been truly delightful – she’s insightful and pithy, fiercely committed to small-scale organic farming, and she has a well honed sense of humor – all of which have benefited us so much during her presidency. I’m also really grateful that Barbara will be continuing to serve on MOFGA’s executive committee and board.
I hope that everyone will also join me in thanking and acknowledging Heather Spalding, who wears so many hats at MOFGA, who is always on top of all the details, and who approaches every challenge with her profound intelligence, kindness and generosity. Heather, we’re so fortunate to have you at the helm as interim executive director, and I am really excited to have the opportunity to work closely with you this year.
I am sincerely honored and grateful to have the opportunity to serve MOFGA in this role. I bring the perspective of having grown up with MOFGA as a fixture in my life and landscape. My parents brought me to the first Common Ground Fair in ’77 – I don’t actually remember it, but I wish I did! During my teen years, I would come to the fair and find an antidote to high school: people raising animals, growing garlic, spinning wool, and speaking out about issues they believed in. Here was a vision for another, better world and we were all welcome. What a privilege to never have known a world without MOFGA!
Now, having served on the board for five years, I get to see so much more of what goes on behind the scenes – the knowledgeable and hard-working staff who certify farms, teach workshops, coordinate apprenticeships, register vendors, and do the myriad other things that not only keep this organization running, but also constantly make it even better. The thousands of volunteers who are this institution’s lifeblood – who make the Common Ground Fair possible, who serve on our board and committees, who testify before the legislature, and who have such a strong and inspiring vision for living well in a complicated world. Being a part of this community feeds me, and it’s similar to the nourishment and fulfillment I get from eating the vegetables, fruit and meat that I grow in my backyard. I look forward to getting to know more of you in the coming months, and working together with you to carry this shared vision forward.