|Doug and Heather Donahue of Balfour Farm
|The Janapada Seva Trust in India strives to create a nonviolent, egalitarian order of society.
|Lambsquarters quiches garnished with crickets (front) and cicadas.
|Young kale plants with leeks.
|Permanent beds at Foundation Farm
Balfour Farm Puts Stock in Valued Cows and Value-Added Products
By Sonja Heyck-Merlin
In Gaelic, Balfour means "from the grazing or pasture land." Maine organic farmstead cheesemakers Heather and Doug Donahue settled on the name in honor of Doug's Irish ancestry. The name also affirms the couple's two-decade commitment to cultivating a pasture-based dairy.
Growing a Good Life
By Joyce White
Wendy Green, 61, has spent the years since adolescence creating her own life from an underlying philosophy of taking responsibility for herself while respecting all life. She, like anyone who has tried to live simply, knows that living simply is not simple.
Janapada Seva Trust
By Eric Rector
It all started with a bug in my ear. A friend had traveled to South India during college and now regularly returned to the same foundation – the Janapada Seva Trust – where she had initially visited through a college program. My friend described the foundation's work in detail, including its effort to encourage organic agriculture locally.
Put the Bite on Bugs
By Sue Smith-Heavenrich
Last year was tough on my garden. Between the heat and the lack of rain, about the only things I reliably produced were insects. One morning after knocking Japanese beetles off the bean plants, I stared at the cup of soggy protein covering the bottom of my bucket. Too bad I couldn't eat them. "You could," says Paul Landkamer. "They make good croutons."
Vern Grubinger on the Legacy of Organic Agriculture
Vern Grubinger, keynote speaker at MOFGA's 2016 Farmer to Farmer Conference, is the vegetable and berry specialist and an Extension professor at the University of Vermont. He also coordinates the USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE).
Maine Board of Pesticides Control 2016 Recap
By Jean English and Katy Green
This is our annual report covering all 2016 meetings of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC). The BPC, Maine's lead agency for pesticide oversight, is attached to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Its seven-member public board makes policy decisions.
Look Who's Been Talking
By Teresa L. Johnson
Just like those creepy talking trees in "The Wizard of Oz," the plants in your garden are talking to each other. Scientists have now identified ways that plants communicate with each other and with other species.
Kale and Kin
By Will Bonsall
Some years ago I commented to a friend in the seed business about how few kale varieties were available in the marketplace. What I call "true kales" are Brassica oleracea var. acephela, all descended from the wild weed "colewort," a native of the seacoasts of Europe. Examples include Vates, Squire and Konserva.
Permanent Raised Beds
Farming with no-till permanent beds can improve soil structure, reduce weeds, enable earlier planting dates, increase yields and rely less on expensive equipment. At MOFGA's 2016 Farmer to Farmer Conference, four experts described their permanent bed farming.
Farming the Shoulder Seasons
At MOFGA's 2016 Farmer to Farmer Conference, Eliot Coleman of Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine, and Patrice Gros of Foundation Farm near Fayetteville, Arkansas, discussed growing and marketing crops during the shoulder seasons to close the gaps on either end of the traditional growing season.
Flash Grazing Pigs for Pest Management
By C.J. Walke
Organic growers face numerous challenges with pest management, regardless of the crops grown, and look to crop rotation, biological controls and carefully timed applications of approved materials to target the pest at hand. Recent research shows that flash grazing pigs in the orchard can help interrupt insect life cycles and add other benefits to the orchard ecosystem.
Meeting Notes from 2016
By Diane Schivera, M.A.T.
This is my annual wrap-up of meetings I attended in 2016, beginning with the 20th annual Northeast Pasture Consortium (NEPC) meeting held in Maine at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport. It was very exciting to have the meeting in Maine for the first time in its history.
USDA Announces Possible Shift of Organic Certification Cost Share Administration
By Chris Grigsby, MOFGA Certification Services Director
On December 21, 2016, the USDA announced in a press release that beginning in March of 2017, administering of the cost-share program for reimbursements of certification fees may move to USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices across the country. In Maine, this could have meant a shift from the current system administered by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (MDACF) Division of Animal and Plant Health.
|John Bunker with a possible Blake apple. Photo by Laura Sieger
Maine Heritage Orchard Update
By Laura Sieger, MEHO intern
In 2016, MOFGA's Maine Heritage Orchard (MEHO) had another successful year. A few years ago this area was a gravel pit stripped of almost all life. Now most of the orchard is covered with vegetation. The clover we seeded in 2014 was lush and filled with buzzing bees all summer, and many of the woody companion plants – elderberries, blueberries, willows, etc. – are doing well.
Managing Cabbage Aphids
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Although it may seem so, the cabbage aphid is not a new pest. My favorite discussion of this pest is in a 1928 text called "Destructive and Useful Insects, Their Habits and Control," by C.L. Metcalf and W.P. Flint. Even though it was considered a destructive pest back then, to me it seems like the destruction has vastly increased in the past few decades. If you have not seen this pest yet, get ready.
Harvest Kitchen – Simple Gifts of Kindness
By Roberta Bailey
These days "kindness" is the word that I hold in the foreground of my mind. It is on a slip of paper at the corner of my bathroom mirror, the base of my computer, and I envision it on the inside of my forehead. It helps me move through the day, coaxing me out of bed and into the outside world. It reminds me of the goodness in humanity and the heart-opening power that a simple gesture can hold.
Investing in Each Other – Maine Businesses Give to MOFGA in 2016
By Sam Vail, MOFGA Development Associate
In 2016 Maine companies that have built brands around local ethics extended their business philosophy into their philanthropy. Companies all over the state donated to MOFGA in 2016, including Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Split Rock Distilling in Newcastle, Coffee by Design in Freeport and Flatbread Company in Portland.
Is Broadfork Worthwhile?
Better Living Through Biology
By Jean English and Katy Green
This issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener includes our comprehensive and integrated coverage of the 2016 meetings of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) – Maine's lead agency for pesticide oversight.
Local and Organic: They're Better Together
By Ted Quaday
Not long ago I received an evening telephone call from a national food company inviting me to subscribe to a service that promised to deliver "all natural gourmet foods" directly to my door.
Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility
The Homebrewer's Garden: How to Grow, Prepare & Use Your Own Hops, Malts & Brewing Herbs
The Farmer's Office: Tools, Tips and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business
Letter to a Young Farmer by Gene Logsdon
Fresh from the Garden: An Organic Guide to Growing Vegetables, Berries, and Herbs in Cold Climates