By Heather Spalding
For the past year, MOFGA has publicized the great need for volunteer help at its permanent home in Unity. It is gratifying to know that so many of you were listening and reserving weekends for this extraordinary effort. Thanks to all of you who have helped so far. We encourage everyone to visit the site, and lend a hand if you have time.
On March 25 & 26, about 50 volunteers gathered in Unity to witness the raising of MOFGA’s timber frame Exhibition Hall. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to kick off the volunteer work parties. A bright blue sky made a stunning backdrop to the structure as timber framers raised and secured bents one by one. The barn raising drew on both time-honored and modern day techniques. While the timber frames themselves were traditionally joined, they were raised by cranes. The timber framers directing the barnraising included: Timber Frames by R.A. Krouse of Arundel; John Connolly & Co. of Edgecomb; Fairbanks Timber Frames of Winthrop; and Mike Smiley of New Sharon. For many of the volunteers, the event was a dream starting to come true. The Exhibition Hall is a work of art. It will serve the sustainable agriculture community for many centuries to come, and is a monument to the spirit of MOFGA’s community.
During the barnraising, hungry volunteers feasted on organic food thanks to the Gardner Family of Shivanarth Farm in Washington. The Gardners packed up their falafel booth – famous at the Common Ground Country Fair – towed it to Unity, and served delicious lunches, drinks and snacks for everyone. They have proudly taken their place in history as the first food vendors at MOFGA’s new home. Congratulations to the Gardners and thanks for being there!
Since the barn raising, volunteers have been working steadily on many other projects: They have cut a woodland path to connect the fairgrounds with the south parking lot, cleaned up the construction site, primed and painted trim on the maintenance building and Exhibition Hall, developed a landscaping plan including herb gardens and orchards, planted cover crops on the fields, created beds of daylilies and Siberian irises, and carried out countless other valuable tasks. MOFGA’s new home is really taking shape!
The next big event on the volunteer schedule will happen on the weekend of June 6 & 7. MOFGA is hoping for an enthusiastic crowd to help plant a rose hedge at the north entrance of the fairgrounds. Lloyd Brace and customers of Rosearie at Bayfields in Waldoboro donated dozens of rose bushes to the site. Lloyd will be on hand to direct the hedge planting.
MOFGA will be hosting volunteer work parties every weekend from now until the Common Ground Country Fair. If you would like to join the effort, please refer to the schedule of volunteer events. Generally, there will be two shifts each Saturday and Sunday – a morning shift from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and an afternoon shift from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. But, any time that volunteers can spare is greatly appreciated. Please contact the MOFGA office if you have questions, concerns or suggestions.
If volunteering during the week makes more sense for you, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you’re really ambitious, maybe you can convince your boss to close your office for the afternoon and bring your coworkers to the site for a special project. An afternoon working in the country is much more pleasant than one spent staring at a computer screen!
Developing MOFGA’s permanent home is a herculean effort – the basic foundation of which must be in place by September 25 when we open the 22nd annual Common Ground Country Fair. Please take a few minutes to check your summer calendar and the schedule of volunteer events. Set aside some time this summer to help create MOFGA’s new home and a sustainable future for organic agriculture in Maine. Hope to see you soon.
June 6 & 7 – Planting a Rose Hedge with Lloyd Brace of Rosearie at Bayfields; Constructing Livestock Barn A; General Work
June 13 & 14 – Constructing Livestock Barn A; General Work
June 20 & 21 – Celebrating the Summer Solstice; Constructing Livestock Barn B; General Work
June 27 & 28 – Constructing Livestock Barn B; General Work
July 4 & 5 – Celebrating Independence Day; General Work
July 11 & 12 – Constructing Livestock Barns C & B; General Work
July 18 & 19 – Constructing Livestock Barns C & D; General Work
July 25 & 26 – Constructing Livestock Barns C & D; General Work
August 1 & 2 – Completing Construction of Livestock Barns; Building Amphitheater Stage; General Work
August 8 & 9 – General Work
August 15 & 16 – Building Picnic Tables and Benches; General Work
August 22 & 23 – Constructing Demonstration Building A; General Work
August 29 & 30 – Building Picnic Tables and Benches; General Work
September 5 & 6 – General Work
September 11 & 12 – General Work
September 18, 19 & 20 – Setting Up for the Common Ground Country Fair
For information about timber frame building in Maine, contact the timber framer closest to you:
Timber Frames by R.A. Krouse, 46 Titcomb Lane, Arundel, Maine, 04046. Phone: 967-2747.
John Connolly and Company, 10 Atlantic Highway, Route 1, Edgecomb, Maine, 04556. Phone: 882-4224.
Fairbanks Timber Frames, RR 3 Box 285, Winthrop, Maine, 04364. Phone: 377-8826.
Mike Smiley, RFD 1 Box 2362, New Sharon, Maine, 04955. Phone: 778-9440.