|Eric Rector. English photo.
“Every job I’m in, I end up doing the computers,” says Eric Rector, creator of MOFGA’s website (www.mofga.org). That’s what I’m good at.” Eric designed MOFGA’s site last year when the proposed USDA rules for organic labeling were up for public comment, and he wanted the talks MOFGA sponsored on the subject to be widely available. “How do you get the word out to as many people as fast as possible? The web is perfect for that sort of thing.”
But computers are not Eric’s great passion: food is. That’s what drew him to organic gardening and MOFGA, and what drives his interest in healthy soil. “You can’t make bad food out of good soil,” he says. In organic soil, “the microbiology is alive, so plants and animals are absorbing more and more variety.”
Eric and his wife, Alison, ran a catering business in Boston for several years, and both worked at the same bakery. “All our friends come from our food service background,” he says. He grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, with parents who love to cook. Not until he moved to California after college, however, did he realize “how wonderful food is if you grow it and eat it right away.” While the food was “terrific,” Eric found California “just too beautiful.” Growing up in New England, he says, he felt compelled to go outside on a beautiful day. But in California, “every day is beautiful. You either get nothing done or end up ignoring it, which is not the point.”
So Eric and Alison moved back east, first to Boston, where they lived downtown but rented garden space beside Alison’s sister’s driveway, and then to Searsmont, after hearing (11 years ago) that Belfast was “a hip, swinging place.” They moved from Boston to a housesitting arrangement on 165 acres where the nearest neighbor was almost a mile away. They figured the change would be enough of a shock to send them back home, but instead they loved it and, nine years ago, bought 100 acres at the end of a road in Monroe. They live there now with 10 or 11 chickens, three sheep (Alison spins and knits), three miniature donkeys, and a garden. Eric is the information systems manager for Harborside Graphics in Belfast, a job he likes, although “I’d rather be planting and working with good food.”
In addition to maintaining its website – which includes taking pictures at the Common Ground Country Fair – Eric recently joined MOFGA’s board of directors. As a board member, he hopes his computer expertise will help make the grower certification process easier and less expensive. He also hopes to “spread the word about how important this idea of farming is – not to mention the evil of genetically altered food that is creeping into our food supply.” He is finding the board of directors a good place to be. At the first board meeting he attended, Eric notes, “there was great food.”
– Ann Cox Halkett