"Worms are the unsung heroes of our food chain. Their burrows allow oxygen and water to penetrate the soil, they add fertility and prevent flooding."
- Farming Today, BBC Radio
|| The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener – Summer 2005
|At Wolf Pine Farm: Amy Sprague, Tom Harms and their daughter, Delia. Christine Hull photo.
Wolf Pine Farm: A Time to Grow
by Christine Hull
The fields of Wolf Pine Farm, where organic vegetables grow, and the share room, where Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members receive their produce, exist symbiotically under the watchful eyes of farm owners Amy Sprague and Tom Harms and in the capable hands of the young staff. Wolf Pine Farm, in Alfred, Maine, proves that the CSA model connects consumers extremely effectively with their food and the farmers who grow it.
A Taste for Learning
By Larry Lack and Lee Ann Ward
Students give rave reviews to the Troy Howard Middle School's food and garden program (in Belfast, Maine). Teachers, administrators, parents and community groups also are enthusiastic about a program that produces more than 4000 pounds of food a year and has transformed the school's curriculum as well as student attitudes about eating, school and life.
Maine on Slow Food Fast Track
By Jo Anne Bander
Eliot Coleman of Four Season Farm in Harborside, a regular participant in the public dialogue on locally grown, seasonal produce, faced a room overflowing with individuals in blue jeans, silk saris, turbans, African batiks-and earphones. The subject was Mass Communication about Agriculture in the United States, the setting was Terra Madre (Mother Earth) in Turin, Italy, and the earphones allowed simultaneous translation in English, Spanish, Italian, French and Russian.
Sustaining What We Love: The Real Organic Agriculture
By Jean English
Vern Grubinger's epiphany was the topic of his keynote speech at MOFGA and Cooperative Extension's Farmer to Farmer Conference in Bar Harbor last November. He was the vegetable and berry specialist with University of Vermont Extension, but realized that nobody was going out of business from lack of knowledge about how to grow vegetables. "The challenges to farmers are actually much broader – the marketplace and regulations and labor and intergenerational transfer."
Local and Organic in a Global Food Economy: What is Our Role – As Farmers, Consumers and Citizens?
The global food system and its alternatives were addressed at MOFGA's 2005 Spring Growth Conference. Speakers included Fred Kirschenmann, long-time organic farmer from North Dakota and former member of the National Organic Standards Board, who now chairs the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University; Molly Anderson, U.S. Regional Director at Oxfam America and former Director of the Agriculture, Food, and Environment Program at Tufts University; Lawrence Woodward, who directs the Elm Farm Research Centre in Berkshire, U.K.; Jan Schrock and Amy Burchstead of Heifer Project International; and a panel of Maine people who are involved in the food system. [This article appeared in the Fall 2005 Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener]
Links to articles about the talks appear below:
• Lawrence Woodward – Soil, Food Quality, and Health
• Fred Kirschenmann – No More Cheap Oil
• Molly Anderson – Changing Values and Attitudes
• Jan Schrock and Amy Burchstead [Fall 2005 Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener]
• Food Issue Panel – Jim Amaral of Borealis Breads; Florence Reed of Sustainable Harvest International (SHI); Kirsten Walter of Lots to Garden; and Jo Barrett of King Hill Farm [Fall 2005 Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener]
Introducing 2005 Fair Keynote Speaker John Howe
The End of Fossil Energy and a Plan for Sustainability
John Howe has a plan to get us through “the most important problem ever to face civilization,” i.e., the period following “peak oil.” Peak oil refers to the halfway point, the point at which we’ve used half the oil, the major component of all fossil energy originally made on earth, and after which less and less oil becomes available, extraction becomes more difficult, and prices climb rapidly.
Blueberries as a Year-round Staple (or Why We're Wild about Blueberries)
by Lee Ann Ward and Larry Lack
We're fortunate to own some 2 acres of beautiful, moderately productive wild blueberry land near the Machias River in Whitneyville, Maine. In alternate years when we burn or mow this land and forego the harvest, we have access to organic blueberries from friends' fields in Washington County.
|Capturing the Good Life: Linda Tatelbaum. Lorie Costigan photo.
Capturing The Good Life
by Jean Ann Pollard
Are you living simply, gardening organically, cooking from scratch, recycling, having two kids instead of eight, etc.? Are you living the Good Life? Or are you depressed by today's politics, fanatics, pollution, global warming, overpopulation, and your own failures? Take a second look. Right before your eyes are a woman and her husband who had a dream and are still in Maine, showing that dreams don't necessarily die.
Strawberries – Botanically Confusing, Culinarily Perfect
By Roberta Bailey
Did you know that the seed-like structures on a strawberry are really a type of fruit called achenes (a small, dry, hard, one-seeded, indehiscent fruit), and that what most of us think of as the fruit or berry is really just the fleshy host, or receptacle, for the seed-like fruit? Since I learned this, I have looked at strawberries a little differently.
Canning With Care
By Jean Ann Pollard
Home canning has always been “a notorious breeding ground for a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum,” reports Nicholas Bakalar in Where the Germs Are: A Scientific Safari. Botulinus, which is “actually a group of seven separate organisms distinguishable by an odorless type of nerve poison they produce,” lives in the soil all around us; and its effects can be – well – fatal.
Drip, Drip, Drip – Is It Better Than a Downpour?
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Plants need water to grow, and although this is obvious to any farmer or gardener, water availability is the limiting factor to plant growth more often than most realize. More and more growers have become aware of this and are installing irrigation systems.
Q. How can I keep squirrels out of my garden?
Vermont's Farmer Protection Act Update
by Andrew Barker
A bill that would shift all liability for genetically engineered (GE) crops off farmers and onto biotech seed manufacturers was progressing steadily through the Vermont legislature as we went to press. The Farmer Protection Act is the only bill of its kind still alive in the nation after similar initiatives in Montana and North Dakota were defeated earlier this winter.
Tips & Tidbits
Mind Your Peas and Oats
Solar Water Pumps for Rotational Grazing
Cash in on Metal Market
Mint Oil Kills or Repels Ants
Sow Oats to Weed and Mulch Strawberries
Organic Catsup is Better
Read and Weed
Organic Apple Info
Bean and Buckwheat Intercrops
Recycled Refrigerator Truck Cooler Stores Veggies
Letters – June 2005
Local Foods May Limit Perchlorate Intake
Beauty Products That are Not Tested on Animals
Passion, and Patience – by Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
In the spring we are filled with optimism, and we tend to think that what we do will succeed, and last. Each time we plant a tree, we want it to grow and thrive. I know when I plant an apple or pear in my small orchard, I've thought about my daughters, and beyond, as potential eaters, long after I'm gone.
We Are the Consequences of Our Actions – by John Bunker, MOFGA President
In at least one of his many books on the nature of life, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes of the "Five Remembrances." Number five is my favorite: "My actions are my only true belongings. I can not escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand." Though intended for everyone, these words have special significance for the farmer and gardener who is making compost, tilling soil, planting seeds, digging weeds, spreading mulch, harvesting crops.
Let the Biological Revolution Bloom! – by Jean English, Editor, The MOF&G
A complex biological revolution is ready to blossom – and just in time, as the dinosaur, oil-fueled revolution approaches extinction. The flame kindled by cheap oil won't burn much longer, and its demise is actually a good thing, potentially saving us from global warming and pollution … not to mention war.
Reviews and Resources
Frost Heaves – A Year of Farming in Levant, Maine, by John Chisholm
Two Farms: Essays on a Maine Country Life, by Janet Galle
Living Within Our Means Beyond the Fossil Fuel Credit Card, by Kamyar Enshayan
Planting the Rights Seed: A Human Rights Perspective on Agriculture Trade and the WTO
NOFA Handbooks on Organic Growing
New Extension Publications Catalog
Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management, by Eric Sideman, et al