"The soil is, as a matter of fact, full of live organisms. It is essential to conceive of it as something pulsating with life, not as a dead or inert mass."
- Albert Howard, The Soil and Health, 1947
|MOFGA members receive our quarterly newspaper The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener as a benefit of membership. Become a member today! It can also be purchased at news stands.
Organic Matter – A Compendium of Food and Agricultural News
Maine Board of Pesticides Control
Maine BPC Approves Bt Sweet Corn
MOFGA Stays Warm With Solar Power!
Thanks to Empty Bowl Donors!
Welcome to the 2009 Journeyperson Cohort!
Nonviolent Communication Workshop a Success for El Salvador Committee
Adult Ed Classes Seek Gardening Instructors
MOFGA Staff and Member News
Dedicate a Shade Tree at MOFGA’s Common Ground
Common Ground Country Fair
“The Apples of Maine” Poster is a Winner
Featured Speakers Preview
Clean and Share Your Garden Seed
Bottled Water Sales Eliminated
Coffee at the Fair
MOFGA Food Policy
Help Put the Word in the Street!
Artists: Call for Entries
Volunteer for the Fair
Join the Planning Team!
|| The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener – Summer 2009
|Single parent farmers Mary Perry (left) and Cate Stoner. English photo.
Single Parent Farmers Need Connections
By Jean English
Many of us who were inspired to move onto the land after reading Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life eventually encountered a factor they hadn’t mentioned: children. When the little ones arrived, the good life got even better – but more complex than we’d anticipated.
The CoolBot: The Small Farmer’s Answer to Cold Storage
By Phil Norris
Now and then an invention comes along that is so good that it changes forever the landscape of its own branch of technology – the telephone, the light bulb, the computer, etc. While the CoolBot’s influence may not be so earthshaking to the average person as those three examples, it is a breakthrough for the small farmer.
Bee-Friendly Farming Increases Crop Pollination
By Sue Smith-Heavenrich
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) may not be making headlines lately, but the strange disease is still plaguing U.S. beekeepers. Between September 2007 and March 2008, commercial beekeepers lost close to 36 percent of their colonies to CCD, an increase of more than 11 percent over the previous year.
|Bouquet for a Maine green wedding. Pollard Garrett photo.
Ten Points for a Maine Green Wedding
By Jean Ann Pollard Garrett
When our daughter, Jessica Garrett, and Ben Ligon from Massachusetts decided to marry, they wanted their commitment to each other to reflect their commitment to the planet – through a "green wedding." They also wanted an elegant affair with lovely tables, delicious food, many guests, flowers and dancing.
Livestock Cast in Bronze
By Holli Cedarholm
Massachusetts-based artist Carol Spack started sculpting rare breeds of farm animals in a series of events she refers to as nothing short of serendipity. In fact, she didn’t even realize she was doing it. Initially, just following her curiosity about animals and small towns in midcoast Maine, Spack visited small farms and walked through forests and along the ocean.
Avoiding and Battling Invasive Plants in Maine
By Bruce Blake
The landscape of Maine has been altered almost beyond recognition over the last 400 years. I don't want to suggest that this land was some sort of Rousseau-like paradise before Europeans arrived or that change is inherently negative, but the land has been enormously changed by human activity.
Woodward Cranberry Farm
By Joyce White
You don’t need to wait for Nature to establish a cranberry planting: You can create your own cranberry farm from scratch! Richmond and Linda Woodward have done just that on land in Albany Township in western Maine. But it’s not necessarily easy. Or cheap.
|Scythe Supply's Carol Bryan and Richard Scott. Larry Lack photo.
Scythe Supply in Perry
By Larry Lack
The scythe, an ancient harvest tool that was a critical factor in developing specialized agriculture and human civilization, is enjoying a worldwide revival, and a farm-based business in Down East Maine is playing a significant role in that revival.
Tips on Mowing Lawns with a Scythe
Maine Experiencing Growth in New Farmers: Career Changers Part of the Burst
By JoAnne Bander
On a frigid mid-March morning, with their Maine farm still snow-covered, Sarah and Richard Harrison were concerned about the condition of their 15 beds of garlic. They are not unique to seasonal angst, but this garlic is their first commercial crop.
The Fiber CSA: Weaving Direct Connections Between Producers and Consumers
By Mary Dickinson Bird
What wool producer wouldn’t rejoice at the thought of a secure source of cash up front to support production costs, a guaranteed market for fiber after shearing or processing, and even, perhaps, free labor during the farm’s busiest seasons?
Local, Organic and Fair: Setting a High Bar for Our CSAs
By Elizabeth Henderson
Elizabeth Henderson gave the keynote speech at MOFGA’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Conference on Feb. 21, 2009. Henderson is a CSA pioneer, farmer (at Peacework Organic Farm in Newark, New York) and author of Sharing the Harvest: a Citizen’s Guide to CSA.
2009 Spring Growth Conference – 2009
The Martens Farm: We All Do Better Together
Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens of The Martens Farm and Lakeview Organic Grain (www.lakevieworganicgrain.com) in Penn Yan, N.Y., were the keynote speakers at MOFGA’s 2009 Spring Growth Conference. They have been farming organically since the early ‘90s and were the first in their county to do so. They now farm 1400 acres of organic corn, soy, spelt, barley, wheat, triticale, oats, rye, red kidney beans (sold to Eden Foods), cabbage for sauerkraut, and hay.
|Heritage wheats displayed by Eli Rogosa. English photo.
Weed Control in Organic Grains
Ellen Mallory of the University of Maine reported on weed control tactics in organic cereals for graduate student Lauren Kolb, research associate Tom Molloy and associate professor Eric Gallandt.
Winter Grains, Sunflowers and Soybeans
Rick Kersbergen of UMaine Cooperative Extension presented information on a SARE project for growing small winter grains in Maine and Vermont. Small grains might fit into a dairy crop rotation after a corn silage crop to offset corn prices.
Restoring Heritage Wheats
Eli Rogosa spoke at Spring Growth about her work with traditional farmers who grow landrace wheat. She explained the hidden crisis of modern “Green Revolution” wheat, the most widely grown crop on earth, which has been “bred by industrial breeders in agrochemical soaked fields for high yield and uniformity.” Nutrition is neglected, said Rogosa, and flavor is forgotten.
Matt Williams, whose core farm principle is to help build the food community of Maine, discussed his experiences with growing organic grains for a decade and processing his and others’ organic grains for five years at his Aurora Mills & Farms in Linneus, in Aroostook County.
Miniature Portable Grain Dryer
Designed by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm in Vermont
Farmer Panel and Baker’s Advice
Dorn Cox of Tuckaway Farm in Lee, N.H., one of the seven farms in the Great Bay Grain Cooperative, said that the co-op farms about 1,500 acres. Members buy portable equipment to share. They hope to grow up to 400 acres of sunflowers, wheat, oats, triticale and rye, mainly for forage crops and custom-blended feed.
Daytripping 2009: Farms & Gardens to Visit
Welcome to the 2009 Daytripping list, an annual MOF&G feature. This year’s farms and gardens feature school gardens; the creative home gardening methods of Adam Tomash and June Zellers; diverse organic farms; a farm featuring rare breeds of animals; and much more.
|Tomato hornworms. English photo.
Enjoy the Garden: Minimize Summertime Blues
By Eric Sideman
Does summertime bode many afternoon hours in the hammock thinking about what's good in the garden to go with that hamburger hot off the grill – or hours of worrying what could go wrong in that garden, which looks so good this early in the season? Balancing fun with fret is key to a long life and a good garden. Knowing about and preparing for common problems that could decimate favorite crops is one way to minimize the fretting.
What Kind of Green? An Update on the Colombian Palm Oil Industry
By Margaree Little
To stand in the heart of an oil palm plantation in Colombia is to begin to understand the meaning of an industry-proclaimed “environmentalism” that doesn’t take social justice or true sustainability into account. At least that’s how I felt when I visited the Chocó region in the summer of 2007 and traveled into sweeping expanses planted with this “biofuel” crop.
Cooking with Whole Grains
By Roberta Bailey
Sales in the seed trade were up 30 to 80 percent this spring. The growth was attributed to the increased interest in eating more locally grown food. People are getting closer to their food sources, whether from farmers’ markets and farm stands or a community supported agriculture share, or from locally grown, seasonal produce in restaurants.
|Maine Nicoise salad.
Easy Summer Eating from the CSA Basket
By Cheryl Wixson
As cool spring nights give way to longer, warmer days, my taste buds anticipate a new season of eating. Bright shades of green burst forth, literally urging me to connect with the land. Dandelion greens sautéed with bacon, fiddlehead ferns baked into quiche, ruby red stalks of rhubarb stewed into sauce – these fleeting, seasonal delights herald the beginning of easy summer eating from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) basket.
Low-Impact Forestry Harvest at MOFGA: Safe and Profitable
The 2009 Low-Impact Forestry harvest at the MOFGA woodlot was a great success. At its height over 20 people participated in the logging event along with 14 horses, two oxen and assorted, appropriate, low-impact machinery.
Promote Local Foods at Your School, Workplace or Organization
MOFGA's marketing staff can help you write a message for school, workplace or other newsletters promoting the purchase of food directly from local farms. The message will enumerate the benefits of shopping and eating locally, and will list area farmers' markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) farms. If you are interested in crafting a message to your local group, contact MOFGA at 568-4142.
Farmers’ Markets in Maine
Different Views on Palestinian Farmer Article
Fitting the Pieces Together, by Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
It always takes a while to actually find out how bad things are in the “paper” economy, but we’re now somewhere around a year and a half into the current recession, at least the way it’s measured in official terms.
Organic Myths, Exploded, by Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
“One of the big lies in the popular press is that organic farms are labor-intensive,” said Mary-Howell Martens at MOFGA’s Spring Growth Conference in March. She and her husband, Klaas, told how they manage 1,400 certified organic acres of crops in New York state with only three full-time and two part-time people working the farm. (See the Spring Growth coverage in this MOF&G.)
Home Gardens: Growing Good, Safe Food, by Jean English (on the same page as "Organic Myths")
Reviews and Resources
The following reviews and resources appear on the same web page:
The All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening
Cultivating Life, by Sean Conway and Lee Alan Buttala
The Winter Harvest Handbook, by Eliot Coleman
The End of Food, by Paul Roberts
Shedding Light on Genetically Engineered Foods, by Beth H. Harrison, Ph.D.
Evaluate Your Site for a Small Wind System
Shades of Green: Quantifying the Benefits of Organic Dairy Production
Environmental Working Group’s Shopper's Guide to Pesticides
The Environmental Communication and Social Marketing Newsletter
Clean Energy Farming
Farmers' Guide to GMOs
Maine Home Energy bulletins
Search for hatcheries for poultry varieties, etc.
Multimedia recordings of the conference Growing U.S. Organic Agriculture
Federal Grants for Value-Added Products, Enterprises
USDA/APHIS Wildlife Services loans