|The home and garden of Mike and Margie Shannon. English photo.
Mike & Margie Shannon - A Consciously Evolved Lifestyle
By Jean English
Margie Shannon’s father would approve of the life that his daughter and son-in-law, Mike Shannon, have built on the north side of Frye Mountain, at 1000-feet elevation, in Knox. The solar-, wind- and propane-fueled house, the productive garden, and the water conservation measures would meet his standards, and the fuel-efficient Honda Civic hybrid in the driveway would amaze him.
Cultivating Community Links Kids to Food Systems
By Alice Torbert
Anyone engaged in organic agriculture, on any scale, discovers sooner or later that organic practice involves more than simply avoiding pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. Members of MOFGA are doubtless quite familiar with the idea of farming as an ongoing process involving the long-term health of the soil, the groundwater, and the local ecosystems as well as of the crops themselves. Craig Lapine and Richard Rudolph have taken this principle of interdependence in food production a step further. As the co-directors of southern Maine’s Cultivating Community, an innovative program combining agriculture, education, and service, they have broadened the organic process by linking the physical and psychological health of local human communities to the health of the ecosystem as a whole.
Cathrine Sneed and The Garden Project
By Dorene Pasekoff
Standing in a welfare line with two children in San Francisco, Cathrine Sneed wondered how someone like herself could make the world a better place. Over two decades, Sneed appears to have found her answer through the process of reconnection; first, by creating the Garden Project to help released prisoners reconnect to themselves and their communities by growing food for those who have none; and second, by harnessing the accolades The Garden Project has received into an arena where she connects the “outside” to those who languish in and out of our nation’s prison system.
|Narragansett turkeys. Bob Hawes photo.
Saving Heritage Turkeys
By Bob Hawes
During 1996 and 1997, the seasonal poultry hatcheries in the United States were surveyed in cooperation with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) to determine the status of the non-commercial varieties of domestic turkey. Why worry about turkeys? There is certainly no shortage of these breasty birds in your local supermarket during the holiday period – or nearly any time of the year, for that matter. But are these holiday turkeys produced from a broad genetic background as their numbers would indicate? Probably not. Only three major companies in the world own 90% or more of the commercial breeding stock.
Organic Cranberries Win Over Abandoned Racetrack
By Rhonda Houston (Tate)
It’s a Saturday morning in late September. The remnants of a tropical storm have blown through, leaving crisp, new air, blue skies and a sun that can still warm, even in its post summer state. Entering a farmhouse through the back door, which is, after all, the only true way to enter a farmhouse, a wearied traveler is welcomed by the crooning of James Taylor. Apples, picked from the ancient tree outside, are being prepped for pie, and a bottomless cup of coffee steams on the counter. All of this, brought to you by Pat and Mike, or Mike and Pat, depending on who’s talking.
The Working Horse & Oxen Association (WHOA) represents more than the interaction between human and draft animal; it also represents a way of life. The association demonstrates, through the use of affordable, low-tech harvesting – in this instance harvesting hay – how draft animals can partner with small farmers to accomplish many farm tasks using traditional techniques, low impact practices, and non-fossil fueled equipment.
Rustic Russian Gourmet
By Jean Ann Pollard
It was glorious! — the great Dvina river so still, so broad between its red banks of gravel and sand, and the grass and birch trees on the flat plain all around so green by contrast. And then there was the pungent scent of wood smoke, and we scrambled off the riverboat to see a long, low table laid with starched linen, glass, and cutlery, surrounded by logs on which to sit. All in a meadow smelling of strawberries and flowers. With a woman bending over a black iron pot, which dangled from a tree limb held by two firm posts over a hot fire. Of course, there was Vodka waiting. Because we were in Russia! It was July.
Mushrooms – More Than Just a Pretty Face
By Norma Jane Langford
In a world gone mad, it’s comforting to know that the oldest mushroom society in North America is alive and well; still sending out 450 copies of its bulletin; still sponsoring a full season of walks, forays, banquets, conferences and trips; and still finding converts among the young.
What Do Call Centers and Maine Farms Have in Common?
By John Piotti
Members of MOFGA don’t need to be reminded of the value of small farms to our local communities. Indeed, most of you reading this article already appreciate how Maine farms contribute to the local economy, how they preserve open space and protect wildlife, and how – when the farms serve local markets – they often save vast amounts of energy and water over food produced far away.
Grow Your Own Odd Alliums
By Roberta Bailey
Onions are the beginning of almost every meal, a cook’s greatest ally. As a kitchen gardener I work hard to grow a variety of onions. Mesh bags of pungent bulb onions and braids of sweet Cippolini onions (the open-pollinated, Italian heirloom onion) hang from the beams, ready for the soup pot or sauté pan. Outside my kitchen door chives and scallion-like Welsh onions grow in large clumps. A few steps beyond grow clusters and rows of shallots, potato onions and leeks. Though the bulb onion is the workhorse of the North American culinary world, many other Alliums deserve a gardener’s attention.
The Mindset of Holistic Animal Health
By Diane Schivera
Holistic Health Care necessitates a frame of mind that differs from that of allopathic medicine. I have been reminded of the importance of that requirement often lately. One case was a question on ODiary about hairy heal warts. Odairy is a electronic mailing group that allows organic dairy producers to interact by email.
Marketing Page: Agricultural Support Program Update
By Susie O’Keeffe
When we began talking about the need to give more structure to the nontechnical support that MOFGA provides its farmers and gardeners, board members and growers expressed different ideas about how we should formalize this effort.
Solanum Tuberosum – America’s Favorite
By Jean Ann Pollard
Once upon a time Maine was covered by ice a mile high. Every school kid knows that. What most of them don’t know is that even on the fringes of North America’s ice sheet, and in the cold, high Andes of Peru, a nutritious root vegetable called the potato provided people with food. Belonging to the same group of plants as nightshade, its hardiness made it the equivalent of corn, the New World’s other starchy staple grown in warmer areas.
Thyme – The Herb of Courage
By Deb Soule
Several varieties of common thyme, Thymus vulgaris, are grown for their aroma and visual beauty, but the upright garden thyme with pink flowers is the one most commonly used for medicine. The Latin Thymus is thought to be derived from the Greek word thymus, which means courage. Native to the Mediterranean region, thyme has a long history of use both as a culinary and medicinal herb.
|Toki Oshima drawing
Alliums – Seasoning Foods with Bulbs from the Soil
By Roberta Bailey
“Garlic,” says the French writer Raymond Dumay, “is peasant, rustic; the onion is urban. The onion brings to the kitchens of the cities a little of the countryside. The onion offers always, and especially in winter, a little of the springtime of the soil, preserved in its bulb.” Rustic or urban, the onion and some of its 400 relatives are omnipresent in all cultures and their foods.
Caffeine Foils Snails
Fall-Sown Green Manure Mulches Potatoes in Spring
Fruit Fly Control
Great Biocontrol Info Site
Maple Syrup Tips
Marketing with B&Bs
Spray Weeds With Vinegar?
Fresh, Delicious, Creative Meals on All Maine Tables
President’s Letter, by Eric Rector
I garden because I love to eat. I know that the very best meals I will ever cook and eat start with a shovel and some seeds.
Our Next Agriculture
By Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
It seems to me that elections are as good a time as any to step back and look at what’s ahead — or at least to try to set some clear goals for the future. Since I’m writing without the advantages of knowing who won, these goals for Maine agriculture and for organic agriculture within Maine don’t have anything to do with a particular candidate. Indeed, much of what is accomplished day to day happens outside the governmental sphere.
Jacksons’ Book Connects Food Systems with Ecosystems
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
The most significant book I’ve read in a long time is The Farm as Natural Habitat – Reconnecting Food Systems with Ecosystems, edited by Dana L. Jackson and Laura L. Jackson and with a foreword by Nina Leopold Bradley.
Reviews & Resources
Control for Life Extension – A Personalized Holistic Approach, by Valery Mamonov
Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden, by Diane Ackerman
Eating to Save the Earth: Food Choices for a Healthy Planet, by Linda Riebel and Ken Jacobsen
Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, by Toby Hemenway (Diana Chace, Montpelier, Vermont)
Low-Impact Forestry: Forestry as if the Future Mattered, edited by Mitch Lansky
The Global Banquet: Politics of Food
Strong Roots, Fragile Farms