"In the long run, soil is more important than oil."
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MOF&G Cover Winter 2005-2006
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  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerWinter 2005/2006MOFGA Notes – Winter 05-06   
 MOFGA Notes – Winter 2005-2006 Minimize

MOFGA Morsels

Landscaping Grows at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center

MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center is incredibly beautiful. I learned this first hand throughout the past growing season, as I was hired as MOFGA’s Landscape Coordinator. This flat field that once grew corn and potatoes is becoming rich and diverse with plants. Many volunteers have donated their time to create perennial gardens and plant trees that grace this site and add depth to its stark beginnings. Throughout the years the trees and gardens have grown to add a trace of shade, aesthetic pleasure and educational enjoyment. In time, more will come and more depth will be created.

At first I worked to maintain gardens that were already planted. We hosted a very successful spring work day that accomplished much around the grounds. I quickly realized the importance of the great volunteers who help MOFGA in so many ways. The landscape volunteers proved to be dedicated and willing. Two stalwart, invaluable volunteers are Bill Whitman and Jack Kertesz, who have so much history on these grounds and many ideas for the future. These two dug right into the work and shared ideas about possible garden projects. Other volunteers came regularly throughout the summer, most notably Kate Mantor and Jenny Hall. They weeded, mulched, tended plants and greatly assisted me. Yet other volunteers gave valuable time during workdays and on other days throughout the summer. I can’t thank all of the volunteers enough.

New this year were more signs identifying trees, perennials, and annuals, gardens in the Children’s Area and along the Common Kitchen fence, and a cover crop demonstration in the North Orchard.

You can help us by buying a dedicated tree for someone through MOFGA’s Dedicated Tree Program. Your $500 gift will enable us to dedicate a tree and have a plaque made with the donor’s personal message for the honoree. This is a great way to contribute to MOFGA’s Living Collections and to honor friends and family.

What about the future? Many people have great ideas for these grounds, so I rejuvenated the Landscape Committee to envision the grounds for the future and work to accomplish these goals. New participants are always welcome to share ideas and to work on the grounds. The Landscape Committee’s goal for this winter is to develop a Landscape Site Plan that will provide a map for future plantings. The overwhelming theme driving this process is, “How do these gardens fit with MOFGA’s mission and with the function of the site?” This is an exciting time. I look forward to working on this plan and encourage anyone who wants to be involved to contact the MOFGA office.

– Amanda Jamison

MOFGA Morsels

You may have seen the fun fact signs on your way to the Fair this year. These tidbits make great conversation and show the importance of our organization. Here they are for your pondering:

MOFGA’s membership presently varies from 4,500 to about 5,000. Members receive a subscription to The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, our quarterly newspaper; farming and gardening advice; and free admission to the Common Ground Country Fair.

Maine has 300 certified organic farms.

The number of MOFGA-certified organic farms has tripled in the past 10 years. Our goal is for all Maine’s farmers to be growing organically.

20,000 acres of Maine farmland is now in organic production.

Since 1997 the number of MOFGA-certified organic dairy farms has quadrupled. Ask for organic milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products at your local market.

A farmers’ market or farm stand probably exists close to your home. Who is your farmer? To find the MOFGA-certified organic farms nearest you, visit www.mofga.org.

One-third of Maine’s farmers are over 60 years of age. The Apprenticeship and Journeyperson Programs of MOFGA are training the next generation of farmers.

MOFGA provides free technical advice for farmers and gardeners.

If each household in Maine purchased $10 worth of food each week from local farmers, Maine’s farm economy would increase by as much as $100 million.

State officials estimate that every $1 spent at Maine’s farmers’ markets leverages at least 58 cents within the host communities.

MOFGA hosts the Common Ground Country Fair.

This year, fairgoers came from 15 countries and 36 states!

MOFGA members get free admission to the Fair.

The Common Ground Country Fair strives to support Maine’s economy. Almost all vendors and performers at the Fair live in Maine. MOFGA makes exceptions for agricultural products and services currently unavailable from Maine-based vendors.

More than 40 organic farmers sell at MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair. Visit them at the Farmers’ Market, the Agricultural Products Area, the Animal Products Tent and the Livestock Barns.

All the food items served at the Common Ground Country Fair are made with organic ingredients, and almost all of the ingredients are grown in Maine. Common Ground Country Fair generates an estimated $350,000 for Maine’s organic farming community.

More than 90% of the waste generated at the Common Ground Country Fair is composted or recycled. We are striving for zero-garbage production.

MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair depends on the help of almost 1500 volunteers. Volunteers get free admission, a fair T-shirt and a delicious meal for each 4-hour shift.

MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair Planning Team consists of more than 150 volunteers. To help coordinate some aspect of the Fair, contact MOFGA at 207-568-4142 or via this web site.

MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair always takes place on the third weekend after Labor Day. See you next year at our 30th Fair on September 22, 23 & 24, 2006.

MOFGA hosts educational workshops and events year-round at our Common Ground Education Center in Unity and throughout Maine.

To become more involved in any aspect of MOFGA’s year-round programs, please contact our office about volunteer opportunities. Call 207-568-4142 or email volunteers@mofga.org.


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