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- Frances Moore Lappé
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  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerWinter 2007-2008MOFGA Notes Winter 07-08   
 MOFGA Notes – Winter 2007-2008 Minimize

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Strategic Planning at MOFGA
Holiday Gift Ideas from MOFGA
Dedicated Tree Program
Job Announcement: Common Ground Country Fair Director
MOFGA-El Salvador Committee Soliciting Bowls
MOFGA Building & Grounds Update

Strategic Planning at MOFGA


The Buildings and Grounds Committee is developing a long-term strategic plan for MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity. A subcommittee of MOFGA’s Buildings and Grounds Committee will develop the 10-year plan for MOFGA’s buildings and grounds that considers MOFGA’s needs and goals. People from all areas of MOFGA and the Fair are encouraged to join the sub-committee. Contact Vernon LeCount at vernon@mofga.org.

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Holiday Gift Ideas from MOFGA

$15 buys a subscription to The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener (The MOF&G). Send your check to MOFGA, PO Box 170, Unity, ME 04988.


$35 buys an individual MOFGA membership (which includes admission to the Common Ground Country Fair and a subscription to The MOF&G).
Click here to go to our Membership page, for membership options.

$50 buys a family membership.
Click here to go to our Membership page, for membership options.

Dedicate a shade tree to someone you love.
Click here to go to our Dedicated Tree page.

Merchandise from MOFGA and the Common Ground Country Fair is available from our Country Store and from www.mofga.org (the link takes you to our Store page). Items available include: adult T-shirts, tote bags and aprons with the 2007 Fair artwork (praying mantis); adult and youth T-shirts with the 2006 Fair artwork (garden parade); organic cotton T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags and aprons with the MOFGA logo; posters from many of our past Fairs; note cards with past Fair artwork; small and large handmade mugs with the MOFGA logo; and items from our El Salvador Sistering Committee work, including colorful handmade string bags, indigo for dying, and coffee.



Dedicate a Shade Tree to Someone You Love

Continue on to our Store page. After continuing on to the County Store site, click on the GIFTS section, then scroll down to find the Shade Tree category.


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JOB ANNOUNCEMENT
Common Ground Country Fair Director

MOFGA is conducting a search for the next director of our signature event, the Common Ground Country Fair. While we hope to fill the position as soon as possible, we intend to carry out a thorough interview process, meeting with top-level candidates who have excellent communication and organizing skills, a demonstrated commitment to MOFGA’s mission, and extensive experience managing staff, contractors and volunteers. A detailed job description is available at www.mofga.org (Contact>Staff>Employment Opportunities).



MOFGA-El Salvador Committee Soliciting Bowls

An Empty Bowl Supper, held each spring in Belfast, is an annual fundraiser for MOFGA’s El Salvador committee, which partners with organizations like MOFGA in Chalatenango, El Salvador. We solicit donations of bowls crafted by potters for this event. Potters who would like to make donations may contact Paul and Karen Volckhausen at pkvolckhausen@panax.com. Clicking here takes you to our page about the MOFGA El Salvador Sistering Project.


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MOFGA Buildings and Grounds Update

Wind Power

In our continuing efforts to become more sustainable, MOFGA erected a 10-kilowatt Bergey Excel wind generator on an 80-foot tilt-up tower next to our south entrance on Rte. 220. When Kelmscott Farm in Lincolnville donated this non-functioning wind generator to us, MOFGA’s Buildings and Grounds staff was determined to make it work again. Bergey wind machines are considered to be reliable and robust. Thanks to a few MOFGA donors, the machine was completely rebuilt. We upgraded guy wire grip-clip devices on the tower; buried new ground wires; poured footings; assembled the tower; dug trenches across the field to an inverter in the red barn; mounted electric watt-hour meters and an educational display outside the barn and mounted the inverter and appropriate safety equipment in the barn. We shipped the turbine head to Okalahoma to be rebuilt, while staff at MOFGA rebuilt internal parts, such as the brush assembly and furling mechanisms.

Wind generators in the 10 kW range can provide substantial power to small commercial enterprises and farms. Ours will generate the power MOFGA uses in a year. Since the Maine Legislature has instituted "net billing" in Maine, MOFGA will be able to put power into the grid during the year to offset our own power use, which is substantial during the Common Ground Country Fair. We still have to pay service and demand charges to our local utility.

Solar Power

The solar air panel on the sprinkler building continues to perform beyond expectations. Sun heated the building all of the 2007 winter without use of any other fuel. We still have a propane heater in case we want to install a backup. In the summer the tanks are hot to the touch, with the internal air temperature of the building reaching 100 degrees on sunny days.

We continue to design a hot water solar system to heat the main building and hope to start work before the ground freezes. We are testing a prototype panel before we commit to the design.

We are negotiating with a dealer to donate evacuated tube hot-water panels to us, and we’re discussing how they should be installed at the journeyperson farmhouse. Some staff would like different types of solar water panels to allow comparisons.

When the weather warms, we hope to continue work on the wall of hot water solar panels in a line to the south of the Common Kitchen.

Kitchen Improvements

Many improvements, including shelving, new workstations, paint, a music system and a reliable six-burner stove with oven, have made the Common Kitchen more suitable for workshops on canning, food processing and baking. We’ll have more workshops to help school cafeteria workers use more local products.

Lawns

All summer livestock and poultry were moved around the grounds to keep grass and clovers “mowed.” Our own staff and equipment baled parts of the grounds twice last summer, and before the Fair, a MOFGA neighbor with professional equipment vacuum-mowed the inner grounds. Combining rental equipment, hay baling, animal feeding and regular mowing and flailing is an economical way to deal with our large grass areas.

Miscellaneous

We built settling tanks for food vendors to use, a leach system for the south court food, spread gravel for the auto-gate road, improved ground fault interruption on electric panels, painted, put a fire suppression system over kitchen stoves, filled ditches and installed a drainage system by the crafts area, repaired tents, built more livestock gates, improved stalls in the livestock barns, cut lumber, built more composting toilets and chipped wood.

Upcoming Projects

We’ll paint trim and stain clapboards on the main building, deal with settling insulation in roof peaks, install an on-demand heater in the kitchen, seed the grounds and prepare them for winter. Eight work-study students from Unity College and numerous volunteers are helping with these and other projects.

Ellis Percy, chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, has stepped down. He has served MOFGA in this capacity for several years and continues to serve MOFGA in many other ways. Thank you Ellis!

We need a new chairperson, but we also need to energize the Buildings and Grounds Committee as we have many new projects to plan. A new Education Building certainly needs the input of many committed volunteers. If you are interested in serving on the Buildings and Grounds Committee, please contact me.

Thank you all for your great energies!!

– Vernon LeCount
Facility Coordinator
Vernon@mofga.org

Clicking here takes you to our Common Ground Education Center page, with articles about all areas of our site in Unity, Maine, and our work toward energy efficiency.

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