Photo courtesy of New Beat Farm
The New Beat: Young Farmers Integrate Horse Power into a Modern System
By Holli Cederholm
Farming with horses requires a different rhythm, attest Adrienne Lee and Ken Lamson while reflecting on the name of their New Beat Farm, now situated on 93 acres in Knox, Maine. Together Lee and Lamson cultivate 4 acres of certified-organic mixed vegetables, cut flowers and culinary herbs using a combination of horse and human power.
Mago: Father of Farming
By John Koster
When the vengeful Romans plowed salt into the smoldering ruins of Carthage in 146 B.C., the conquerors left a message that the world gradually forgot: Farming, rather than maritime trade and commerce, had been the real source of strength in the city that once rivaled Rome for control of the Mediterranean and that was eradicated by “ethnic cleansing.”
Common Ground Fair Keynote Speeches
Hippy Weirdo Freaks to Mainstream in 40 Years
By Mort Mather
Mort Mather was MOFGA’s third president and soon after served as president for two more years. He was among the first certified organic farmers in Maine and was the first to sell organic vegetables to the first natural food co-op in Portland. He now grows an acre of organic vegetables, supplying most of the veggies for his son’s restaurant, Joshua’s, in Wells.
Putting the Pieces Together – Our Next Food System
By Russell Libby, MOFGA’s executive director
There is so much that is good and powerful that is happening around us, right here, right now. Last month MOFGA celebrated 40 years of helping to make this possible. Without the hard work and dedication and commitment of many of you, we could not be here right now. But the challenges ahead of us are even greater than what we’ve already gone through.
It’s a Cute Little Movement but Can It Feed the World?
By Barbara Damrosch, MOFGA President
Lately there’s been an ugly smattering of articles in the press telling us that if we grow organic food, especially if we are small-scale growers, we are deluded, elitist, anti-technology and anti-science. They tell us that our farms and gardens are very pretty, and what we do is very sweet and well intentioned, but it can’t feed the world. They say the earth’s population is exploding, people are starving and it’s all our fault. Now isn’t that just a load of bunk?
Climate change panelists. English photo.
Climate Change Addressed at Common Ground Fair
Maine gardener Beedy Parker notes that we are experiencing generally longer growing seasons, but they are unpredictable and undependable due to extremes of temperature, moisture and storm intensity. Parker was the moving force behind MOFGA’s 2011 Common Ground Country Fair public policy teach-in and three other talks on climate change, summarized here.
Growing Ginger in Maine
By Polly Shyka
As Maine’s farmers’ markets proliferate and more farmers are selling at those markets, consumers seeking local foods have more shopping choices. Markets feature more value-added products and longer availability of produce, thanks to season extension structures. And sometimes, even new crops appear. Sometimes baby ginger appears.
White Runner Beans – the Northern Gardener’s Lima
By Will Bonsall
A few decades ago while I was helping an elderly farmer friend, Orlando Small, with his haying, he chanced to comment on his fine lima bean crop. I replied that I didn’t realize limas could be reliably grown in that neighborhood, whereupon he walked me right to his garden to prove his point.
A Critique of Meat: A Benign Extravagance
By Joann S. Grohman
"It's surprising just how often common assumptions – by both scientists and the media – are wrong," says Howard S. Friedman, distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California-Riverside, in the March 12, 2011, issue of ScienceDaily. Consider the belief that feeding grain to people, not cattle, means more people can be fed. Is this belief so rational and mathematically provable that “Yes” is the only possible answer?
Breeding Sheep to be Shepherd Friendly: A Ewe Scorecard
By Tom Settlemire, professor emeritus, Bowdoin College, and sheep producer, Brunswick, Maine
Dr. Charles Parker, a good friend of many of us in the sheep industry, has a simple but very important guiding concept: We should be breeding sheep that are working for us; we should not be working for the sheep. In part this means we need to be selecting productive ewes that can produce and raise lambs with little or no intervention from us shepherds.
Barrie Brusila of Mid-Maine Forestry. English photo.
Invasive Plants in Maine’s Woods
Invasive plants haven’t taken over Maine’s woodlands yet, so now is the time to control them, said forester Barrie Brusila of Mid-Maine Forestry in Warren, Maine, during a workshop at MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair. She discussed common woody invasives and showed how to remove some with a Weed Wrench.
In the Orchard
A Calendar to Guide Apple Tree Care
By C.J. Walke
Growing organic tree fruit can be a bit of a challenge, considering the various insects and diseases that like to call your fruit tree home and the relatively short efficacy window of organic control materials; so being attentive to stages of fruit development and biological cycles of pests in your orchard is critical.
MOFGA Organic Price Reports In Review, 2006-2011
By Melissa White Pillsbury
Since 2006 I have been compiling and publishing MOFGA Organic Price Reports on www.mofga.org, monthly from May to October.
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Organic farming is centered on taking care of the soil. You do not need soil to produce crops, as hydroponic farms show. But organic farmers hold tightly to the belief that for sustainable crop production, one needs and expects a lot from one’s soil. Consequently, organic farmers do a lot to care for soil.
Ectoparasites on Chickens
By Diane Schivera, M.A.T.
This summer I got many calls from chicken owners about ectoparasites. These pests are rarely problematic in the summer when birds have access to the outside, with sunshine and many places to dust bathe. However, folks in other New England states had the same comments this year. The cause is a mystery, although the wet weather may be one explanation.
Tom Harms of Wolf Pine Farm. English photo.
Organic Agriculture: An Economic Development Opportunity for Maine
By Cheryl Wixson
The management of our food system – how we grow, package, transport and distribute our food – influences more than just our next meal. The way we produce our food has radically changed in the past 50 years, and decisions being made in food production and agriculture are intricately connected to the public health, development, environmental quality and economic vitality of our communities.
Cookies: Comfort Food for Winter
By Roberta Bailey
This time of year, many of us struggle with the urge to hibernate, to stay home and drink tea by the fire and read or work on a winter project, yet the social demands of the holidays pull us out far and, often, long into the night. Add in the hours of a full-time job and we are often pulled in too many directions. My solution is warm comfort food.
Peas on Earth, Good Food for All
By Jean English
In Good Food for Everyone Forever, Colin Tudge, writing on behalf of The Campaign for Real Farming (“a people’s takeover of the world food supply”), says that the key to success in taking over the food supply is “merely to identify the enterprises and ideas that are truly helpful and to bring about some degree of coordination.”
Book Reviews & Web Resources
The Wild Blueberry Book
Growing, Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life and Vegetables
Cultivating Maine's Agricultural Future
A Farm Tour Handbook
2011 Directory of Farm Supplies
Designs for two vegetable wash stations
Global Village Construction Set
Introduction To Organic Lawns And Yards
Biochar: a closer look
Meanwhile,: Farmers’ Market Farmers
Farming With Food Safety and Conservation in Mind
Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program