|Rosey Guest. Holli Cederholm photo.
|Sandor Katz. English photo.
|Deb Soule with staff of Avena Botanicals. English photo.
|GMO labeling panel. English photo.
|Lance Harvell. Photo courtesy of Rep. Harvell.
|An apple-walnut forest in Kyrgyzstan. Photo courtesy of Eliza Greenman.
|Genna Cherichello and students. Marina Schauffler photo.
|Raising rabbits organically. Cheryl Wixson photo.
|Scab on an apple. C.J. Walke photo.
|‘Red Russian’ kale. English photo.
|MOFGA’s new executive director, Ted Quaday. English photo.
Bluebird Hill Farm: Powered by the Sun, Fueled by Education
By Holli Cederholm
Bluebird Hill Farm is situated on 50 acres nestled at the end of a wood-hemmed road, bearing the same name as the farm, in Jefferson, Maine. Around 35 acres are forested, with the remaining 15 acres cleared as the center of Rosey and Bill Guest’s solar-powered farm.
God Bless World Seed Diversity
By CR Lawn
Martha Gottlieb, for 25 years the inspiration of the Common Ground Country Fair’s Exhibition Hall, calls Fair days “the absolute high point of my year” and conversations among the young growers around the variety displays and seed swaps as “its most glorious moments.”
2013 Common Ground Country Fair Keynote Speeches
Fermentation and Food Relocalization
By Sandor Katz
Before he wrote Wild Fermentation, published in 2003, Sandor Katz spent the summer of 2001 in Bowdoinham, where he wrote a self-published zine called Wild Fermentation. Gulf of Maine Books bought five of the 100 copies, so “my fermentation world started in Maine,” said Katz at his 2013 keynote speech at the Common Ground Country Fair.
Celebrating Women Farmers and Gardeners, Locally and Globally
By Deb Soule
Deb Soule is an herbalist, biodynamic gardener, teacher and author of the newly released book How To Move Like a Gardener: Planting and Preparing Medicines from Plants. In 1985 she founded the herbal apothecary Avena Botanicals. Avena has been certified as an organic farm by MOFGA for 29 years. Soule gave this keynote speech at the Common Ground Country Fair on Sept. 21, 2013.
Cooperating with the Future
By George Siemon
One of the nation's foremost organic agriculture advocates for nearly two decades, George Siemon is best known for his leadership in organizing farmers and building market support for organic agriculture. In 1988, Siemon joined a group of family farmers in Wisconsin to found the Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP). More commonly known by its brands Organic Valley and Organic Prairie, CROPP has grown to become the largest organic farming cooperative in North America while remaining true to its local roots. Siemon was a keynote speaker at MOFGA’s 2013 Common Ground Country Fair.
GMO Labeling Efforts Draw Crowd at Common Ground Country Fair
A Public Policy Teach-In on GE labeling at the 2013 Common Ground Country Fair included panelists Rep. Lance Harvell (R-Farmington) and Sen. Chris Johnson (D - Lincoln County), lead sponsors of LD 718; Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, president of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), lead spokesperson in a class action suit against Monsanto, and a visionary activist in Maine’s GMO labeling campaign; and Laura Murphy, associate director of Vermont’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic and assistant professor at Vermont Law School. Murphy is leading the clinic’s legal advocacy toward passage and defense of labeling requirements for GE foods in Vermont. Logan Perkins, MOFGA’s GMO labeling campaign director, moderated.
Lance Harvell and MOFGA: Cultivating Common Ground around GMO Labeling
By Nancy Ross
Draft horse colts romp in the paddock, a rotation crop of buckwheat flourishes next to the large organic garden, and the New England scything champion welcomes me into his energy-efficient house. This isn’t the start of a MOFGA small farm profile. It’s my meeting this past summer with someone on the other end of the political spectrum from most in the MOFGA community, someone who calls himself a “small government conservative,” and is called by others a Tea Party Republican. In the course of our lunchtime conversation, however, Lance Harvell, House of Representatives member from Farmington, gets harder and harder to categorize.
Fruit Exploring in Kyrgyzstan
By Eliza Greenman
In early September of this year, I traveled to Kyrgyzstan to go fruit and nut exploring in their ancient wild fruit forests. Kyrgyzstan has some of the oldest apple genetics in the world, and as a budding apple orchardist and student of permaculture, I wanted to see how these apples grew in the wild. I had heard that in this faraway land (including Kazakhstan), apples grew without any management strategy and are insect- and disease-free. This turned out to be mostly true, and with my permit to import seed, I set out to collect as much knowledge (and seed) as I could from these forests.
The Many Uses of Salsify
By Will Bonsall
As a youth, I knew salsify only as an obscure reference in an Uncle Remus tale, along with persimmons and calamus root. When I began gardening, I saw salsify in the novelty section of seed catalogs, along with plants such as comfrey and borage. Relegated to such a minor role, I assumed we were not expected to take them too seriously, which is why I paid special attention to them.
FoodCorps Member Genna Cherichello: the Face of Maine’s Future Food Leadership
By Marina Schauffler
With so many organizations and individuals actively working to strengthen farming, gardening and local food systems in Maine, one might think the addition of a couple of dozen young people scattered around the state would have minimal impact. Yet the influence of FoodCorps service members is already transforming the way Maine schools and communities relate to food.
California Detour: Wheat Vs. Gold
By John Koster
John Augustus Sutter dreamed that California, with its mild rainy winters and perennial sunshine, could become an agricultural paradise. The dream was deferred in Sutter’s lifetime when gold was discovered on his land, leading to tragedy for Sutter himself and for the Indians who had joined his enterprise. The dream came back only after the gold ran out.
Raising Rabbits Organically at Rabbit Hill Farm
By Cheryl Wixson
For the urban gardener or homesteader, domestic rabbits can be valuable livestock. Rabbit meat is an excellent source of protein; the pelts can be used in numerous applications including hats, lap robes, cushion covers, vests and coats; and rabbit manure is an excellent fertility source. For several years I raised rabbits within the city limits of Bangor. When my husband and I moved to Stonington, the rabbitry became an important component of our organic farm plan.
Notes from Recent Livestock Meetings
By Diane Schivera
The Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Field Days, held in Mansfield, Penn., in September, featured talks on innovative ideas, current research and practical strategies for enhancing the health, productivity and profitability of organic dairy farms. Here are some tips from that event.
Loss of Scab Resistance in Once-Resistant Apple Cultivars
By C.J. Walke
For organic apple growers in the Northeast, one of the major disease challenges is managing apple scab in orchard trees. Apple scab, caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis, can severely affect unsprayed or unmanaged trees, leading to heavy fruit loss and potential tree death if unchecked. The severity of apple scab led to breeding of scab-resistant varieties over the past half century, but in recent years some of these scab-resistant varieties are losing resistance and contracting the disease.
Harvest Kitchen: Kale
By Roberta Bailey
Kale is all the rage! It is rocking the health studies with its cancer fighting properties and the nutritional scene with its high levels of beta-carotene and other carotenoids, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein and calcium. The red kales have invited the popular buzzword “anthocyanin” to their party. Kale is mingling with the rich and famous at every trendy local foods restaurant. It has even broken into the organic snack food market, all crisped up and extremely over-dressed in colorful plastic.
Food Safety: Will It Affect Your Farm?
By Dave Colson
Food safety issues came back into the spotlight for many farmers and agricultural groups this year. In January 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its proposed rules for implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act passed by Congress in 2011. A year in the writing, these proposed rules would have a broad-reaching effect on farmers marketing fruits and vegetables in their raw state. These rules, covering many aspects of raw food commodities, can be linked generally into four categories.
Welcome, Ted Quaday
This fall MOFGA welcomed its new executive director, Ted Quaday. We are excited to have this position filled and to have Ted’s expertise in connecting us with “the good food movement” throughout the United States.
You Are Feeding the World!
By Jean English
Last spring my daughter’s wedding reception was held at The Wooden Monkey restaurant in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia – a warm and cozy place that uses local and organic foods as much as possible, all beautifully displayed and delicious. The wedding day went from perfect to pluperfect when I saw that the restaurant featured a poster reading, “Farmers have created and maintained the knowledge and biodiversity that is the basis for the planet’s food supply for thousands of years … and counting.”
In a summer 2013 MOF&G editorial, we wrote this: Some 20 years ago, Robert Tardy, then a Maine state representative and now a lobbyist for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, testified before an agriculture committee hearing in opposition to labeling genetically engineered foods, saying, “You feel a lot better about your food if you are not reading a lot while you are eating it.” Conrad Heeschen, longtime MOFGA member and former representative to the Maine House, tells us that Tardy made that comment not in testimony before the agriculture committee but in response to Heeschen’s statements on the House floor in debate. Heeschen cosponsored a GE labeling bill in 1994 and sponsored one himself in 1995. Thank you, Conrad!
We ran a photo by Lynn Karlin of Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch in the fall issue of The MOF&G without crediting Lynn. Apologies! Please see Lynn Karlin’s wonderful work at http://lynnkarlinphoto.com/.
Reviews and Resources
How to Move Like a Gardener
Nourishing Hope for Autism: Nutrition and Diet Guide for Healing Our Children
Our Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter
21st Century Greens: Leaf Vegetables in Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture
High Tunnel Operation in Harsh Climates: Lessons Learned
Training Manual for Applied Agroforestry Practices – 2013 Edition