Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

By Russell Libby
MOFGA Executive Director

Each of us has dreams and ideas about what we’d like to do with our lives. We adapt and adjust, and if we work hard and are lucky, we achieve some pieces of those dreams. Meanwhile, the world around us keeps changing, so we adapt and adjust again, and so the cycle goes.

That, at least, has been the way most of us have approached life for a long time. But if the entire structure around us seems to be fading away, we need to try even harder to figure out how to move toward our dreams.

As I write, a budget “deal” has been struck in Congress, one that will continue to squeeze the support programs that help many Americans survive. The idea that the government is ever going to be able to make strategic investments is going by the wayside. The stock market’s reaction: This isn’t going to work, and we’re not sure what’s going to happen next. So if your financial reserves are in stocks, you’re not feeling very good about the world either.

Meanwhile, that larger physical world that we live in is under pressure, too. We’ve moved past the BP oil spill in our heads, but the damage remains. The world is warming. I recently heard some summary data from a UNH climate scientist that hints at the disasters to come – warmer summers, rain in torrents instead of gentle showers, more rain than snow in the winter. Whatever adjustments we make, we will make them in a world different from the one we had just a few decades ago.

So, what are we to do? Here’s where all the work of building community, of building relationships among farmers and fishermen and people who like to eat, of building organizations like MOFGA over the past 40 years, really starts to come into play.

We are the ones who are going to be living here, and we need to find ways to support one another through that changing world. I have a few quick suggestions, and all of you will have many more:

Sit down with friends and family and enjoy what we have. Together there is a richness that can’t be measured in the stock market.

Reach out and help that person you know who needs help. He might just need a conversation, or a bag of extra vegetables from the garden, but that connection builds into something so much greater over time.

Do something for the larger community. Here, at MOFGA, we’ve been fortunate to have thousands of volunteers at the Fair each year, and many more who do the little things that help – weeding around trees, stuffing envelopes, cooking meals. You can plant extra in your garden for the food bank or plant a fruit tree where someone else will harvest it in years to come. Many MOFGA members have become leaders in their communities, as selectmen and councilors and school board members.

Don’t be quiet about the big issues. Our voice is more important now than ever. Speak up on political issues, always looking for solutions that are going to work for the long term.

We can’t know the future. But we can know a little bit about today. And if we are able to live each day well, and happily, and help one another, we’ll have a much better chance about finding out about tomorrow.

That, to me, is the heart of what MOFGA has become. Thank you for 40 years of making this a place where we can build the future, together.

MOF&G Cover Fall 2011