Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

MOFGA thanked Jim Ahearne for directing six successful Common Ground Country Fairs and welcomed April Boucher as the new Fair director in December. English photo.

MOFGA Bids Farewell to Jim Ahearne, Promotes April Boucher to Head Common Ground Country Fair
MOFGA Staff Profile: April Boucher
MOFGA Shuffle
Climate Solutions 2014: Expo and Summit
MOFGA’s Spring Growth Conference on Weed Control
Nonviolent Communication Workshop Level 2
Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA
MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee Empty Bowl Supper
MOFGA Relies on Generous Donations
Naming MOFGA in Your Will Is Easy

MOFGA Bids Farewell to Jim Ahearne, Promotes April Boucher to Head Common Ground Country Fair

In December MOFGA thanked Jim Ahearne for his strong leadership, positive energy, innovation and hard work as director of the past six Common Ground Country Fairs. Ahearne left MOFGA to pursue other professional interests closer to home. MOFGA’s executive director, Ted Quaday, announced that long-time Fair coordinator April Boucher would assume the Fair director role immediately.

“Jim’s leadership and enthusiasm have been the cornerstone of our volunteer-driven Fair for years and his presence will be missed,” said Bryan McLellan, chair of the Common Ground Country Fair Steering Committee. “I’m happy to have April’s experience and dedication to the Fair stepping up to continue its long traditions.”


MOFGA Staff Profile: April Boucher

April Boucher grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where she spent most of her time exploring the landscape. She also coordinated logistics at Storyland, a theme park. In 2006, she earned a B.A. in human ecology from College of the Atlantic, where she specialized in agriculture, animal behavior and ecology. She has worked on farms and conducted wildlife research. Her passion for learning and gaining experience with livestock, farming with draft horses and working in the woods endears her to MOFGA’s Low-Impact Forestry project. She is also on the board of the Maine Association of Livestock Exhibitors.

April began working on the Common Ground Country Fair in 2007 and recently moved into the position of Fair director. She works with dedicated volunteers and exhibitors, coordinates details, and organizes an event that brings thousands of people together to share ideas and support our communities.

Were you a MOFGA volunteer before you were a MOFGA employee?

In my third year at College of the Atlantic, I attended and volunteered at the Fair with a group of friends in the livestock area. This is where I first learned about MOFGA. Being at the hub with so many skilled and kind exhibitors accomplishing meaningful work with their livestock was the perfect first experience.

Do you volunteer on additional MOFGA committees?

I enjoy working with MOFGA’s Low-Impact Forestry group. I have always had an affinity for the forest and love working in the woods, especially driving horses and running a chainsaw. I am very lucky to be part of a group that values ecologically based and economically sound forestry practices.

What have you learned about the Fair over the past six years?

The Fair is a composition of passionate individuals. I am thankful to everyone involved. We are continually working toward making the Fair an inspiring and comfortable place where folks will return year after year. It is this energy and appreciation that is the foundation of our Fair.

What challenges and opportunities do you foresee now that you are the Fair director?

Learning and building on past experiences for what will work best now and in the future. To not be held back by the past but empowered by it. To continue to work with exhibitors, fairgoers and volunteers alike to make the Fair a positive, rewarding and enriching experience for all involved.

Thinking of your Storyland days ... if you could have one special wish granted that relates to the Common Ground Country Fair, what would it be?

Weather can be challenging. If I had one wish it would be for beautiful weather. Many of our speakers and exhibitors are under cover to provide an enjoyable experience in all weather types, and many fairgoers recognize this. However, some folks stay home if it is raining and miss out on the over 1,400 exhibitors and speakers at the Fair. We want everyone to join in the celebration.


MOFGA Shuffle

Our front desk position at MOFGA – “the voice of MOFGA” – has been filled by Joe Dupere, previously our database manager. Kamala Grohman, who previously held the front desk position, will transition to administrative support and development.

Not shuffling is Janice Clark, who has been with MOFGA for 25 years. Janice is our finance administrator and the advertising manager for The MOF&G. Her love for MOFGA is apparent every day – even at 5 a.m., when she starts work! And MOFGA staff, advertisers and members who know her love her in return. Thank you so much, Janice!


Climate Solutions 2014: Expo and Summit

On March 12 at the Augusta Civic Center, MOFGA is cosponsoring Climate Solutions Expo and Summit – a day of presentations and displays. ( and

Maine families, farms, small businesses, schools, organizations and governments are engaged in exciting initiatives to solve climate change. Climate Solutions will showcase these initiatives, bringing people together to explore practical and sustainable climate solutions in Maine. Please come, learn, question, share. Growing food in Maine is part of the solution.

Research reveals that only a small minority is ready to act now on climate change, yet even among this “ready-to-act” group, three-quarters do not know what to do. A much larger “concerned and cautious” group knows what climate change means for them and why they should care – but few are acting.

Those who are acting need to explain why it matters, what is at stake and how we can solve this problem together. As the first statewide event of its kind, Climate Solutions will show why and how to turn sincere concern into meaningful action in Maine. A simultaneous Summit (with registration and a fee) will explore and engender policy.

A dozen Maine organizations, from the nonprofit, education, business and government communities, have pooled resources, with help from donors and sponsors, to organize this event. Our goals are to demonstrate to state government and the community at large the extensive support for action on climate change and the work already being done; to enable attendees to learn, network and build coalitions; and to create a space for broad participation in public policy discussions of climate change.

So many scions at the Seed Swap and Scionwood Exchange. English photo.


MOFGA’s Spring Growth Conference on Weed Control

MOFGA’s annual daylong Spring Growth Conference will delve into weed control this year, with a keynote speaker and a panel discussion. Join us on Saturday, March 22, 2014 (snow date March 23), from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center to learn and share information about how best to control weeds throughout the season. For cost and registration information, see



Seed Swap and Scionwood Exchange
Sunday, March 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For gardeners and orchardists, it’s like the most wonderful flea market in the world. Not only that, but most of the best stuff is free!

On Sunday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., MOFGA, the Maine Tree Crop Alliance and Fedco will once again host the combined Seed Swap and Scionwood Exchange, at MOFGA’s Common Ground Exhibition Hall in Unity.

You won’t want to miss the usual excellent selection of educational workshops. As always, Mark Fulford will teach his annual grafting class. Other workshops will cover permaculture, organic orcharding, seed saving and more. John Bunker will talk about varietal selection as well as MOFGA’s new heritage orchard (see article in this MOF&G).

Please bring any seeds, scionwood or cuttings you have to share freely with others. Last year we gave away scionwood from well over 200 fruit varieties. These contributions make the day a success. We’ll supply labels, tape and markers, and we’ll be selling T-shirts, books, grafting supplies and rootstock. Admission is free. For more information, including a complete list of workshops, see or call MOFGA (568-4142).


Nonviolent Communication Workshop Level 2
April 12 and 13
Part of proceeds benefit the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee

Peggy Smith, the first certified Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Trainer in Maine and owner of Open Communication, is offering a Level 2 NVC training on April 12 and 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity. Some of the proceeds from the training benefit the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee.

April 12 will cover the healing power of empathy and transforming power dynamics in relationships, and April 13 will cover the art of NVC dialog. The workshop will help strengthen skills in empathy, translate judgmental thinking, connect to and celebrate one’s needs, develop skills at making requests, hear the hidden “yes” underneath every “no” and practice the NVC flow of dialog – all while having fun, connecting and practicing new tools.

The days can be taken individually or combined for a powerful NVC weekend. As a prerequisite, Level 1 or its equivalent is required. Taking both days equals a Level 2 workshop.

The financial request is $95 for one day and $170 for both days; Smith will offer other options if the cost is not within one’s means.

Tea will be provided. Please bring a bag lunch.

Please register at


Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA
June 14, 2014

So many people asked, “Whatever happened to Small Farm Field Day?” that a group of dedicated volunteers resurrected the event as Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA. The emphasis is on teaching rural living skills through a variety of face-to-face hands-on activities. The event will be held this year on Saturday, June 14, 2014, so save the date!

Participatory workshops are the keystone of Farm & Homestead Day. Plan to come to this event and be ready to plunge in up to your elbows. Whether swinging a scythe to make hay, sawing a board to build a birdhouse or squishing mud between your fingers and toes to build an earth oven, you’ll experience the satisfaction of creating things with your own hands. It will be an opportunity to stretch your muscles, both physical and mental.

This year’s Farm & Homestead Day will feature the world’s (well, Waldo County’s, at any rate) largest potluck picnic. We will have morning workshops in food preparation using alternative means of cooking, along with workshops on constructing solar cookers, food dryers, earth ovens and rocket stoves.

Explore more self-reliance in providing meat for the table through workshops on raising rabbits as livestock. Learn the care and handling of rabbits, how to build a rabbit cage, and how to tan a rabbit hide.

The fiber area will again have spinning, weaving, carding and felting.

Children’s activities will include building bird boxes, and more.

Last year the treadle sewing machines were very popular; they will return this year.

We’ll be adding more events as we approach June 14. Check the Farm & Homestead Day link in the MOFGA events calendar at

Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA is a volunteer-driven, skill-share event with its own steering committee, so volunteers are needed to share their skills, ideas and energies. If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity or have thoughts about the event, please contact the Farm & Homestead Day Rabble at

A beautiful bowl made by Christopher Signorino for the 2012 Empty Bowl Supper. English photo.


Beautiful Bowls, Savory Soup, Friends and Music
MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee Empty Bowl Supper

Want to buy a handsome, Maine-made bowl and support the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee’s work – all for just $15 ($35 maximum for families)? Come to the committee’s Empty Bowl Supper on Saturday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Miller St. in Belfast.

Each year MOFGA’s El Salvador Sistering Committee, thanks to the generosity of the Unitarian Universalist Church, serves this supper to raise funds for the El Salvador Committee’s work. Those funds have helped bring Salvadorans to Maine to tour farms, meet with community organizers and agricultural officials, and participate in the Common Ground Country Fair; helped fund events relating to the Central American Free Trade Agreement for our sistering organizations in El Salvador; and helped with work to prevent mining companies from destroying our Salvadoran sisters’ mountains, water supplies, communities and agricultural lands.

Empty Bowl Suppers started in Michigan in 1990, when a high school art teacher helped his students raise funds to support a food drive. A class project to make ceramic bowls for a fundraising meal evolved. Guests were served a simple meal of soup and bread, and were invited to keep the bowl as a reminder of hunger in the world. Subsequently, Empty Bowls developed into a project to support food banks, soup kitchens and other organizations that fight hunger. The Imagine/RENDER Group, a 501(c)3 organization, promotes the project, and Empty Bowl events raise millions of dollars worldwide to help combat hunger.

Please join us for delicious soups, breads and desserts and to socialize. Enjoy live music and take home a beautiful bowl, handcrafted and donated by a Maine potter. For more information, please call MOFGA or check Tickets will be available at the door.

Seeking Bowl Donations

MOFGA’s El Salvador Sistering Committee is seeking bowls made by Maine potters for its Empty Bowl Supper. Seconds are fine! Anyone who would like to donate bowls may contact Jean English,, or leave bowls at the MOFGA office. Thanks!


MOFGA Relies on Generous Donations

MOFGA relies on the generosity of individuals, foundations and businesses to fulfill its mission. There are many creative ways to give to MOFGA. All donations are tax deductible.

Monthly donations result in a more meaningful gift. They are easy to set up at

Cash and credit cards offer the most straightforward way to donate. You can send a check to MOFGA or donate at

Stock and securities donations can help a donor avoid taxes and can be especially meaningful. For directions, please call us at 207-568-4142.

Tangible goods (unwanted furniture, vehicles) and real estate donations help both the donor and MOFGA.

Bequests donated through your will can make a longer-lasting impact.

Life insurance offers an easy way to give, by naming MOFGA as a beneficiary.

Naming MOFGA in Your Will Is Easy

A bequest is an asset given through your will. Most planned gifts are made this way. You can designate cash, a percentage of your estate, or tangible personal property, with or without restrictions.

Here is suggested wording to make a bequest in your will:

I give, devise, and bequeath to Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association of Unity, Maine, the sum of $__________ (or a description of the specific asset), for the benefit of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and its general purposes.

Additional information is available by contacting MOFGA at 207-568-4142.


Congratulations to

… MOFGA journeypersons Brenna Mae Thomas-Googins and Brandon McKenney on the January birth of their daughter, Ainsley Emerson McKenney.

Tracy Moskovitz and Bambi Jones of Hidden Valley Farm and Hidden Valley Nature Center received the 2014 State Outstanding Tree Farmer award. Tracy and Bambi are shown here with their foresters, Harold Burnett of Two Trees Forestry (left) and Barrie Brusila of Mid-Maine Forestry (right). Photo by Mort Moeswilde.

… long-time MOFGA members Tracy Moskovitz and Bambi Jones of Hidden Valley Farm and Hidden Valley Nature Center (HVNC) for receiving the 2014 State Outstanding Tree Farmer award, presented by the American Tree Farm System at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show in January. After winning the Lincoln County award, Jones and Moskovitz were chosen for the state award.

Moskovitz, Jones and HVNC were featured in the June-August 2011 MOF&G. They have long been active in MOFGA and MOFGA’s Low-Impact Forestry program. Tracy says, “The LIF program is a great addition to MOFGA. Every farm has a woodlot, and it’s generally the most neglected part of the farm. We have gradually been ‘investing’ in our forest and find it is paying off in many ways. Our MOFGA connection became even stronger when Andy McEvoy, MOFGA’s former LIF coordinator, became HVNC’s director.”

Jones and Moskovitz have been acquiring land and have been tree farmers since 1978, using such management activities as multiple harvests, trail construction, erosion control, pruning and many wildlife practices. Their tree farm totals 2,000 acres in Whitefield, Alna and Jefferson. Community members have been using the 45 miles of trails there for decades.

Outreach and educational activities expanded dramatically in 2007 when Jones and Moskovitz created HVNC and dedicated 1,000 acres of forestland in Jefferson to its operation. HVNC’s mission includes education, recreation and low-impact forestry. Its forestry practices are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. HVNC regularly holds MOFGA-sponsored chainsaw safety classes and four-day timber frame classes, and many other workshops and events.

HVNC works with foresters Barrie Brusila of Mid-Maine Forestry and Harold Burnett of Two Trees Forestry. Outstanding Tree Farmer Field Days, with demonstrations and workshops, will be held at HVNC in September. Watch for details.

… MOFGA certified organic growers Ralph and Lisa Turner of Laughing Stock Farm in Freeport for receiving the 2014 Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show in January. Walt Whitcomb, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Commissioner, presented the award.

Whitcomb was joined by Gov. Paul LePage, who said, “The Turners articulated very clearly the concerns of Maine food producers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during the DACF-hosted listening session on the proposed food safety rule last summer. Their willingness to help educate the FDA concerning the negative impact of one-size-fits-all federal rules on Maine’s agricultural community is greatly appreciated.”

Whitcomb added, “As a farm operating team, Ralph and Lisa Turner challenge conventional wisdom, while putting their experimental urges and engineering skills on full display for the rest of us to study. Today we thank them for channeling their outspoken energy into a greater public understanding that sustainable locally grown, nutritious and safe food occurs when a farm survives as a business.” For more information, please see


Condolences to the friends and family of …

William (Bill) Coperthwaite, who died on Nov. 26 when he lost control of his car on a slippery road. Peter Forbes, who collaborated with Bill Coperthwaite on the book A Handmade Life, described the Maine homesteader as an architect, author, maker and visionary social critic. Forbes’ remembrance of his good friend is posted at

Andy Bray, who died on Nov. 28 from a heart attack. Andy was a long-time Common Ground Country Fair volunteer who helped with traffic signs and delivered remote meals to volunteers. He will be greatly missed.

Charlie Gould. Jane Lamb photo.

Charles S. Gould, aged 90, of Freeport, who passed away peacefully on November 27, 2013. For 22 years, beginning in 1965, Charlie was a Cooperative Extension Service educator in Sagadahoc and Androscoggin Counties. In the late 1960s and early ’70s, he became a beacon to the back-to-the-lander searching for information and advice about organic farming. Not an organic gardener himself, he embarked on his own learning journey in order to better serve his clients. Coming around to organics he soon said, “They taught me much more than I taught them,” and “I never enjoyed gardening until I started hauling manure.” He helped found MOFGA and played key roles in forming the Coastal Economic Development Corp., the Maine Small Farmers Assoc., Kennebec Valley Growers Cooperative, and the Central Maine Arts and Crafts Guild. Long-time MOFGA staff remember Charlie coming to the MOFGA office and spending time talking with everyone there. “Remember Charlie in your own way,” his family suggests, “perhaps by supporting your local farmers, advocating for an underdog, enjoying an apple.” An obituary is posted at