Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener

The little girl who told me, during one of our woods walks, that “bark is like tree-shirts” is now voting age and will soon graduate from high school and head for McGill University in Montreal (absentee ballot in hand). The little boy who clung to my leg while I boiled organic potatoes in the kitchen is now a teenager, ironing peace signs onto his shirts, telling me in the process how much the peace sign looks like a chicken foot.

After nearly two decades on our little farm, signs of success blossom. Every year more and more people ask specifically for our organic Christmas trees. Each spring we try to find more efficient, less labor intensive ways to grow nursery stock for Fedco Trees. In our home vegetable and fruit garden, we find more ways to extend the season and grow more of our own food – but, at the same time, look forward to the social interaction at the farmers’ market, where we buy many of the items we don’t grow. There is something to be said for not being a complete homesteader!

Would we do anything differently if we could start over? Possibly. When we came to Maine, we spent two years searching for the perfect land (sufficient acreage of flat, well-drained, not too stony loam) and finally found it — 8 miles from town and over 11 miles from the local high school. That was before the kids came along (and before the high school moved out of downtown). Now, we put an excessive number of miles on our vehicle. We could have had a good home garden and nursery operation, and raised potted Christmas trees, on less land closer to town, and our kids, as teenagers, would like to have been near town.

So if you are just getting started on your search for a farm, I offer one possible suggestion: Check enterprise budgets for different agricultural and horticultural crops (Cooperative Extension is one good source) and consider growing something that brings a good return on a small acreage, then look for that acreage close to a town. You may not need good soil, if you’ll be growing a crop in pots or raised beds with “imported” soil.

Just check zoning regulations before you buy land. Be suspect of any locale that won’t let you keep chickens.


We note with sadness the death of a great MOFGA supporter, Pam Greenman, this past spring. A memorial for Pam will be held at Merryspring Horticultural Park in Camden on June 13, in the afternoon. For more information, please contact Pam’s daughter, Beedy Parker, at 236-8732.
MOF&G Cover Summer 2004
MOFGA members receive our quarterly newspaper The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener as a benefit of membership. Become a member today! It can also be purchased at news stands.