Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Salvador Cruz
Salvador Cruz. Photo courtesy of Karen and Paul Volckhausen.
Claire Ackroyd. Photo courtesy of Shannon Commeau.
Claire Ackroyd. Photo courtesy of Shannon Commeau.
Toki Oshima drawing.
Epicurean Delights. Toki Oshima drawing.

The Struggle for Agricultural Sustainability:
MOFGA’s Salvadoran Sisters and a Relationship of Solidarity

By Karen and Paul Volckhausen
We recently returned from a four-month journey to El Salvador, where we had the privilege of living in a remarkable village in the northern department of Chalatenango. This fulfilled a long held dream of ours to live with the people from this region, sharing in their lives and learning more about their struggles.

Avena Institute Blossoms
By Jean English
Bonnie Rukin-Miller, chair of the board of Avena Institute, reads a quote from gifted “wise woman” M.C. Richards, who was a writer, potter, and progressive thinker connected with the anthroposophical movement until her death three years ago.

Permaculture at Avena

Pleasant View Farm – Where the Sheep and the Bison Roam
By Joyce White
A big “Our Maine” wood-burning cook stove is the central feature in the Jones’ kitchen at Pleasant View Farm in Waterford, Maine. The open windows of this old hillside farmhouse in western Maine admit delicious summer breezes along with spectacular views of the White Mountains and foothills, and of cattle browsing in the lower pasture.

Rose – The Flower of Love
By Deb Soule
Many species of roses are cultivated throughout the world for their fragrance, beauty and medicine. Rosa rugosa, originally from China, Japan and Korea, is the hardy and common species of rose that has naturalized along the coast of Maine. Suzanne Verrier, author of the book Rosa Rugosa, says that the rugosas were brought to North America in 1872 from the Far East, not from Europe, like other rose species.

Nasturtiums – Naturally
By Jean Ann Pollard
Mid-summer finds nasturtium blossoms transforming the lush, green landscape of our Simply Grande gardens into a bright melange of yellows, oranges, and reds. Native to Central and South America, the plants arrived here the long way around, coming via Europe, where the introduction occurred in the sixteenth century.

Claire Ackroyd and the Greening of United Technologies Center
By Rhonda Houston (Tate)
Spending any amount of a warm, dewy, June evening on the interstate is my idea of punishment. Exiting the interstate on the Hogan Road in Bangor and pushing past every large car dealership north of Portland while swerving around recently licensed, teenage mall dwellers could be classified as cruel and unusual. How pleasant, therefore, to fight through the big box stores and sea of pavement and stumble upon something utterly organic, fresh and truly cooperative in nature.

Grow Your Own Crabapples
By Roberta Bailey
Who can resist the beauty of a crabapple tree in full bloom? Or the scent so strong that you stop what you are doing and go to the tree, inhaling deeply amid the buzz of bees? I certainly cannot. Many an otherwise bare yard will have a crabapple tree. On my farm I have a 400-yard-long fencerow with dozens of birdhouses, chokecherries, viburnum, buckthorn and hawthorn. My fantasy is to interplant it with flowering crabapple trees.

Cilantro & Coriander
By Ellie MacDougall
Cilantro’s background is a little confusing at first. It’s called Chinese parsley and, though it is a member of the parsley family and has been grown in China since the fifth century, it probably originated in Asia Minor, is indigenous to Europe, and its seeds were found in an Egyptian tomb of the 21st Dynasty. In fact, quite a specialized trade existed of cilantro’s seeds, known as coriander, between Egypt and Rome, and Pliny himself pronounced them as the best that could be had.

Experts Address Animal Health, Alternative Therapies
By Diane Schivera
Last winter MOFGA hosted two presentations about livestock health care that were well received by and very helpful to growers. One was presented by Dan Leiterman and by Paul Dettloff, D.V.M., from Wisconsin; the other by Henrietta Beaufait, D.V.M., from Albion.

Watch Out for Moldy Grain
By Jean English
If the grain or feed that you buy for your animals is green or blue/green and stinky, it’s not good. That was the bottom line of LeBelle Hicks’ talk at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta in January – and it was what people in the audience, who had inadvertently purchased moldy grain more than once, wanted to know.

Harvest Kitchen: Epicurean Delights from the Exhibition Hall
By Roberta Bailey
Have you been through the Exhibition Hall yet? Common Ground Fair’s Exhibition Hall is a hall of marvels. You walk from the hustle and bustle of the fairgrounds into the cool quiet sanctum of mellowed wooden timbers and high ceilings. The outside world falls away. You focus on rows of tables crammed full of flowers and vegetables, then your focus narrows to each section of vegetables as you walk along the edge of table after table.

The Importance of Organic Matter
By Eric Sideman
It always amuses me to think back to when I was young and, like most, I understood very little of what my parents did. Now that I am an adult, most of their former actions make sense. Sometimes they had good reasons for their behavior and other times their actions simply must have seemed like the right thing to do. I regret not talking and listening more to my parents because it is too late to find out for sure which was which. Even some of my father’s gardening practices leave me asking myself: “How did he know that when he grew up in the slums of New York City?”

Free Guide to Effects of Contaminants in Water
Herb-Flavored Oils and Botulism
Organic Bulbs Available Online

Grow Atlantic Cedar

MOFGA Questions Monsanto’s Compliance With Genetic Engineering Act
MOFGA has been closely monitoring the issue of compliance with the 2001 Maine genetic contamination legislation, “An Act to Protect Against Contamination of Crops and Wild Plant Populations by Genetically Engineered Plants.”


MOFGA: Common Ground Fair and Much More
By Eric Rector, 2002 MOFGA President
So many people know about and attend the Common Ground Country Fair that sometimes I’m surprised when the same people aren’t familiar with MOFGA’s role in the Fair, or with MOFGA’s other year-round activities. I’d like to take this opportunity to describe some of the other roles MOFGA plays in the sustainable agriculture movement in Maine.

By Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
A fine shading exists between trust and confidence, and we as a society have to deal with that shading. Recent Congressional actions are supposed to rebuild our confidence in the stock market and make us more willing to invest. Meanwhile the Financial Times newspaper identifies literally dozens of people who have made over $10 million while driving their companies into bankruptcy.

Feed the Neighborhoods, Feed the World
By Jean English
Remember the old saying, “Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves?” The same philosophy can apply to agriculture: Take care of the neighborhood, and the world will take care of itself; feed the neighborhood, and the world will feed itself. This contrasts with a “feed the world” mentality that sees the industrialized North as taking on the feeding of the Third World — and even the feeding of much of Maine — like an impatient parent trying to shove tasteless, ground up mush into a fussing baby’s mouth.

An Interest, A Hobby, A Passion, A Business …
By Russell Libby
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association lost four friends over the past few months. What struck me, as someone who knew all four, is the many ways that people find the right place and time to make a difference.

Last Row to Hoe: Only $200,000 left to raise in MOFGA’s $3.1 million dollar Capital Campaign
By Eric Rector
The new home of MOFGA and the Common Ground Country Fair, in Unity, Maine, has been made possible largely by the generosity of its members, and it is nearly complete.

Reviews & Resources
Anyone Can Build a Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker, by Herrick Kimball
Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky
Urban Agriculture Magazine
Waheenee, An Indian Girl’s Story Told By Herself to Gilbert L. White

News & Events

Genetic Engineering News

BPC Reports

June 2002:
Legislators React to Pesticides Sales Report
Hearings on School Pesticide Rule
July 2002:
BPC Rejects Mandatory Universal Notification
Machias Public Water Supply Contaminated with Herbicide
Organic Blueberry Producer Victim of Spray Violation
BPC and DEP Act on Clopyralid Compost Contamination

2002 Farmer to Farmer Conference
First Maine Food Festival
Heather Fisher and Daughter Fiona Join Fair Summer Staff
Low Impact Forestry Workshop
Maine’s Moveable Feast

Volunteer Profile
Leslie Poole:
Maine’s Own Erin Brokovitch

Fair News
Welcome to the Fair!
Public Policy Teach-In: Maine Candidates’ Forum at the Fair