Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Androscoggin Apple Farm at Common Ground
Allen Smith and daughter Isabel selling apple products at the 2007 Common Ground Fair.
Androscoggin Apple Company
by Craig Idlebrook

When I first met Allen Smith at the end of the 2007 Common Ground Country Fair, he had the tired look of someone who had dished out hundreds of apple cider-sweetened snow-cones for three days; but Isabel, Smith’s 11-year old daughter, was still energetic despite a three-day stint as the booth’s banker.

2008 Spring Growth Conference
Energy, Climate and Agriculture
Russ Libby, MOFGA’s executive director, opened MOFGA’s 2008 Spring Growth Conference in March by asking, “What are the implications of changing energy prices and changing climate on Maine farmers?” He acknowledged Maine Rural Partners and the Risk Management Agency for underwriting the cost of the conference.

Brussels Sprouts
by Jean Ann Pollard
Marian Morash, in The Victory Garden Cookbook (Knopf, 1982), gives a perfect (and poetic) description of brussels sprouts. The tiny “cabbages,” she says, “develop along a thick 20- to 22-inch-high stalk that grows straight up from the ground. The sprouts start at the bottom and circle around the stalk, interrupted occasionally by great fanning leaves which top off the plant as an umbrella of protection for the rosettes below.”

Root Cellars: Safe and Secure from the Corporate Food Train
by Cheryl Wixson
Root-cellaring is a saving technique for ordinary winter storage of fresh, raw, whole vegetables and fruits that have not been processed to increase their keeping quality. The root cellar is a way to hold these foods for several months after their normal harvest in a cold, rather moist environment that does not allow them to freeze or to complete their natural cycle to decomposition in the fall.

Preserving Farmland is Key to the Future of Farming
by John Piotti
When I give presentations on farming in Maine, I usually begin with this true-or-false quiz:
• In the last two federal agricultural censuses, the number of farmers in Maine increased.
• In the same period, the amount of Maine farmland in production increased.
• Maine has the fifth youngest farmer population in the nation.
All three statements are true.

Nate and Gabrielle
Nate Drummond and Gabrielle Gosselin of Six River Farm in Bowdoinham. Manon Whittlesey, Morphee photo.

George Christopher’s Incubator Farm

by Marada Cook
Thinking about starting a farm? Looking for good land, good markets that are reasonably close, a little (or a lot) of start-up capital, a place to live, a way to pay bills in the off-season, a community of organic farmers, equipment that isn’t outrageously expensive or in disrepair?

Biochar, Agrichar, Terra Preta –
Black Gold for Soil, Long-Term Carbon Storage for Earth

by Jean English
Biochar (or agrichar) is the product of pyrolysis – of burning plant material under controlled, low-oxygen conditions (in a kiln, for example) to produce charcoal. Adding this highly stable form of carbon to soils may increase plant yields (especially on degraded soils); reduce nutrient leaching; cut fertilizer needs, thus decreasing runoff of fertilizers and the energy needed to produce, transport and apply fertilizers; and significantly reduce greenhouse gases (CO2, methane and nitrous oxide).

A Look at Lyme Disease
by Joyce White
Will we let Lyme disease be one more reason to stay inside, to keep to “safe” areas? As the disease has spread in the Northeast, including the lower half of Maine, fear has escalated. So let’s look at the disease, respecting the devastation the chronic form can cause but balancing that against the immense loss if we let fear to keep us from the outdoors – especially the wild places – that nourish body, mind and spirit.

Rice in Bucket
Rice in Vermont!
Could Rice be the Northeast’s Newest Grain Crop?
by Cheryl Bruce
For the past two years, Linda and Takeshi Akaogi have been experimenting with growing rice on their small farm in Putney, Vermont. In March 2008, they received a SARE Farmer Grant to evaluate the viability of rice production in the Northeast; to create a supply of seed for interested farmers; and to introduce rice as a commercial crop to this region.


CSAs in Maine: 115 and Growing
by Melissa White Pillsbury
In 2006, MOFGA was awarded a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant for a project entitled: “Building Connections: Creating a Broader Public Base for CSAs” through which, at the end of the three-year project, an additional 20 Maine farms would begin offering CSA shares, and the overall number of shares offered to Maine families would increase by 1250.
Lemonbalm for a tasty jelly.

Volunteer Herb Plants Yield Tasty Jellies
by Roberta Bailey
This was a summer for appreciating volunteers. I didn’t necessarily have a lot of people volunteering to help weed or mulch, and I wasn’t dedicating the summer to all the great efforts of MOFGA volunteers – though their efforts deserve such a summer as we just had. Rather I was appreciating a bounty of plants that reseeded themselves from the year before – my plant volunteers.

A Short History of Your Common Ground T-Shirt
by Alex Owre
All T-shirts sold at the Common Ground Country Store and supplied to Fair volunteers are made from certified organic cotton grown in Texas. The 810 dozen on hand for this year’s Fair represent approximately eight bales of ginned cotton (cotton with bulbs, seed, sticks and leaves removed), the product of just under 5 acres.

Livestock Housing
by Diane Schivera
Housing for livestock becomes more important as winter approaches, and if you don’t have housing for animals that you acquired this summer, plan that housing now and start building as soon as possible.
Sidebar: COOPP – Get Your Poultry Processed Here

Pigweed & Lambsquarters
Pigweed and lambsquarters.
Farm and Garden Weed Management Starts in the Fall
by Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
The most important distinction between organic and conventional growing is that organic growers have replaced inputs, whether organic or conventional, with management skills. This is easy to see with insect and disease management, but it is also important with fertility and weed management.


Helping One Another, by Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
As the economy moves into a downturn or a recession or something else that will have a new name, long after the fact, most of the news seems to focus on individual solutions, on what people should buy or whether they should sell stocks now. In the end, these decisions don’t really make a large amount of difference. What will make a difference is how we act, day-to-day, in our communities.

Twenty-three Actions to Take, in Memory of Richard Parker, by Jean English, Editor, The MOF&G
In my imagination, long-time MOFGA member and dedicated supporter Dick Parker will be sitting in his little folding chair on the Common at the Common Ground Country Fair, listening carefully to all three keynote speeches; sorting, synthesizing and storing the broadcast information; linking anything new and interesting to a vast store of wisdom.

Well-Fertilized Soil – And Poems, by Mariana S. Tupper
Compost... manure... excrement... "the 's' word" .... This topic may not sound very poetic, yet thoughts of well-fertilized soil are never far from the poet-gardener's mind.

Coleman’s Method Worked
Help Alleviate Food Crisis
Organic is for the Birds

Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods, edited and introduced by Gary Paul Nabhan.
Gardens Maine Style Act II, by Rebecca Sawyer-Fay and Lynn Karlin
Two from UMaine: Conifers of Maine; Biodiversity in the Forests of Maine
Dark Orchard, by William Wright

MOF&G 2008 Fairbook Cover
Read the 72-page Fairbook edition of our quarterly newspaper The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener!

Organic Matter – A Compendium of Food and Agricultural News

Maine Board of Pesticides Control News – MDOT to Use Herbicides along Roads

MOFGA-Certified Organic Growers Directory, 2008

New Livestock Barn
Renewable Energy Update
Staff News

Volunteer Profile
Anu Dudley: Historian At Work

Common Ground Country Fair News
Grace Keown's "Hay Barn" Poster Design
2008 Keynote Speakers

Tips & Tidbits
Grazing Cattle All Winter
Supporting Small Farm Success with Shiitakes

In Memory of:
Rufus Hellendale of Harborside
Bill Jones of Peaks Island