Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener – Fall 2018

Publications \ The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener \ Fall 2018

Wellscroft Farm
Will Bonsall
Pete Stratton
Eric Sideman at the Fair in the 1980s

Organic Matter – Food and Agricultural News

Border Collies, Sheep and Fencing: Three Essentials for Wellscroft Farm
By Jean English
The sheepdog demonstrations, among the most vibrant and loved events at the Common Ground Country Fair, attract thousands of spectators annually. Few realize, however, that the demos also reflect the vibrant atmosphere and integrated businesses of Wellscroft Farm in Harrisville, in Southwestern New Hampshire. David Kennard and his son, Colin, along with their respective partners, Julie and Anne, own and operate Wellscroft.

Memories of Fairs Past
By Will Bonsall
Maine's state motto, “Dirigo” (“I lead”), may seem a little over the top in some respects, but in terms of progressive movements, it's spot on. In my lifetime Maine has led the nation in choosing scenery over billboards, enacting a bottle redemption bill, requiring GMO labeling (although it hasn't kicked in yet) and insisting on adopting ranked choice voting. Surely among our greatest achievements is having a highly active organic organization – MOFGA; and surely one of MOFGA's signal achievements has been the Common Ground Country Fair.

Thanking Pete Stratton, Capturing Carbon, Planning Curriculum
By Peter Hagerty and Hannah Murray
Peter Stratton of Sydney, Maine, is one of the longest and most experienced members of our low impact forestry (LIF) teaching staff. He and his horses seem to have been with us  forever. One of Pete’s greatest skills is the way he starts his class with the basics of horse and harness, moving through the anatomy of the horse and then handing the lines to the students, knowing that his horses have seen everything, yet are steady, considerate and patient.

Bring Your Farming and Gardening Questions to the Fair
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
My job at MOFGA over the past 30-some years has been perfect for me. My role has been to extend information from the experts (researchers, university folks, farmers, etc.) to others. Sometimes that involved interpreting science; sometimes it was simply being able to talk with the great established MOFGA farmers and gardeners and pass along tips to others. The Fair was and remains a perfect place to do this.

Why Support Organic Dairy In Maine
By Jacki Martinez Perkins
Some would say that owning a commercial organic dairy today is a losing proposition. For others it’s the only life they’ve known, and they would never think of changing. Dairy farming has never been an easy lifestyle. Few consumers realize the intelligence, ingenuity, skill and perseverance required to get a glass of milk or block of cheese to their refrigerator.

MOFGA-certified Organic Stands For _____?
By Chris Grigsby, MOFGA Certification Services LLC Director
As MOFGA moves toward its 50th birthday, the world of organic agriculture differs vastly from that world in 1971, when MOFGA was formed. In many ways the terms “success” and “achievement” describe where we have come in that time.

The Joy of Tasting at the Hayloft Tent
By John Bunker
In 1993, needing something to spruce up the brand new Fedco Seeds tent at the Common Ground Country Fair, we assembled three modest displays. One featured assorted potatoes; the second, tomatoes; and the third, apples. The displays were a hit. They drew people into the tent and introduced them to varieties with which many fairgoers were unfamiliar.

Harvest Kitchen: Cooking from the Garden – or the Common Ground Farmers’ Markets
By Roberta Bailey
Here we are at another September, another Common Ground Country Fair. We have persevered through drought and heat, wild thunderstorms and unexpectedly chilly nights. We have reveled in a cool breeze, cooled off in deep clear lakes, listened to the tree swallows chortle, watched the alewives leaping up a fish ladder or a sturgeon rise, and recently, the geese turn south. We have celebrated the first zucchini and groaned over them when they piled up on the kitchen counter. We have watched and waited impatiently as the first tomatoes took on color and then ripened to sweet perfection. Now we wonder if anyone in the neighborhood can use more tomatoes. We have picked every berry, making jam, and wishing the weather would cool enough to bake a pie.

"Free" Trade, Trade Wars and What is Left Out


Greetings to the MOFGA Community
By Sarah Alexander
Hello! If we haven’t met yet, I hope we meet soon. I’m looking forward to meeting many of you at this year’s Common Ground Country Fair. I’ve attended the Fair several times before, but this year will be a new experience as I’ll be attending in my new role as MOFGA’s executive director.

The Garden of Organic Delights
By Jean English
When the bustle of the garden threatens peace of mind, diversity in the garden (flowers!) offers a respite. Ironically, it’s the busy-ness of other species that slows me down and holds my awe: the frantic visits of hummingbirds and bumblebees to rhododendron flowers; the mad gathering and buzz of bumblebees, honeybees and smaller bees in asparagus, poppy and milkweed flowers; the first monarch of the season alighting on swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) tucked at the end of a crop row; hummingbird acrobatics on scarlet runner bean flowers. A few weeks later, a multitude of insects visit the August-blooming sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) just outside the vegetable garden, all to be followed by birds feeding on fruits of native viburnums and dogwoods. We sacrifice a few blueberries to the catbirds, too. Taking a break from chores in the vegetable garden to watch this symphony of life is renewing – a reminder that we’re all part of the complexity of nature.

Reviews & Resources
The New Organic Grower
Retiring To, Not From
Bees and Their Habitats in Four New England States
Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture


Volunteer Profile
Michael Bunker

Staff Profile
Kaitlynn McGuire

New Hires at MOFGA
Caleb Goossen
Karen Stimpson
Tamika Adjemian


• Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA a Success

Beedy Parker

Paul Birdsall

Common Ground Country Fair