Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener Spring 2006 cover image

Redefining the Family Farm
By Marada Cook
The concept of “socializing kids into farming” competes with a process of “externalizing” farm families and communities that has been happening in New England since the 1800s. Crystal Spring Community Farm in Brunswick, Maine, may be inverting these trends.

Rob Johnston Jr. and Johnny’s Selected Seeds
By Jean English
Following the progress of Rob Johnston’s life is like watching a seed as it germinates and responds to the sun. Johnston, founder of Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine, embodied a deep appreciation for seeds that grew as he progressed from uninspired college student to thriving business owner. Along the way, he was open to and received fertile input from key friends.

Connecting with the Terrestrial Ecosphere
By Céline Caron
Spring equinox approaches. What a good time to celebrate our world! Any time is good, really, but picking a significant date can prompt us to slow down and appreciate our ecosphere.

Deep Ecology & the Maine Earth Institute
By Joyce White
My deepest, most enduring sadness has come from the destruction of indigenous cultures by “civilized” invaders. Since I began some 55 years ago to understand Native attitudes of respect for and intimacy with the land and all its inhabitants, I have known — not believed but known at a deep, intuitive level — that theirs was the more genuinely civilized way of being on the earth.

Organic Dairy Farming: Prices and Profits
By Rick Kersbergen, Tim Dalton and Lisa Bragg
Organic dairy farming has become the fastest growing agricultural sector in New England. Maine has the highest percentage of organic dairy farms compared with conventional in the nation. This growth has occurred within the last 10 years, largely from farms switching from conventional to organic practices. A contributing factor was the mid- to late-1990s expansion of “Vermont Organic Cow” into a major purchaser and processor of organic milk.

The Little Farm on the Corner
By Craig Idlebrook
When I first spotted it, I thought it was an unlikely place for an organic farmstand: still within Ellsworth city limits, right off a fast stretch of Route 1, across the street from a hotel and in a residential neighborhood. Pulling up, I assumed the Blackstone Gardens farmstand would be just another folding tray full of excess zucchini.

Sambhavana Clinic & Herb Garden
By Gail Faith Edwards
On the night of December 3, 1984, 40 tons of deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, black green in color, according to those who saw it, leaked from the Union Carbide India Limited Factory and swept through most of Old Bhopal, India, within a few hours. The poisonous gas entered at least half a million people’s bloodstreams through their lungs and damaged almost every system in their bodies. On that one night more than 8,000 lives were lost. The death toll has reached over 20,000 today. Far more still suffer devastating illness and debilitating and congenital diseases.

Raising Organic Hogs by the Tractor Method


By Alice Percy
We organic farmers are supposed to be working with, not against, the forces of nature. We shouldn’t be asking, “How can I make the pig conform to my idea of Salatin-style pasture-based livestock farming?” but “How can I turn the rooting behavior and the gluttony of the pig to my farm’s advantage?” The answer to the latter question is the pig tractor, which uses the pig to plow and fertilize your garden.

2005 Common Ground Country Fair Teach-In
Making Healthier Homes

By Jean English
“Home is where the harm is,” said Mike Belliveau at a Public Policy Teach-In about healthy homes at the 2005 Common Ground Country Fair. The executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center and organizer of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine noted that we’ve made a lot of progress in reducing industrial air and water pollution — although much remains to be done — but many materials brought into our homes can harm our health.

2005 Common Ground Country Fair Keynote Address
Spencer Aitel: Let Them Eat Cake

Let’s talk about food. We all think we know a bit about food. My kid sister perched above the floor in a high chair, taking a sizzling slap shot at a spoonful of steaming, strained carrots; she knew about food all right. And so do you: what tastes good and what doesn’t; what’s good for you and what isn’t good for you. For a few minutes, let’s talk about some assumptions we have about food.

2005 Farmer to Farmer Conference Keynote Address
David Pimentel: Organic Food in the “Age of Healing”

Entomologist and ecologist Dr. David Pimentel of Cornell University was the keynote speaker at MOFGA and Cooperative Extension’s Farmer to Farmer Conference in Bar Harbor in November 2005. In introducing him, Russell Libby mentioned John Seymour’s essay for Resurgence magazine years ago called “The Age of Healing.” Seymour said we’ve been plundering the world’s resources for the last 150 years, and now we can keep doing the same and go into an age of chaos; or we could try an age of healing.

Leeks: Esteemed Yesterday, Braised and More Today
By Jean Pollard
Allium porrum, the common leek, says J.I. Rodale in his 1961 How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method, is a biennial herb of the onion genus of the lily family. Cultivated by the Greeks, it “was so much esteemed by the Romans that Nero is said to have eaten it regularly for several days each month to clear his voice.”

Agni Brings Good Digestion, Good Heath
By Deb Soule
Traditional peoples worldwide have long understood that food is our medicine, that health begins with good digestion, and that good digestion results from a variety of factors. One ancient healing system, Ayurveda, has carefully outlined basic principles for improving digestion that are easily applicable to those of us living in the West.

Harvest Kitchen:
Real Eggs Beat Supermarket Imposters

By Roberta Bailey
I love chickens. I love to watch them roam and scratch and peck. I love their varied plumage and the bright, golden orange-yolked, free-range eggs.

Twenty Years Later …
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
I have worked for MOFGA for a long time, but I usually let each anniversary of my starting date pass without celebration – because of mixed feelings. I really love the job of being the organic “extension” guy, and I have a great time working with all the MOFGA folks day in and day out. The mixed feelings occur only because I feel so young, and marking my anniversary with MOFGA exposes my true age.

MOFGA Questions Proposed Animal ID System
By Diane Schivera
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, working closely with livestock industry representatives, has proposed a system that would require all farms in the country to be registered and all animals to have a formal identification system.

Compost Happens


In the Tradition
By John Bunker, MOFGA President
The days are getting longer now. Oceans of seedlings fill greenhouses and line windowsills. Throughout the Northern Hemisphere many millions of gardens are going in: some huge; some tiny; others in between. Cows are calving; goats are gamboling; piglets squealing and sheep are running around naked. It’s springtime again. When you tip the wheelbarrow and spread compost over the moist soil, you are participating in a tradition of organic farming and gardening that predates Nearing, Rodale, Steiner, Johnny’s, Fedco and Pinetree.

By Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
It’s early February as I write, but the ground outside the MOFGA offices is missing its blanket of snow. For the past two months, as I take my evening walk, the stream on the hillside has been running almost half the nights, often running as fast as it would at spring thaw. There’s already talk of tapping maple trees. Maybe this is what winter will be like in a world of climate change.

What’s Your Dream?
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
The power of grassroots organizing is huge. Activists often point to the civil rights and women’s movements as examples of how small numbers of people with the right ideas can begin to effect massive, culture-wide change as their dreams and ideas become publicized, recognized, accepted and adopted. That’s certainly happened with organic farming and gardening, most certainly in Maine.

You Are What You Wear, Too
Cotton uses about 25% of the global insecticides market by value and about 10% of the pesticides market, according to the Pesticide Action Network (at

Reviews and Resources
This Land is Their Land – How Corporate Farms Threaten the World
The Wisdom of Small Farms and Local Food
Anyone Can Build a Whizbang Chicken Scalder
Local Food Directories
Organic Industry News
Farmers and Their Innovative Cover Cropping Techniques
Solar is Looking Good!
Web Site Provides U.S. Ag Stats
Work With Nature to Manage Insect Pests
Connect with National Agricultural Library
Business Options for Poultry Producers


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Maine BPC

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