Farmer to Farmer Conference
2022 Farmer to Farmer Conference
Saturday, November 5 - Monday, November 7, 2022
Hutchinson Center, Belfast, Maine
PRE-REGISTRATION IS CLOSED!
Walk-Ins are Welcome
We will not have many extra lunches on hand for walk-ins so please plan accordingly, though we will have plenty of YumBus tacos and drinks available at our Sunday Evening Farmer Mixer!
Thank You to Our 2022 Sponsors and Major Funders
This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2021‐70027‐34693.
MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference is known for its intimacy, in-depth treatment of topics and profound discussions. The conference offerings are based on the idea that farmers learn best from their peers and other practitioners. Conference speakers include prominent and accessible university faculty, extension educators and other agricultural professionals. Our unique workshop session format presents talks by both agricultural service professionals and farmers, and then opens up to a farmer discussion that capitalizes on the knowledge of all in attendance.
Learn from and engage with speakers who are farmers and service providers, including peers and mentors from across Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and more! View the full conference program here.
Please contact Anna Mueller with any questions you may have at (207) 568-6017 or [email protected].
Please consider carpooling with other conference attendees to reduce traffic; and save time, money and energy. For more information about Group Carpool, please visit their FAQ page. MOFGA does not assume responsibility for anything that transpires before, during or after use of Group Carpool rideshares.
To register for Group Carpool, Childcare, or Lunch see the links below.
2022 Keynote Speaker
Monday, November 7 at 8:45 a.m.
Hutchinson Center, Belfast, Maine
Maggie Cheney (They/Them)
Co-Owner, General Manager, Rock Steady Farm
Lessons Learned at Rock Steady Farm
Maggie Cheney will speak to lessons learned from Rock Steady Farm’s beginning years — as a farm that had no start-up capital, permanent land or inherited wealth at its beginning to now a 12-person strong team with five worker owners, and the majority of the staff returning for their third season or more. They will talk about the importance of learning from past mistakes, prioritizing living wages, workplace culture and creative solutions for farmers navigating today’s endless economic challenges. Cheney will speak to cooperative ethos, anti-racism and a queer lens to which some of these solutions stem from. The question at the core of this keynote is: “How can farmers center the wellbeing of both people and the ecological stewardship of the land without succumbing to the destructive and exploitative pressures that our food system continually puts on us?”
Bio for Maggie Cheney
Maggie Cheney grew up growing and loving food. With farmer parents, they have been involved with food and farming throughout their whole life, both in urban and rural spaces. In 2015 they co-founded Rock Steady Farm, a queer-owned and -operated cooperative vegetable farm rooted in social justice, food access and farmer training in Millerton, New York. Rock Steady has a 500-person CSA, with half of the shares for lower income members made possible through their sliding scale and Food Access Fund, which fully subsidized shares for specific community partnerships. Rock Steady also trains LGBTQ+ beginning and aspiring farmers through virtual and weekend workshops and an exciting program called POLLINATE!, a two-week paid educational farm immersion specifically for LGBTQ+ farmers.
Prior to Rock Steady they moved to New York City in 2011, where they met many of the Rock Steady farmers and community partners while working with a diversity of food justice and youth leadership programs, including The Bushwick Campus Farm, the New York City Youth Food Policy Council and Youth Food Justice Network. In addition, they started the Northeast Queer Farmer Alliance, which now has over 400 members. Cheney was also instrumental in the formation of the Food Sovereignty Fund, which funds food access projects across New York state by sourcing from BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ farmers. In the off season they teach, now for the ninth year, at Farm School NYC, an urban agriculture training program, as well as continue to support the efforts and inspiring work of Rise & Root Farm, which they co-founded in 2014.
Saturday, November 5
Rogers Farm Forage and Crop Research Facility
Starting at 1 p.m.
Old Town, Maine
The Rogers Farm Forage and Crop Research Facility is one of the University of Maine’s (UMaine) sustainable agriculture research facilities.
Rogers Farm is used for a wide range of sustainable agriculture research, extension and teaching projects. As a mixed usage research site, crops grown on the farm include silage corn, sweet corn, potatoes, dried beans, small grains, hemp and mixed vegetables. The farm provides land for the Penobscot County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden and the Black Bear Food Guild, the university’s student-run community supported agriculture program.
The 2022 Farmer to Farmer field day at Rogers Farm will focus on the Interseeding Cover Crops in Late Season Veg Crops project. This project is investigating planting cover crops over late season cabbage and sweet corn crops, looking specifically at optimal timing of planting, methods for seeding and species of cover crops to use. We’ll look at and discuss results from the first year of the trial at the farm. We’ll also discuss farmer experiences and equipment used from on-farm trials throughout the state. There will be an opportunity to check out the cultivation equipment being trialed by the UMaine Weed Ecology and Management lab group.
Nettie Fox Farm
Starting at 3 p.m.
Nettie Fox Farm is a small diversified vegetable farm that markets close to home through the Bangor Farmers’ Market and summer and fall CSAs. Molly Crouse broke ground in 2010 after her tenure as co-farmer-in-residence with the MOFGA Journeyperson Program, and Everett Ottinger joined her in 2014. Balancing the farm with raising a family, they are blessed with choice land and a loyal customer base.
Sunday, November 6 - Monday, November 7
Hutchinson Center, Belfast, Maine
Sunday Morning Sessions
9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Trey Gilbert, Herring Brothers
Come to a discussion lead by Trey Gilbert of Herring Brothers Meats on the demand for in-state slaughter, why they chose to be USDA- and organic-inspected, and what it has meant for their business.
Nicolas Lindholm, MOFGA; Alex Fouliard, Maine Farmland Trust (MFT); Alex Redfield, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF); Eric Ferguson, Harvest Tide Organics
Interested in knowing more about accessing capital and some of the current investment funds in the state and how farmers are using them? From MOFGA’s Organic Farmer Loan Fund to MFT’s Farming for Wholesale to DACF’s Farms for the Future and Ag Marketing Loan Fund to the Maine Organic Lenders, there are a myriad of programs for our farmers to utilize to help grow their businesses. Alex Fouliard, Alex Redfield and Nicolas Lindholm will talk about business financing options, loan decision-making processes, experiences building relationships with lenders, and how investing in the farm impacts one’s life and business.
Jason Lilley, UMaine Extension; Seth Kroeck, Crystal Spring Farm; Farmer cooperators in interseeding trial
Oats and winter rye have a lot of benefits for our soils. That said, there are a lot of other cover crop species and planting windows that could take our cover cropping game to the next level. We’ll discuss tools and methods for planning your cover cropping system, look at diverse species to choose from, and cover practical applications of cover crop mixes, interseeding and other unique planting options.
Courtney Williams, Marr Pond Farm; Josh Emerman, Moorit Hill Farm
Marr Pond Farm has over 2,000 shiitake logs in production on marginal land and sells mushrooms at four farmers’ markets from early summer through fall. They have utilized and developed simple low-tech systems for inoculating logs and managing their mushroom yard. Moorit Hill Farm grows between five and ten varieties of mushrooms year-round, producing about 500 pounds per week. Their mushrooms are grown indoors in a specially designed room that allows for year-round growth, where they harvest fresh mushrooms up to twice a day, every day. All of their mushrooms are grown on certified organic oak sawdust blocks, which, once used, are composted, turning them into a mycelium rich soil amendment. Come learn how and why each of these farms chose either outdoor or indoor mushroom cultivation, how they manage it profitably, and how they’ve leveraged a unique product to stand out in the crowd.
Sayer Palmer, Open Woods Farm; Hanne Tierney, Cornerstone Farm; Andy Jones of Intervale Farm
Hear how farmers have modified their farm to increase their quality of life. Join the conversation about how scale, markets, practices, labor, management strategies and more contribute to finding the right fit for your ability to manage stress.
Cynthia Flores, Labor-Movement, LLC
This workshop will focus on body mechanics and movement patterns to help avoid potential work-related musculoskeletal injuries while farming. We will discuss and practice ideal vs. real and ways to modify to get the work done safely and efficiently. This will be a hands-on workshop outside so please dress accordingly! In addition to practicing movements, we will discuss ways to bring farmer movement health and wellness into the farm’s work culture in a sustainable manner, thereby potentially reducing work-related injuries, increasing efficiency and extending longevity in a season or career.
Andre Cantelmo, Heron Pond Farm; John Bliss, Broadturn Farm
Learn how several farms are using soil steamers for weed, pest and disease control, as well as details about a project to make them affordable to greenhouse growers through cooperative organization.
Register here for bagged lunch catered by Billi Barker of Enchanted Kitchen at Fire Fly Farm.
Sunday Afternoon Sessions
Erick Baur, Agri-placement
It takes a leadership team approach to make negotiations, solve problems and resolve conflicts between farm workers and employees. Join us for a discussion around how we work to connect farmers with farm workers and keep the avenues of communication open.
Kate Donald, Stout Oak Farm and Three River Farmers Alliance; Analena Bruce and Elaina Enzien, University of New Hampshire (UNH)
Collaborative marketing models (like online farmers’ markets, multi-farm CSAs, and farmer-owned cooperatives or food hubs) retain the benefits of direct-to-consumer sales while improving experiences for farmers and customers. In this interactive session, a founding member of the Three River Farmers Alliance will share their experience and lessons learned, and Elaina Enzien of UNH Extension will highlight her recent study of the potential for collaborative aggregation and marketing in New England. The team will facilitate breakout groups for a peer learning exchange about collaborative aggregation and marketing strategies for participants to share experiences and learn from each other.
Jeremy Barker Plotkin, Simple Gifts Farm; Evan Perkins, Small Axe Farm
Interested in hearing from out-of-state farmers on converting vegetable production to reduced and no-till? Join us for this session with Jeremy Barker Plotkin of Simple Gifts Farm in Massachusetts and Evan Perkins of Small Axe Farm in Vermont to learn about their successes and challenges. We will then open the space for a general Q&A and farmer discussion amongst the room.
Andre Cantelmo, Heron Pond Farm; Andy Jones, Intervale Community Farm
Hear from New England farmers Andre Cantelmo of Heron Pond Farm in New Hampshire and Andy Jones of Intervale Community Farm in Vermont on how they efficiently produce and harvest salad greens. We will dive into growing practices and food safety measures during this session and then open it up to farmer discussion in the room.
Catherine Durkin, Maine Farmland Trust (MFT); Nicolas Lindholm, MOFGA; Caitlin Frame, Maine Milkhouse; Brady Hatch, Morning Dew Farm
This session will look at QuickBooks and how farmers are using it. Plan on hearing stories of real-life situations, adaptations farmers have made, and/or struggles with this popular small-business bookkeeping software. And come ready to share how you moved from desktop to online, or integrated Square and/or bank feeds, or how you record CSA pre-payments, or record and track lot numbers, or any other farm business realities that perhaps QuickBooks wasn’t initially set up for. Beginners to advanced levels are welcome, and all will likely hear something new! Caitlin Frame of the Maine Milkhouse and Brady Hatch of Morning Dew Farm will be joined by Catherine Durkin of Maine Farmland Trust and Nicolas Lindholm of MOFGA, who will also talk about setting up the chart of accounts for farms.
Nate Drummond, Six River Farm; Anson Biller, Full Fork Farm; Becky Sideman, University of New Hampshire (UNH)
Interested in protected strawberry production? Six River Farm will share their system for using a high tunnel to improve the earliness and quality of their strawberries, and Becky Sideman will share the results of her UNH Extension on-farm research of low tunnel strawberry systems, including grower observations that will help you decide if it’s “worth it” or not.
Jim Buckle and Hannah Hamilton, Buckle Farm
Join this exciting conversation about specializing your farm products to not grow everything with Jim Buckle and Hannah Hamilton of Buckle Farm in Unity. Hamilton will dive into the business side while Buckle will talk about the mechanical aspects of the farm. Come hear about how most of the system they use relies on little to no outside labor and how these farmers make decisions and meet their goals.
Sunday Evening Farm Mixer
Relax, connect, enjoy! Stay after the sessions to connect with your fellow farmers and enjoy some drinks, music and tacos from the YumBus!
Monday Morning Sessions
10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Discussion facilitated by Bo Dennis, MOFGA and Dandy Ram Farm
This is an informal session for flower farmers to connect about how this past season went. What bloomed beautifully? What was a struggle? What are you hoping to refine next year? This short session will begin with a round of introductions and be followed by a facilitated conversation on themes that are coming up for flower farmers.
Evan Perkins, Small Axe Farm
Small Axe Farm is a no-till, off grid, 1 acre market farm in the hills of Barnet, Vermont. Heidi Choate and Evan Perkins farm on a slope with an average 15% grade. They are organic and real organic certified and focus on regenerative practices. Come hear how they farm on a smaller scale.
Karen Stimpson, MOFGA; Farmer speakers to be determined
Join MOFGA grants writer Karen Stimpson and farmers who have successfully secured and implemented government grants to learn how to craft a compelling project and competitive proposal.
Erica Emery and Dave Allen, Rustic Roots Farm
Rustic Roots Farm in Farmington was awarded a two-year SARE grant to research optimal spacing for ginger in a high tunnel. They will present the data they have collected over two years, explain what they will use for optimal spacing and growing conditions moving forward, and talk about marketing their ginger.
Lauren Bruns, farm owner of Lost and Found Farm; Burdie Fertig-Burd, wellness guide at worker-owned cooperative Celebration Tree Farm and Wellness Center; Gabriela Pereyra, land network weaver and co-director of Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust; Addison Wagner, farmworker at Whatley Farm
How do you find community? How do you build resilience? The workshop will cover topics such as the importance of individual and community health and wellness, and will feature stories about agricultural resilience. Farm panelists will share what sustains them in their connection to their work and brings them hope. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of resilience — what it is, how to access your own resilience toolboxes, and how to put those tools into practice.
Discussion facilitated by Chris Callahan and Andrew Chamberlin, University of Vermont (UVM) Extension
FSMA, GAPS, PPM, PSA, BSAOAO, WTF. Produce safety can sometimes seem like alphabet soup and be super confusing. In this session let’s talk about what it looks like on your farm. Let’s hear about simple solutions and not so simple solutions. What has worked for you, your crew and your customers? What is still confusing or challenging for you? We will have at least two Produce Safety Alliance trainers as moderators to help guide the discussion. This should be the lightest, most comfortable produce safety session you’ve ever attended. As such, it does not qualify as a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training.
Join us for a facilitated discussion on succession planning and strategies. Connect with fellow farmers thinking about the next steps of their farming careers, potential retirement, and more.
Register here for bagged lunch catered by Billi Barker of Enchanted Kitchen at Fire Fly Farm.
Monday Afternoon Sessions
Rhiannon Hampson, USDA Rural Development; Sherry Hamel, USDA Farm Service Agency; Matt Walker, USDA NRCS
State Director of USDA Rural Development Rhiannon Hampson, USDA Farm Service Agency Director Sherry Hamel, and USDA NRCS State Conservationist Matt Walker would like to share information about programming and support offered by their USDA agencies here in Maine and host an input session for the 2023 Farm Bill. Forming a conduit for federal funding and access to support, Maine’s USDA agencies are involved in so much more than many of us know when it comes to creating thriving local food systems! They will be available to offer an overview of program availability, answer questions that prospective applicants may have, and host a discussion about the 2023 Farm Bill opportunities.
Amber Lambke, Maine Grains; Abby Sadauckas, Apple Creek Farm
Many farmers wrestle with the process of label and packaging decisions and what their logo/branding/merchandising should be. Some farms have applied for and used grant funding (like MOFGA’s Technical Assistance Grant or USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grants) for this work. Come hear from a few folks who have had professional design work done, and the challenges and support they found while developing their brand, labels, packaging, etc. Speakers will include Amber Lambke of Maine Grains and Abby Sadauckas of Apple Creek Farm, who will talk about their efforts to get to where they’re at with their logo and brand, and the labels and various sizes and products that they now package.
Anna Wallingford, University of New Hampshire; Farmers TBD
Join University of New Hampshire entomologist Anna Wallingford and our farmer speakers to discuss best approaches to effective pest management. Much of the time will be devoted to farmer knowledge and experience sharing, so feel free to bring your pest questions and your favorite tips and tricks.Sayer Palmer, Open Woods Farm
Join University of New Hampshire entomologist Anna Wallingford and our farmer speakers to discuss best approaches to effective pest management, including spotted wing drosophila, cabbage aphids, cutworms, and more. Much of the time will be devoted to farmer knowledge and experience sharing, so feel free to bring your pest questions and your favorite tips and tricks.
Stephanie Cesario-DeBiasi, Maine Farm to Institution; Robin Kerber, Department of Education
Learn from Emery Farm (Trent Emery), Little Ridge Farm (Keena Tracy), and Villageside Farm (Prentice Grassi) on the ins and outs of selling produce to their surrounding school district(s). They will be joined by the school nutrition directors that purchase from them, who will share details from the school buyer end (Martha Poliquin and Tina Fabian). Geared toward Maine producers who are interested in selling to Maine public schools, this networking and educational session will explore marketing opportunities and relationship-building with school food buyers. Maine Farm to School Network (MFSN) is currently leading Maine’s inaugural Farm & Sea to School Institute, and MFSN coordinator Stephanie Cesario-DeBiasi with fellow MFSN and Maine Farm to Institution (MEFTI) leaders will facilitate discussion among several farmers and school buyers who have developed successful working relationships. Robin Kerber of Maine’s Department of Education (DOE) will present data and findings on the state’s Local Food Fund, to explore the current economic impact and opportunities of selling to schools. Aspects of a national curriculum entitled “Bringing the Farm to School” will be utilized to examine specific needs, aspects and financial realities of the farm-to-school market.
Polly Shyka and Leslie Forstadt, UMaine Extension’s Farm Coaching Program
Communication patterns are woven into all parts of our farm days. These patterns can be beneficial to examine to see what’s working and what needs some adjustment. With attention and effort, you can pivot from frustration and annoyance to more ease, clarity and joy in your interactions. This workshop will be introspective and interactive. Polly Shyka and Leslie Forstadt from UMaine Extension’s Farm Coaching Program will discuss communication best practices and bring exercises for you to try to learn more about yourself and/or your farm team. Participants will engage with case studies and will work to “tune up” scenarios that they bring from their own operations.
Molly Friedland, Clark Fountain; Facilitated by Eliza Baker-Wacks, Maine’s Land For Good Field Agent
Are you a farmer with extra land or infrastructure to share? Are you a beginning farmer looking for land to lease? As land prices continue to skyrocket, little is available on the market, and access to capital is a barrier to land, there is a growing trend amongst Maine beginning farmers in leasing land and “incubating” on existing established farms. Join for a conversation with beginning farmers and land-owning farmers, as well as Maine’s Land For Good field agent, about sharing farmland. The benefits, challenges and curiosities will be discussed as well as the power dynamics of leasing land. In addition to farmers in these arrangements sharing their experiences, networking time will be provided.
Jeremy Barker Plotkin, Simple Gifts Farm; Collin Thompson, Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Collin Thompson of Johnny’s Selected Seeds will discuss the tomato production systems used to support Johnny’s breeding, trialing and seed production activities. He will outline an “extensive” approach to field production, promoting easy access for harvest and evaluations, reducing disease pressure and enhancing crop rotation opportunities in a nightshade-heavy crop plan. He will cover equipment, field management, crop care and seed harvest. Jeremy Barker Plotkin of Simple Gifts Farm will talk about his experience growing all types of tomatoes for sale through his onsite farm store and wholesale to local grocery stores. He grows in heated and unheated tunnels as well as in the field on his certified organic farm in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Rachel Schattman, UMaine
See how farmers are using relatively inexpensive soil moisture monitoring to fine tune their irrigation strategies and figure out if they’re providing too much water, or not enough, either of which can reduce yields and plant health. We’ll also have discussion space for farmers to share their successes with securing access to new sources of water.
Monday, November 7
Hutchinson Center, Belfast, Maine
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
We are excited to offer our first ever dairy day as part of this year’s Farmer to Farmer conference. To learn more about dairy day, see the link below.
91 Searsport Ave,
Belfast, Maine 04915
We have a block of rooms set aside at the Belfast Harbor Inn directly off of Route 1 in Belfast, Maine, for November 5 through 7. Please book your rooms as soon as possible and before October 28 for our special rates, listed under MOFGA, Farmer to Farmer Conference.
Nightly Rates: (All rates are for 1-2 people, plus $10 per additional guest)
- Rooms facing Route 1: $129 per night
- Ocean-view rooms: $159 per night
In order to receive the group rate you must reserve by calling the hotel directly or by entering the group code while booking on the Belfast Harbor Inn website.
Group Promotional Code: MOFGA
Set on 7 acres of grounds on Penobscot Bay, this relaxed hotel is 2 miles from downtown Belfast and 3 miles from Moose Point State Park. Laid-back rooms and suites offer private bathrooms, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, plus fridges, microwaves and coffeemakers. Some rooms add bay views and balconies.
Free continental breakfast is served in a dining area with views of the bay. Other amenities include a seasonal heated outdoor pool, indoor pool and spa, fitness room and guest laundry facilities. No pets allowed.
Other accommodations available in the area:
- Yankee Clipper Motel
- Colonial Gables Oceanfront Village
- Yardarm Motel
- Homeport Inn
- Belfast Bay Inn
- Fireside Inn and Suites
- and more!
Exhibitors and Sponsors
We want to welcome back our sponsors and exhibitors from previous years and welcome new partners as we broaden the reach of our Farmer to Farmer Conference.
MOFGA’s sponsorship options include benefits such as a banner at the conference, acknowledgment of support before the keynote speaker, acknowledgement of support on social media, free conference registration, recognition on the conference website and verbal acknowledgement during the conference. Sponsorships support all aspects of the conference — from scholarships and sliding scale pricing to speaker compensation.
Interested in joining us as an exhibitor or sponsor? Please reach out directly to Anna Mueller for sponsorship levels and more information.
It is impossible to predict what, if any, COVID-19 restrictions or protocols will be needed in the future weeks.
With that said, we will be working with and following the guidance of state public health agencies and departments to ensure that the event is considered safe.
Although currently not required, all registered participants should be prepared for the possibility of:
Masking in crowded places
Providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test
We are very hopeful that this conference can be held restriction-free and will reimburse conference fees if requested due to any changes in our policy.
Our sliding-scale registration fee allows us to offer more access to our events. Please pay the amount that fits your budget. Paying more than the suggested rates will help support the conference registration fees for someone who is unable to pay that cost. The suggested general registration fee is $60.
If you’d like to be considered for a scholarship fill out this application by Friday, October 29, 2021.