Meet MOFGA Volunteer Logan Johnston
By Betsy Garrold
Logan Johnston is a farmer, former book publisher, musician and, most importantly to him, he is civically engaged. The many hats he wears or has worn in his hometown of Gardiner speaks to that commitment to his community.
Johnston and his wife, Phyllis Gardiner, run Oaklands Farm, currently a commercial cow-calf operation on land that has been in Gardiner’s family since the 1750s. In 1990, when the family dairy closed, they were tasked with planning the future of the farm. At the same time Russell Libby, then executive director of MOFGA, was looking for a permanent home for the Common Ground Country Fair. He and others, including Ellis Percy, came to look at a portion of the Gardiner land. Although it was not quite right for the Fair, Johnston and Libby struck up a friendship and civic partnership. They served on several non-MOFGA committees together before Libby finally convinced Johnston to join the MOFGA board.
That led to the organic certification of the Oaklands Farm forage crops, including hay and small grains. Ten years later Johnston and Gardiner started their cow-calf operation, raising Hereford-Angus crosses known as black baldies. Their beef products are available at the Gardiner Food Co-op & Café and at the Sheepscot General Store. Be sure to ask for an Oaklands Farm burger when you eat at the famous A-1 Diner in Gardiner.
Johnston says, “Having a business that allows me to be flexible so that I can do community service, especially to great organizations like MOFGA and Johnson Hall, allows me to follow my passions.” (Johnson Hall, the oldest opera house in Maine, is now a renovated theater in Gardiner, thanks to involvement by Johnston and other community members.)
MOFGA board member David Shipman says of Johnston, who currently serves as board treasurer and chairs its finance committee, “Logan is a fantastic person. His knowledge of finances and ability to deal well with all sorts of people, along with his commitment to his farm and organic agriculture, make him a joy to work with. He is one of the most straightforward people I have ever met, and I like that I can make an obscure literary reference and he gets it.”
So at this time of the Common Ground Country Fair, one of the most volunteer-powered events in the state, let’s celebrate this civic-minded individual who exemplifies the old adage, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”