MOFGA Journeypersons

MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program provides hands-on support, training, and mentorship for people who are serious about pursuing careers in organic farming in Maine. The program is designed for farmers in their first three to five years to further develop the skills they need to farm independently and successfully.

2020 First Year Journeypersons

Meet our current first-year MOFGA Journeypersons

Black Earth Forest Farm

Matt Kovarik and Shannon Lora

Darthia Farm

Shepsi Eaton

Goranson Farm

Goran and Carl Johanson

Little Flower Farm

Katrina and Ryan Willette

Phil’s Farm

Phil Cuddeback

Rainbow Farm

Noah and Lorelei Cimeno

Seek-No-Further Farmstead

Angela Baglione and Lisa Kalan

Sparkplug Farm

John Wright and Sara Hodges

SweetLand Farm

Matthew & Amy Dow

Swell Farm

Tracy Pavan

2020 Second Year Journeypersons

Meet our current second-year MOFGA Journeypersons

Killdeer Croft

Alex Ethier

Goronson Farm

Maureen and Ken Goronson

Calyx Farm

Alex McCaffree and Catherine Durkin

Sound Pine Farm

Alessia McCobb and Virginia Winkler

On the Mountain Farm

Asher Putterman

Wild Ledge Farm

Jake Robinson and Devon Lewis

W.I.S.H. Farm

Abigial Smith

Marr Pond Farm

Courtney Williams

On the Mountain Farm

Asher Putterman

Wild Ledge Farm

Jake Robinson and Devon Lewis

Graduates

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Matt and Shannon farm together under Black Earth Forest Farm, raising pasture-raised waterfowl and perennial tree crops in midcoast Maine. Farming with regenerative permaculture principles, Black Earth aims to work with their land base to create vibrantly healthy flora & fauna while leaving a positive impact on the land. Shannon and Matt both graduated from college with degrees in biology, giving influence to their farming practices. They aim to place animals in their preferred environments, allowing them to display their innate behaviors and help to manage the farm’s ecosystem. Black Earth plans to continue expanding perennial tree crop production while eventually expanding into sheep and log grown mushroom production. See what Matt & Shannon are up to on Instagram, Facebook and the farm’s website.
Shepsi grew up on Long Island, New York, and after getting a bachelor’s degree in music composition from Princeton, he had his first experiences with farming on the east end of Long Island. It was there that he got a start with vegetable farming, marketing produce and working with draft horses. In 2015, after hitting a wall with trying to pursue a life of farming there, he moved to Maine with his partner, Liz, and their 3-year-old daughter, Harbor, and newborn son, Cedar. They spent a year in Monroe, while Shepsi worked at North Branch Farm. From there they connected with Bill and Cynthia Thayer and began to form a partnership with them, moving to Darthia Farm in early 2016. Through a well-guided and mutually well-intentioned transition process, Shepsi and Liz now own and operate Darthia Farm with Cynthia. At Darthia Farm, Shepsi raises veggies and small fruits, sheep for fiber and meat, chickens for eggs and meat, and ducks for eggs and meat. He works with three Haflinger draft horses in the gardens, hayfields and woods, and in the neighborhood year round. Website
Originally from Maryland, Erin moved to New England in 2009 to fulfill an Americorps position at Plowshare Farm in Greenfield, New Hampshire. There she fell in love with agriculture. Erin stayed on for a second Americorps year, and accepted a full time position following her service. During this time she also enrolled in and completed the one year biodynamic agriculture training in Springfield, New York. In 2014 she secured a field manager position at Stonecipher Farm in Bowdoinham and participated in the MOFGA apprenticeship program. In 2016, Erin and her partner, Michael, were able to purchase a somewhat dilapidated, but beautiful, 47 acre property in Hiram, Maine. Over the past three seasons they have worked to improve the buildings, land and infrastructure. In 2019 Erin and Mike renovated a portion of their antique post and beam barn for retail and workshop space. They currently grow organic cut flowers and vegetables to sell in their on-site farm store, at local restaurants, retail stores and a natural food store. In 2020 they are focusing heavily on fresh cut and dried flower production for retail, wholesale and events. Website
Brothers, Goran and Carl have worked, played, and bombed around the fields of Goranson Farm from day one. They are the third generation to work the river bottom land they call home. You will find Goran in the shop, on one of his grandfather’s tractors, or at the Bath, Boothbay or Portland farmers’ market. Carl’s favorite days include seeding cover crop with the farm’s three draft horses, cultivating corn and potatoes with a team, and draft-powered low-impact management of neighboring wood lots. They are united in their deep feeling of responsibility to the land and the local community that has supported their families farm through the generations.
The Little Flower Farm in Surry, Maine is a labor of love for Katrina and Ryan Willette. They like to say that flower farming started as a happy accident in 2018 when Katrina and the couple’s daughter decided to pick flowers from the family’s garden and sold them at the side of the road. The response from customers and neighbors was enthusiastic and encouraging. The Willettes, both originally from Maine, spent more than 10 years in Chicago; Katrina worked with animals in the city’s zoological societies while Ryan worked for large financial institutions. Looking to return home to be closer to family, they left the hustle and bustle of the windy city for the calm and quiet of downeast Maine. As the name implies, the farm is primarily fresh cut flowers, however they do have a small flock of misfit chickens and geese to round out the farm. The entire farm operates on a cozy two acres. The Willettes lovingly referred to their property as the little flower farm and thus a simple farm was born. They are eager to participate in the Journeyperson program and are excited to be a part of the MOFGA family. Katrina and Ryan are looking forward to continuing to learn while providing fresh eggs, flowers and other products to their community.
In 2018, Phil made the jump and started Phil’s Farm on leased land in Eliot, Maine. Cultivating just one acre, he and his crew provide veggies for a 75-member CSA, farmers’ market and a few restaurants. Doing what’s right for our environment and our communities is core to the farm and has guided Phil to work toward eliminating single-use plastics from the farm, avoiding the using pesticide sprays, and paying his employees a fair wage. Before starting the farm, Phil apprenticed at Crystal Springs Farm in Brunswick, worked for two urban agriculture startups in Boston and Brooklyn, and helped manage a vegetable farm in Paso Robles, Calif. To this day, each step continues to craft Phil’s vision for his farm and lifelong career in agriculture.
Noah has always had an interest in agriculture. He started Rainbow Farm when he was in elementary school. He named it Rainbow Farm after the diversity on his farm. Noah and Lorelei met when he was leasing land in Bar Harbor. Lorelei has worked and apprenticed on several farms in the past. Before becoming a full-time farmer, she worked as a professional gardener on Mount Desert Island. They moved Rainbow Farm to Stockton Springs in 2017. Rainbow Farm is a pasture-based farm, focusing on egg layers, broilers, turkeys and hogs. They also have a small herd of Scottish Highland cattle. This year they started raising meat rabbits. They also produce mixed vegetables on a small scale. Noah and Lorelei are deeply concerned about the climate crisis. Some ways they are addressing that issue is with the passive solar house they built, and their electric vehicle that allows them to deliver their products without carbon emissions. Rainbow Farm participates in several farmers’ markets including the Blue Hill farmers’ market and the MDI farmers’ markets. Their eggs are also available at about ten retail outlets and restaurants including the Belfast Co-Op and Tradewinds in Blue Hill. They are proud to raise their son, Almanzo, on their farm. Find out what’s new on Rainbow Farm on their website or on Facebook
Seek-No-Further Farmstead is a small, queer-owned farm in Monroe, Maine, owned and operated by Angela Baglione and Lisa Kalan. Founded in 2019, the farm is many years in the making. Angela and Lisa met at Green Mountain College in 2010 where they majored in sustainable agriculture. After college, they worked on farms all over New England, eventually starting and managing a farm in central Massachusetts. They moved to Maine in 2017 after finding a scrappy little homestead in Monroe where they could put down roots. Seek-No-Further Farmstead produces goat milk and yogurt, winter greens, early tulips, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, and (in 2021) PYO strawberries. They can be found on instagram @seek.no.further
Sparkplug Farm was started in 2012 by John Wright and Sara Hodges. The farm operated on leased land on Vinalhaven Island for five years before relocating to Leeds, Maine, in 2017. Sara and John raise 100% grass-fed beef, pork and a small market garden. They manage their herd of Shorthorn/Devon cows through a management-intensive grazing system. The cows get moved once or twice a day during the grazing season and spend their winters eating organic hay. The pigs are fed a diet of organic grain, acorns and organic dairy. They rotate though the woods around the farm and help turn the farm’s compost piles. Sara and John are excited for the opportunity to take part in MOFGA’s Journeyperson program. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
Marie Kirven owns and operates Sweet Dreams Lavender Farm located on 50 acres in St. Albans Maine. The Farm has several varieties of lavender. Lavender products are sold at the on site Farm Store, made by hand with love. Beside growing lavender Sweet Dreams Lavender Farm also grows edelweiss, Fredonia grapes and elderberry. We wild harvest, forage and grow cultivated herbs. We are a Permaculture farm. Follow the farm on Facebook @ Maine Lavender or visit www.mainelavenderfarm.com
Matthew & Amy Dow’s dream of owning a small dairy farm in Maine started with 1 Jersey cow in 2010. As their family grew so did the herd. With a contract from Organic Valley they took the plunge and in 2017 they bought a delinquent dairy farm in Matthew’s hometown of Albion. Now the herd has grown, numbering more than fifty cows. Along with running a sawmill and woodworking shop, they have also raised pastured poultry and pigs, and produced maple syrup. In time, SweetLand Farm plans to offer several opportunities for the public a look at a diversified organic farm. Feel free to check them out on Facebook at SweetLand Farm.
Tracey Pavan owns and manages Swell Farm with her husband, Chris Lord. Located just outside of downtown Rockland, Swell Farm grows specialty cut flowers and other unique ornamentals. Using sustainable and organic practices, they lovingly care for close to two acres of prime farmland – thanks to generous neighboring land owners. Growing on up to acre, Swell Farm works with local specialty shops, CSA members, has a Flower Stand at their home location on Old County Road, and works with folks hosting events, celebrating unions, or mourning losses. Tracey and Chris run Swell Farm with the mission of always aiming to be better – learning more about regenerative agricultural practices, donating to local folks/organizations in need, and holding a membership with ‘1% for the Planet.’ Follow along on their journey on Instagram and Facebook, or stop by the Flower stand to say hi. Website
Alex Beaudet owns and operates Pemaquid Falls Farm on 7 acres at the mouth of its namesake river in Pemaquid, Maine. Alex grew up in New England and then lived in Montréal, Québec for several years working as a software engineer before settling down in mid-coast Maine in 2012. The farm produces over 100 varieties of vegetables in addition to cut flowers and eggs from a small flock of laying hens. Alex employs low-tillage practices, growing intensively on an acre of permanently raised beds. Farm products are sold through a CSA program, to local restaurants and bakeries, and are also available from an on-site farm store located in a 150-year old barn on the property. Alex is extremely grateful for the supportive community he’s found in Pemaquid and is so appreciative to be part of the MOFGA Journeyperson program. You can follow along with the farm on Instagram, Facebook, or visit the website at www.pemaquidfallsfarm.com.
The Long Shot Revival Homestead was established in 2018 and is veteran/family owned and operated. Joe Comes from a long line of small farmers and homesteaders. Joe was raised in Corinth on a small farm. After finishing his contract with the Army National Guard he decided he wanted to give his family the life that was provided to him. We strive to use organic methods and enhance our farm. We provide pasture raised eggs, chicken, turkey and heritage hogs. Facebook
Alex Ethier owns and operates Killdeer Croft on the grounds of MOFGA as the current Farmer in Residence. His partner, Soleil Pacetti, while in pursuit of a nursing degree, remains to be a source of support and strength for the growth of the operation. In the Spring of 2017 he began his foray into independent crop production while working at a grass-fed dairy in central Maine. He continued to grow in 2018, diversifying his crop selection, expanding markets, and beginning to focus production on cut greens and salad mixes. Relying on minimal tillage practices, and intensive production design, he has strived for a core number of crops seamlessly available throughout Spring, Summer, and Fall. Alex is grateful for the opportunity to call MOFGA the temporary home of his business, and is excited to join the broader JP community.
After years in the corporate world, Maureen & Ken Goronson purchased an almost 6-acre parcel in Scarborough which they began farming in 2014. Maureen has an MS in Animal Husbandry from UCONN’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Ken is a Master electrician whose mom raised vegetables, a small orchard and canned all their vegetables each fall. Maureen also pursues a passion for collecting rare and/or exciting fruit trees, vegetables and flowers. Ken has a love for building – if Maureen can imagine it, Ken can build it. 2019 will be their fifth season growing on 4 acres of certified organic, vegetables, fruit trees and flowers, some grown in a high tunnel. They raise heritage breed chickens and turkeys for their eggs and are also cider makers.
Catherine and Alex met farming on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. After 5 farming seasons in Washington, they moved back to Catherine’s home state of Maine. They had the opportunity to start Calyx Farm in Morrill in 2018. They grow 1 acre of mixed veggies and cut flowers on leased land. They feel grateful and excited for the opportunity to take part in MOFGA’s Journeyperson program. Follow them on Instagram and pop on by the farm stand in Morrill sometime.
Alessia and Virginia both grew up and attended college in Ithaca, New York. Their interest in agriculture was first ignited through working at Dilmun Hill, Cornell University’s student-run farm. After graduation, Virginia worked on a number of vegetable farms in the Ithaca area before apprenticing at Crystal Spring Farm in 2015. Alessia joined her there after a year of raising pigs and grass-fed sheep at a non-profit in Rupert, Vermont. Together, the two managed Crystal Spring Farm’s vegetable CSA for two years, during which they developed a strong commitment to the CSA model. In 2018, Alessia and Virginia started Sound Pine Farm, which is located on three acres at the mouth of Middle Bay Cove in Brunswick, and offers the Harpswell and Brunswick communities a Free-Choice Vegetable CSA and cut flowers.
Asher co-manages On the Mountain Farm a small Midcoast farm focused mostly on specialty cut flowers. At On the Mountain Farm we practice permaculture, biodynamic, and regenerative soil techniques to produce vibrant and long lasting blooms to seasonal flower markets throughout the Maine Coast. Asher came to Maine after about a decade of working on farms in Virginia, North, and South Carolina. He loves the supportive small farming community in the state and even loves the winters. Instagram
Wild Ledge Farm is growing pastured poultry and chemical-free vegetables and flowers in the Fox Islands on North Haven, ME. After spending several seasons farming in the high desert of Southwest Colorado Jake and Devon returned east in 2018 to start Wild Ledge Farm on family land. Excited about the cooler temperatures, rich soil and amazing community, they look forward to setting roots on the rural island off the coast of Rockland. This season the farm will be focusing on raising chickens, laying hens and turkeys, and growing greens and flowers in their small-scale market garden, as well as restoring and expanding the existing orchard. Looking into the future, they hope to add new enterprises- including fruits, pigs and sheep. They are stoked to be a part of the Journeyperson Program and the MOFGA community and really appreciate the support and mentorship, You can follow the farm on Instagram, on Facebook and at www.wildledgefarm.com.
W.I.S.H Farm was started in Auburn, Maine, in 2016. Abigial grew up going to the land where W.I.S.H farm is today with her grandfather. There she learned many lesions about working in a woodlot and her families history. Her great grandfather homesteaded there with his children. After all the kids had moved away the old house was torn down and it became just a woodlot, with potential. Today it is home of W.I.S.H. Farm. Each letter of W.I.S.H. stands for a family name that has made the farm possible, and several generations of wishing. Abigial raises Katahdin Hair sheep, using them to continue to clear out more pastures. In the future she hopes to diversify the farm.
Marr Pond Farm was started by Courtney Williams and her partner Ryan Clarke in 2016 on a long abandoned hayfield in Sangerville. The farm grows a broad diversity of organic vegetables, cut flowers, and shiitake mushrooms with a focus on producing nutritious food and practicing sustainable land management. They have a small but growing CSA, attend the Orono and Waterville farmer’s markets, sell vegetables and flowers to small natural food stores in central Maine, offer DIY wedding flower buckets, and event florals. Courtney moved to Maine from Connecticut in 2012 as a MOFGA apprentice, and has found such a strong sense of community here she can’t imagine living anywhere else. When not farming, she helps organize farmers through the East Sangerville Grange, and explores Marr Pond and the rest of the Maine Highlands with Ryan and their dogs. See what Courtney and Ryan are up to on Instagram or Facebook