Feature Stories From The Archives​

Learn more about the MOFGA community and Common Ground Country Fair

Sara Trunzo “Breaking Ground”

This story appeared in the 2021 spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme, “Breaking Ground.” On March 3, 2020, an F3 tornado hit my neighborhood of Bells Bend, a farming community west of downtown Nashville. Uprooted cedars rode 150 mph winds across the bottomland, striking and killing cattle.

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Wendy Watson “Breaking Ground”

This story appeared in the 2021 spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme, “Breaking Ground.” My husband and I lived in Northern California for a decade starting in the mid-1980s. We were young, idealistic and longing for more community. Finding others who shared similar values of living lightly

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Jack Kertesz “Breaking Ground”

This story appeared in the 2021 spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme, “Breaking Ground.” In the earliest days of MOFGA in Unity, there was a landscape committee consisting of volunteers who sought to bring some tree life onto the barren, 35-acre main campus. Ernie Glabeau was the

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Jim Gerritsen “Breaking Ground”

This story appeared in the 2021 spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme, “Breaking Ground.” “That’s not the way we do things in Aroostook” was an expression I heard my share of times in the early years. In search of good soil to farm, I’d moved to the

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Kenneth Rice “Breaking Ground”

This story appeared in the 2021 spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme, “Breaking Ground.” Pasture pine, gray birch, old field juniper and poison ivy – all of these “undesirables” managed to survive on a meager 2 to 3 inches of poor topsoil over bedrock shale at the

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Yoko Takemura “Breaking Ground”

This story appeared in the 2021 spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme, “Breaking Ground.” When I first began thinking about what to write for the “breaking ground” theme, I decided to look up what “breaking ground” means. From a quick Google search, the results were: 1. Do

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Angela DeRosa “Breaking Ground”

This story appeared in the 2021 spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme, “Breaking Ground.” In August 1987, I moved to Wellington, Maine, with my future husband Steve Cayard and my daughter Amber Reed, leaving behind my beloved West Virginia and my Italian family. Both sets of grandparents

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Tim Billings “Breaking Ground”

This story appeared in the 2021 spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme, “Breaking Ground.” Gasping for breath I let myself fall backwards to lie on the ground next to the taut and straining come-a-long. I gave it everything I had but the roots of the stump were

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Kate Spring “Breaking Ground”

This story appeared in the 2021 spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response tothe theme, “Breaking Ground.” We bought the land in 2012: a 9-acre field, once sheep and cow pasture, that had fallen into a decade of annual brush hogging. That September, we sowed oats and peas into newly tilled

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Rainbow Swiss chard bunches in wash basin

Planning a Resilient Farm Layout at Evening Song Farm

By Sonja Heyck-Merlin Evening Song Farm, owned by Ryan and Kara Fitzbeauchamp and certified organic by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, offered a virtual farm tour during MOFGA’s 2020 Farmer to Farmer Conference. Located in Cuttingsville, Vermont, 11 miles southeast of Rutland, the 100-acre property is perched at 1,200 feet on a hillside

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Farmers gather for USDA field walk

MOFGA Bids Farewell to Dave Colson

By Heather Spalding After nine years working as a member of MOFGA’s staff, Dave Colson has retired to the greener pastures of his beautiful farm in Androscoggin County. Dave joined the MOFGA staff in July of 2011 serving as the director of our agricultural services program. He led the program for eight years, providing leadership to

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An Unfettered Approach to Orcharding at Deer Isle Hostel

  Anneli Carter-Sundqvist gets ready to plant the first apple tree in 2015. Photo by Dennis Carter Raised beds were built for each tree using logs and brush left from clearing the land. Photo by Anneli Carter-Sundqvist Boneset and goldenrod line the woodchip-mulched paths. Photo by Anneli Carter-Sundqvist The wild and unfettered orchard at Deer

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Decades with MOFGAs Tim Nason

Tim Nason with Chaitanya York, MOFGA’s first executive director, at a celebration for MOFGA’s 40th anniversary in 2011. Jean English photo Tim with U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree at a MOFGA dinner at Harraseeket Inn in Freeport. Jean English photo Tim is shown here at the 1975 Trades Show surrounded by The MOF&G. Eliot Coleman is

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Maine Microroasters Put Local Spin on Organic Coffee

Andrew Newell, owner of Farmhouse Coffee Roasters, with his father Michael Newell and employee Garrett Greystone. Photo courtesy of Andrew Newell Logo of Farm House Coffee Roasters Melissa Raftery and Megan Wood co-own 44 North Coffee in Deer Isle. Photo courtesy of 44 North Coffee As a microroaster, 44 North processes beans in small batches.

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MOFGA Stories

The Fair For our very first installment of MOFGA Stories, the theme is the Common Ground Country Fair. What follows is a collection of stories from MOFGA members, staff, volunteers and fairgoers. My favorite memory of the Fair is not so much a specific incident but rather a feeling. It’s a rhythmic sense of contentment

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Gleaning Healthy Eating for Everyone

Regina Grabrovac and four young missionary volunteers from the Church of the Latter Day Saints harvest blueberries. Photo courtesy of Regina Grabrovac Volunteers glean what’s left of the tomato crop at Blue-Zee Farm in Penobscot. From left to right: Elise Teixido, Anna Wind and Justine Appel. Photo by Rachel Emus Lydia Brown and he dad, Buster,

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Thoughts on Forest Bathing

By Joyce White When I first heard the term “forest bathing,” images of naked people frolicking through the woods and splashing in a forest brook flashed through my mind. Maybe they then stretched out on sun-warmed pine needles, perhaps even taking a snooze – but certainly not in black fly season. Or winter. But no, “forest bathing”

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Tribute to Jean English

1988: Jean English with daughter Saima. From “Fertile Ground: Celebrating 40 Years of MOFGA.” Jean English in 2006 By Heather Spalding Another big MOFGA transition is upon us and we’ll all feel it in a big way. After 31 years editing MOFGA’s renowned newspaper, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener (The MOF&G), Jean English is

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People Plants and Pollinators Populate Mahoosuc Land Trust Garden

Barbara Murphy with her dog, Marley, in the pollinator garden. Photo courtesy of Barbara Murphy Visitors enjoy the garden during the 30th anniversary celebration of Mahoosuc Land Trust. Photo courtesy of Barbara Murphy Liatris (blazing star) attracts monarch butterflies. Photo by Mike Murphy By Joyce White We’ve all heard of the decline of honeybees, one

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FoodCorps Creates Model Garden Program

Walker School fifth graders weed spinach – just one aspect of a model school garden program. Abby, one of the most eager garden helpers, with a bag of garden produce to take home. By Jean English Photos by Carolyn Wason “Fun! Friends! Games! And don’t forget planting!”   Those are a few benefits of the

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Gardeners Growing Healthy Communities

Raised beds built and filled by Gardeners Growing Healthy Communities in South Paris. Photo by Anne Stuer By Joyce White On a sunny Thursday afternoon in mid-September, about 15 volunteers are engrossed in a variety of garden-related activities – harvesting kale and cabbage, dividing a big bowl of ‘Sungold’ cherry tomatoes into separate baggies, weighing

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Look Whos Been Talking

Toki Oshima drawing By Teresa L. Johnson Just like those creepy talking trees in “The Wizard of Oz,” the plants in your garden are talking to each other. Scientists have now identified ways that plants communicate with each other and with other species. “Plants have sensory systems. They perceive a lot of things, they process

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Growing a Good Life

Wendy Green outside the house she built and next to the mullein plant that just appeared. Photo courtesy of Wendy Green Live simply that others may simply live. – Gandhi By Joyce White Wendy Green, 61, has spent the years since adolescence creating her own life from an underlying philosophy of taking responsibility for herself

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Why We Homestead

Dennis Carter and Anneli Carter-Sundqvist at their Deer Isle Hostel. Photo by Noah Kalina Spiritual, political and philosophical reasons to homestead in the 21st century By Anneli Carter-Sundqvist Living in self-reliance and simplicity is something many dream about and some fulfill by living as homesteaders. My husband, Dennis, and I do that on Deer Isle,

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