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Agricultural Soil

Toki Oshima drawing. By Céline Caron The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils, and one of the themes for the 2014 permaculture convergence held in July in Frelishburg, Quebec, was “Solutions are in nature.” A good part of the permaculture conference was devoted to soils. Here are the main points

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Organic Sweet Corn

Sweet corn can not only lure customers to your farm stand but can be profitable, as well. USDA photo. Organic sweet corn has profit potential for farms and is a great draw to farm stands and farmers’ markets – if grown well. David Handley, UMaine Cooperative Extension vegetable and small fruit specialist, and Jack Manix

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Prototype High Tunnel

This 22- by 49-foot high tunnel at Stutzman’s Farm in Sangerville is made from native white cedar, using an innovative design by Sunny Stutzman. Detail of the structure. Two side vents – one at each end of the house – are gas-powered and can be set to open at a specific temperature. Close-up of a

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Grow Your Own Sunflowers

Pole beans growing up sunflower stalks. English photo. By Will Bonsall I’m amazed that so many gardeners plant a row of sunflowers along the edge of their garden to feed the birds. What amazes me is that they plant only for the birds (and perhaps for a windbreak on the north side) and that they

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West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Maine

State develops plan for possible spraying By MOFGA Staff Arboviral diseases are transmitted by arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes and include Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). Because EEE and WNV have been detected in Maine, the Maine Legislature directed the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (MDACF) and the Maine

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Noon Farm Where Conservation Art and Sheep All Flock Together

Bill and Jean Noon of the MOFGA certified organic Noon Family Sheep Farm are dedicated conservationists. Photos courtesy of Jean Noon. By Stowell Watters Sheep graze and ferment. They sniff and chew their way over the fields, taking what they like and unpacking it with bacteria in their awesome bellies. Simply by eating, they preserve

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Cold Hardiness and Winter Injury in Fruit Trees

By C. J. Walke This past winter was one of the coldest and longest winters we’ve experienced in Maine in recent years, and that brought up questions about the cold hardiness of our fruit trees and the potential for winter injury to them. Trees can be damaged by prolonged exposure to extreme cold, as well

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Two Important Updates Regarding Livestock

Toki Oshima illustration By Diane Schivera, M.A.T. Important Update on External Use of Zinc Sulfate The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) recently sent letters of non-compliance to certifiers that allowed external use of zinc sulfate, ZnSO4, to treat hoof infections of sheep, goats and cows. MOFGA Certification Services was one of those certifiers. The NOP

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A Taste of a Tzedakah driven Food System

Toki Oshima illustration By Grace Oedel A celebration of abundance took place at the annual Seed Swap and Scion Exchange held at MOFGA in March. People arrived with bundles of scionwood neatly labeled or jars of seeds rattling cheerfully. Toddlers helped thresh beans by jumping on dry shells; musicians fiddled as dancers swung around baskets

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No Till Certified Organic Vegetable Production

An aerial view of Four Winds Farm in Gardiner, New York. Photos courtesy of Four Winds Farm. By Jean English Jay and Polly Armour of Four Winds Farm in Gardiner, N.Y., practice certified organic no-till vegetable production. They grow crops in permanent beds – some in place for 17 years – that are never plowed

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