Archives: Stories

Maine Farmers Expand to Online Markets

By Catie Joyce-Bulay Last season the confusion and safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic brought on a need for farmers to pivot to new marketing strategies. They worked quickly to build no-contact sales and distribution systems, rapidly changing how they got product out to customers. Many farmers turned to the internet. Although many farms incorporated

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The Roots of Soil Health in Organic Farming

By Will Brinton One hears the phrase “soil health” so often these days it seems to be reaching a crescendo. Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) formed an entire Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) division for it. Around the same time, the Soil Health Institute (SHI) was formed, including sponsorship by USDA, agribusiness and

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Building a Community of Honeybee Enablers One Hive at a Time

By Holli Cederholm On Thalassa Raasch’s outstretched palm is a rainbow of pollen – yellow, orange, gray, green and even bright blue – reflecting the colors of the early spring blooms that honeybees have collected the grains from. It is a sunny, 60-degree day in April and Raasch, clad in coveralls and a floral-print neckerchief

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We’re in This Together: Words of Wisdom from Russell Libby

By Tim Nason Russell Libby wrote editorials for The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener during 1993 and 1994, when he served as MOFGA board president, and from 1996 to 2012 as MOFGA’s executive director. Most of the editorials targeted a specific topic, such as the use of persistent pesticides; the increase in toxins in our

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MOFGA: Then and Now

By Will Bonsall MOFGA is celebrating its 50th year at a tumultuous time in our nation’s history. I am mindful that the organic movement was born out of tumultuous times. The year 1971 found us in a soul-wrenching war in Vietnam, a growth-thwarting oil crisis and a number of challenges to democratic institutions. So, what has

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The Early Days of Organic Certification at MOFGA

By Tim King In 1972 Ken and Roberta Horn, who were farming 140 acres near Plymouth, Maine, became the first of thousands of farms to be certified organic by MOFGA over the next half century. There were 26 more certifications granted by MOFGA that year. The number nearly doubled, to 47, the following year. That

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Dr. Nate Petley “The Fair”

Friday morning setup at the Common Ground Fair is my most favorite part of the entire weekend. The sun is rising high enough in the sky to dry the last of the dew. Farmers are spreading out their harvest while vendors are adjusting their wares. The smell of food is wafting through the crisp air.

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Ilanna Greenfield “The Fair”

Growing up in Maine with a potter for a mother meant that every year I attended the Common Ground Country Fair. Those were my favorite vending days. I’d get to explore the Fair for the weekend and watch my mother do some amazing trades with other artisans. I’d hop from booth to booth wishing I

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Lily Joslin “The Fair”

I learned to bake bread at the fair! I was the only non-affiliated volunteer with the Maine Grain Alliance the first year they started baking bread for the Common Kitchen. It was an amazing group of experienced home and professional bakers from all walks of life, who were so welcoming to a newbie like me

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Jennifer Albee “The Fair”

It was Friday, September 22, 2006 and my sweetheart Hans and I drove from Brooklin to Unity to camp out overnight in the south parking lot before heading into the fairgrounds the next morning. We were in our old Toyota Tacoma and had fitted the back with a small mattress and camp stove, and after

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