Scott Howell: A Hardworking Individual
By Marada Cook
“I was working in a co-op grocery store,” begins Scott Howell, “when I suddenly realized that someone was growing all the great produce in front of me. Since then I’ve been trying to figure out how.” That curiosity set Scott on a path that would lead him clear across the continent to make his home in Blue Hill, Maine.
Scott was drawn to Maine by the lure of rocky coastline, rugged forests, and MOFGA. “I knew next to nothing about organic farming,” says Howell, “and Maine already had its own well developed infrastructure through MOFGA.” The opportunity to farm with the support of MOFGA was too good to pass up. In 1991, the Missouri native and his wife, Sara Bushmann, began studying at the University of Maine at Orono. While searching for a farm of their own, Scott helped start the Orono Farmer’s Market in ’94 and then, in ’95, the Black Bear Food Guild, a farming project run by students at the University. In 1996, Scott bought the former Jean Hay farm in Blue Hill and began his work as a full time farmer.
“I knew Scott to be a serious organic farmer,” says Jean, now Jean Hay Bright of Bright Berry Farm in Dixmont. “Scott is a real hardworking guy, and he’s done great things to the farm, such as adding to the buildings and fixing up the farmhouse.” Improving what is now known as Underhill Farm was only the beginning. Scott and four other farmers got together and hatched out a plot to form HOG – the Hancock County Organic Grower’s Cooperative. Run from the farmstand on Underhill Farm, HOG’s eight farmers work to provide a steady stream of produce from May to October. “There’s no doubt about it,” says Jean, “Scott is the driving force behind HOG. It’s really quite remarkable, the way he’s gotten all those stubborn farmers to work together.”
“Scott’s a very determined farmer and individual,” says HOG member Nancy Veilleux of Lazy C Farm in Brooklin, “He knows how to get things done.”
When it comes to the Common Ground Fair, Scott’s determination helps to hold down the fort as he volunteers to direct and organize the ticket sales at the South Gate. “Scott seems to be fairly meticulous,” says Skip Greene, this year’s 1000-ticket salesman. “He’s sort of our ring leader.”
A few years ago, Scott joined MOFGA’s Board of Directors. Described by Dennis King, a member of HOG, as “an intense redhead in his mid-thirties,” Scott seemed to be just the guy for the job. “We have a tendency to try to get the young bloods onto the Board,” says Dennis, “only Scott seems to be sticking with it. He’s interested in the internal politics, and he’s worked hard on the Board for the things we’re concerned with.” Many would agree with Skip when he adds, “Scott’s always right there when you need him.”