MOFGA’s FARM TRAINING PROJECT
May - September 2016
Taking place on premier farms throughout Maine
Learn farming skills from farmers themselves
Discover the diversity of Maine agriculture
Help keep alive the tradition of free exchange of ideas that makes the Maine organic farming community so vibrant and innovative.
Workshops are designed to augment the on-farm learning of the farm apprenticeship program, MOFGA’s Farm Training Project (FTP) workshops follow an informal format, usually beginning with a farm tour followed by a presentation on the topic of the day. Participants are invited to stay for a potluck supper – bring a dish or something fresh from the farm to share (please bring your own place setting as well). All events are held rain or shine and are free and open to the public. For more information or directions to any of the workshops, call 568-6018, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check this webpage.
2016! COMMUNICATION KICK-OFF! POTLUCK! SOCIAL!
WEDNESDAY, MAY 11 – 5PM AT VILLAGESIDE FARM, FREEDOM
Join Polly and Prentice at Villageside Farm for a social gathering to kick off the FTP season. You’ll learn about communication skills that will improve your experience as an apprentice this season. We look forward to seeing you there! Potluck to follow.
HAYING BASICS & TRACTOR SAFETY
WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 – 5PM AT OAKLANDS FARM, GARDINER
Learn how to make certified organic hay. Logan Johnston of Oaklands Farm will introduce you to the equipment used and explain the process for making hay. Rick Kersbergen, Extension Professor in Sustainable Dairy and Forage Systems at University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will teach tractor safety. After the training he will allow participants to practice driving a couple of different tractors. Potluck to follow.
ORGANIC FARMING: PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES
TUESDAY, MAY 24 AND WEDNESDAY, MAY 25 AT MOFGA'S EDUCATION CENTER
Free for MOFGA apprentices! Registration Required.
Join Eric Sideman, Dave Colson, and Diane Schivera for a two-day introductory course to organic farming. Register for either or both days, lunch and dinner will be provided. Spend the night and get to know the other apprentices and MOFGA staff. Day one with Eric, organic crop specialist, and Dave, agricultural services director, will cover the fundamentals of organic vegetable farming. Eric and Dave will cover soils, pests and diseases, and weeds. Day two with Diane, organic livestock specialist, and a panel of livestock farmers will cover the fundamentals of organic livestock husbandry, production systems and pasture management.
ORGANIC GOAT DAIRY
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1 – 5PM AT COSMIC GOAT FARM & CREAMERY, LITCHFIELD
Cosmic Goat Farm & Creamery is a fledgling MOFGA-certified organic goat farm and micro-creamery actively debunking the oft-repeated myth that "you can't raise goats organically." You can, and in this workshop Aaron and Briis will cover what they've learned (sometimes the hard way) about nutrition, health, pasture management and herd dynamics. Organic goat dairies are few and far between – we need more! For biosecurity, please wear shoes and clothes not used for livestock chores on your farm, and be prepared to hold baby goats. Potluck to follow.
ORGANIC LIVESTOCK MANAGEMENT
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8 – 5PM AT APPLE CREEK FARM, BOWDOINHAM
An important principle of sustainable small-scale farming is diversity, and livestock play many key functional roles in an organic farm system. Abby Sadauckas and Jake Galle raise MOFGA Certified Organic grass-fed beef, goat and lamb as well as pasture-raised poultry including broilers, layers, geese and turkeys at Apple Creek Farm. The farmers utilize rotational grazing methods to increase soil fertility, maximize their land and to manage parasites- come learn the benefits of their system and hear from MOFGA Livestock Specialist Diane Schivera. Potluck to follow.
HAND TOOL DEMONSTRATION
THURSDAY, JUNE 16 – 5 PM AT JOHNNY’S SELECTED SEEDS, ALBION
Learn proper technique and effective use of different hand tools for weeding, with instruction from Adam Lemieux of Johnny's Selected Seeds. We'll meet at the Movie Palace Field, where we can test different tools on a multitude of diversified crops. Bryan Brown, PhD student at the University of Maine, will discuss physical weed control and share some highlights from his research.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22 – 1 to 3 PM AT BROCHU HOMESTEAD, DOVER-FOXCROFT
Tour the Brochu's homestead in Dover-Foxcroft to learn about forestry planning and programs to benefit your farm.
Co-sponsored by MOFGA, the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. To register and FMI: Katy Green, email@example.com, 568-6021.
COVER CROPS & GREEN MANURES
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29 – 5 PM AT NEW LEAF FARM, DURHAM
Dave Colson, MOFGA's agricultural services director, will lead a tour of a cover crop demonstration planted at New Leaf Farm in Durham. Learn about types of cover crops, pros and cons of each and programs to help with crop rotation on your farm. Potluck to follow.
Co-sponsored by MOFGA, the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. To register and FMI: Katy Green, firstname.lastname@example.org, 568-6021.
FARMING WITH HORSES
WEDNESDAY, JULY 6 – 5PM AT SANDY MEADOW FARM, UNITY
Using animals for draft power has a number of economic, environmental and social benefits; but it is not easy. Sandy Meadow Farm relies on draft power for all aspects of their operation – from tillage to haying to woods work. Come learn the basics of this genuinely solar-based system of farming. Potluck to follow.
ECOLOGICAL WEED MANAGEMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 14 – 5 PM AT BLACK KETTLE FARM, LYMAN
Weed control is a primary challenge in organic farming systems. This workshop will offer ecological and cultural approaches to weed management with MOFGA Organic Crop Specialist Eric Sideman and farmer expertise from Laura Neale. Potluck to follow.
BOWDOINHAM OPEN FARM DAY & BBQ
SUNDAY, JULY 17
Details & Maps are posted at http://www.bowdoinham.com once they are available.
CREATIVE & COLLABORATIVE MARKETING
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20 – 5 PM AT MILK & HONEY CAFE, PORTLAND
Small farmers need to be creative and innovative marketers to be successful. The best are those that cultivate community involvement in their farms and nurture face-to-face relationships with their customers. Learn how Lauren Pignatello of Swallowtail Farm approaches innovative and collaborative marketing. This workshop will cover some of the basics of marketing and highlight her experience with nontraditional CSA shares, starting a café, farmers' markets, wholesale, online store, and the benefits and challenges of collective marketing. Potluck to follow.
MAINE OPEN FARM DAY
SUNDAY, JULY 24
Details are posted at http://www.getrealmaine.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/calendar.detail/event_id/186
FARM WOODLOT MANAGEMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 28 – 5 PM AT TENDER SOLES FARM, RICHMOND
Woodlots are an ubiquitous and essential part of farms in Maine. Many consider it the "winter crop." Whether the forest provides a heat source for your home and greenhouse, vital habitat for pollinators, foraging potential for livestock, maple syrup or lumber for your buildings, it must be managed with skill and vision. Tender Soles Farm manages 30 acres of forest for diverse purposes including: home and greenhouse firewood, saw lumber for farm projects (and eventually a barn), wildlife habitat, pasture for pigs and other animals, and a future sleigh ride trail. You're invited to tour their farm and woodlot with farmers Kate Del Vecchio and Rich Lee. This workshop will emphasize the need for creativity at the intersection of field and forest, as well as a look at low-impact harvesting wood with draft horses and forest soil basics. Rich also teaches draft horse forestry skills with MOFGA's Low Impact Forestry Project and hopes to continue to share the tradition of animal-powered timber harvesting and field work as a lens to view the farm and forest holistically. Potluck to follow.
CUT FLOWER PRIMER
TUESDAY, AUGUST 2 – 5PM AT HONEYSUCKLE WAY, WHITEFIELD
Come spend an evening flowering with Andrea Bachynsky of Honeysuckle Way. Learn a few of the basics about what goes into a diverse flower operation. We'll provide a brief overview of growing, harvesting and arranging cut flowers. Potluck to follow.
ECOLOGICAL PEST MANAGEMENT
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10 – AT HATCHET COVE FARM, WARREN
Effective ecological pest control starts with a farm system design based on the fundamental principles of diversity and complexity. Join Dave Colson, MOFGA's Agricultural Services Director, for a comprehensive perspective on managing pests in organic vegetable systems. Potluck to follow.
CONSERVATION PRACTICES ON A DIVERSIFIED FARM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17 – 5 PM AT FRITH FARM, SCARBOROUGH
Tour the animal and vegetable operation at Frith Farm and learn about some of the conservation practices used here, including no-till, high tunnels, cover cropping, mulching and tractor-less veggie growing. Potluck to follow.
Co-sponsored by MOFGA, Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. To register and FMI: Katy Green, email@example.com, 568-6021.
ORGANIC MUSHROOM PRODUCTION
TBD – 5 PM AT CAP N' STEM MUSHROOM CO., GARDINER
Fruiting mushrooms requires a balance of fresh air, humidity, temperature and light. Learn how to grow gourmet and medicinal mushrooms like Shiitake, Lion's Mane, Miatake and Chestnut at home and on a commercial scale from the organic substrate producer Cap N' Stem. Potluck to follow.
SEED SAVING AND PRODUCTION ON A DIVERSIFIED FARM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24 – 5 PM AT SEVEN TREE FARM, VASSALBORO
Roberta Bailey of Fedco Seeds operates Seven Tree Farm, 18 acres with three field plots an orchard and grape arbor and many fruit and berry plantings. The farm also includes a solar house, root cellar, and many post and beam buildings, including a new barn and woodworking shop. The focus of their operation is to grow much of our food and to raise commercial seed crops on a small farm scale. Seed crops can work well with the home garden or the field production gardens, further diversifying a farm operation's income and securing seed supply in some situations. The talk will focus on interplanting seed crops in your gardens or field plots, using the by-products of the crop for food production or value added products to sell, and on basic seed saving and plant genetics, crop nutrition, rotations, isolations, and how to harvest and dry seed. The talk will cover biennials such as beets and carrots as well.
BREAKING DOWN LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION
TBD AT KENNEBEC VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Join butcher and culinary instructor Jessica Reale for a demonstration of breaking down a pig. Learn what butchers look for to assess the quality of a carcass and what options you have for cutting up primal sections. Learn how to best explain these options to your customers and communicate with your butcher. Potluck to follow.
RAW LAND: WHAT'S YOUR PLAN?
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 – 5 PM AT STEVE RODRIGUE'S HOMESTEAD, WINDSOR
You've purchased your unimproved land with dreams of a homestead or farm. Now what? Join Steve Rodrigue for a tour of his land and see his progress of establishing a homestead after two seasons of work on an unimproved woodlot parcel. He will discuss his overall vision and process for the project as well as giving a guided tour to the off-grid small house he designed and built. Potluck to follow.
NEXT STEPS: APPRENTICE TO JOURNEYPERSON
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER – 15 5pm AT BUMBLEROOT FARM, BUXTON
MOFGA estimates that Maine needs about 150 new farmers each year just to maintain the infrastructure required to support our local food system – so every new farm operation in Maine is a reason to celebrate! But, it's becoming increasingly difficult to get started in farming. Join Bumbleroot Farm along with several of MOFGA's current Journeypersons as they share their insights and enthusiasm about how they are managing their first few years farming independently. Several key service providers will also discuss how their programs can help. If you are considering farming for a living, please come and contribute to this important discussion. Potluck to follow.
Common Ground Country Fair
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 - SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016
MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
If you’ve ever been to the Fair, you know – and if you haven’t been, anyone who has will tell you – it's an event like no other, that brings together so many people from so many walks of life, all in the spirit of celebrating the rural and agricultural traditions of Maine. Volunteer shifts of four hours or more gain you free one-day admission, a meal, one night of camping and a Fair t-shirt.