Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Fair News – Fall 2002

Fair News Archive \ Fair News – Fall 2002

Welcome to the Fair!

Public Policy Teach-In: Maine Candidates’ Forum at the Fair

Welcome to the Fair!

A Message from the Fair Director, Heather Spalding

Hello once again everyone and welcome to the 26th Common Ground Country Fair. It’s been another tremendously rewarding year working with all of the folks who make this fair happen.

We have lots of new and interesting exhibits and programs this year, so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open, and try to take part in some of the events. Here is a summary of the new offerings:

MOFGA Booths – As you no doubt will notice when you arrive at the gates, MOFGA is having a more visible and accessible presence at the Fair by setting up a booth at each entrance. Board members and knowledgeable volunteers will be staffing the booths to answer questions about the organization and to encourage fairgoers to join the fun. Fairgoers who become members can get into the Fair free all weekend!

Wednesday Spinners – Happy 25th Year at Common Ground to the Wednesday Spinners! They will be celebrating this landmark by carrying out a “Sheep-to-Shawl” Demonstration complete with shearing, skirting, carding, spinning, dyeing, fulling, weaving, and waulking songs.

Agricultural Presentations – Make sure to take a stroll down to the Agricultural Demonstrations Area because we have fabulous presentations and talks lined up all weekend. We have some special guests coming from New York with lots of seed cleaning equipment, so if you have any seed that you would like to process and save, think about bringing it with you to the Fair.

Public Policy Teach-in – On Saturday, we are hosting a forum for Maine’s gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional ballot candidates to share their visions for the future of Maine’s agriculture. The forum will take place on Saturday beginning at 1:00, and will be moderated by Maine Public Broadcasting’s Naomi Schalit.

Entertainment – We have dozens of wonderful performances lined up once again, including a Comedy in the Amphitheater entitled “A Sense of Humus,” which focuses on the “lighter” side of the very heavy genetic engineering issue. Stick around on Friday and Saturday evenings for great dance music by Anti-Gravity and Flash in the Pans (Friday), and Desperate Avikadoz and Delco Ray (Saturday). We’ll also have a special comedy magic performance by Bob Nixon. Round up a picnic lunch, your family and friends and head over to the Amphitheater for some astounding magical feats on Friday at 12:30.

Country Kitchen Demonstrations – After about a 7-year hiatus, the Country Kitchen Demonstrations are back! Join the classes and, if you have a way with food preservation, processing or cooking, think about teaching a class next year.

Exhibition Hall – Premiums in Unity Hall are increasing this year. We are happy to offer seed catalog certificates to folks who win red (2nd place) ribbons for produce in the Exhibition Hall. And we will offer cash prizes for judges’ awards in many categories including Quilts, for which there will be a $25.00 award. A tip of the hat to Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Fedco Seed Co. for financial assistance with this expanded program. Finally, we have a new category for vegetable “volunteers” springing from compost piles.

Labyrinth – The Whole Life Area has taken on a new dimension in the form of a labyrinth. For a quiet and meditative experience, take a walk through this wonderful addition to the Fair.

Oral History Interviews – The Maine Folklife Center will be continuing its research on MOFGA by conducting several more oral history interviews. This year, the focus will be on founders and leaders of the Common Ground Country Fair. The interviews are designed to be participatory, so feel free to join in the questioning and help us get a great account of the history of the Fair.

Fiddlers’ Showcase – We are breaking slightly with tradition this year and offering an all-inclusive Fiddlers’ Showcase. While we have taken the competitive edge away, we certainly haven’t lost any of the fun.

Strawbale Construction – Come to the North Orchard to see how strawbale construction works. We will have a new strawbale toolshed available for public viewing.

Natural Horsemanship and Round Pen Training

On Friday in the Show Ring, Terry McClaire will be demonstrating how to train and work with horses, young and old.

Thanks for joining our celebration!


Public Policy Teach-In: Maine Candidates’ Forum at the Fair

The Public Policy Committee of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association invited all Maine ballot candidates for Guber­natorial, U.S. Senatorial and U.S. Congressional races to a forum on agriculture at the Common Ground Country Fair this year. Those listed below have agreed to attend. The forum will take place on Saturday, September 21, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. on the Common in the center of the fairgrounds.

The forum is intended to address the candidates’ visions for the future of Maine agriculture. This will not be a debate, but an opportunity for the candidates to present their perspectives on pertinent issues. During the first hour, questions will be presented by our moderator, Naomi Schalit of Maine Public Radio. During the next half hour, written questions from the audience will be accepted and chosen at the discretion of Schalit, with an opportunity for all candidates to respond.

Come hear what the candidates think about sprawl, farmland preservation, developing markets for Maine products, the aging population of Maine farmers, the role of organic agriculture in Maine, the role of genetically engineered crops, the role of the Board of Pesticides Control and Department of Agriculture in regulating pesticides, the University of Maine Sustainable Agriculture Program, the Experiment Station, Cooperative Extension, the environmental impacts of agriculture, the national Farm Bill ... and more.

Following are brief autobiographies submitted by the candidates who had accepted MOFGA’s invitations when we went to press.

Gubernatorial Candidates

John Elias Baldacci (D)

(Autobiographical Statement Provided by Candidate)

Congressman John Baldacci was born and raised in Bangor. While working at the family business and serving in the State Legislature, John received a B.A. degree in history from the University of Maine in Orono. Through his experience in the family restaurant, John has learned much about the opportunities and challenges facing Maine’s small businesses.

John was first elected to public office in 1978, when he won a seat on the Bangor City Council at the age of twenty-three. In 1982, he was elected to the Maine State Senate, where he served until his election to the United States House of Representatives in 1994. During that campaign for Congress, John pledged to fight tirelessly for the people of Maine’s Second District. He has kept that commitment – earning a reputation for hard work, problem solving and outstanding constituent service.

Re-elected to Congress in 1996, 1998 and 2000, John serves on the House Agriculture Committee, as well as the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Through this committee work, he has been involved in decisions important to the Second District’s natural resource-based economy.

In Congress, John has focused attention on education and economic development issues. He has worked to expand educational opportunities for families in Maine and throughout the nation. John has supported efforts to expand access to technology in the classroom, to address crumbling and overcrowded school buildings, to reduce class sizes and to increase the federal government’s support for special education.

To strengthen the economy, John has worked to increase value-added processing in our state, to expand trading opportunities for Maine businesses, to increase federal funding for research and development at state institutions, and to obtain more resources for the state’s transportation network. He has also fought to change our government – working for a balanced budget, a ban on lobbyist gifts, and enactment of campaign finance reform legislation.

Congressman Baldacci’s leadership and advocacy for Maine families has been recognized by a variety of organizations. In particular, his legislative and personal efforts on behalf of children, senior citizens and small businesses have been widely noted.

The National Energy Assistance Directors Association presented their annual award to John in 1997 for his work to preserve federal fuel assistance for seniors and low income families. The Congressional Youth Leadership Council commended him recently for his diligence in promoting education and civic responsibility. And NASA has selected John for its Small Business Assistance Award.

By returning to Maine each weekend, and by attending charity spaghetti suppers throughout the District, John seeks to stay in close touch with the people he serves. The Congressman resides in Bangor with his wife, Karen, and their son, Jack. Karen is a registered dietician and grammar school teacher.

For more information, please see

Jonathan Carter (G)

(Autobiographical Statement Provided by Candidate)

Jonathan Carter traces his roots in Maine back five generations to the Bethel and Rangeley areas, and currently lives on a farm in Lexington township with his wife, Dorothy (a kindergarten teacher), and two children, Jared (a senior at Connecticut College) and Michaela (a senior at Carrabec High School).

Jonathan is a champion for justice, and his ideas have always been on the cutting edge. Even before the issue of campaign finance reform was discussed by mainstream politicians, Jonathan was promoting and pioneering the concept. During his 1992 congressional campaign and his subsequent run for governor in 1994, Jonathan practiced what he preached about campaign finance reform, taking no money from PACs, large corporations, or special interests, and limiting individual donations. He campaigned in support of Single Payer Universal Health Care before politicians or most citizens had even considered the idea.

Jonathan received his B.A. from Williams College, his M.S. in Botany and Forest Pathology from the University of New Hampshire. He has done doctoral work in Botany at the University of Maine and in Environmental Studies at Antioch College. His work on forest sustainability issues has helped reduce clearcutting from 180,000 acres to 13,500 acres per year. Jonathan has worked as both a scientist and a teacher at the elementary, high school and collegiate levels.

More information is available on the Carter for Governor website at

John Michael (I)

(Autobiographical Statement Provided by Candidate)

Independent State Representative John Michael lives in Auburn. He is serving his seventh term in the State House. Mr. Michael was a member of the original Common Ground Country Fair board, which oversaw creation of the first fair in Litchfield in 1977. He was a fair volunteer and also donated electrical lighting equipment and Exhibition Hall tables.

John Michael first entered the legislature in 1979 and requested a position on the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, serving there for eight years and chairing the Committee for four. He also served on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Sub-Committee on Radioactive Waste.

During that time he sponsored dozens of bills relating to agriculture, including several promoted by MOFGA, such as An Act to Define Organic and Natural Foods, written by Michael and MOFGA, which not only placed MOFGA’s organic standards into law, but became the country’s first and only law defining natural foods.

He introduced and passed the nation’s first returnable pesticide container law as well as the country’s first law that required state institutions to purchase Maine grown produce if available at a comparable price to out of state produce.

He introduced and passed landmark “Right to Know” legislation that required labeling of hazardous substances in the workplace to protect employees and firefighters.

In 1992 he was coordinator for the Jerry Brown for President campaign in Maine, leading Governor Brown to a stunning defeat of William Jefferson Clinton (4th place) in the Maine Democratic Presidential Caucuses.

In 1996 he was California Grassroots Coordinator for the Steve Forbes for President Campaign.

Mr. Michael led the state to three successful initiative campaigns, two relating to term limits for politicians, plus the 2000 repeal of the foolish Snack Tax. John Michael also volunteered for the successful initiative ballot drive to repeal the Auto Emission Testing Program.

This year he was the coordinator of an initiative petition drive to restrict the importation of radioactive waste into the State of Utah.

He is a current member of Northeast Food Cooperatives.

U.S. Senate Candidates

Susan M. Collins (R)

(Autobiographical Statement Provided by Candidate)

Susan M. Collins was elected to the United States Senate in 1996. She is the third woman from Maine and 15th woman in history to be elected in her own right to the Senate.

Born December 7, 1952, Senator Collins was raised in Caribou, a small city in northern Maine, of which both of her parents have at one time served as mayor. The Collins name is well known in Caribou. Her family founded not only the community, but also the oldest continually operating lumber business in the state. The fifth generation of the Collins family is now involved in the family business.

A 1975 magna cum laude graduate of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Senator Collins worked for former Maine Senator William S. Cohen for 12 years. In 1987, she joined the cabinet of Maine Governor John R. McKernan as Commissioner of Professional and Financial Regulation, a position she held for five years. She then served as New England Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 1992 to 1993.

In 1993, Senator Collins ran her first campaign for public office and became the first woman in Maine history to receive a major party nomination for governor after winning an eight-way Republican primary in June of 1994. Though she was not victorious in the general election, she did not lose sight of pursuing public service.

In December of 1994, Senator Collins became the founding executive director of the Center for Family Business at Husson College in Bangor, Maine, a position she held until she resigned in 1996 to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Cohen. She won both a contested Republican primary and a four-way general election later that year.

Senator Collins serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee where her subcommittee work is especially important to Maine and the nation. She serves on the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, which has been on the front lines of our nation’s war on terrorism – both foreign and domestic. As part of the Seapower Subcommittee, Senator Collins works closely with the Navy and other services to ensure our military has the technology and equipment it needs to meet the demands of its mission. She also serves on the Personnel Subcommittee.

Senator Collins is also a member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), the Special Committee on Aging, and the Committee on Governmental Affairs. She is the Ranking Republican Member of the HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families and shares leadership responsibilities with the subcommittee’s chairman, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT).

She is the first freshman to chair the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI). When she served as chairman, Sen. Collins focused on consumer protection, exposing Internet fraud, securities scams, deceptive mailings, Medicare fraud, food safety, identity theft, telephone billing fraud, and mortgage scams aimed at low income, first-time home buyers.

In addition to her committee assignments, Senator Collins has been appointed by the Republican Leader to serve on special task forces on Social Security, Education, High Tech Issues, and Health Care Policy, all issues of high priority to her. Senator Collins also serves on the Holocaust Memorial Council, which oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Senator Collins’s top priorities include maintaining a strong defense in order to preserve our national security and working to ensure our homeland is equally protected. She has been a tireless advocate for education. As one of the chief architects of the landmark “Leave No Child Behind” education reform bill, Senator Collins led the successful charge to triple funding for early reading initiatives. Working with President Bush, she enacted a $250 tax deduction for teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies. Her goal of expanding access to higher education led her to co-author the 1998 Higher Education Act.

She continues her longstanding efforts to help small businesses; improve health care, particularly for citizens living in rural areas; and combat consumer fraud. She has restored millions of dollars to the Medicare program for home health care to ensure that elderly citizens receive needed care in the security, comfort, and privacy of their own homes – right where they want to be.

Senator Collins’s work has won praise not only from her home state newspapers but also from national newspapers from coast to coast. The Los Angeles Times referred to her as a “champion of good government,” while The New York Times said, “[s]he leads through the force of her ideas and her ability to see an issue fresh.”

At home, the Sanford News endorsed her candidacy for the United States Senate more than a year in advance. “When all is said and done, Collins has her hand on the pulse of Maine. She is respected here and in Washington where she toils away. The national media also look to her because of her role in the Senate. Being a woman and a moderate, she now holds sway in a divided Senate, something she has not abused. Maine should be proud to be represented so well by someone such as Collins.”

Chellie Pingree (D)

(Autobiographical Statement Provided by Candidate)

Maine’s values are unique and so is Chellie Pingree. She is independent, hardworking and a true fighter for working families. In the state house, Pingree fought for many important issues from education to fair prescription drug pricing. Now Pingree is campaigning to fight for the same issues in the U.S. Senate.

Chellie Pingree has put the skills she gained – raising three children, running a successful knitting business, volunteering in the local school and serving as Chair of the School Board – to powerful use on the state, national and international level.

From her home base of North Haven (population 350), Pingree won a seat in the Maine Senate in 1992 and four years later was elected Maine Senate Majority Leader. In a leadership position, she fought for economic and social justice, taking on powerful adversaries – most notably the pharmaceutical lobby. Last session, Pingree sponsored the nation’s first bipartisan prescription drug pricing bill. The successful passage of this legislation has provided a model for policy makers across the country.

Pingree’s leadership in Maine politics led to numerous international appointments. She traveled to Hungary as an Eisenhower Exchange Fellow; served as a member of the White House delegation to observe the election in Bosnia; and was a member of a U.S. delegation to Belfast, Northern Ireland, working with women political leaders there.

As the mother of three grown children and graduate of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Pingree knows first hand the importance of a quality education in Maine. She consistently fought in the legislature for helping our communities to build more schools, modernize our schools with technology and increase our investment in education. She established Maine’s College Savings Accounts so that middle-class families can send their children to college.

Last year, Pingree was term-limited from the Maine Senate, but her pace hasn’t slowed. In Maine, she is fighting the pharmaceutical companies’ legal challenge to the new prescription drug pricing law. In addition, she has criss-crossed the country, speaking to consumer and health care provider groups about the Maine law. She also served as co-chair of the Maine Economic Growth Council. Pingree is currently a Senior Fellow for the Center for Policy Alternatives in Washington, D.C.

From helping all children obtain a quality education and putting more money in the pockets of working families to shoring up Social Security and Medicare for future generations, Chellie Pingree wants to apply Maine common sense solutions to this nation’s problems. Pingree launched her 2002 U.S. Senate campaign in April 2001.

For more information, see www.

MOF&G Cover Fall 2002