Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Farm Training Project Workshops

MOFGA Events \ Farm Training Project Workshops

MOFGA’s FARM TRAINING PROJECT
Weekly events, May through September 2018

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 568-4142, email education@mofga.org or check this webpage.

 

ORGANIC FARMING PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES: CROP PRODUCTION
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9 at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
Free for MOFGA apprentices! 
Join specialists from MOFGA’s Agricultural Services Department and organic farmers for a one-day introductory course in organic farming. Lunch will be provided. The day will focus on the fundamentals of organic vegetable farming. MOFGA’s Eric Sideman, Organic Crops Specialist, and Dave Colson, Agricultural Services Director, will cover theory and best practices for organic management of soils , and cover plant families. After lunch we will tour a neighboring farm.


BASIC LIVESTOCK HANDLING
Wednesday, May 16 – 5pm at Misty Brook Farm, Albion
When considering value-added endeavors, medium to large livestock are often a valuable addition to an operation. Knowing proper handling and first aid techniques can save lots of money and grief. We would like to offer training on these topics by Jacki Perkins, a long-time homesteader and MOFGA's Dairy Specialist, and Henrietta Beaufait, a licensed, large animal homeopathic veterinarian. Misty Brook Farm in Albion, Maine has graciously agreed to host this training. Their farm boasts a variety of amiable livestock, which are accustomed to intensive handling, and uniquely suited as a training tool, due to the excellent training by farm staff and family members. We will help everyone leave the session with the confidence they need going forward to administer general first-aid, and make confident, informed decisions with a veterinarian, if necessary. Completing this training may also be a benefit to current or future employment.


2018! COMMUNICATION KICK-OFF! POTLUCK! SOCIAL!
Thursday, May 31 – 5pm at Villageside Farm,122 Belfast Rd., Freedom
Join Polly and Prentice at Villageside Farm for a farm tour and social gathering to kick off the FTP season. Learn about communication skills that will improve your experience as an apprentice this season and give an overview of MOFGA’s Apprenticeship Program, opportunities and support resources available to apprentices and new farmers, and what to expect for the season ahead. Most importantly, it’s a great chance to start meeting apprentices from other farms across the state. We look forward to seeing you there! Potluck to follow.


INTRODUCTION TO FARM EQUIPMENT: SAFETY, OPERATION AND BASIC MAINTENANCE
Wednesday, June 6 – 5pm at Oaklands Farm, 114 Oaklands Farm Rd., Gardiner
Join farmer Logan Johnston, staff from MOFGA, and Rick Kersbergen of UMaine Cooperative Extension for an introduction to basic farm equipment anatomy, safe operation, and maintenance. We’ll cover tractor operation and safety; attaching, adjusting, and operating farm implements; and basic preventative lubrication and maintenance. Potluck to follow.


KOREAN NATURAL FARMING TECHNIQUES WITH AARON ENGLANDER
Thursday, June 14 – 2 to 5pm at Erickson Fields Preserve, 164 West St. (Rt. 90), Rockport
Aaron Englander, Farm & Program Manager of Erickson Fields Preserve, will lead a hands-on workshop in Korean Natural Farming techniques that encourage self-sustaining, closed loop systems that minimize external inputs. This three-hour, hands-on workshop will present natural farming practices through live demos of various bio-fertilizers and nutrients. Workshop attendees will learn to make inputs such as Indigenous Microorganism (IMO) soil inoculant, Fish Amino Acids, Fermented Plant Juice, Water-soluble Calcium and Calcium-Phosphate, and Lactic Acid Bacteria. Natural Farming is applicable to many types and scales of farming, from backyard veggie gardening to large scale livestock operations. The goal of the workshop is for attendees to leave equipped with the knowledge to implement these practices on their own farm or garden. Attendees should dress for the weather and wear work clothes and closed-toe shoes. Please bring something to write with, water, and work gloves. Space is limited.


FARMING WITH HORSES
Wednesday, June 20 – 5pm at Darthia Farm, 51 Darthia Farm Rd., Gouldsboro
Using animals for draft power has a number of economic, environmental and social benefits; but it is not easy. Darthia relies on draft power for all aspects of its operation – from tillage to haying to woods work. Come learn the basics of this genuinely solar-based system of farming from a farm that has been certified organic for nearly 40 years and hosted 270 apprentices. Potluck to follow.


MARKETING AT FARMERS’ MARKETS
Wednesday, June 27 – 5pm at Patch Farm, 570 East Main St., Denmark
BrennaMae Thomas-Googins is a board member of the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets and is a an owner/operator of Patch Farm along with her partner Brandon McKenney. They grow certified organic vegetables, herbs and fruits. They also raise organic eggs, chicken, forest-raised pork and have a fledgling herd of dairy goats. Learn how they market these products at the Lewiston and Bridgton Farmers’ Markets, the latter of which BrennaMae runs and has been integral in implementing and running the market’s SNAP program. Potluck to follow.


MANAGING FARM DIVERSITY
Tuesday, July 3 – 5pm at Willow Pond Farm, 395 Middle Rd., Sabattus
Willow Pond Farm since 1982 beginning as an orchard business and mixed livestock, adding organic beets, pumpkins and squash and in 1989 starting the first CSA in Maine. During that time they have raised 2 amazing children and mentored over 80 apprentices. Come hear Jill Agnew share her vision of feeding family and community with a diverse array of foods. Potluck to follow.


NEXT STEPS: APPRENTICE TO JOURNEYPERSON
Thursday, July 11 – 5pm at Flywheel Flowers, 284 Crosby Brook Rd., Unity
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 getting started in farming is becoming increasingly difficult in many ways. Join Carole Mapes, as she shares their insights and enthusiasm about managing her 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.


ORGANIC DAIRY APPRENTICESHIP
Wednesday, July 18 – 5pm at Wolfe's Neck Center, 184 Burnett Rd., Freeport
Wolfe’s Neck Center’s Organic Dairy Farmer Training Program is a two-year residential apprenticeship program for new and transitioning commercial organic dairy farmers. Come learn about this first-of-its kind program that allows apprentices to learn hands-on in all aspects of their certified organic dairy operation. Potluck to follow.


COVER CROPS AND LOW-TILL FOR VEGGIE SYSTEMS WITH MARK HUTTON, UMAINE EXTENSION
Monday, July 23 – 5pm at Goranson Farm, 250 River Rd., Dresden
Potluck to follow.


FARMING COOPERATIVELY
Wednesday, July 25 – 5pm at New Roots Cooperative Farm, 954 College Rd., Lewiston
Come see a cooperative farm in practice and learn about the economic structure of mutual ownership of farmland and equipment, which involves democratic decisions-making among farmer owners about marketing of their produce, as well as about distribution of the surplus they collectively generate. Potluck to follow.


POLLINATORS IN AGRICULTURE: WHO’S WHO AND HOW-TO CONSERVE THEM
With Eric Venturini, Farm Bill Pollinator Conservationist & NRCS Partner Biologist, and Brady Hatch, Farmer/Owner of Morning Dew Farm
Wednesday, August 1 – 5pm at Morning Dew Farm, Route 1, Damariscotta
Eric Venturini will lead this 2-part hands-on program: First, we will capture some of the pollinators on the farm to learn who they are, how they live, and what their role is. Second, we will discuss how you can become involved in pollinator conservation efforts – with a focus on how to successfully establish wildflower plantings for pollinators. Potluck following program for those who wish to stay. Please bring a dish to share, something to eat out of, utensils, cup, etc.


VALUE ADDED ON THE FARM
Monday, August 6 – 5pm at Frinklepod Farm, 244 Log Cabin Rd., Arundel
Small farmers need to be creative and innovative marketers to be successful. One way to accomplish this is by adding value to your products. Come see how Flora and Noah have cultivated community involvement and customer relationships with The Pod, a space that includes a commercial kitchen, floral desgin studio, events space and more. The Pod allows them to offer meal kits using their farm grown ingredients, teach cooking classes and other workshops, and have a retail store. Potluck to follow.


PERMACULTURE
Wednesday, August 22 – 5pm at Schoodic Hollow Farm, 53 Hooper Rd., Franklin
Permaculture is a method of landscape design and food production that is based on the principles of ecology and diversity. Come and see an excellent example of how permaculture can help bring vitality back to land, mitigate problematic soils and increase a farm resilience. Potluck to follow.


SEED SAVING AND PRODUCTION ON A DIVERSIFIED FARM
Monday, September 10 – 5pm at Seven Tree Farm,97 Holman Day Rd., Vassalboro
Roberta Bailey of Fedco Seeds operates Seven Tree Farm, 18 acres with six field plots, a high tunnel, an orchard and grape arbor, and extensive fruit and berry plantings. The farm also includes a many post and beam buildings and a root cellar. Roberta focuses on growing much of the food for herself and her partner, Rob Lemire, and on raising commercial seed crops on a small-farm scale. Seed crops can work well with field production gardens, further diversifying farm income and securing seed supply in some situations. The talk will focus on interplanting seed crops in gardens or field plots, using the byproducts 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. Potluck to follow.


LAMB BREAKDOWN
Date TBA – 5pm at Sowbelly Butchery, Jefferson
Join butcher and farmer Logan Higger for a demonstration of breaking down a lamb. 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.


COMMON GROUND COUNTRY FAIR
Friday, September 21 to Sunday, September 23
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 free one-day admission, a meal, one night of camping and a Fair T-shirt.