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"The act of putting into your mouth what the earth has grown is perhaps your most direct interaction with the earth."
- Frances Moore Lappé
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 MOFGA Journeypersons

MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program provides hands-on support, training, and mentorship for people who are serious about pursuing careers in organic farming in Maine. The program is designed for farmers in their first three to five years to further develop the skills they need to farm independently and successfully.

 


  

  

First YearSecond YearGraduates

 

Carmen Allen – Farmin Carmen's

Farmin' Carmen is coming to Presque Isle in the spring of 2017! She began her farming journey as an apprentice at Black Kettle Farm and hasn't stopped farming and dreaming of her own farm since. Currently working at Ripley Farm in Dover-Foxcroft she is rounding out her farm experience as a farm manager, and is deep in the planning process of her first season. Carmen will be raising organic vegetables in the heart of Aroostook county reclaiming land once farmed by her ancestors. She will be growing mixed vegetable for sale at farmers market and though a small CSA. She is excited about the potential of revitalizing a lost local food movement in Presque Isle.
   
Rose Avenia – Bar Harbor Community Farm

Rose has returned to Mt Desert Island after living in Vermont for the last 31 years to join her long time friend, Glenon Friedmann, in her farming venture. Four of us purchased a 48 acre parcel together in 2014 (with the help of Maine Coast Heritage Trust) and are now raising vegetables on about 3 acres for both a summer and fall CSA as well as wholesale accounts here on the island. Both Rose and Glenon graduated from College of the Atlantic but then separated when Rose and her family moved to Vermont. While in Vermont, Rose was active in farming for about 10 years running a CSA in the 90s. In the intervening years she has been raising food for personal consumption while working with public sector employees in Vermont on their retirement plans. She is very happy to have moved back to Maine where she can be found either working delightedly in the field during the growing season or on a major renovation of a hundred year old farmhouse during the winter. Yes, she misses Vermont but Maine is pretty darn wonderful too!
   
Anson Biller – Full Fork Farm

After six years of farming, Anson returned to the Northeast in 2015 to start Full Fork Farm in China, Maine. The farm's primary focus is the salad plate – growing beautiful baby salad green mixes, cherry tomatoes, edible flowers, and micro-greens for local chefs, caterers, and for sale through its on-site farmstand. A major component of Full Fork is its commitment to full circle farming, in particular to regional seed stewardship. Full Fork Farm strives to produce and save seeds for both itself and the local community that are well-adapted to Maine's short growing season and climate. After some encouragement, the farm has also decided to establish a .5-acre u-pick strawberry patch to serve the China Lakes Region. The majority of the patch will be ready to pick in June of 2017, but we look forward to having u-pickers to the farm late this summer (2016) as the ever-bearing strawberries begin to produce fruit. For more information, visit or contact us at www.fullforkfarm.com
 
   
Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith – The Milkhouse

Caitlin, along with her partner Andy and their son Linus run The Milkhouse, an organic dairy farm in the western reaches of the Kennebec Valley in Monmouth. We have a certified organic farm where we make yogurt, bottle raw milk and raise steers and pigs for meat. All of our animals are rotationally grazed on our pastures in the growing season. We are now farm partnered with our neighbors Gregg & Rhiannon at Grace Pond Farm. Gregg and Rhiannon both work with us at the Milkhouse, and they also raise pastured organic poultry at their farm down the road. We share hayland, advice, delivery and other resources. Together our cooperative family farms are committed to bringing delicious, healthful food from our pastures to your plate. We are proud to steward this land and intend for our neighbor farms to be a long standing source of nourishing food and a resource for our surrounding communities.
   
Joshua Girard – Girard Farm

Josh grew up in York County. After high school, he moved to Boston, earning a degree in engineering. Fueled by his curiosity about other cultures and places, he joined the Master's International Program at the University of South Florida. As part of his graduate studies he spent two years working as an aquaculture extension agent for the Peace Corps in Zambia. His experiences in gardening in Zambia taught him the joys and rewards of growing food and living close to the land. He spent two years as an apprentice at Frith Farm in Scarborough. In 2015 he started Girard Farm which grows under an acre of no-till vegetables, which he sells through a CSA program, a farm stand, and at the Saco Farmers' Market.
   
Doug and Gretchen Huettner – Farm in the Woods

Doug and Gretchen Huettner own and operate Farm in the Woods as a family-run, diversified operation in Monson, Maine. With their eight children they produce an assortment of fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, eggs, and honey which they sell locally. The Huettners have been married for 22 years and moved to Piscataquis County in 1996 so that Doug could pursue a career with the Maine Forest Service. In December 2014, they purchased 60 acres of the Nelson Farm which finally gives them room to grow. Recently the family was invited to help with Breakneck Ridge Farm’s sugar operation and they hope to develop their growing 4-H Dairy Herd into a licensed micro dairy. They look forward to expanding their ability to supply the Moosehead Lake area with locally produced agricultural products.
   
Edie Johnston – Eldertide LLC/Maine Medicinals, Inc

Edie Johnston, a 2014 SBA Tibbett's Award recipient, established Eldertide LLC in 2009. The company's mission is threefold: develop plant-based medicines to optimize human health, conduct research, and grow superior quality certified organic berries and botanicals. Eldertide launched its first nutraceutical product, Anthoimmune™ organic elderberry syrup in 2009 at Common Ground Country Fair. Anthoimmune™ is manufactured and distributed by its sister company, Maine Medicinals, Inc. Eldertide currently has four supplements in distribution to health care professionals via Emerson Ecologics; direct wholesale to health food stores and specialty grocery stores including Whole Foods Markets; and through e-commerce.
 
   
Jenny Lassen – Intervale Farm

Jenny made her way to Downeast Maine from New York City 10 years ago when she and her husband started Intervale Farm Organic Wild Blueberries. She is hoping to expand her her skills to include cut flower and dried flower arrangements and grateful to the Journey Person program for giving their support to help her do this. She is excited to get her hands into some ""less acidic"" soil this spring and hopefully find a niche market for her flowers. She is also looking forward to learning from the many talented flower growers in the downeast area and beyond.
   
Margo and Keith Leonforte – Hearthstone Organic Farm

For Margo and Keith Leonforte, getting the chance to put their hands in the dirt is a journey come full circle. Although Keith was born and raised in the city of Boston, he spent some of his younger years farming with his father in Sicily and founded the Chelsea Hiking Club for inner city youth. As an adult, Keith made his mark as a Union Laborer in Boston. Margo grew up outside of New York city and was first introduced to farming and the outdoors at summer camp. She has spent most of her adult life living all over the country gathering experience in counseling, vocational rehab., the Deaf Community, and autobody repair and restoration. Nearly two years ago Margo and Keith came to their senses, scrapped it all, and moved with their two boys, Roger and Oliver onto an abandoned property in Ripley, Maine. Keith now works with Jason Kafka at Checkerberry Farm in Parkman, and Margo works in the special ed. department at the local elementary school. Together they look forward to transforming this forgotten about space into a thriving farm, providing mixed vegetables, flowers, medicinal, herbs, and pasture raised eggs to the community.
   
Laura McLaughlin – Streamside Farm

Streamside Farm is located on the Marsh River in Brooks, Maine. We are a group of five friends coming together to create our vision of a sustainable community based food production system. We are cooperatively run; we all share ownership and responsibility over the farm equally. 2016 is our first year in production. We are growing one acre of mixed vegetables and plan to provide food for a 30 member CSA, a farmers market, and the Marsh River Coop.
   
Danielle Monroe – Laughing Flower Farm

Danielle, a native to Maine, grew up in the same rural town for 18 years, surrounded by farms, while yearning for warmer weather and city life. As a young adult she traveled, lived, and worked in various cities in the U.S. Her experience working in the medical billing field was an eye opener to the nations declining health and encouraged a desire to change her own health through exercise and food. At the time, living in the subtropical gulf coast, the quest for organic produce was almost impossible. When she decided to return to her home state, it was with fresh appreciation for the four seasons, sustainable farming, and the rising organic movement. Testing the theory that farming should be her future, she apprenticed and volunteered at various farms, then worked full time growing hydroponic tomatoes. Danielle now plans to utilize the resources offered through the Journey Person program to successfully launch her own enterprise, Laughing Flower Farm LLC, in spring 2016. Focusing on small scale, human power, low-tech tools, with plans to produce quality vegetables and berries for the surrounding community.
   
Max Nolin and Hannah Stone – Harrow Down Farm

Drawn to Maine from Andover, MA and Portsmouth, NH by family and the MOFGA apprenticeship program, we have been living and farming in Maine for the past five years. We have both gained a plethora of knowledge about organic farming through our apprenticeships on various successful farms throughout the state. Dedicated to providing high quality produce for ourselves and for our community, we took the leap from being apprentices to starting Harrow Down Farm in 2015. We love the art of farming and everything that comes along with it, including the great food, friends, the awareness of nature and its doings, the end of a hard day's work, the satisfaction... We are looking forward to the years ahead and the experiences they will bring!
   
Marilyn Plowman – Rock and Pebble Farm

Rock and Pebble Farm is owned and operated by Marilyn Plowman. Marilyn breeds pigs to produce piglets for sale and feeder pigs for meat to be marketed. She also sells eggs from her small flock of free range hens. Born and raised in New York City, she often wished she lived on a farm. After college where she majored in biology, she worked in various university laboratories in biological research. With many years of research under her belt, she switched to teaching biology, chemistry, and general science. When she retired, Marilyn moved to Maine, built an addition to her vacation home and bought two piglets. Those two piglets grew up to be custom butchered and sold to neighbors and friends as half and quarter hogs. Finding the raising of pigs so much fun, Marilyn immediately purchased one male and one female piglet to be her breeding pair. This pair, named Adam and Eve, turned out to be very productive, providing 14 to 16 piglets twice per year. Joining two farmers markets, she started selling state inspected cuts of wrapped frozen pork and fresh eggs. Now, in addition to her pigs and layer hens, Marilyn has added a small herd of alpacas, two goats, and a small flock of ducks. She plans to increase the pork production by getting an additional sow. She now sells her pork and eggs at 6 farmers markets and plans to begin selling alpaca fiber and fiber products.
   
Heide and Greg Purinton-Brown – Toddy Pond Farm

Heide and Greg have been living and farming at Toddy Pond Farm since early 2012, although the farm was not officially formed until 2013. Together with the help of their two teenage sons they milk a small herd of 100% grass fed Jersey and Guernsey cows, raise sheep, pigs, broilers, laying hens, care for honeybees and manage a year round farm stay cottage. Heide and Greg produce yogurt, kefir and ice cream in small batches for on farm sales, four wholesale accounts, a summer farmers' market, and for 2016, a small CSA. Projects on the horizon include expanding their vegetable growing to support farm guests and CSA members, organic cranberry bogs, a summer day camp for children, as well as increasing their apiary. There is also a rumor of maple syrup production at some point down the road. Heide and Greg have received overwhelmingly support of their efforts and look forward to their future in farming to give back to their community.
   
Bryan and Ali Quincannon – Eden Acres Family Farm

Bryan & Ali Quincannon own and operate Eden Acres Family Farm in East Waterboro, Maine. The six-acre apple orchard has over 30 organic heirloom varieties. In 2015, they acquired the orchard with the responsibility to care for more than 750 trees, after the orchard had been neglected for a number of years, employing a holistic approach to growing apples. A holistic approach aims at carefully balancing the biological diversity while disrupting habitat for pests. Responsibilities range from pruning trees, spraying holistic feeds, eliminating pests, picking and sorting apples to equipment and farm maintenance. Complete immersion in holistic orcharding has taught many lessons about the growing process, crop management and the developing of a business. Prior to 2015, Bryan grew organic food for fun while he was a ceramic artist and college professor. Other interests include carpentry, surfing and snowboarding. Ali grew up in New Jersey and pursued teaching special education before starting a family, in addition to working in business administration. Other interests include studying homeopathy and spirituality. For more information, please visit our website at www.EdenAcresFarm.com
   
Val Redpath – Redpath Orchard

Val and Jim with their children Parker and Esther, live at Redpath Orchard with their dog Sioux and small flock of laying hens. Val cherishes childhood memories of summer days spent in her grandparent's garden. She believes her love of agriculture and awe of growing food was established within these gardens. Val is passionate about the healing power of food and organic farming practices. Originally moving to Maine to focus on Metalsmithing, she fell in love with Portland and has spent the last decade working for local artists. Meanwhile, her passion for food and its relationship to health continued to grow. In 2012 the Redpaths moved to Cumberland and acquired 50 mature apple trees. The last 4 years have been spent transitioning the orchard to organic and learning the basics. Val continues to study organic, sustainable, and holistic orchard management. She is currently working with her mentors to implement elements of permaculture into the orchard and gain knowledge of small scale diversified vegetable farming. 2016 is an exciting year of growth as they plant new trees, apply for organic certification, build a farm stand and offer private pick your own parties. Redpath Orchard is grateful and excited about the future where they hope to attend farmer's markets and offer CSApple shares.
   
Will Simpson and Liz Deleo – Black Mountain Farm

Will Simpson and Liz Deleo own and operate Black Mountain Farm in Sweden, ME. The two met at school in New York City, where they both yearned for more meaningful engagement in life; soon they had decided on farming as the perfect combination of hard work and a rewarding lifestyle and chose Maine as it was Will's home state and offered ample support for beginning farmers and new business owners. 2016 will be their third year farming Maine soil, and their second growing season in Sweden. There they grow about 2 acres of mixed vegetables and cut flowers, a quarter acre of hops, oyster mushrooms, and pasture raise chicken, duck, rabbit, turkey, and lamb. Will and Liz are thrilled to be MOFGA Journeypersons and ever-grateful to be part of the Maine agricultural community.

 


    

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