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"Perhaps the most radical thing you can do in our time is to start turning over the soil, loosening it up for the crops to settle in, and then stay home and tend them."
- Rebecca Solnit
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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

 

Jason Arno – Grassland Farm, Skowhegan

Pheonix Obrien and Megan Gardner currently farm at MOFGA as the Farmers in Residence. Pheonix has been farming in Maine since 2006, mainly at Freedom Farm in Freedom. He also spent one year at Mandala Farm in Gouldsboro. In 2011, he took a year off farming to attend the Kentucky Horseshoeing School. Megan began farming after college at Coonemessett Farm on Cape Cod, where she is from. She moved to Maine to apprentice on Freedom Farm in 2013 and liked Maine so much she decided to stay. In 2014 Pheonix and Megan moved onto the MOFGA grounds and established Sandy Meadow Farm. They focus on growing storage crops and sell everything wholesale. Their three horses Ben, Bob and Heaven help get the work done.
   
Noami Brautigam & James Gagne – Dickey Hill Farm, Monroe

Noami was raised in New Hampshire, but started venturing over the Maine border for seasonal work in 2004. After a few summers of trying to convince kids that radishes were delicious, she decided to get serious about production farming. Since then, Noami has worked on a number of farms throughout New England and abroad, including her own market garden, Sprouted Acre, in New Hampshire. James grew up in Hancock County and first got his hands dirty working at a biodynamic farm in New Zealand. After returning to the states, he worked with farmers in the Hudson Valley to create a local foods distribution system through a small retail outlet. Noami and James are now growing vegetables and trying their hands in raising chickens, pigs and beef cattle at Dickey Hill Farm in Monroe.
   
Arla Casselman – Calico Floriculture & Design

Arla initially came to Maine to work in the gardens at Primo Restaurant. While working at Primo, her two favorite tasks were creating the daily flower arrangements for the restaurant and taking care of the pigs! After two years at Primo she left to embark on her own farm ventures. Currently she and her partner John have 30 acres of organic wild blueberries, a handful of chickens and pigs during the growing season, and now flowers. Arla is looking forward to growing her flower business as well as collaborating with other Maine flower farmers!
   
Hannah Court – Wandering Root Farm

Hannah was raised in Vermont and after graduating from the University of Vermont, she wandered the world looking for inspiration within herself. While looking, she unexpectedly found her meaning through farming. Since then she has farmed in New Mexico, Vermont and finally in Maine during her apprenticeship at Hatchet Cove Farm. As a tribute to her farming journey she decided on the name Wandering Root Farm. She will be growing diversified vegetables and livestock with a focus on seed saving, herbs (medicinal and culinary) and education. Her long-term goal is to establish a full diet, year round CSA.
   
   
   
Christelle Munnelly & Jon McKee – Copper Tail Farm

Christelle Munnelly and Jon McKee met in 2009 in Eugene, Oregon when Christelle hit on Jon when he was working on a crossword puzzle in a restaurant. Neither Christelle nor Jon had any farming experience, and neither one could have predicted what adventures they were about to take in life, love, and farming. A year later, they found themselves as farmhands on a goat and cattle farm. With Christelle's basic knowledge of backyard homesteading, and Jon being the problem solver/repair man/builder, they felt confident and capable at the thought of being farmers. During this time Christelle fell in love with goats, and Jon fell in love with cows. After a year of intense farming done basically just between the two of them, they knew it was time for the real deal. With the confidence of running a farm of that size, they knew a small dairy goat herd and eventually beef cattle was the answer for them. The following summer they piled 28 chickens, 8 goats, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a chameleon into a livestock trailer and Penske truck and headed cross country to a state they had both only visited a handful of times. They moved into a farm site unseen that they found on Maine Farmlink, and Christelle sold her organic goat milk soaps at Farmers Markets that summer. They added 5 more goats to their herd and began scheming of ways to make a living off the mischievous creatures. Initially planning on making and selling cheese, they started experimenting with caramels and cajeta hoping this would be their niche in the Farmers Market seen of midcoast Maine. Their soaps, caramels, and cajeta can be found at Bath, Rockland, and Damariscotta Farmer's Markets as of spring of 2015. They just bought their own 23 acre farm in Waldoboro. They hope to add goat cheese, whey fed pigs, and some cows to their operation once they settle in at their new farm.
   
   
Pheonix Obrien and Megan Gardner, MOFGA Farmers-in-Residence, Unity

Pheonix Obrien and Megan Gardner currently farm at MOFGA as the Farmers in Residence. Pheonix has been farming in Maine since 2006, mainly at Freedom Farm in Freedom. He also spent one year at Mandala Farm in Gouldsboro. In 2011, he took a year off farming to attend the Kentucky Horseshoeing School. Megan began farming after college at Coonemessett Farm on Cape Cod, where she is from. She moved to Maine to apprentice on Freedom Farm in 2013 and liked Maine so much she decided to stay. In 2014 Pheonix and Megan moved onto the MOFGA grounds and established Sandy Meadow Farm. They focus on growing storage crops and sell everything wholesale. Their three horses Ben, Bob and Heaven help get the work done.
   
   
Ben Whalen, Melissa Law & Jeff Fisher – Bumbleroot Organic Farm

Raised in Massachusetts, Ben moved to California after college to work on a cattle ranch where he learned the basics of holistic land management and high stock density grazing. The following year he interned at Cure Organic Farm in Boulder, CO and gained experience in commercial vegetable and flower production. After a season working in Vermont on a livestock farm, Ben returned to Cure as the livestock manager. Although no animals currently reside at Bumbleroot Organic Farm, pigs and sheep will always be close to his heart. Melissa was born in New Hampshire and ended up in Maine after traveling across the United States and throughout the world. Her interest in farming came alive while working on organic farms in South Africa and Spain. She studied herbal medicine at the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism in Boulder, CO. It was in Colorado that she met Ben and Jeff, but not until they all found their way to the East coast that they decided to start a farm together. Melissa can't wait to start growing herbs and making medicine here in Maine! Jeff's interest in farming started while attending graduate school at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. The next three years were spent interning at and managing Cure Organic Farm in Boulder, CO. Since moving to Maine in 2013, Jeff spent two summers working for Green Spark Farm in Cape Elizabeth. Jeff strongly believes in the ability of local, sustainable agriculture as a means to create lasting positive change in communities. Jeff plans on spending his time in the Journeyperson program driving tractors, digging carrots, and cutting flowers to make that happen. Together, along with Jeff's wife Abby, they make up Bumbleroot Organic Farm. Bumbleroot is a 2.5 acre farm in Buxton growing vegetables, flowers, and culinary and medicinal herbs for sale at local farmers' markets and through a CSA. As a first year farm they are excited to break ground and get their hands dirty.

    

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