"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
- Aldo Leopold
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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 Year


Julee Applegarth and Mike Foster – Sweet Relief Farm, Steep Falls

Julee and Mike are very excited to begin their farming adventure on their own 40 acres of land. This is something Mike has dreamed of since purchasing the land more than 25 years ago, but waited until Julee finished her 18 years of working at Rippling Waters Organic Farm. They will be growing an acre of produce, dye flowers, and mushrooms on their land along the Saco River. Laying hens, meat birds, turkeys and perhaps an occasional pig can also been seen at the farm. They will be growing and selling organic seedlings to replace the wildly popular seedlings Julee use to grow at Rippling Waters. They will be marketing through shares and at the new Steep Falls Farmers' Market. Sweet Relief's farm logo is a trillium which signifies Mike and Julee's compassion and spiritual connections to their beautiful and diverse land.

Andrea Bachynsky – Honeysuckle Way Flower Farm & Design, Whitefield

Andrea grew up in New Jersey and moved to Maine post-college, originally to lead trail crews for the Maine Conservation Corps. Building trails throughout the state, Andrea had the opportunity to experience, and fall in love with, Maine’s atmosphere and natural beauty. After three years living in a tent, Andrea traded in her pick mattock for a pitch fork when she began as an apprentice at Broadturn Farm in Scarborough. She dabbled in vegetables and livestock, but discovered a passion for growing and arranging flowers. Beginning in 2014, Andrea will be growing cut flowers at Crooked Door Farm in Whitefield. Aside from selling flowers locally, she will offer design services and a small flower CSA.

Suzanne Balbo and Clint Towle, Crooked Door Farm, Whitefield

Suzanne Balbo is originally from Oakland, Maine. Her husband, Clint, is from Severna Park, Maryland. They met in New Mexico where they taught elementary school for a few years before taking teaching positions in Indonesia. While overseas, it dawned on them that they wanted to live healthier lives and become stewards of the land. They wanted a rural, sustainable lifestyle in which to raise their soon to be born babe. Upon returning to the States, they spent a few years here and there before settling in Whitefield in December of 2012. They live in an old farmhouse with their 5 year old daughter Cadence, two dogs, and three cats.

Clint was an apprentice at Broadturn Farm in Scarborough in 2012. Last year was the first season at Crooked Door Farm. Clint and Suzanne run a small, minimal till CSA, delivering mostly to Portland. They grow organic veggies, and plan on attending two Farmer’s Markets this year. This year, they are expanding their operation to include broilers and layers, turkeys, and a few pigs. Additionally, Andrea Bachynsky, of Honeysuckle Way Flowers, will be growing cut flowers at the farm this year.

When they find the time, Clint enjoys fly-fishing and baseball, and Suzanne enjoys knitting and a good run. Cadence enjoys all things pink and purple, LEGOs, and fairies.
Matt Bell – Farmhouse Project Edgecomb

Matts is a veggie farmer and winemaker/brewer, sorting out how to combine these passions. He has been working at wineries in San Francisco and Oregon and brewing on the side since 2005. At the same time he has been volunteering at various veggie farms before deciding to farm full time in about 2010. This makes for a really tricky fall harvest/crush. Last year Matt moved to Maine and has been working on a diverse farm in Newcastle.

In addition to farming in Newcastle, Matt is starting up his own farming enterprises which include growing out tree stock, fermentable fruit (like apples and pears), and experimenting with herbs used in the brewing of beer.
Darren Brann & Sarah Ingalls – Cape Cod Hill Farm, New Sharon

Sarah is originally from a small town in New Hampshire. She came to Maine as a teenager and hasn’t wanted to leave since. She graduated from Unity College with a degree in Adventure Therapy, and has worked numerous jobs in that field. On top of farming, she works part time at a local camp taking the children on hiking and camping trips. She got her first farming job on a dairy farm her first semester of college. After a few years there she wanted a change, and spent 3 seasons working on a horse powered veggie farm. She spent a couple more years on another veggie farm and a hog farm before she wanted to try it on her own.

Darren grew up on a farm in New Sharon Maine, where both he and Sarah are farming. His family were among the original settlers of New Sharon, and he is now the 5th generation to be farming that land. After attending school for welding he worked as a traveling welder for a number of years before joining the Navy where he traveled the world for 4 years. He returned home to work as a mechanic/welder and also maintained large gardens on the family farm. He has a strong interest in indoor horticulture, medicinal plants, and glass art.

Darren and Sarah are raising flowers, vegetables, and herbs at Cape Cod Hill Farm. They will mostly be growing cut flowers that they will be selling at farmers markets and to local florists. There are a half dozen cows managing the pasture and helping with compost. This year they will be establishing mushrooms in their woodlot, and planting some more fruit trees. They will be assisted by their 3 dogs: Parker, Otis, and Disco. Their goal is to bring more diversity to the long standing farm, and follow their passions. Besides farming and camping, they enjoy live music and art projects.

Dylan Brown – Dilly Bean Farm, Newburgh

Dylan Brown was first introduced to farming at Dickinson College, where he worked on the organic farm affiliated with the school. He had long been interested in the physiology of plants, going so far as to pursue a major in biology; he quickly discovered that farming was a far more gratifying experience than any lab or field assignment ever was. As such, Dylan chose farming as his first post-collegiate endeavor. He moved to Newburgh, Maine after graduating to apprentice on Nettie Fox Farm. He spent two seasons there, working and learning under the invaluable guidance of farm manager Molly Crouse. After witnessing the success of Nettie Fox Farm, Dylan decided to try his hand at running his own farm, albeit on a much smaller scale. Dilly Bean Farm is the result of that decision. During its first season, the farm will be used to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers on a half acre plot leased from Nettie Fox Farm. The produce will support a CSA and excess will be sold to a neighboring dairy farm, Siberia Farms, and to the Natural Living Center.


Arlene & Russell Brokaw – Imagine Dairy Farm, Warren

Arlene and Russell grew up in Ohio and spent several years working in television, but found themselves in Maine to apprentice and learn about farming. Arlene spent four years at Olde Oak Farm as a cheese maker and herd manager. Russell has worked at Ellsfarm Sheep Dairy and Appleton Creamery. After a year in Massachusetts, Arlene and Russell returned to Maine to start their own farm, the ImagineDairy Farm, with a growing herd of dairy goats, a small flock of sheep and some herb and vegetable growing. The ImagineDairy is located in Warren and will have state-licensed raw goat's milk for sale in 2015.

Kate Del Vecchio & Richard Lee – Tender Soles Farm, Dresden

Rich and Kate met at a CSA fair in 2011 in Brunswick while Rich was advertising Buckwheat Blossom Farm’s Winter CSA and Kate was advertising the Sheepscot General Multi-Farm CSA. Rich had just moved up to Maine from New York where he taught adjudicated youth environmental studies and agricultural studies on the Yaphank Farm in Suffolk County, Long Island. He moved from Queens to Wiscasset, where he quickly fell in love with vegetable farming and logging, but especially with horses. Kate had been working on various farms in the Augusta area and had started selling vegetables and herbs to the Sheepscot General Multi Farm CSA. Together they decided to apprentice at New Beat Farm in 2012 to learn to grow organic vegetables and flowers with draft horses.

Kate and Rich now have two draft horses of their own named Jess and Molly and are leasing land in Dresden to grow vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, flowers, and rotationally-pastured animals and are looking for a permanent place to land their farm in or near Whitefield, Maine, where Kate grew up.
Bo Dennis – Two Coves Farm, Harpswell

Starting to farm after high school, Bo hitchhiked through Vermont and Ireland working on various types of farms before settling on the coast of Maine. He graduated from College of the Atlantic in 2012. Farming on a down east island for a few years he fell in love with the rhythm of the seasons, the salt air, and having bare feet deep in healthy soil.This will be his sixth year of growing organic veggies and first year as a contracted grower at Two Coves Farm, a pasture based meat farm in Harpswell, Maine. Over the next few years he hopes to expand to a few acres of vegetables with the possibility of integrating sheep and chickens on family land also in Harpswell. His wingman is a black dog named Max who loves garlic and raspberries almost as much as Bo does. Bo is interested in selling vegetables, herbs, and hand spun wool at farmers markets in Harpswell and Brunswick. Bo is excited for the growing seasons to come, to learn what every plant has to teach, and many long days of hard work.
Andy and Tania Rowse-Felger, Penobscot Potting Shed, Penobscot

Andy grew up in Ohio and Tania grew up in New Zealand. They met in South Korea in 2003 where they taught English. In 2010, after nearly 10 years of teaching, they moved to Maine to raise their son and lead a less urban life. On 3 acres of land in Penobscot, Maine they a small family farm operation propagating nursery stock. Penobscot Potting Shed grows certified organic native plants from seed with an emphasis on species which are particularly attractive to pollinators. In spring and throughout summer they sell certified organic vegetable, herb and flower seedlings with a focus on open-pollinated and heirloom varieties. They have a range of container plants available all summer long and into the fall. In addition to all their plants being sold in biodegradable containers, they strive to source organic seed. They currently use 100% organic seed for all of the vegetable seedlings and salad containers they sell. They are always looking for new organic seeds and are working towards collecting and growing local seed for their native plants. Penobscot Potting Shed sells during seasonal seedling days (posted online), weekly at local farmers markets, at wholesale outlets and directly off farm.

Elsie Gawler – North Branch Farm, Monroe

Elsie grew up with her hands in the dirt on her families homestead in Belgrade, Maine. After graduating high school she started farming with her partner Tyler Yentes on his parent's parcel of land in Monroe. In 2009 Elsie and Tyler as well as Tyler's brother Seth, and Seth's wife Anna moved to a 350-acre piece of land in Monroe and together they started North Branch Farm. The farm is home to a number enterprises one of them being a small heritage dairy herd which Elsie and Tyler manage. Having been a licensed dairy for 2 years and selling raw milk, Elsie is now exploring the world of cheesemaking. Her goal is to start a farmstead creamery that focuses on raw milk, cave aged hard cheeses to partner with her existing dairy in the next few years. She looks forward to delving into an educational life focused on the art of cheesemaking and learning what it takes to run a successful creamery. Outside of farming, Elsie, along with her two sisters (Molly and Edith), and Mom and Dad (Ellen and John) play music together in a group known as "The Gawler Family"(www.gawlerfamily.com). With fiddles, banjo, guitar, cello, and rollicking voices they play traditional folk music for local Maine audiences as well as those outside of Maine and outside of the U.S.



Rick Greenlaw – Greenlaw Gardens, Kittery

Both raised in southern Maine, Rick and Holly began building a life together in 2007. Rick was a marine biologist who worked at a fish hatchery, Holly was an early childhood educator. In 2010, they planted a small vegetable garden on site at her father’s farm, the last remaining dairy operation in Kittery. With each growing season, as time passed, it became clear to the pair that farming offered a better way of life than their careers could offer them. In 2013, Greenlaw Gardens was launched as a commercial-scale endeavor. Together, with help from friends and family, Holly and Rick cultivate 3 acres of mixed vegetables and some fruits. They look forward to adding meat and dairy products as the operation goes forward. Much of the produce from the farm makes its way into local restaurants, and a self-serve farm stand is located on site.

Aaron Grimm and Briis Wile - Cosmic Goat Farm and Creamery, Litchfield

Aaron and Briis met after each moving to Maine in 2006 and before long had visions of building a homestead, family, and life together. After a long trip to Italy and eastern Europe, they traveled west across the states and worked on a 400-acre homestead/intentional community in the Oregon coastal rainforest focusing on permaculture, eco-forestry, and natural building. It was there they met an eccentric goatherd who taught them to milk by hand and took them and his 60-odd herd of Nubians for walks along the brushy edges of the fertile Coquille River Valley, sharing his decades of experience in animal husbandry and biodynamics. From then on, they knew that once they settled down, goats would be at the center of their homestead.

Always feeling the pull back to Maine while away, they returned to Scarborough as apprentices at Broadturn Farm in 2010, while beginning their “5-year plan” to find land. As fate would have it, within a month they met an older couple through the Farmlink program who owned 100 acres in the central Maine town of Litchfield looking to essentially give away a piece of their land. Their children had moved on to other things and the couple wanted to ensure the land continued to be stewarded. Nothing was formalized in writing, but all four knew it was the right fit.

Aaron and Briis moved into an unused cabin on the property the following spring, and within the first week had the beginnings of their goat herd, apiary, and subsistence garden. They broke ground on their house site that summer, milled and cut a timber frame during winter, and held a wedding on the land the following fall. They were deeded 13 acres of land as a wedding gift, and the following day, with friends and family still camped out on the land, raised the timber frame. A year later they were moved into the (very unfinished!) house, and in June of this year their first child, Arlo, was born in it.

This spring, their Cosmic Goat Farm and Creamery became one of the few MOFGA-certified organic goat dairies in the state, and they are in the process of becoming licensed to sell dairy products. The farm has grown to 15 Nubians, 4 beehives, a quarter acre of vegetables, and a small orchard. Next year they will be building a barn, clearing and fencing more land, raising pigs, expanding the orchard and apiary, and delving into commercial cheesemaking, yogurt, and raw milk.

Ken & Kamala Hahn – Buttermilk Hill Farm, Belgrade

Ken and Kamala Hahn live with their two children Amelie and Victoria on the historic Buttermilk Hill Farm in Belgrade. They moved to Buttermilk Hill four years ago spurred by concern for the state of our food system. They have a three-acre vegetable garden which they grow produce and maintain a flock of chickens for eggs for their CSA and area stores and restaurants. They also raise pigs and have a starter flock of Finn sheep for fleece and a grass fed lamb enterprise. They aspire to move much of their produce to perennial food productions and to create an environment that allows for all of the elements of their farm to thrive together.


Ailish Kress – Whatley Farm, Topsham

Ailish grew up in the Boston area loving all kinds of foods and went to Brown University to study geology and the environment. While working on her master's degree she put two and two together and started learning what she could about the environmental, social and health impacts of food production. What she learned confirmed her hunch that the prevailing methods of food production leave a lot to be desired and inspired her to test out small-scale, sustainable, organic agriculture for herself. Ailish first apprenticed at Appleton Farms in Ipswich, Mass., but was really impressed with what she was hearing out of Maine – she completed an apprenticeship at Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick in 2012 and stuck around. In the fall of that year, she met Ben Whatley, sparks flew, and now she manages herbs and flowers at Whatley Farm in Topsham. She is passionate about all things food and is really hoping to inspire her community to eat more herbs (and flowers!) with their veggies!

Alfred Matiyabo – Africando Farm, South Portland

Alfred Matiyabo, moved to Maine since beginning of 1999. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly called Zaire. Yes, it a tropical region where the entire planet's ecosystem has a huge impact especially with the presence of the equator line, vast dense forest, with thousand streams, rivers, and lakes. Alfred graduated with a BS degree from the University of Maine at Orono in 2004 majoring in Electrical Engineering Technology. Alfred is married and a father of four children. With the growing population of African communities in Maine and around New England, Alfred saw an opportunity to grow African vegetable locally here instead of importing them from Africa.

He started farming in Maine four three years ago, in which the last two years with Cultivating Community. Alfred plants specialty vegetables from Africa as well as general vegetables such as tomatoes, green beans, etc. Cultivating Community has provided assistance and support with one-on-one trainings, connecting with other agricultural events, workshops, and services including MOFGA's Journeyperson Program. In addition, Cultivating Community assisted with land access at one of their incubator sites (South Portland, Maine), and technical assistance developing Africando Farm’s market by helping navigate the process to secure a mobile vendor's license from the State of Maine. Alfred is looking forward to contribute and benefit from the 2014-2015 Journeyperson Program, and learn more farming techniques, ideas, and experiences from other fellow farmers.

Sean Murphy & Anna Mueller – Murphy Family Farm, Freedom

Murphy Family Farm was established in August of 2013 when Sean’s parents purchased 26 acres of pastureland and old cornfields in Freedom, Maine. Sean and Anna have been farming together for the past 5 years and finally have some land of their own. They are concentrating on growing diversified fruits and vegetables for market and grains, seeds, and livestock for their own use. The farm is just in its infancy but there are big plans for the land in Freedom, stay tuned!

Pheonix O’Brien, MOFGA Farmer-in-Residence, Unity

Pheonix O’Brien, our new farmer-in-residence, has been farming in Maine since 2006, mainly at Freedom Farm in Freedom. He then spent one year at Mandala Farm in Gouldsboro, Maine. He also spent a year in Kentucky at horseshoeing school. On MOFGA’s grounds, Pheonix intends to grow dry beans, corn, peas, hay and root vegetables to be sold wholesale. As a sideline he shoes horses and fixes horse-drawn machinery for resale.
Mike Perisho, Gardiner

2014 will be Mike’s third year growing veggies in Gardiner on land owned by his partner Jess’s family, and his first year marketing produce commercially. Mike grew up in Evanston, Illinois and studied ecology at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. He and Jess met while studying abroad in New Zealand and as a couple have spent multi-month stints pursuing their love of travel in the western U.S., Europe, and Central America before settling in Jess’s home state of Maine.

Mike’s other love (LOVE!) of food and natural systems led to his interest in small-scale farming and he spent his first summer in Maine apprenticing at the former Long Meadow Farm in West Gardiner. Subsequent seasons were spent apprenticing at Crystal Spring Farm in 2012 and co-managing Bowdoin College’s Organic Gardens in 2013 (continuing in 2014) all the while investing personal time to trial vegetables in Gardiner on hayfield acreage that Jess’s family has maintained continuously for three generations. Mike and Jess plan to relocate from Brunswick to Gardiner at the end of the summer and will begin marketing fall/winter-harvested greens and storage crops beginning this fall.
Krysten Raymond – Morning Dew Farm, Newcastle

Krysten began the pursuit of farming with a basic yet profound love of fresh foods, and the desire to be a part of the local food system. She spent the past several years in education, teaching middle school and elementary science, math, and ecology-themed enrichment programs. Her love of growing food started in a tiny garden behind her house in Arkansas, transformed to trellising peas in the windows of her Rhode Island home while working on developing a local school garden with the students in her after-school program, and eventually leafed out when she began her apprenticeship at Morning Dew Farm. After the 2013 season, she was energized and excited to return to Morning Dew Farm as assistant manager to continue her education while she begins looking for her own plot to set down roots. She is passionate about the idea of knowing and caring for the community through food. As a former teacher, she is also very passionate about education, and she aspires to integrate community outreach and education into her future plans – feeding not only a hunger for delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables, but also a hunger for knowledge and personal growth, for community and good company, and for fun! When she is not on the farm, she enjoys foraging for wild foods, contra dancing, singing, playing guitar and fiddle, and hiking.

Julia Shipley – East of Eden Flower Farm

Julia moved back to her hometown of Brunswick in the summer of 2013 after living and farming in the Champlain Valley of Vermont. After interning at the Middlebury College Organic Garden in 2007, she sought work at a nearby organic vegetable operation and has been farming year-round ever since. Winters were mostly spent in coveralls with a handsaw, a pole pruner and some clippers at a local apple orchard, and next to the woodstove with a pile of seed catalogs dreaming of the coming growing season. For as long as she has farmed for others, she has kept her own personal gardens. Her first vegetable garden expanded over the years to 2000 square feet and the remaining yard was turned into perennial flowerbeds. Those years gardening in Vermont gave her the chance to not only stock the chest freezer for winter and experiment with vegetables that she did not have the opportunity to grow at work like artichokes and Belgium endive, but also satisfied her growing desire to cultivate flowers and propagate ornamental plants.

This passion for flowers has deepened over time and now Julia is realizing her dream of farming flowers in the midst of a young apple orchard on her parents’ land. East of Eden Flower Farm has a small CSA program for 2014 and will be marketing straight and mixed bunches to local stores and florists. After the 2014 season, the farm will be moving most of its production onto leased land out in Bowdoinham, right down the road from Six River Farm, where she is a year-round employee. She is happy to think she will be able to develop her flower business over the next few seasons while also continuing to farm vegetables with the people she has come to love at Six River Farm. Julia is feeling incredibly grateful these days and is thrilled to be a part of the MOFGA Journeyperson Program for the 2014-2015 seasons.


Marcy Taubes – Dandelion Spring Farm, Newcastle

Marcy is excited to be farming in Maine after working on mixed vegetable farms in Oregon and Massachusetts.  She's currently farming in Newcastle, with the other farmers at Dandelion Spring Farm. In addition to growing vegetables, she has a small dye garden and snack shop.

Anna Trafton & Jessie Knapp – Reachwood Farm, Newcastle

Reachwood Farm is a new and growing farm business in Newcastle, Maine operated by Anna and Jessie Knapp Trafton. Our basic farm philosophy is to work with nature by using permaculture practices for growing and providing food for our local community. Our vision for Reachwood Farm is to provide a diverse offering of perennial vegetables and fruits in a 25-share CSA. By keeping our production small, we can offer other products to our community such as honey, maple syrup, chicken/duck eggs, and eventually even firewood.

We decided to embark on farming as a career after feeling dissatisfied with the 9-5 cycle of working to pay someone to do things for us because we didn't have time to do them because we were working. In 2012, we made the move to a parcel of land that Anna’s dad had been managing for the past 15 years or so. Most of the land is in tree growth, but we are building a small-scale farm on the acreage around the house that isn’t in easement.

In addition to our crop farming, we manage the tree growth in the forest on our land. We cut/process all of our firewood, and in the future we hope to provide a firewood CSA or discounted firewood for our members. We are working towards more low impact forestry methods including getting a team of oxen to replace our tractor use and provide valuable compost (plus, cows are just great!). We’ll use the oxen for basic farm chores but primarily for our forestry operations.


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