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Bulletin Board

FEBRUARY 15, 2013

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Gardeners, Start Your Onions!

This is the time to start onions from seed - a process that offers gardeners a greater choice of varieties than starting onions from sets (small onions) directly in the garden in spring. For instructions, see MOFGA's article, "Start Onions from Seed Now," on mofga.org.

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Maine Legislative Alert

MOFGA's Public Policy Committee has just issued alerts for two bills that are now moving through the Maine Legislature:

LD 218: An Act to Promote Small Scale Poultry Farming

LD 259: An Act to Allow a Person Who Owns a Slaughterhouse to Slaughter Poultry for Other People

Please read our position statements on these two bills. Thank you!

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Help MOFGA Pass a Landmark Law to Ensure the Public's Right to Know
about Genetically Modified Organisms in Food

It's official! - Maine's Legislature has a bill in the works that will require labeling of foods genetically engineered by design.

An Act To Protect Maine Food Consumers Right To Know is in the Legislature's Office of the Revisor of Statutes. We expect to see final language of the bill within a couple of weeks and will keep you posted. Please stay tuned.

MOFGA is committing fully on this historic effort for Maine to lead the nation by becoming the first state to require the labeling of GE foods. It is a costly endeavor and your contributions will help ensure our success. On the "Program Destination" menu, scroll down to "Right to Know - GMO - Maine."

MOFGA will post regular campaign updates as the legislative session progresses. Please contact your legislators today and let them know that you are excited about Maine requiring labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients. Find contact information for your legislators. Tell them that you want their support for this important bill. MOFGA will be in touch regarding developments relating to this case.

Read more.

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Proposed Rules Could Allow Widespread Spraying for Mosquito Control in Maine
The Maine Board of Pesticides Control is proposing amendments to its existing pesticide rules to allow for public-health, mosquito-control programs. Proposed amendments.

It is very important to let the BPC what you think about government sponsored spray programs that could take place in your community! More Information.

A public hearing is scheduled for Friday, March 1, 2013, at 8:30 a.m., Room 319, Deering Building, 90 Blossom Lane, Augusta. Written comments may be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2013, to Henry S. Jennings, Director, Maine Board of Pesticides Control, 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0028, henry.jennings@maine.gov

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Applications for the 2013 Common Ground Country Fair

Applications for a booth in the Agricultural Products, Fiber Marketplace, and Maine Fiber Farms areas of the 2013 Common Ground Country Fair are now being accepted! These applications may be completed and submitted online on our website www.mofga.org. Applications are due Monday, March 11th. If you need assistance or have questions, please contact April at 568-4142 or commonground@mofga.org

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Survey Winners
This winter MOFGA conducted a survey about the organization and its Common Ground Country Fair. Congratulations to the following, who won prizes for completing the survey, and a big thanks to the prize donors!
A day of gardening with Eliot Coleman - Jessica Leighton of Farmington
A gift certificate to Portland's Fore Street Restaurant - Mike Chrostek of Mechanic Falls
Dog sledding with Mahoosuc Co. - Rich Nagle of Litchfield
Night stay for two at Mill Pond Inn - Emily Newell of Unity
Exploring orchards with apple guru John Bunker - Matt Dubel of Bangor

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A bowl made by Christopher Signorino of Belfast for the Empty Bowl Supper.

MOFGA-El Salvador Committee Seeks Bowls for Empty Bowl Supper

The annual Empty Bowl Supper, a fundraiser for the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee, is scheduled for Saturday, April 27, at 6 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Miller St. in Belfast. The committee is seeking bowls made by Maine potters. Seconds are fine! To donate bowls, please contact Jean English, jenglish@tidewater.net or leave bowls at the MOFGA office. Thanks!

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Daytripping, Anyone?
If you'd like to host a tour of your farm or garden this summer, we can put you on our "Daytripping" list, to be published in the June-August issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Just send (to jenglish@tidewater.net) your farm name, owners' names, farm or garden features (briefly), date and time when visitors are welcome, directions and contact information. We publish the listing, and the rest is up to you and your visitors. You may get one or even no visitors; or you may get dozens. We suggest setting one or two particular times for your tour so that your entire day isn't tied up.

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Volunteer Opportunities at MOFGA

With warmer weather on the way, we have several small carpentry projects for volunteers which can be completed in a day. We have projects for all skill levels. If you have interest in tackling a small carpentry project contact Joe Dupere or Vernon LeCount, or call the main office at 568-4142.

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New Proposed Federal Food Safety Regulations

In early January, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released two proposed new food safety regulations of great significance to the sustainable agriculture community. Both rules are part of FDA's implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which President Obama signed into law on January 4, 2011. MOFGA will issue more information on the proposed rules soon. In the meantime, please refer to these details issued by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

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Cost-Sharing for Greenhouse Energy Efficiency Improvements
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now offering cost sharing to greenhouses for energy efficiency improvements. NRCS has an open period until March 15, with $250,000 available. A participating greenhouse grower needs to have an energy audit. The audit is a $1,250 value, and Maine Rural Partners has a grant that brings the cost of the audit to $300. Also an audit creates the possibility for a 25% grant for a new energy installation through a REAP grant. For more information, contact Claudia Lowd, Maine Rural Partners, 4 York Village, room 105, Orono, ME 04469-5784; office 207-581-4523; cell 207-949-5106; www.mainerural.org

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USDA Farm to School Grants

USDA's Farm to School grants connect schools with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses, providing new economic opportunities to food producers and bringing healthy, local offerings into school cafeterias. This year, three kinds of grants will be available: planning grants for schools just getting started on farm to school activities; implementation grants for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts; and support service grants for eligible non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers to conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop supply chains, among other activities. Proposals are due on April 24, 2013. Information.


Mark Your Calendar

MOFGA's Spring Events Open for Registration

MOFGA's Spring Growth Conference (on garlic), Grow Your Own Organic Garden Workshops, Organic Orcharding Series, Organic Farming Short Course, and Kitchen Licensing Workshop are open for registration now. Please see www.mofga.org for details.
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February 16 - Herbs for Easing Stress and Building Resiliency, with herbalist Deb Soule.
Saturday, 10 to 11:30 a.m., Avena Botanicals, Rockport, Maine. Part of the "Our Living Earth, Living Soul Series," four talks about herbs to honor and raise funds in memory of Russell Libby. The speakers are donating their time, and all proceeds go directly to the Russell Libby Memorial Fund. Classes are by donation only, with suggested donations of $5 to $500. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. For information and registration call Avena Botanicals at 207-594-0694.

February 16 & 17 - NOFA-VT Winter Conference 2013: Generations of Innovation.
University of Vermont, Burlington Vt. Information here.

February 20 - Winter Workshop for Farmers. Workshops include: Forage Improvement, Online Farmers' Markets and Buying Clubs, EBT on Smart-devices, Unity Food Hub briefing and discussion. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, 294 Crosby Brook Road in Unity. Lunch is provided. To register, call 207-948-6575 or see: http://winterfarmingworkshops-estw.eventbrite.com/. For more information, contact Tricia Cook, Western Mountains Alliance, 207-778-3885, tcook@westernmountainsalliance.org.

February 23 - Local Food, Global Food Colloquium.
Portland. Do we have what it takes to reinvent the U.S. food system? Hosted by the Maine Law Review. Scholars, policymakers, farmers, and community members discuss and debate the challenges confronting food initiatives in an era of globalized food production. Details.

February 25 and 26 - ACORN (Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network) Greenhouse Conference.
Delta Beausejour, Moncton, New Brunswick. Information.

February 22 & March 1-3 - Meet Your Farmers and Fishermen: A Celebration of Community Supported Agriculture and Fisheries
Coming to a location near you on March 1-3 (and Feb. 22 in Auburn)
These events are part celebration and part education, as local farmers, fishermen and other food producers tell community members how to enjoy local foods and support local businesses in a meaningful way. Each location will have plenty of local flavor, whether live local music, tastings featuring local foods, sales of food and other products from local farms and businesses, film screenings and more. The current list of locations, dates and times of these events can be found on MOFGA's website.

February 27 - Waldo Organic Growers meeting. Wednesday, 6 pm with potluck (bring your own table service), at MOFGA's Education Center in Unity. Speaker: Michael Gendreau of Maine Community Health Options, a new non-profit health plan in Maine. Information: waldoorganicgrowers@gmail.com

March 7, 14, 21, 28 and April 4, 11, 18 and 25 - So You Want to Farm in Maine Webinar, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. A free farm business course for those who want to start a profitable farm or expand their farm hobby to a profitable business. Offered in eight evening webinars. Classes will be held on the Internet live; an archived version will be available shortly after the live session. Topics will include selecting and evaluating a farm enterprise, writing a business plan, recordkeeping, market research and more. Course texts can be purchased from the UMaine Extension Publications Store. More information. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 564-3301 or in Maine 1-800-287-1491.
Pre-register online.

March 16 - Rural Living Day.
Saturday, 8:30 am to 3:00 pm., Mt. View High School, 577 Mt. View Rd. (Rt 220), Thorndike, Maine. Pre-registration is required by Thursday, March 7. Three workshop sessions. Co-sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension and MOFGA. Information at http://www.umaine.edu/waldo/rural-living-day/ or email: sonia.antunes@maine.edu.

March 16 - MOFGA's Organic Orcharding Workshop: Pruning.
$30. Locations: Jefferson, Unity. Snow date March 17. Also in Blue Hill on March 23 (no snow date). Learn to prune fruit trees to encourage vigorous growth, heavy fruit set and quality fruit yield. For beginners and experienced growers. Additional workshops in March, April and July at various locations on renovating old apple trees and grafting, with an Orcharding 101 course led by Michael Phillips, author of The Apple Grower. More information.

March 21 and 28 - Organic Principles & Practices by Eric Sideman, with other farmers and agricultural services staff from MOFGA. Organic practices described (soil, pest and weed management), plus information about organic certification, kitchen licensing for processed foods, and organic livestock care. Geared toward those converting to or starting an organic farm. Maine Audubon Society Gilsland Farm, Falmouth. Registration info and fees at mofga.org.

March 22-23 -2013 New England Meat Conference.
Co-sponsored by MOFGA. Graponne Conference Center, 70 Constitution Avenue, Concord, NH. Registration is now open! Information at www.newenglandmeatconference.org, or contact Lori Walter - (603) 573-3306 or info@newenglandmeatconference.org

Many other events are posted on MOFGA's on-line Calendar.


- 2013 Fair posters
- Fair t-shirts, sweatshirts, night shirts, aprons, hats
- Fair posters for previous years
- A great selection of books
- Membership and donation forms
- Items for MOFGA-certified producers
- Sale items


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