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  You are here:  PublicationsBulletin Board ArchiveMOFGA Bulletin Board - 2014January 10 2014   



Bulletin Board

JANUARY 10, 2014


Maine Adopts GMO Foods Labeling
MOFGA Celebrates Governor's Signing of Landmark Bill

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) is delighted by the confirmation that Governor Paul LePage has signed LD 718 - An Act To Protect Maine Food Consumers' Right To Know about Genetically Engineered Food.
The news came soon after MOFGA delivered to the Governor hundreds of postcards encouraging the prompt signing of the bill requiring labeling of foods produced from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which passed both chambers of the Legislature last year with overwhelming bipartisan support. Time ran out in the legislative session of 2013, but Governor LePage pledged to sign the bill upon reconvening in January.
"We are thrilled that Governor LePage has signed the GMO labeling bill," said MOFGA Executive Director Ted Quaday. "MOFGA supporters have worked tirelessly, organizing five different legislative campaigns on this issue since the early 1990s. The time was right for a diverse and collaborative effort to take hold and move the discussion forward. People want and have the right to know what's in their food."
MOFGA will celebrate Maine's adoption of the GMO labeling bill on Tuesday, January 14th, at 1:30 p.m. in the Hall of Flags at the State Capitol. All are welcome to participate.
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MOFGA Farmers Ralph and Lisa Turner Honored at Agricultural Trades Show
MOFGA congratulates certified organic growers Ralph and Lisa Turner of Laughing Stock Farm in Freeport for receiving the 2014 Commissioner's Distinguished Service Award at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show on January 7, 2014. Walt Whitcomb, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Commissioner, presented the state's annual award to recognize the Turners.
Whitcomb was joined by Gov. Paul LePage, who said, "The Turners articulated very clearly the concerns of Maine food producers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during the DACF-hosted listening session on the proposed food safety rule last summer. Their willingness to help educate the FDA concerning the negative impact of one-size-fits-all federal rules on Maine's agricultural community is greatly appreciated."
Whitcomb added, "As a farm operating team, Ralph and Lisa Turner challenge conventional wisdom, while putting their experimental urges and engineering skills on full display for the rest of us to study. Today we thank them for channeling their outspoken energy into a greater public understanding that sustainable locally grown, nutritious and safe food occurs when a farm survives as a business."

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Ted Quaday, MOFGA's executive director, talks with Gov. LePage and Commissioner Walt Whitcomb at the Agricultural Trades Show.
MOFGA members and staff at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show
Thanks, Members!

Thanks to everyone who came to MOFGA's annual meeting on Jan. 7 at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show. Your interest and support are critical, and we appreciate you so much!

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2014 Common Ground Country Fair Poster

We unveiled the 2014 Common Ground Country Fair poster during our annual meeting on January 7 at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show.
This year's design features medicinal herbs. The artist, Kate Seaver, is a MOFGA journeyperson and co-operator of Up-Beet Farm in Porter, a MOFGA certified organic market garden. Her art highlights a celebrated aspect of the Common Ground Country Fair, which features more than 1,400 exhibitors and speakers. This year's Fair will occur on September 19, 20 and 21.
Every year MOFGA holds a poster contest and welcomes all Maine residents and MOFGA members to enter submissions. Guidelines and application for the 2015 Fair.
For more information, please contact Fair director April Boucher at commonground@mofga.org.
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Please Take Our Survey 

MOFGA Certification Services is doing a little survey about marketing organic. "It's 10 questions, with lots of opportunity to go prose and express yourself," says Mary Yurlina, our Certification Services director. "We appreciate the input." Take the survey.
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Concerned About Climate?  
Growers, gardeners and other climate-concerned folks: The Climate Solutions 2014 Expo and Summit, cosponsored by MOFGA, will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on March 12. If you can mount a display, help out, share experience as a presenter (or as part of the policy Summit) or know others who can, please contact beedyparker@gwi.net or karenmd@myfairpoint.net. We want a strong showing on the food-producing piece of this challenge. Please share this message! Visit the Climate Solutions website. [http://climatesolutionsme.org/
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Conservation Stewardship Program Signup Extended to Feb. 7
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has extended the application deadline for farmers and ranchers who want to participate in its Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). CSP is an innovative working lands conservation program that rewards farmers and ranchers for the conservation and environmental benefits they produce. In the first five enrollment years for CSP (2009-2013), approximately 46,000 farmers and ranchers enrolled nearly 60 million acres of farm and ranch land. That land is now under five-year, renewable CSP conservation contracts valued at $804 million a year. More information on the NRCS website or download the news release (PDF).
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USDA Requests Public Input on "Agricultural Coexistence" 
GMO/GE Contamination USDA Website Working Now! 
New Deadline March 4
MOFGA notified its Bulletin readers last week that USDA is seeking comments by March 4 - an extended deadline - on its proposals for coexistence among farmers who use genetically engineered crops and those who don't (including organic growers and conventional growers who do not use GE/GMO seed). Unfortunately, the USDA comment site was not working after that notification appeared. It is working now - so please let USDA know what you think about coexistence between farms that do and do not use genetically engineered crops. More information.
Comment online via the Federal eRulemaking portal or mail comments to 
Docket No. APHIS-2013-0047 
Regulatory Analysis, and Development 
PPD, APHIS, Station, 3A-03.8 
4700 River Road Unit 118 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238
Farmers and handlers may send an anonymous comment outlining their experiences and costs through the National Organic Coalition. 
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Ben Whatley and his mother, Laura, at MOFGA's annual meeting at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show   

Know Your Organic Producers! 

Meet Ben Whatley who, with his parents Laura (shown here) and Nick, runs Whatley Farm LLC in Topsham.
Ben was a MOFGA apprentice on Broadturn Farm in Scarborough and is a MOFGA journeyperson. The Whatleys grow vegetables and herbs, which they sell through their CSA, at the Crystal Spring Farmers' Market in Brunswick, the Midcoast Winter Farmers' Market in Topsham, to Morning Glory Natural Foods and to Brunswick restaurants. Ben is also producing seed and grafted fruit trees for Fedco, and he teaches classes in homesteading and farming skills at the Long Branch School in Bowdoinham. 

Please support MOFGA certified organic farmers and producers!

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Cole's Quince, a Maine heritage apple variety.

Contribute to MOFGA's Fruitful Future!
The farmers at Blackbird Rise in Palermo are pleased to announce a fundraiser to support our educational programs.
For every $25 you contribute to MOFGA, you will receive a 2-year-old, grafted, MOFGA certified organic apple tree as thanks for your support! Trees will be available for pick-up at MOFGA's April 12, 2014, orchard planting event. There you can learn how to plant and care for your tree. More details.
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Registration Now Open for MOFGA Events 
Registration is now open on the MOFGA Country Store for many MOFGA events. You may now register online for our Business Planning Workshop with Richard Wiswall, for our Organic Orcharding Workshops and our Kitchen Licensing Workshop. You may also sign up for Eric Sideman's two-day short course Organic Farming: Principles and Practice, for our Poultry Processing Workshop and our Nose to Tail Pork Processing Workshop.
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Organic Grower Meetings Coming Up 

MOFGA Certification Services LLC is hosting three information meetings for farmers who are interested in learning more about organic methods or who want to know more about MOFGA Organic Certification. The meetings are free and will be held in Springvale (York County), Farmington (Oxford County), Littleton (Aroostook County) and Trescott (Washington County). Each meeting will feature presentations about soil health, parasites, food safety and organic certification, and include a facilitated hour of discussions and questions. Register online. For more details visit our Organic Grower Meeting page on MOFGA.org.

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MOFGA Volunteer Workday
Tuesday, January 28. If interested, please RSVP to Anna Libby at alibby@mofga.org.
Events in Maine and Beyond - Mark Your Calendar!

January 14 - eOrganic Webinar: Late Blight of Tomato and Potato: Recent Occurrences and Management Experiences. 2 p.m. Eastern Time. This devastating disease has been occurring more often in the USA recently, especially on tomatoes. Beginning and experienced growers need to understand changes in the pathogen that account for this change and other facts about recent occurrences in order to manage late blight effectively. The Webinar will enable researchers and growers to share information about managing late blight with copper, biofungicides, and resistant varieties, and utility of the USABlight monitoring program and the Decision Support System. More details. Registration.

January 15 - Slow Money Maine Gathering.
1 to 4 p.m., Viles Arboretum, Augusta.


January 16 - NRCS EQIP and Organic Dairy Farms Webinar. 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Join eOrganic for a webinar on NRCS programs for organic dairy farms with Sarah Brown of Oregon Tilth and Sam Skemp of the USDA NRCS. The webinar is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.
Attendees will be able to type in questions for the speaker.
January 21 - Severine von Tscharner Fleming will speak on the status of the young farmers' movement. 6:30 p.m., Belfast Free Library. Severine is a farmer, activist and organizer based in the Hudson Valley of New York. She is the director of The Greenhorns, a grassroots organization working to "recruit, promote and support" the growing tribe of new agrarians. Part of the Camden Conference community events series. 


January 23 - Webinar Set on USDA Cover Crop Termination Policy. 2 to 3:30 p.m. EST. The National Center for Appropriate Technology and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition will address this question: When and how can cover crops be terminated without jeopardizing valuable crop insurance coverage of the cash crops grown with them? Register for the free webinar. 


January 26 - Maine Farmers' Market Convention, Maple Hill Inn and Conference Center, Hallowell. Co-sponsored by MOFGA. Details. 


January 28 - Mentor Host Farm Meeting with guest speaker and farmer Chip Planck, who writes for Growing for Market. This meeting, to be held at MOFGA, is for farms that currently or wish to host apprentices as part of MOFGA's Apprenticeship Program or who hire and train farm workers or aspire to do so. The full-day event will cover all aspects of recruiting, hiring and training. Details forthcoming. Please RSVP at
January 30 to February 1 - Seventh Organic Seed Growers Conference. Corvallis, Oregon. This is a unique opportunity to trade knowledge, techniques and ideas that strengthen our rapidly growing organic seed community. The agenda includes 70 experts in organic plant breeding, seed research, enterprise development, seed economics, policy and more. Register.

February 5-7 - New England Grows commercial horticulture conference and expo. Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Reduced registration rates for students and educators. Details.
February 5 to 8 - Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture 23rd Annual Farming for the Future Conference, State College, Penn. Details.
February 8 (snow date Feb. 15) - Growing Good Seed: From the Ground Up. Noon to 6 p.m., U. of Maine at Farmington. Fourth annual seed saving conference organized by Farmington Seed Savers Group. Free. The 2014 conference will focus on growing plants to save seed. Classes will include soil nutrition, isolation, insect control, seed-borne diseases, basic seed saving and advanced seed saving. Watch for a detailed brochure around mid-January.


February 18 - Organic Orcharding Workshop. 6-8 p.m., Belfast Free Library. Presented by C.J. Walke, MOFGA's organic orchardist. Free presentation about organic orcharding techniques to grow apples, pears, plums and peaches, focusing on soil requirements and methods of tracking and trapping fruit pests. No-spray pest management and how various materials boost the health of fruit trees. Plenty of time for discussion. Co-sponsors: MOFGA, Belfast Free Library and the Belfast Co-op. Free.


February 21-23 - Camden Conference: The Global Politics of Food and Water.
February 26-27 - Sustaining the Living Landscape, Ecological Landscaping Assoc., Springfield, Mass. Keynote: Dr. John Todd, "Healing the Waters: A Tale of Ecology and Living Technologies." Brochure.
March 12 - Climate Solutions 2014 Expo and Summit, Augusta Civic Center.  


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