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Bulletin Board

MARCH 15, 2013

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Three Job Openings at MOFGA!
- Executive Director
- Administrative Assistant
- Volunteer Coordinator
Please see our Employment Opportunities page for full details.

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Right to Know GMO - Maine Labeling Bill Moves Forward

On March 7, 2013, the Maine Legislature sent LD 718, "An Act to Protect Maine Food Consumers' Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food and Seed Stock," to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The bill would require labeling of food products made from genetically engineered organisms. Such foods would be accompanied by a conspicuous disclosure that states "Produced with Genetic Engineering." 

The terms "genetically engineered," "genetically modified" and "genetically modified organism" (GMO) are often used interchangeably.

Please let your legislators know that you support LD 718
because you have the right to know whether your food has been genetically engineered, and include any other personal reasons you may have for wanting these foods labeled. Legislators are listed at www.maine.gov/legis/house/townlist.htm.

If your legislator was one of the 123 co-sponsors of LD 718 (listed at www.mainelegislature.org/LawMakerWeb/sponsors.asp?ID=280047295), please thank him or her.

The Agriculture Committee will schedule a public hearing on the bill in the coming weeks. For more information and to get involved, see http://mofga.org/Programs/PublicPolicyInitiatives/RightToKnowGMOMaine/tabid/2540/Default.aspx or email righttoknowgmo@mofga.org, and please email us at that address if you thanked your legislator for co-sponsoring.

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Now accepting applications for the Energy & Shelter area at the Common Ground Country Fair

Applications for a booth in the Energy & Shelter area of the 2013 Common Ground Country Fair are now being accepted! These applications may downloaded from our website www.mofga.org. Applications are due Friday, April 12th. If you need assistance or have questions, please contact April at 568-4142 or commonground@mofga.org

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The New England Farm Account Book in Electronic Format
This handy record book is now available electronically in an Excel spreadsheet format. To obtain a free copy of the electronic spreadsheet with directions on its use, please email Tori Jackson at tori.jackson@maine.edu or call 1-800-287-1458.

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MOFGA Organic Orcharding Workshops
March 16 and March 30

A series of 4 workshops, covering theory and hands-on practice in organic fruit tree and orchard management. Designed for beginner to intermediate orchardists managing backyard plantings to larger orchards. Pre-registration is required for all workshops. Information.

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Seed Swap and Scion Exchange
Sunday, March 24
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Doors open at 8:30.) MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. A special all-day event this year! Bring seeds, scionwood and cuttings to share. Participate in educational workshops. Free. Details.

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Spring Growth
Saturday, March 30, 2013

10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Common Ground Education Center, Unity

MOFGA's annual day-long engagement with a single agricultural topic will focus on garlic in 2013. The day will feature a keynote by David Stern of Rose Valley Farm and the Garlic Seed Foundation, as well as a panel of Maine garlic growers and opportunities for farmer-to-farmer networking and information exchange. Moderated by MOFGA's own Eric Sideman. Details.

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Mining in Maine and El Salvador

March 29 - Presentation on Mining in El Salvador and Maine. 7 to 8:30 p.m., Bangor Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St., Bangor. Speaker: Salvadoran mining activist Sandra Carolina Ausencio, National Roundtable against Metallic Mining in El Salvador. Hosted by Natural Resources Council of Maine. Free admission. RSVP; space limited. Information.

April 1 - Presentation on Mining in El Salvador and Maine. 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., Shep Lee Lecture Hall, Wishcamper Center, University of Southern Maine, 34 Bedford Street, Portland. Speaker: Salvadoran mining activist Sandra Carolina Ausencio, National Roundtable against Metallic Mining in El Salvador. Hosted by Natural Resources Council of Maine. Free admission. RSVP; space limited. Information.

April 1 - Legislative Briefing at Natural Resource Council of Maine office.
11 a.m. to noon, 3 Wade St., Augusta (across the street from the State House). PICA, the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) and the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee welcome Salvadoran mining activist Sandra Carolina Auscencio to Maine. Following Sandra's presentation about mining in El Salvador, NRCM staff scientist Nick Bennett will speak about the current debate in Maine to relax the state's mineral mining laws, including the threats mining poses to Maine's water and wildlife. Admission is free but please try to RSVP at www.nrcm.kintera.org/elsalvador.

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Organic Food Gardening
Short Course
Tuesdays, April 2 and 9
10 am to 3 pm

University of New England's Ludcke Auditorium, Portland Campus

Over the course of 2 full days of lecture and discussion, MOFGA's Organic Crop Specialist Eric Sideman will describe the organic approach and provide practical and effective organic strategies for fertility management and pest and weed control that work on a small scale. Register online at the MOFGA Country Store.
More information.

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Grow Your Own Garden Classes
Wednesday, April 3, 6 to 9 pm
Locations throughout Maine in partnership with Maine's Adult & Community Education program and community sponsors.
Each year MOFGA sponsors this statewide educational event at over 30 different locations in Maine. Workshops are open to people of all gardening experience levels, and are designed to provide participants with the essential skills and knowledge needed to transition from conventional to organic gardening. Locations and further details.

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Osgata et al v. Monsanto: Farmer's Fight for Justice
Jim Gerritsen's keynote speech at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, March 1, 2013, Eugene, Oregon. Watch on YouTube.

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Read the Spring 2013 Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener newspaper on our website!

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Gardeners: Get Your Lettuce Growing
See our calendar of seed starting dates. The calendar is general and will have to be tweaked for different areas of Maine, so if you're new to gardening, experiment with dates and ask your neighbors about their seed starting experiences. By now you might have started onions, leeks, celery, celeriac, kale and lettuce indoors for transplanting outdoors once the soil is dry enough.
And here's a great, 4-minute video by Frank Wertheim of UMaine Cooperative Extension about building a simple stand to hold fluorescent lights over seedlings that are started indoors. Seedlings need sufficient light, or they become leggy.


Mark Your Calendar

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 19 - Workshop: Fare Share Local on Line. 4 to 7 p.m., Western Maine University & Community College Center, 232 Main St., South Paris. Snow Date: March 26.
westernmountainsalliance.org/, in partnership with Fare Share Co-op and the Norway Farmers Market, will sponsor a workshop for interested farmers, producers and community members. This workshop is open to any farmer or producer interested in supplying Fare Share Local on Line or using online marketing tools, and to any community member interested in joining Local on Line or starting their own online buying club. Contact Claire Gelinas at Fare Share Co-op at 743-9044 or claire@faresharecoop.org for information.

March 19 - Buy Local Food Trade Show.
7:30 am to 12:30 pm, Seaport World Trade Center, Boston. Sponsored by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts. It is FREE to attend the event for specialty crop growers (as defined by USDA - most veggies, fruit, maple syrup and honey). Learn what works/what doesn't for selling local products to Greater Boston buyers, and connect with A LOT of growers and buyers! Information and registration.

March 20 - Swine Education Seminar. Florian Hall, Department of Public Safety, 45 Commerce Drive, Augusta, Maine. At 3:00 pm, Diane Schivera will speak about organic swine. $25.00 per person includes lunch and paperwork; OR $20.00 for paid members of Maine Pork Producers. Make checks payable to: Maine Pork Producers. Mail to: Dept of ACF, Cindy Kilgore, SHS 28, Augusta, ME 04333-0028. Information: Contact Cindy at Cindy.kilgore@maine.gov, 215-4968.

March 21 and 28 - Organic Farming: Principles and Practices,
by Eric Sideman, with other farmers and agricultural services staff from MOFGA. Learn the reasons behind organic practices (soil, pest and weed management) and how to decide the best practice in particular situations. Maine Audubon Society Gilsland Farm, Falmouth. Registration info and fees at mofga.org.

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

March 23 - Maine Grass Farmers Network Grazing Conference. 8:00 am to 3:15 pm, Kennebec Valley Community College, Fairfield. Registration: contact the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office in Waldo County, 207-342-5971, or visit the Maine Grass Farmers Network website.

March 23 - Fourth Annual Apple Pruning Workshop at Helen and Scott Nearing's Homestead. Noon to 3 p.m., rain or shine. The Nearings planted their small home orchard in the early 1980s. This year Camden arborist Douglas N. Johnson will lead the workshop, demonstrating proper pruning equipment, techniques and annual maintenance pruning methods to achieve fruit production, health, beauty and longevity. His special guest this year is C.J. Walke, MOFGA's organic orchardist, who will call on his own experience working with apple and other fruit trees in Maine. Walke maintains the fruit trees at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center in Unity, where he also leads tours and delivers educational programs. He is also farm manager for College of the Atlantic's Peggy Rockefeller Farm, where he is developing and coordinating educational and research opportunities for faculty and students interested in sustainable food systems. Attendees should bring bypass (not anvil) hand pruners. Suggested donation: $18. Pre-registration not required. The Nearing Homestead is located at 372 Harborside Rd. in Brooksville. For more information, see www.goodlife.org or call Johnson at 236-6855.

March 23 - Meeting of Sagadahoc MOFGA. We will construct outdoor benches for the Fair at the home of Larry and Betty Wilson at 551 Arrowsic Rd. in the town of Arrowsic starting at 2:30 PM. A potluck will follow. No business meeting. If you can, bring your battery operated screw gun or paint brush. Wear clothes suitable for painting. Directions: from Route One Woolwich go south on Route 127. Drive 3 miles to the Wilson's driveway on the right at the green and white mailbox with the number 551. If you get lost, call Larry at 443-6970.

March 26 - Organic Food Production; Second of a Two-part Series. 6 to 8 pm, Belfast Free Library, 106 High Street, Belfast. Led by C.J. Walke, MOFGA's Organic Orchardist. "Grow Your Own Organic Garden," part of MOFGA's state-wide program. For more information, call the Library at (207) 338-3884 ext. 10.

April 27 and 28 - Beekeeping Class at MOFGA. 8:30 am to 4:00 pm both days, MOFGA Common Ground Education Center, 294 Crosby Brook Road, Unity. Tuition $150 before April 1st, $175 thereafter. Organic/Natural/Local breakfast and lunch are included. Meet and greet and eat breakfast at 8:30 am each day. Class will run from 9am to noon. Lunch will go from noon to 1. Class resumes from 1 to 4. Information and registration.

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


Our Online Country Store is having a St. Patrick's Day Sale!
Get our popular Common Ground Country Fair Retro Baseball Shirt at 17% off! This sale starts Thursday, March 14th and runs through Monday the 18th. Get your "green" on in more ways than one - by purchasing one of these great shirts made from 100% organic cotton!

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