"Industrial agriculture and the assumptions on which it rests are wrong, root and branch."
- Wendell Berry
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Bulletin Board

MARCH 29, 2013

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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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MOFGA Organic Orcharding Workshops
March 30, April 20, April 27

A series of 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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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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Legislative Update - March 29, 2013

In addition to a GMO labeling bill (below), the Maine Legislature is considering several bills of interest to organic farmers, gardeners and consumers. MOFGA members may want to comment on bills to promote sustainable food policies; to increase food sovereignty in local communities; to use mobile poultry processing units; and more. A list of bills of interest and ways to take action on them appears on our Maine Legislation page at mofga.org.

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Right to Know GMO - Maine Labeling Bill (LD 718)

The Maine Legislature has 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." 

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.

Download a 2-page black-and-white PDF of our GMO-labeling web page (280K)

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No fooling, gardeners! April 1 is a good time to start cole crops - broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower - indoors so that they'll be big enough to set outside once the soil dries and temperatures are warm enough in mid-May (we hope!). If you haven't started peppers and eggplant yet, do that now, too.

With the snow melting, this is a good time to clean up last year's dead plant tops and put them in the compost, if you didn't do that in the fall. To make a quick, good-looking compost bin, just stack hay bales two-high in a square arrangement and fill the center with compostables.

For more on seed-starting dates, see our Planting Calendar.

And for some great, creative ideas about growing heat-loving plants, see "Low Cost Ways to Grow Heat-Loving Plants in Maine," by Adam Tomash and Zune Zellers.
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Common Ground Country Fair

Now accepting applications for the Environmental Concerns and Farm & Homestead areas

Applications for a booth in the Environmental Concerns or Farm & Homestead area of the 2013 Common Ground Country Fair are now being accepted! These applications may be downloaded from our website www.mofga.org. Environmental Concerns applications are due Friday, April 19th. Farm & Homestead applications are due Monday, April 22nd. If you need assistance or have questions, please contact April at 568-4142 or commonground@mofga.org

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


Mark Your Calendar

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 - 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.

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.

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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.

April 5 - MOFGA's Common Ground radio show. 10 to 11 a.m., WERU, 89.9 and 99.9 FM and weru.org

April 5 - Maine Organic Milk Producers (MOMP) Annual Meeting.
Governor's Restaurant, Waterville. Speaker (invited) Paris Reidhead (Country Folks Writer). Contact Billiejo Pendleton - billiejo.pendleton@maine.edu, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Piscataquis County Office, 165 East Main St., Dover Foxcroft, 04426.

April 5 - Designing Resilience into our Homes & Farms with Ben Falk. Friday, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. $10. Special guest Ben Falk of Whole Systems Research Farm in Vermont on the eve of the publication of his new book, The Resilient Farm and Homestead. Cosponsored by The Resilience Hub, MOFGA, The Maine Food Strategy and the New England Environmental Finance Center at USM's Muskie School of Public Service. Information.

April 7 - Workshop: Fruit Tree Grafting + 10 Tree "Take Home." Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm., Portland area. Sponsored by MOFGA and Resilience Hub + Portland Maine Permaculture. $65. Information.

April 10 - Savor the life and beauty of no-mow yards with Evelyn Hadden. 4:30-5:45 p.m., Jewett Hall Auditorium, SMCC Campus, South Portland. The author of Beautiful No-Mow Yards will showcase an inviting array of no-mow designs, including lively grass gardens, shady havens, elegant edibles, low-care living carpets, and more. Information.

April 12 - Maine Board of Pesticides Control meeting, Augusta. www.maine.gov/agriculture/pesticides/about/index.shtml#meeting

April 13 - Herbs and Meditation for Calming the Mind and Easing Despair and Grief,
with herbalists Deb Soule and Kahadish Waadabi. 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.

April 13 - Permaculture Design Certificate Course,
MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Meet one weekend per month, April through September. FMI: Lisa Fernandes, lisa@resiliencehub.org

April 16 - Film: The Greenhorns.
6 pm to 8 pm, Belfast Free Library. Panel of Maine growers and producers after the 50-minute-long video. Cosponsored by the Belfast Co-op Store, the Belfast Free Library and MOFGA.

April 18 - 11th Annual Biology Lecture: Slow Food and Its Health Benefits - From Field to a Healthy Body.
Noon to 1 p.m., Randall Student Center, Room 138, University of Maine at Augusta. Live broadcast to Bangor campus room 104 Eastport Hall. Speaker: Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, PhD, professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Maine and cooperating professor or Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University, Athens, Greece, and the University of Milan, Italy. Free and open to the public. For information, contact Sheila Bennett, University of Maine at Augusta (sheilab@maine.edu; 207-621-3279).

April 18 to 21 - Four-day timber frame class.
Thursday to Sunday, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson. Basics of post and beam construction, starting with standing trees and ending with a finished small building. Co-sponsored by MOFGA, which offers some scholarships (amarshall@mofga.org). $500 ($450 for HVNC, SWOAM & MOFGA members) includes breakfast, lunch and all materials. Information: 586-6752, gary@hvnc.org or www.hvnc.org.

April 21 - Earth Day Volunteer Work Day. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Help MOFGA's landscaping committee prepare gardens, grounds and orchards for the growing season. Projects include garden cleanup, tree care and small carpentry projects. Meet other MOFGA supporters and learn about organic landscape maintenance. Volunteers get lunch and a free T-shirt. FMI: Joe Dupere, jdupere@mofga.org or (207) 568-4142.

April 21 & 28 - Basic chainsaw safety class. Sundays, 9 am to 4 pm, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson. Two-day class for those new to chainsaws, especially designed for women who want to use chainsaws. Includes light maintenance and troubleshooting. Co-sponsored by MOFGA, which offers some scholarships (amarshall@mofga.org). $140 ($130 for HVNC, SWOAM and MOFGA members). 586-6752, gary@hvnc.org or www.hvnc.org.

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.




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