"The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
MOF&G Cover Fall 1999


  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerFall 1999Year at Common Ground   
 A Year at Common Ground Minimize

By Susan Pierce

We’ve been at MOFGA’s Common Ground in Unity for one year. What’s been happening during that time? Lots! Although the requirements for the Common Ground Country Fair were a predominant consideration in the site selection and development, MOFGA has been clear from the start that the site must also cultivate the expansion of existing programs and the development of new ones.

The Modern Homestead Design Competition is a great example of how MOFGA’s Common Ground created the opportunity to expand the apprenticeship program and develop the concept of designing an affordable home using sustainable building practices. The apprenticeship program now offers the option of advancement to the next level – journey­person. Journeypersons will have expanded educational opportunities and make a commitment to the real hands-on experience of actually running a farm for more than one season. The winning design of the modern homestead is to be built here at Common Ground. As the home of the journeyperson(s) selected to run a farm here, the modern homestead will also demonstrate how an energy efficient home can be attractive and affordable.

Special events held at MOFGA’s Common Ground have featured MOFGA farmers in the roles of speakers and vendors educating the public. Two such events, Spring Thing and Herb Fest are to be annual events with many MOFGA-certified growers participating. Spring Thing, held the weekend after Mother’s Day, includes two days of gardening workshops, on-site gardening and tree planting projects, and sales of seedlings, plants and gardening products. Herb Fest, held the first Saturday in June, is a day of workshops focused on growing and using herbs, and sales of plants and herbal products.

During the past year MOFGA’s educational programs for farmers also included a four-day organic farming course, a one-day session on season extenders, Small Farm Field Days, forestry workshops, and a scion exchange. Several like-minded groups have used the Great Hall for their own educational workshops and training sessions.

Sometimes an event is just for fun – such as the Family Kite Flying Festival & Picnic. We had perfect kite-flying weather, and everyone had a great time. Kids and parents made and decorated kites – and those kites really flew! Awards were presented in several categories: most independent, youngest flyer, most tangled, and more. Don’t miss this one next year – on the Sunday after July fourth.

Local businesses have used the Great Hall for dinners and holiday events. Community groups have organized events including solstice celebrations and a day of spinning. Many future programs and events, sponsored by MOFGA, community organizations, and other like-minded groups, are planned already. If you have ideas, want more information on current programs or events, or are interested in using the site for your own programs, please contact Susan at the MOFGA office in Unity.

MOFGA’s Common Ground in Unity – What’s Coming Up

Please call to confirm date and time for any of these events.


November 13 & 14 – Low Impact Forestry Workshop (see News item in this MOF&G)

December – Winter Celebration, Solstice Celebration


February – Dairy Workshop

February-March – Organic Farming Short Course

March 18 – Spring Growth

April – Food Security Issues*

April – Seed Savers*

May – Fiddlehead Festival

May 15 – Environthon**

May 20 - 21 – Spring Thing, MOFGA’s Organic Garden Days

June – Environmental Writing Conference**

June – Solstice Celebration

June 3 – Herb Fest**

July 9 – Family Kite Flying Festival & Picnic

August – National Alliance for Green Education**

August – Small Farm Field Days*

September 22, 23 & 24 – Common Ground Country Fair

* co-sponsored by MOFGA
** rental of MOFGA’s Common Ground by a like-minded organization


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