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"The soil is, as a matter of fact, full of live organisms. It is essential to conceive of it as something pulsating with life, not as a dead or inert mass."
- Albert Howard, The Soil and Health, 1947
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MOF&G Cover Summer 1998


 


  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerSummer 1998MOFGA Notes - Summer 1998   
 MOFGA Notes – Summer 1998 Minimize


MOFGA Homestead Design Competition
Caroline Robinson­, “Have More Plan” Co-author


MOFGA Homestead Design Competition

We are holding a design competition for a modern homestead to be built at our new fairgrounds and education center in Unity, Maine. Until December 4, we will accept submissions from all interested people with a vision of a small, ecologically appropriate Maine farmhouse. The winner will receive a prize of $4,000 and two runner-ups will receive $500 each. The winning plans will be available for public purchase.

“Two hundred years ago, a cape was the appropriate and standard design for farmers in towns across New England,” says Russell Libby, MOFGA’s Executive Director. “Now we’re interested in designs for a starter farmhouse for an individual or family moving onto rural land at the turn of the century.”

We are looking for building plans that integrate energy efficiency, ease of construction, and use of ecologically sound materials. The winning design will be built on MOFGA’s property in Unity in 1999.

Ellsworth Builders Supply, Inc. (EBS), a chain of home supply stores serving coastal Maine is sponsoring the design competition. The company’s president, Austin Goodyear, says, “EBS favors this project because we favor a balance between idealism and realism. We don’t think Maine farms will continue to go to weeds. People are living longer. Some may wish to change their work/lifestyles as life unfolds. Already we are witnessing the urban to rural migration of people who, through telecommunication, combine farm living with modern-day business activities.”

The Green Store of Belfast, which sells environmentally friendly household items and personal care products, is supporting the competition by providing an energy system that will enable the homestead built in Unity to be independent of purchased power.

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Caroline Robinson­, “Have More Plan” Co-author

On March 23, 1998, Caroline Robinson of Blue Hill died. Long-time Common Ground Fair attendees will remember her talks on sprouts at the early Fairs. People who’ve been thinking and reading about the homesteading movement for many years know her as co-author of The Have More Plan, with her ex-husband Ed (now deceased).

Originally published as a booklet in 1945, The Have More Plan was expanded into book format later that decade. The booklet described the Robinson’s experiences in producing food on their suburban lot outside New York City. It was one of the first publications to show how the wider availability of such items as freezers and electrical appliances for the home made it easier for families to produce more of their own food on a small acreage. Combining gardens with small livestock (chickens, goats, rabbits), the Robinsons were part of the emerging movement for home food production as a cost-saving measure in the years following World War II. In 1949, the Robinsons bought their farm in Blue Hill. Over the years, Mrs. Robinson treasured the hours spent at her Underhill Farm. She was one of the early participants in the Hancock County chapter of MOFGA. Mort Mather tells of going to one of the chapter meetings to give a talk, finding Caroline and the Nearings in the audience, and having a distinct feeling that he was on the wrong side of the discussion. She enjoyed the Fair for many years, and gave talks on sprouting as a healthy alternative food. Her daughter-in-law, Ruth, is now rewriting The Have More Plan for a new generation. Several donations have been given in Caroline’s memory to MOFGA’s endowment fund. A memorial service is planned for July 3 on Cape Rosier.

– Russ Libby

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