|Robert Shetterly unveiled the latest in his “Americans Who Tell the Truth” series of paintings at a November 1, 2012, celebration of Russell Libby’s tenure as MOFGA’s executive director.
Russell Libby Transitions into Role of Senior Policy Advisor
By Heather Spalding
If you’ve paid attention to any media outlet in Maine over the past couple of months, you’ve certainly heard that our esteemed leader Russell Libby is moving to a new job at MOFGA. At its October meeting, the MOFGA board of directors appointed Russell senior policy advisor. This change will allow him to shed lots of day-to-day administrative duties and afford more time to focus on what he loves best – thinking big thoughts and coming up with creative solutions to vexing problems in organic farming and gardening.
An All-You-Can-Eat, Full-Season CSA – Provided by Dandelion Spring Farm and Straw Farm
By Holli Cederholm
Dandelion Spring’s vegetable fields and Straw Farm’s rolling pastures form a checkerboard of organic agriculture on 50 acres in Newcastle, Maine. Beth Schiller of Dandelion Spring Farm and Lee Straw of Straw Farm are partners with independent businesses housed on the same land base. In 2012 they kicked off the inaugural season of their collaborative full-season, full-diet, free-choice Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program – the first of its kind in Maine.
By Will Bonsall
We usually class pumpkins along with other succulent vegetables; however a particular type of pumpkin is much more nutrient-dense, in that it is an oilseed, like sunflowers, sesame and peanuts.
|Fresh and dehydrated foods from the Antakis’ garden. Ana Antaki photo.
Preserving the Harvest with Dehydration
By Hannah Kreitzer
Roy and Ana Antaki of Weeping Duck Farm in Montville believe that when it comes to food preservation, basic is best. The Antakis employ four main food preservation methods: dehydration, lacto-fermentation, steam canning, and freezing, with an emphasis on the first two. At their 2012 Common Ground Country Fair talk, “Preserving the Harvest with Dehydration,” they explained how this practice is a low-impact, waste-reductive approach to keeping food.
Have a Cow!
By John Koster
Cows are good! Without the predictable supply of milk, meat, leather and fertilizer supplied by domesticated cattle, the great civilizations of the Northern Hemisphere would not have flourished. The original “acre,” in fact, was a measure of the area of land a farmer could plow with a single ox and a wooden plow. Cultures without the ability to plow for cereal crops, in particular, had to keep so many people involved in agriculture, according to the theory of Dr. Jared Diamond, that those cultures never nurtured full-time blacksmiths, weavers, merchants and scholars.
From Turin: The Future of Food
By JoAnne Bander
Mixed in the crowded aisles of the biennial Slow Food jamboree called Terra Madre, where thousands of farmers, food producers and activists gathered in Turin, Italy, in October 2012, were three Maine women. Sarah Bostick of Brunswick, Heather Chandler of Portland and Holli Cederholm of Washington were among the 250 official U.S. delegates appointed by regional selection committees to represent the food and farming issues of their communities.
|Sarah Smith. English photo.
COMMON GROUND COUNTRY FAIR SPEECHES
Sarah Smith on Farming, Family and Community
Sarah Smith and her husband, Garin, own and operate the MOFGA-certified Grassland Organic Farm in Skowhegan, where they milk 45 cows and raise 3 acres of mixed vegetables as well as organic beef, pastured broiler chickens, laying hens, and pigs – and their three young children. They sell through a seasonal CSA and four year-round farmers' markets. Also, Sarah manages a multi-farm CSA in Skowhegan, the Skowhegan Farmers' Market, is active in many community events, including Skowhegan’s Food Hub, and is a MOFGA board member. She gave the Common Ground keynote address on September 23, 2012.
Shannon Hayes on Unraveling Consumerism
Blending storytelling, farm humor and a knack for stirring up trouble, Shannon Hayes examines the history of consumerism in America, how it played out in the household, its effects on our food system and culture, and how we can recover our households, communities, ecosystem and country.
Kathleen Merrigan: Getting Organic Its Fair Share
Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of USDA, asked MOFGA’s executive director, Russell Libby, if she could come to the 2012 Common Ground Country Fair. “This is something that would not have happened,” said Libby, “at the first Common Ground Fair.” Or the fifth. Or the 10th, 20th or 25th, he added. Now “some of us are actually getting respectable for some reason” – which is good, he added, “because we all need to work together to make organic agriculture grow.”
On the 50th Anniversary of Silent Spring, A Call for Action
Jay Feldman, Executive Director, Beyond Pesticides
With the theme of this fair, it makes sense that we honor Rachel Carson. As you know, her landmark book, Silent Spring, published in 1962 – 50 years ago – has provided us with guiding principles, an affirmation of core values, rooted in scientific understanding of biological systems that are central to the sustainability of our environment and our very existence. So let’s take this time together to celebrate and reaffirm the teachings and message of the book, assess where we have been since its publication, and, most importantly, plan a future course of action.
Common Ground Country Fair Teach-In 2012
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Beekeepers Theresa Gaffney of Highland Blueberry Farm in Stockton Springs, Maine, and David Hackenberg of Hackenberg Apiaries in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and scientists Dr. Frank Drummond of the University of Maine and Dr. Kimberly Stoner of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station addressed the issue.
|Cold-hardy greens. English photo.
Winter Greens Fill the Garden Palette
By Roberta Bailey
A Maine (northern) garden is always in transition. In my mind, I can visualize it as if through time-lapse photography. In spring we rapidly progress from young garlic and overwintered scallions pushing through the snow to neat rows of green sprouts. The rows fill out as summer progresses until the paths narrow and sometimes disappear. Late July is garlic harvest, which opens new ground, an empty palette for fall planting. Killing frost and garden cleanup empty much of the canvas, leaving the now sizable fall greens planting as the focal center of attention. Next come the caterpillar humps of low or high tunnels with overwintered greens.
Quick Hoops Displayed at Common Ground Country Fair
“Quick Hoop Half Pipe”
Eliot Coleman Improves on the Quick Hoop
Natural Forests for Soil and Water
By Céline Caron
Two recent areas of research may have turned our knowledge of the forest upside down. They are pedogenesis (soil formation) applied to agriculture – i.e., the idea that much of our quality soil fertility derives from the deciduous forest; and the biotic pump theory – i.e., the idea that natural forests may be indispensable for rainfall, and, thus, for agriculture.
Manage Your Forest by Managing Your Soil
By Andy McEvoy
As the name Low Impact Forestry suggests, all forest practices have some impact. However, making informed decisions, planning for the long term, and implementing best management practices can always help forest practitioners reduce the known harmful impacts of logging.
Reflections on a Fruitless Year – Lessons Learned
By C. J. Walke
The 2012 orchard season ran the spectrum of crop yields across the state, with some orchards experiencing total crop loss due to freezing temperatures at the end of April, while others had a typical year.
|Geese. Abby Sadauckas photo.
By Diane Schivera, M.A.T.
Raising geese can be a joy – or a headache. Any farm or homestead venture needs to suit your property and personality, and must work cohesively with other activities. If you like peace and quiet, don’t acquire very vocal African geese. Weeder geese for use on a greens growing operation is another bad fit.
By Cheryl A. Wixson
Because I often cook for large groups, I try to be sensitive to individuals’ many eating styles and dietary requirements. One diet that has become increasingly prevalent is gluten-free. This diet excludes all foods that contain gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat, and in similar proteins found in crops of the tribe Triticeae, including kamut, spelt, barley, rye, malts and triticale.
Cooking with Cranberries, Wild or Garden-Grown
By Roberta Bailey
The first time I saw cranberries growing in the wild was on a canoe trip in springtime. A few friends and I were paddling along a meandering stretch of a small river in Aroostook County. The waters were exceptionally high due to spring rains, and we were able to cut corners on most of the oxbows in the river. We started to see little red berries swaying in the slight current. After knocking them with the blade of our paddles, they floated to the surface. I scooped a few into my hand. They were cranberries!
Maine Retailers Show Their Support for MOFGA-Certified Organic
By Melissa White Pillsbury
If you’ve been in the Blue Hill Co-op recently, you may have noticed something new about its produce display. Posters hang above the cooler, featuring photos and personal statements from several MOFGA-certified organic farms and farmers whose products are regularly displayed in the case below.
Recycled Pallet Check
School Groups’ Experiences at Common Ground, and the Self Reflection They Inspired in a Long-time Fair Demonstrator
By Russell Libby
Last week, on November 1, MOFGA held a pie social to mark my transition from executive director to senior policy advisor. Heather Spalding is serving as interim executive director as the board begins a search for the next executive director, and she will do a great job keeping the organization moving forward during that process.
|Heather Spalding and Russell Libby.
Russell Makes Leaders of Us All
By Heather Spalding
MOFGA really knows how to throw a party! On November 1, 2012, hundreds of us gathered in the Exhibition Hall for a pie social in honor of our esteemed, brilliant, honorable and much-loved leader, Russell Libby. Friends and staff brought dozens of sumptuous pies, words of love and reverence, smiles, tears, laughter and a lot of inspiration.
Organic Recognizes and Acts on Connections
By Jean English
Barry Commoner, biologist, ecologist, humanist, died in September 2012 at 95 years of age. Commoner recommended, long before most others, natural products over synthetic, renewable resources over nonrenewable, organic agriculture over conventional, pollution prevention rather than remediation, social and technological development rather than population control. Development, he believed, would itself reduce population.
Reviews & Resources
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock
The Permaculture Handbook
The Maine Garden Journal