Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
John Bunker
John Bunker and the oldest Black Oxford apple tree in Maine.

John Bunker Saves Apples – “To Be of Value While I’m Here”
By Jane Lamb
“Core and slice thickly, with skin. Fry in pork fat. Add water as necessary till soft. Then add ‘a few dollops’ of molasses. Serve with biscuits.” So goes the Fedco Trees catalog description of Kavanagh, an apple “not for fresh eating but good for cooking and drying.” It was brought to Damariscotta Mills from Ireland in 1790 by renowned shipbuilder James Kavanagh. Like many of John Bunker’s intriguing catalog listings, this one opens up a new perspective on the lives of Maine’s early settlers.

Biotechnology in Agriculture: A European Perspective
By Sharon Tisher
Last April, a story was zapped to me over the internet about a Swiss prohibition of trials of genetically modified maize and potatoes. According to Hans Hosbach, head of the biotechnology section of BUWAL, Switzerland’s environmental ministry, this made Switzerland “a unique island within Europe, where most states, including neighboring Germany and Italy, permit growing genetically modified crops.” Since I was planning to visit Switzerland this summer, I decided to look up Hosbach in Bern, Switzerland’s capitol city.

Going to the Farmers’ Markets – “Thousands of Miles Fresher”
By Eric Gibson
Cash payment, retail prices, the pride and fun in selling directly to the people who enjoy eating your produce—these are all good reasons to sell at farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets are also the ideal places to experiment with new varieties and solicit customer reaction before committing to planting on a bigger scale. Consumers, in turn, are looking for the farm-fresh quality that they can’t find in supermarkets.

Barley Straw – An Organic Algae Inhibitor
By Marlene Wurfel
I’ve never met anybody who told me that he or she was fond of pond scum. I have heard some complaints, though. Many a cottager has mourned for the precious lake of his or her childhood and, standing knee deep in scum, wondered what went wrong? A decorative pond loses its appeal when covered by a thick and stinking blanket of slime. If a pond is used for irrigation, algae bloom will clog pumps and block filters.

Have Eggs, Seek Markets
By Jean English
Jim Hannah and Deborah Banks raise happy hens: 3,000 happy hens, in fact, all with room to roam and with feed to satisfy the most gourmand among the flock. Their Hilltop Farm in Dexter is, as far as Hannah knows, the largest certified organic egg operation in Maine.

The Common Ground Center

Illustration by Holland and Foley Building Design.
Drawing for the proposed Common Ground Center by Sarah Holland and David Foley.

A Real-World Example of Sustainable Building
By Sarah Holland and David Foley
If you have visited the new home of The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in Unity, you may have seen a large building in the northeast corner of the site. Clad in shingles and clapboards, painted yellow, white and barn red, the Common Ground Center fits in with traditional farm buildings in the area – but the building looks forward, not backward, pointing the way to a sustainable future.

A Year at Common Ground
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.

Inert Ingredients in Pesticides and the USDA Proposed National Organic Rule
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D., MOFGA’s Director of Technical Services
Organic agriculture is based on systems that have evolved through natural processes. Of course, growing crops organically is not a natural process itself because agriculture, by nature, is not natural. Here in Maine natural vegetation on most of the land base would be forest. The basic premise is that the farming practices and inputs in organic production should be those that are most compatible with the natural communities.

Petition to Preserve the Usefulness of Antibiotics
By Diane Schivera
Most people approach the topic of antibiotic resistance with mixed feelings. Many feel it isn’t important to them because they don’t consider using antibiotics. Others use antibiotics without any concern for the consequences. Still others are in the middle, using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary, i.e., in life threatening situations.

Overwintering Tender Herbs
By Ellie MacDougall
If you have a cold frame or other sun-filled, wind-protected, unheated structure, consider setting aside space for herbs that won’t survive in the open. You may find yourself enjoying some pleasant surprises this winter.

Mullein: An Ally in Autumn
By Deb Soule
The tall taper of common mullein stands out in the garden when the stalk is covered with yellow blossoms. This plant is considered to be a weed by some and a valuable medicinal plant by others. Various Verbascum species are native to Europe and Asia.

Grow Your Own Raspberries
By Roberta Bailey
Raspberries are the most commonly grown bramble in the home garden. For those preparing to make the leap out of the tomato patch and go beyond cucumbers, raspberries are an easy choice: You can be eating freshly picked berries in just a few years.

Toki Oshima drawing
Toki Oshima drawing

Harvest Preserves
By Roberta Bailey
Another fall has come, time to give up the quest to keep the garden watered and weeded. Many of the plants have faded to golden hues already. The brown of skin fades. We welcome a sweater and jeans. It is a time of surrender, yet it can be the busiest time of year in the garden.

Low Impact Forestry Program Enhances Fair and Fairgrounds
By Geoff Zentz, Hancock Co. Planning Commission
For years MOFGA has wanted to develop a comprehensive forestry program at the Common Ground Country Fair that centered on low impact forest management for the small woodlot owner.

Payson Landscape Design Collection at University of Maine

She is considered a pioneer of American landscape architecture. Her prominence in the “Golden Age of American gardens” was acknowledged in some of the leading publications of her time. As a woman practicing in what historically had been a male-dominated field, she helped redefine the character and qualities that established the distinctiveness of American gardens and estates.

Competing Bacteria Help Baby Chicks
Urine-Based Deer Deterrent is Cruelty Free and Cost Free
Safe Canning
Wait to Prune Raspberries

MOFGA logo


MOFGA President's Letter – from Bern
By Sharon Tischer
I’m writing from Bern, the capital of Switzerland and home of our AFS exchange student, Simon Dalla Torre. I’ve been spending the last three weeks with our children in Paris and Bern. While we’ve done plenty of the usual tourist things, what I’ve most enjoyed is my informal and very tasty study of the European food system.

Putting the Pieces Together
By Russell Libby
Organic farmers in Maine will survive, and thrive, based on the long term relationships they develop with their customers. The experience of 25 years shows that those connections between farmer and buyer can be the foundation of a growing relationship that extends beyond the business aspects.

What’s Wrong With Genetically Engineering Crop Plants?
By Jean English
Pollen from corn that was engineered to resist corn borers was toxic to Monarch butterfly larvae in lab tests. Aphids and lacewings, both beneficial insects that help reduce populations of crop pests, were killed or otherwise harmed when they ate pests that had eaten genetically engineered (GE) crops. As with pesticides, toxic effects of engineered crops may magnify up and throughout the food chain.

The Other Side of the ECHO Story
By Beedy Parker
We are often told that overpopulation is the cause of hunger in “under-developed” countries, which may well be the case in the future, and with accelerating climate change, but, until now, according to World Watch and other watchdog agencies, the problem is distribution and access to land, not lack of food.

Straight-Ahead Organic
Against the Grain – Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food
Sharing the Harvest – A Guide to Community-Supported Agriculture
The Homebrewer’s Garden