Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Organic Matter

   A Compendium of Food and Agricultural News
   Event Announcements, Program News, Staff Updates
Volunteer Profile: Bill Whitman’s Latest Idea

   by Marada Cook
Maine Board of Pesticides Control:
   Pesticides Board Pressured by Structural Pest Control Industry;
   BPC Approves Genetically Modified Corn


Jim Cook of Crown O’Maine Organic Cooperative

Making it Happen in Maine:
Crown O’Maine Takes Distribution to New Levels

by Marada Cook
On Friday afternoons dozens of orders come into the office beside the kitchen at Skylandia Organic Farm in Grand Isle, Maine. “I need a bag of organic whole wheat flour, a case of Nezinscot Farm butter, 50 pounds of ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes, 10 pounds of mesclun and 15 pounds of fiddleheads.” The Crown O’Maine Organic Cooperative (COMOC) is a specialized distribution business delivering local and organic produce from Maine farms to natural food stores, restaurants, buying clubs and institutional kitchens. Jim Cook works the end of the phone line:  His farm is the northernmost in the cooperative, and it is his job to coordinate filling the truck as it heads southward from Aroostook County.

This 8-foot x 8-foot hoophouse was built from scrap materials and $50 worth of new materials at Unity College. English photo.

Troubleshooting on the Ground:
Unity Student Trials Family-Size Hoophouse
by Holli Cederholm
Situated in the center of the Unity College campus in Unity, Maine, a rainbow-shaped swath of vegetable beds offers more than just produce for the college student center. This potpourri is designed to show students how food grows, from seed to seed.  Included in this growing area is a production hoophouse, which teaches students how to get a jump on the spring season or fight back the encroaching fall frost.

The farm crew teaches a group of MCS students about production and livestock management at Salt Marsh Farm.

Chewonki Foundation:  
Family-Farm Philosophy in a High School Semester

By Molly Schaffner
Nestled between salt marsh and woods, tangent to a school and a summer camp, lies the Chewonki Foundation’s Salt Marsh Farm. The rolling 25 acres have a long history of fertility on this peninsula in Wiscasset. Before they became part of the Chewonki Foundation in 1960, they were the home and livelihood of a family. Now the family-farm philosophy is being embraced again, this time in a way that complements production with education, and that weaves community members into the process of production.

Prince with Bruce (right) and Jay Philoon (left). Photo by Suzanne Philoon.
Prince: A Story of Abuse, Rescue, Love
by Suzanne Philoon
This is the story of a Prince, perhaps more than one; and like many good stories this one started with an enormous and endlessly growing pile of manure, thanks to a man who repeatedly never comes to take it away. So I did the obvious thing finally, and put a “wanted – manure spreader” ad in Uncle Henry's.

Poplars harvested from shelterbelts can provide lumber, veneer and chips. English photo.

Good for Growers and the Earth

by Jean English
Agroforestry, according to Ron Smith of VarFor Ltd. in New Brunswick, is “managing trees and other stuff together.” Smith used this down-to-earth definition to talk about the great economic, environmental and social potential of agroforestry at the 10th North American Agroforestry Conference at Université Laval in Quebec in June 2007.

Johnny's 'Red Russia' kale.  Photo courtesy of National Garden Bureau.

Cool Kale

by Jean Ann Pollard
In Maine, kale comes into its own in autumn. Healthy and tall even in November, it barely shivers when ice and snow decorate leaves and stems. In fact, cold weather seems to improve its flavor without deleting nutrition.

Other Features

Cottonseed Meal for Fertilizer?  
Far Better Options Exist

by Alex Owre
High-nitrogen content (6-2-2) cottonseed meal has long been employed as an organic fertilizer that lowers the pH of soil, poses little danger of burning plants, and provides nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as many minor plant food elements. It is cheap and readily available.

These five pigs are being raised on pasture by MOFGA's farmers-in-residence, Clayton Carter and Kendra Michaud. English photo.

Delightful Omnivores:

The Basics of Raising Pigs
by Diane Schivera
Pigs can be valuable additions to diversified farms, by providing meat and helping clear land. Louis Bromfield wrote in his book From My Experience (1955), “To be financially successful at raising hogs primarily required the ability to think like a hog.” This article covers the basics of keeping pigs and helps farmers begin to “think like a hog.”

Hairy vetch. English photo.

Green Manures are for Farmers and Gardeners
by Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Those who buy organic food often describe organic farming and gardening in the negative: as growing crops without using synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. From its very beginning, however, organic growing has been far more: It’s a system that is based on taking care of the soil.

Local, Healthful, Affordable Food
by Melissa White
A cruel paradox in our world today is that a disproportionate number of lower income people are obese. Of Mainers with under $25,000 annual household income, 25% are obese, compared with 15% of those with incomes of $50,000 or greater.

English photo.

Harvest Kitchen: Broccoli Bounty
by Roberta Bailey
Around the end of June or the very beginning of July, the garden changes dramatically from a plot full of fragile seedlings and newly seeded rows into a full-blown summer garden. This year the shift occurred on July first.

Solomon’s seal is one of dozens of flowering plants that support the ruby-throated hummingbird. English photo.

Gardens (even Windowboxes) for Hummingbirds

by Deb Soule
Hummingbirds of North America, by Sheri Williams, lists 31 species of hummingbirds, but the ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is the only breeding hummingbird living east of the Mississippi River. It is found in Maine between May and September.

Amanda Beal: Tablecloths, Local Foods, Eating with Teachers
My sister, a teacher, is in Tokyo as part of a summer exchange program. Almost daily, she sends me e-mails about her experiences.
Jean English: Good Thoughts, Good Character
Thought becomes character. That’s a short version of a Buddhist saying that includes a few more steps ...
Russell Libby:
Our Bodies – and Beyond
I am one of 13 Maine citizens whose bodies were tested last year for the presence of a wide range of toxic materials: lead, mercury, flame retardants, various plastics and more.

Beedy Parker: Bisphenol A in Tomato Paste Cans
Wondering whether there was arsenic in the brown rice we get in bulk, or bisphenol-a in the organic tomato paste we buy, I made some phone calls recently.
Carole Whelan: Questions BPC Decision on Engineered Corn in Maine
... Yesterday was also when I learned the Maine Board of Pesticides Control approved the use of genetically modified Bt corn in Maine.

Reviews & Resources
Clicking on the link takes you to this issue's Reviews & Resources page, where reviews of the following appear:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver
Food in England, by Dorothy Hartley
Green Horizons Exhibit at Bates College Museum of Art

MOFGA Resources Directory
- Click here to access our huge list of resources!
MOF&G Cover Fair 07