Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Gail Edwards with her family at Blessed Maine Herb Farm in Athens, Maine. Jean English photo  
Permaculturist Aaron Parker with partner Eva Writt and daughter Amina Writer at Edgewood Nursery.
Pigs forage in the woods at the Deer Isle Hostel. Photo by Anneli Carter-Sundqvist
A strip of buckwheat growing at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center. English photo
Abbey Verrier is one with an heirloom apple tree. Photo by John Bunker
MOFGA LIF program graduate Elizabeth Koltai
A banner carried in the Children's Garden Parade at the Common Ground Country Fair. English photo

Divine Order at Blessed Maine Herb Farm
By Jean English
Blessed Maine Herb Farm is a small family business "operated with great love, care, attention and intention," according to its website. All that love and care resonates everywhere on the farm – in the shaded, intimate gardens surrounding the new processing and shipping building, in the attached greenhouse with its Mediterranean clime, in the woodland trails being planted to threatened medicinal herbs and in owner Gail Faith Edwards' close-knit, deeply involved family and community.

Permaculture Takes Root in Maine
By Stowell Watters
Do yourself a small disservice sometime and type the words "permaculture definition" into an Internet search for a refreshing check-in with your college brain. Can you still absorb painful block-text paragraphs and talking-head quotes ranging from the vapidly vague to the searingly specific? Can you mentally digest a hurricane of exposition and published thought with no apparent end and no true consensus? Can you make sense of thousands upon thousands of ideas?

Garden Tips
By Roberta Bailey
Maine is rich in opinionated, innovative gardeners and farmers. Our reasons for doing things a certain way have evolved and grown up around us just as our farms and fields have. Our process gets tweaked and refined each year. Next year we vow never to put the squash next to the onions, to plant the melons farther apart, to feed the garlic twice and to try a different variety of spinach in the high tunnel.

Going Native: Establishing a Native Plant Nursery
By Heather McCargo
The traditional nursery industry has been following an ecologically destructive trajectory similar to the path of conventional agriculture. Most plants are mass produced using an arsenal of synthetic chemicals; many varieties are cloned or patented exotic species; and nursery outlets broker plants bought in, rather than propagating the plants themselves.

Feeding Pigs on Backyard Resources
By Anneli Carter-Sundqvist
The end of our homesteading season has for five consecutive years been marked by the butchering of our pigs. From early July until early December, we've cared for these animals as one would for pets: We give them names, we scratch their ears and their bellies, make sure they are dry and warm, and at the end we ensure a fast and respectful death, right in their pen. We process all the meat ourselves and preserve most of it through salt curing and smoking.

Green Manures/Cover Crops
By Will Bonsall
The terms "green manure," "cover crop," "soiling crop" and "catch crop" are often used interchangeably, which is not quite accurate, but for this article I'm lumping them all together. I refer to any crop that is planted not for food but to protect the soil from erosion or drying out, to add fertility and organic structure to the soil, to smother weeds, and sometimes for special purposes such as making soil minerals such as phosphorus more available to following crops.

Ramial Chipped Wood: More Than "Wood Chips"
By Céline Caron
Recently I listened to "Dr. Mercola and Courtney White Discuss Carbon Sequestration" on a YouTube clip, dated Aug. 27, 2014. Both talked about incorporating wood chips into soil (with or without composting) and using them as mulch. Neither distinguished between wood chips and ramial wood chips. They obviously have not read my many articles about ramial wood chips published in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener nor the research that has been done in Quebec over the last 35 years.

Hannaford's Close to Home Specialist is Close to MOFGA
By Heather Omand
Last year I met Chelsea Wagner, a specialist in Hannaford's Close to Home program, in a café in Bangor, Maine. Wagner and I had been speaking because she agreed to be a panelist on two occasions as a "market representative" to farmer audiences: once in a business planning class I administer and once at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta.

Fruit Exploring and the Maine Heritage Orchard
By Abbey Verrier
For the past four years, I've spent my fall seasons driving through Maine's countryside, one eye on the road and the other scanning the landscape, searching for apple trees. I started doing this while apprenticing with John Bunker and Cammy Watts on their homestead in Palermo. John has been searching for old apple varieties grown in Maine for the last 30 years. To find an apple tree that is 50 years old is good, but the ones we covet are the really old trees, those planted before 1900.

Genetically Engineered Apple Update and Fall Disease Management
By C.J. Walke
Update: Arctic® Apples; Fall Tasks for Disease Prevention

MOFGA's Low Impact Forestry Program: What We're Doing on Our Farms
By Peter Hagerty
This is the first of a regular column that will note what graduates and instructors of MOFGA's Low Impact Forestry program are doing.

Formulating Organic Rabbit Feed
By Diane Schivera, M.A.T.
Raising rabbits for meat is an increasingly popular farming operation in Maine. Rabbits don't take a lot of space to raise and are efficient feed converters, with a feed-to-meat ratio for fryers of 4:1, or 20 pounds of pellets to 5 pounds of meat. Broilers' ratio ranges from 2 to 6:1, depending on the breed and management methods.

A Cream Lover's Guide to Growing Organic Strawberries
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
I always have fresh cream at home from mid-June until mid-August. Berries are good with milk or yogurt, or plain, but they are best with cream. And the best berry? The one that is in season! For people who do not farm or garden, that season can be hard to determine, because almost every kind of berry is available almost any time of year in grocery stores. But some of us look forward to berries only in winter and eat them only in summer. For us, first come strawberries, followed by many others. Being first makes strawberries special, and I make sure I have cream on hand before they ripen.

Harvest Kitchen: Condiments
By Roberta Bailey
My husband is more of a house person than I am. He can visualize what a project will look like, and he has strong opinions about what he likes. I know what I like if I see it but rarely put thought into interior design. My focus is the farm and fruit plantings. The combination works very well.

Ribes Species and White Pine Blister Rust – An Update, June 9, 2015
Native Bees Have a Right to Live


Welcome to the 39th Annual Common Ground Country Fair!
Alice Percy, MOFGA President
The fair is 6-1/2 years older than I am, and I have enthusiastically attended almost every single one from the time I was a babe in arms.

Powers of MOFGA
By Jean English, Editor, "The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener"
The well known "Powers of Ten" film shows the relative scale of the Universe, beginning with a young couple picnicking on Earth and then expanding outward until the entire universe is shown. Then the view moves back in, until it focuses on the picnicking man's hand and then on an atom and its quarks on that hand.

Envisioning an Organic Farm and Food Future in Maine
By Ted Quaday, MOFGA Executive Director
It is Fair time once again, a time to savor our celebration of rural living through the Common Ground Country Fair. This year fairgoers and all others interested in our work will have an exceptional opportunity to help shape our future by participating in an online survey aimed at helping the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association chart its future course.

Your Legacy: Helping MOFGA Thrive!
A Planned Giving Primer
Leaving a gift in your will can have a profound impact on MOFGA – and a meaningful personal legacy for you. It is a simple process that can have an enduring impact.

Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA
Straw Bale Gardening
A Man Apart: Bill Coperthwaite's Radical Experiment in Living
Growing Local
Web Resources
FDA Food Label Requirements in a Nutshell
Gulf of Maine Region Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook
Wholesale Market Watch

Organic Matter - Fall 2015

National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees

• Staff Profile: Courtney Williams
• Volunteer Profile: Mary Ann Portmann
• MOFGA Welcomes Fair Assistant Jamie Pacheco
• MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee News
• Congratulations
• Condolences

Common Ground Country Fair
• Message from the Fair Director
• Come Witness the Big Bake!
• Check Out the EMS Crew
• Welcome Fair Volunteers!
• MOFGA Public Policy Teach-In: "Solar for Maine Farms and Homes"
• Keynote and Featured Speakers
• Thanks to Fair Donors
• Thank You to the Volunteers Who Coordinated the 2015 Fair
• Special Thanks to the Fair Steering Committee