Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Clovercrest Farm
Clovercrest Farm.
Photo by Mia Morrison.

Clovercrest Farm – Second Generation Morrison Farmers Profit from Organic Dairy
By Rhonda Houston
On a clear, crisp day in January, hundreds of dairy farmers convened in Augusta to convince legislators that they cannot keep up their current way of life. They are drowning in debt as the price paid for milk hits a 20-year low. The time spent on the capitol steps was time away from their farms, away from their cows; time when their debt load was increasing and their production decreasing.

Organic Growers Discuss Transitioning at Trades Show
Maine dairy farmers Erik Johnson and John Donald talked about their recent experiences transitioning from conventional to organic production at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta in January.
Also: Resources for Organic Dairy Farmers

Evans' dooryard
Home of Eric and Laura Evans.
English photo.

American Chestnuts, Daylilies, Vegetables and Friends Populate Laura & Eric Evanses’ Garden
By Jean English
Laura and Eric Evans seem to have lived a life comprised of one fascinating project after another. The community garden – or, more accurately, community of friends garden – that they started on their land in Camden last year is no exception.

Don McLean, DVM, Environmentalist
By Joyce White
Don McLean has been an environmentalist much longer than he has been a veterinarian. In third grade, he did his science project on pollution. “Since then I have been trying to at least reduce the negative impact of modern life on our environment,” he said recently at his solar home-in-progress in Norway, Maine.

The Origins of CSA: Japan’s Seikyou Movement Then and Now
By Allison Wallace
When I traveled to Japan last spring to begin a five-month Fulbright stint, I knew my grant was for lecturing rather than research, and that the time I’d need to devote to the former would leave precious little for the latter. But since I also knew that Community Supported Agriculture in the United States had been inspired by a 1960s-era Japanese endeavor, I determined to devote whatever time I could spare to finding out what had become of the Japanese version of Community Supported Agriculture.

Alpine cross goat
Kristan Doolan photo.

Rotational Intensive Grazing with Goats

By Tim King
Photos courtesy of Kristan Doolan
Kristan Doolan and George van Vlaanderen, owners of Doe’s Leap organic goat dairy in East Fairfield, Vermont, are trying an experiment. On the face of it, their most experimental project is using managed intensive grazing for their herd of 20 Nubian milking does along with their kids and three bucks. During Vermont’s grazing season, Kristan and George’s goats rely almost entirely on the 125-acre farm’s pastures.

Sustainable Agriculture at The University of Maine

Kristan Doolan says that she, along with her husband George van Vlaanderen, attended the University of Maine’s graduate school program in sustainable agriculture because they wanted to be farmers. Kristan and George, who operate Doe’s Leap goat dairy near East Fairfield, Vermont, are somewhat unusual among graduates of the University’s graduate program, most of whom take up careers in other aspects of agriculture, but they are not unique when it comes to the University’s larger undergraduate program in sustainable agriculture.

- - - - -

Eliot Coleman
Eliot Coleman.
English photo.
Hardy Vogtmann
Hardy Vogtman.
English photo.

2002 Farmer to Farmer Conference

Quality Food, Quality Life
Members of MOFGA were treated to talks by two thoughtful and entertaining organic “stars” at the Farmer to Farmer Conference in November 2002: grower Eliot Coleman from Harborside, Maine, and Hardy Vogtman, Deputy Minister for the Environment for Germany. Coleman began by defining organic agriculture as “a system of agriculture which pays maximum attention to the effects of agricultural practices on the nutritional quality of the crops produced and the well being of the environment in which it takes place.”

Organic Agriculture: Cornerstone for Regional Development and Nature Conservation
Hardy Vogtman, Deputy Minister for the Environment for Germany, is optimistic about the future of nature conservation and organic agriculture in his country. In the last election, the Greens increased their votes by 25%, so they have more input now; and three Ministers are Greens. Also, this is the first time the Social Democratic Green Government has been reelected, “because Europe for a long time tended to be going to the right,” which “was not good for nature conservation or organic agriculture.” Vogtman hopes that the current turnaround in Germany will spread in Europe, especially in France, “certainly the country to block any reforms in agriculture, because they have large arable farms and their profit grows from the present system.”

- - - - -

Cleonice in Ellsworth Serves Maine-Grown “Mediterranean” Fare
By Rhonda Houston
I’ve never been to the Mediterranean. Africa is a looming mystery to me. I thought ‘tapas’ was shorthand for the cloggers who appear faithfully each 4th of July. I don’t eat rabbit often. In fact, I’d never been tempted with a rabbit entrée until I walked through the doors of Ellsworth’s newest eating establishment, Cleonice.

Grateful Gorging – without Ergot
By Jean Ann Pollard
Loaves of bread hot from the oven become wildly appealing on raw spring days. From hearty Sourdough to sweet smelling Italian Panettone or satisfying Russian Rye, the list is tempting. One suspects it has always been so – ever since the discovery that yeasts make dough rise. But has bread always been safe to eat?

Maine Author Cooks Up "The Pesto Manifesto"
By Roberta Bailey
I once stated that if I could grow only one plant, it would be sweet basil – aromatic, pungent, mouth-watering basil. No sooner were the words out of my mouth when thoughts of tomatoes, fresh salad greens, cilantro, and garlic immediately challenged my claim, and I conceded that basil was better with an entire garden to back it up.

Jerusalem? Artichoke?
By Jean Ann Pollard
Along with parsnips and the last of the well-mulched carrots, every New Englander with a garden, or a good eye for old cellar holes, can welcome a once-popular, now mostly forgotten, springtime treat: the tubers of the native American sunflower. Knobby and brown on the outside, but crisply ivory-colored inside, the oddly named Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus of the Compositae family) is neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke.

Reconsidering Methods of Controlling Colorado Potato Beetle and Striped Cucumber Beetle
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Director of Technical Services, MOFGA
First, I want to stress that pest control in an organic system is framed by nonchemical practices. Cultural practices that prevent or block pests are the key methods, and chemical inputs, even if they are natural, are the last resort. Crop rotation, sanitation, timing and building barriers are not only desired but actually required where appropriate by the USDA Rule.

Germination Testing

By Roberta Bailey
The history of the seed industry is an interwoven tale of small, local seed companies, mail order houses, company buy-outs, of multinational mergers and pharmaceutical companies involved in genetic engineering, and recently of organic seed and a grassroots movement back toward local seed production. A strand of this historic tapestry includes legalities around the seed itself, the establishment and standardization of pure seed levels and germination testing. At one time, what was in the package wasn’t always what the label stated.

Toki Oshima drawing
Toki Oshima drawing

Roses – Fragrant and Delicious
By Ellie MacDougall
Roses may not seem an obvious candidate for the dinner table, but their presence can turn the relatively mundane into something quite extraordinary.

Schisandra Vines – A Potential Economic Crop for Maine Growers
By Deb Soule
The genus Schisandra (also known as Schizandra) includes 25 species of beautiful, deciduous vines belonging to the Schisandraceae family (Magnolia vine family). All but one are native to the forests of Northern China, the Russian Far East, Korea and Japan. Schisandra coccinea, also known as southern magnolia vine, is a rare species found growing in undisturbed stream beds in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The MOF&G Index: 2002

Tips & Tidbits for Farmers and Gardeners
  A Simple GE and Organic Labeling System
  Bee Experts Provide Answers on the Internet
  Blueberries May Boost Brain Power
  News from the Organic Trade Association
  Valuable Book on Post-Harvest Handling Updated

MOFGA & Maine Towns


MOFGA logo

Maine Growers and Retailers Make a Healthy State
By Lisa Turner, 2003 MOFGA President
It’s a new year. New USDA regulations are in place. New farmers who have never farmed before are sitting at home on this blizzarding day, thinking about growing crops in their fields, and I already know of three new local restaurants that want to sell those farm products when they’re ready. And we are lucky, because the organic food grown in Maine is the best in the nation, and we get to eat it.

True Security
By Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months working with dairy farmers and others to try to stabilize the industry. Frank Miles from Maine Farmland Trust characterized the situation nicely: We have a human problem, an economic problem, and a land use problem, and they’re so closely intertwined that we can’t solve one without tackling the other two. Though the organic dairy farmers are relatively stable from an economic perspective, they are still part of the larger dairy sector, so the decisions of their neighbors also impact what they can do on their farms and in their communities.

The Maturing of MOFGA
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
The annual meeting of MOFGA, held in January at the Agricultural Trades Show, indicated the many ways in which our organization has matured. The room full of involved MOFGA members, many voicing excellent suggestions for the association during the meeting, was one such indication. Another was the number of members who are willing to serve on MOFGA’s board and who bring impressive experience in farming, gardening, marketing, business and public policy to the board. A third was the number and depth of committee and program reports.

The Spirit of Gardening
By Jean Ann Pollard
“In the beginning – ”
Ah, yes. As the year unfolds, and along with it fresh peas, strawberries and crisp greens, one is reminded that America, “in the beginning,” was an entire nation of gardeners. But, as William Woys Weaver points out in Heirloom Vegetable Gardening, the country became heavily industrialized in the nineteenth century, and much of it “lost its daily contact with the land.”

Reviews & Resources
  Eating in the Dark: America’s Experiment with Genetically Engineered Food, by Kathleen Hart
  Greening School Grounds: Creating Habitats for Learning, edited by Tim Grant & Gail Littlejohn
  Kokopelli’s Flute, by Will Hobbs
  Maine Food and Farms Resource Guide, 2002-2003 edition
  Traversing the Wild Terrain of Menopause, by Gail Edwards
  Organic Grain: Cropping System and Marketing, by Patricia S. Michalak