Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Farmer-to-Farmer Conference, November 2, 2008

Keynote Speech:
Reclaiming the Soul of Organics
John Ikerd
Local has replaced organic as the most dynamic sector of the retail food market. Sales of local foods grew from $4 billion in 2002 to $5 billion in 2007 and are projected to reach $11 billion by 2011. Organic food sales are still larger, approaching $20 billion, but organic foods sales seem to be slowing while sales of local foods are accelerating.

How Healthy Is Your Soil?
Bianca Moebius-Clune, a graduate student at Cornell University, introduced the Cornell Soil Health Test (CSHT) at the 2008 Farmer-to-Farmer Conference, and Dennis King of King Hill Farm in Penobscot, Maine, told how he evaluates soil health on the diversified farm that he and Jo Barrett own and run.

On-Farm Seed Production
Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, Maine, and Andrea Berry of Hope Seeds in Glassville, New Brunswick, talked about seed and potato seed tuber production at the 2008 Farmer-to-Farmer Conference in Bar Harbor.

Growing Sweet Potatoes in Northern New England
Sweet potatoes are being grown successfully in northern New England. They’re delicious, packed with nutrients, attract attention at farmers’ markets, and store up to a year or even longer. At the 2008 Farmer-to-Farmer Conference in Bar Harbor, Becky Grube, UNH Cooperative Extension Vegetable Specialist, Ramona Snell of Snell Family Farm in Buxton, and Mark Guzzi of Peacemeal Farm in Dixmont talked about their experiences with the crop.

Sunflowers Fuel a Maine Dairy Farm
by Polly Shyka
At a conference on grain growing in January 2008, I overheard several dairy farmers talking about “Henry's press.” Being curious, I followed up with Henry – Henry Perkins, that is – who lives in Albion. Sure enough, he had purchased an oil press, or “extruder,” and was gearing up to grow soybeans and sunflowers in 2008 so that he could press oil from them.

Slow Food’s 2008 Terra Madre Engages Next Generation
Maine is Part of the Scene
by Jo Anne Bander
Artisan cheeses, jarred artichokes, colored salts, smoked meats, chocolates: Artful displays of such foods at 600 stalls in the Turin, Italy, Lingotto Fiere exhibition center for the seventh Slow Food Salone del Gusto could have been viewed and tasted at any Italian-flavored food show that focused as Slow Food does on the products of small, sustainable producers.

Thousand-Year Forest Management Plan for Maine
by Mitch Lansky
A thousand-year forest management plan. Am I joking? After all, the United States is only a little over two centuries old. We live in a world of rapidly changing technologies where, in just a decade or so, people have started using personal computers and cell phones on a wide scale. It is difficult to imagine what life will be like 10 years from now, let alone 100 or 1,000.

Help Survey Organic Content of U.S. Agricultural Soils

A Seed Is Planted
by Phil Norris
I wasn't born into farming. Neither of my parents was from a farming family. But I did have a great uncle, Laurence, who was passionate about growing his own food, and he was instrumental in my being bitten by the farming bug. I don't know where he got it; his father was a professional poet.

Rice in the Northeast: Update
by Linda and Takeshi Akaogi
In the Sept. 2008 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, Cheryl Bruce reported on efforts by Linda and Takeshi Akaogi to grow rice on their small farm in Putney, Vermont. Here, the Akaogis report on their 2008 trials.

Yes, You Can Grow Kiwis in Maine
by Tom Vigue
If you think kiwis are all brown, fuzzy and can be grown only in New Zealand or California, think again. Although Actinidia deliciosa, the kiwi of commerce, is hardy only to 10° F, the more than 50 species within the genus Actinidia include many that are hardy to -30° F and some even to -40°.

Land Trusts and CSAs – Better Together
by Alix Hopkins
The industrial revolution changed the way we use land and grow food – for the worse. Over the past few decades, two movements have been reclaiming land to benefit people and the environment. One, including the land trust movement, is devoted to land conservation. The other, the way we grow and distribute food, includes community supported agriculture (CSA) farms, where nonfarm members buy "shares" to support local family farms and receive fresh, healthful food in return.


Community Suppers with Local, Seasonal, Organic Food
by Cheryl Wixson
Long before I ventured into the catering and restaurant business, I learned to cook for large crowds by volunteering at community meals. The grey-haired ladies who cheerfully organize and prepare our baked bean suppers, chowder fests, spaghetti feeds, chili cook-offs and fundraising dinners have much to teach us.

Sweet Potatoes – Main Course, Salad and Dessert
by Roberta Bailey
When I was just starting to garden in northern Maine, I would stop at a small, local greenhouse to ask the older woman who ran the operation about seedling problems or how to plant something. I no longer remember her name or much of what she looked like, but I vividly recall the lush plants she grew every year on the last 15 feet of bench space.

Help Update the Resource Guide to Organic Insect and Disease Management
by Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Last year those of us who wrote the Resource Guide to Organic Insect and Disease Management (see received a new SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) grant to do an updated, second edition.

Livestock Management Tips
by Diane Schivera, M.A.T.
The 2008 Farmer-to-Farmer Conference, sponsored by MOFGA and Maine Cooperative Extension, had lots to offer livestock farmers. The livestock sessions were some of the best attended, and enthusiasm for livestock is high. Here are some highlights from those sessions.

Maine Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farms
by Melissa White Pillsbury
MOFGA Organic Marketing Coordinator
Have you looked into buying a share in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm? Although shares of summer vegetables are the most common, shares including meat, dairy, herbs, flowers and winter storage vegetables are also widely available. The composition of any share is individual to each farm, so talk to the farmers offering shares near you to find out which suits you best.

Wanted – Your Products
If you’re a farmer or food producer looking for markets, look no further. The growing demand for local foods is putting a crunch on many markets supplying those foods to consumers, and four of Maine’s larger buyers (below) are looking for growers to supply them this year.

Tips & Tidbits
Oilseed Radish as Cover Crop
Mustard Meal Tames Weeds
Transplants You May Have Not Considered
Hops Vs. Clostridium in Chickens
New Hairy Vetch Varieties Flower Earlier
Agroforestry Can Supplement Farm Income
Pecan Growers Can Benefit from Organic Systems
Pennycress Yields Oil and More
USDA to Conduct Nationwide Organic Production Survey


Thinking about Pesticides and the Long View,
Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
During the cold days of January and February, on my way home I can see more than 50 miles to the White Mountains, and equally far to the mountains of the north and west. That chance to catch the long view lasts for only a limited time each year. The same seems to be true for our political system.

A Delicious Life, Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
Every day I make a little list of “things that made me happy.” Looking back, I see that most relate to food!

From Maine to Palestine: A Common Struggle, Molly Little
What struck me most in my first few weeks as a MOFGA farm apprentice two summers ago was how the farmers spoke about their land – as though it were a family member, as in need of them as they were in need of it; necessary, basic, beloved.

Grow a Row
Country of Origin Labeling

Daytripping, Anyone?
If you’d like to host a tour of your farm or garden this summer, we can put you on our “Daytripping” list, to be published in the June-August issue of The MOF&G.

Reviews and Resources
The following appear on the same web page:

Small Scale Organic Seed Production, by Patrick Steiner of Stellar Seeds
Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis, by Rowan Jacobsen
The Complete Book of Garlic, Ted Jordan Meredith

Marketing Help
Useful Web Sites


MOF&G Cover Spring 2009
MOFGA members receive our quarterly newspaper The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener as a benefit of membership. Become a member today! It can also be purchased at news stands.

Organic Matter
– A Compendium of Food and Agricultural News

Maine Board of Pesticides Control News: BPC Struggles with Aerial Spray Notification

Growing Peace Workshop at MOFGA
Spring Growth Conference 2009: Growing Grains In Maine
Fruit Tree Pruning Class
Seed Swap and Scion Exchange
Earth Day Volunteer Work Day
Beautiful Bowls, Savory Soup, Friends and Music
Seeking Bowl Donations
Other News:
Certification Program Preparing For Next Audit
MOFGA’s Low Impact Forestry News
MOFGA Staff & Member News

Jim Cook, Skylandia Farm, Grand Isle
Marilyn Gould, Freeport
Karel Weissberg, Tremont
Donald Rutherford, Yarmouth
Bill Donnell, Sedgwick

Common Ground Country Fair News
John Bunker Wins 2009 Poster Art Contest
Bottled Water Sales Eliminated for 2009 Fair
Start Planning for the Fair
Start Seeds Soon for the Year of Winter Squash Exhibition Hall Display
Folk Arts Seeking New Demonstrators