Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

MOFGA Buys the Farm – Literally!
On Wednesday, April 30, 1997, MOFGA became the proud owners of a 200-acre farm in the Towns of Unity and Thorndike. President Bob Sewall and Treasurer Steve Plumb put their signatures on the closing papers with Donald and Bertha Maxim, and MOFGA entered a new era.

Organic at Risk: Transgenic-Induced Bt Resistance
By Jim Gerritsen
In April 1996, I traveled to Bethesda, Maryland, as an invited guest to the USDA National Forum on Insect Resistance to Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt). In an unprecedented move the USDA sought the participation of stakeholders from the environmental and organic communities. My background is as an organic seed potato farmer and user of Bt.

The Gerritsens’ Letter to the EPA

¿Cuba Organica?
By Jane Lamb
Agricultural challenges in Third World countries, particularly in neighboring Latin America, have long been a special concern of MOFGA members. Usually members work to improve food production for malnourished populations by various means, ranging from university-level research to sister city programs to just plain sharing of organic know-how.

Growing Nursery Crops for Fedco Trees
John and Roberta Bunker [now Bailey] live on a 100-acre piece of primarily wooded, ledgy land in Palermo that has “what most farmers would call terrible soil” – yet they grow almost all of their own vegetables and meat (turkeys and chickens) there. About 15 years ago, both became interested in grafting fruit trees, and eight years ago the started growing more nursery crops commercially. They have been selling their woody crops through the Fedco Trees catalog, which they started about 15 years ago.

Nursery Crops Can Be Grown Organically
By Heather McCargo
Like many other people, I chose horticulture as a profession because I love gardening and nature. With this common passion, I find it ironic that many of the practices used in the nursery and landscape trade, such as the use of fossil fuel-based fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, are destructive to the natural world.

Many Mainers Prefer Donkeys and Mules Over Horses
By Lynn Allen
Think about donkeys and what comes to mind? Big ears and bad tempers? Detached tails at childhood birthday parties? Scenes from Pinnochio? It’s hard to understand the reason for all these negative donkey images. Talk to any donkey owner, and I do mean any donkey owner, and the list of a donkey’s virtues are, while not endless, lengthy and consistent.

Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils in Its Second Year
By Kris Sader
What do Thomas Jefferson, Rodale Research Center and two elementary school systems in Maine have in common? They all believe that the healthfulness and health of plants, thus people, begins with the health of the soil. The integrated philosophies of soil health, human nutrition, and recycling form the triangular base by which a project called Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils teaches children in two Maine schools about connections among the soil we stand on, the food we grow and eat, and the waste we generate from that food.

1996 Farmer to Farmer Conference

Creating an Image for Your Farm
Judy Powell of the Division of Market Development at the Maine Department of Agriculture and Sheila Unvala of Darthia Farm in Gouldsboro tackled a big issue at the Farmer to Farmer Conference last fall – how to develop an image for your farm that reflects your goals and draws customers.

Diversity is Difficult but Successful
Bill Spiller of Spiller Farms in Wells tells beginning farmers to diversify. “Don’t raise too much at first of any one item,” he told his audience at the Farmer to Farmer Conference in November. “This is hard. It takes a lot of expertise to grow many crops, but it seems you can sell a little of a lot of crops. After a while you can find some specialties. Plan on not making much money for a long time.”

Marketing Ideas for Small Farmers
When Jim McConnon, Jr., Business and Economics Specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, asked a room full of participants at the Farmer to Farmer Conference how many had written marketing plans, no hands were raised. “You need to budget the time to think about the future and let that dictate your acts for the present,” said McConnon. “Don’t let your business drive you.”

Plants for Pest Control
By Jerome Osentowski & Peter Bane
The practice of permaculture design encourages holistic thinking. When viewing a garden where nothing is in neat rows, where most of the “action” is below the soil surface or between the plants, and where the products come in many forms, how can we evaluate the effectiveness of the design? What is really going on?

Ginkgo: One of Our Elders
By Deb Soule
Ginkgo biloba is thought to be the oldest living genus of seed plants on our planet and is the only member of the genus Ginkgo. Its family is Ginkgoaceae. Botanists who study the evolution of plants through their fossil remains have found that ginkgo has remained unchanged for the past 150 million years.

Borage: Fuzzy Foliage and the Flavor of Cucumbers
By Ellie MacDougall
Borage (Borago officinalis) is a weedy herb native to all of Europe and most of Asia Minor. Like rosemary and thyme, it grows rampantly along roadsides, but the taxonomy of this plant is surprisingly different from its other wild herbal brethren.

Grow Your Own: Fava Beans
By Roberta Bailey
Fava beans (Vicia faha) are an Old World legume, originating in the Near East. They were probably the first domesticated food crop. From the Neolithic period onward, they appear in myth, Egyptian tombs, and archeological sites of the Mediterranean basin, China, and Northern Africa. Prior to the discovery of the Americas, favas were the only known bean in the Old world. Favas fed the slave ships.

Harvest Kitchen: Fava Favorites
By Roberta Bailey
Over the last few years, I have been discovering shell beans. Their diverse flavors and uses are well worth the time that I once considered to be the reason that I didnt grow them. This year I have discovered fava or broad beans.

Lead in Garden Soil and Your Health
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Lead is an element that is lumped with a group called heavy metals because of their similar chemical characteristics. Some of these metals are necessary nutrients in small amounts for plants and/or animals, but as a general rule, each becomes toxic at some concentration.

The Adventures of Gnatasha and Lindy
By Mike Cherim
The grower added water to his sphagnum-based soilless media, unaware that the water was giving life to more than just his transplants. Deep within the pots life of a different kind was forming.

Spray Season Has Begun
You Can Request Notification of Pesticide Applications
According to Maine’s Drift Regulations, citizens can request prior notification to protect sensitive areas, whether those be their homes, property, drinking water or crop land, from pesticide drift from property owners or lessees who are spraying within 500 feet of their land.

Referendum Petition to Ban Aerial Spraying
A referendum proposal that, if passed by the voters, would ban aerial spraying and the introduction of pesticides into wells and waters in Maine is moving ahead as its originator, Nancy Oden, circulates petitions to have it placed on the 1998 ballot.

Improper Hitching to Tractors Can Be Fatal
Group Promotion
Media Relations
Keep Livestock from Consuming Toxic Plants
Save Seeds from Very Mature Fruits
Sniff Out Toxic Mulch
Keeping Deer Out
Educate the Customer
Farms Keep Tax Rates Lower Than Developments
Cooperative Promotion
Plant Diseases? Take Two Aspirin …
Black Knot Control
Hot Water Inhibits Gray Mold of Strawberries
Managing Living Mulches
Blanching Celery With Milk Cartons
Gleaning Programs

1997 Daytripping in Maine: Farms & Gardens to Visit this Summer

Live Simply
Non-native Mantids
Economic Security Cuts Population Growth


Russell Libby: Changing the Equation
Spring has been slow coming to our neighborhood. This morning when I took the sheep out to pasture, I stopped to spend a few minutes watching the lambs bounce across the field while their mothers concentrated on the business at hand – fresh grass. It brings to mind one of my favorite articles on farm management ever – “What’s Time to a Sheep?” The basic message was that lambs are going to grow up to be sheep anyway; the farmer’s choice is how much to push the process.

Jean English: Consider Nursery Crops
Two articles about raising and selling nursery crops appear in this issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, and I hope they will stimulate your curiosity about growing these plants. One article covers a talk by John and Roberta Bunker [now Bailey] about selling woody plants through Fedco Trees. The other, by Heather McCargo, tells how to grow these crops.

Dick Wells: The Organic Movement Must Pull In the Public
MOFGA’s 25-year celebration prompted some thoughts about its history and role in a somewhat larger perspective of time and context. Since my initiation as a Maine Organic Gardener goes back nearly 80 years when drafted as a weeder and de-bugger in the WW I family Victory Garden, with continuation ever since as circumstances allowed, I feel qualified to comment.

Reviews & Resources
Little Farmers’ Coloring Book
Forest Gardening: Cultivating an Edible Landscape
The Woodland Garden
Implementing Pheromone Technology in the Northeast

MOF&G Cover Summer 1997

News & Events

Maine BPC
Casco Bay Sprays and Property Owners’ Rights

Volunteer Profile
Jason Kafka

Fair News
Modern Poster Style a Winner