Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Bill Emerson. Jane Lamb photo.

Edgewater Farm B&B Serves More Than Guests: Soup Kitchens, Apprentices, Community Benefit
By Jane Lamb
“I love making gardens, love creating good soil, so we wound up producing more food than we could eat,” says Bill Emerson. “It made sense to take it to the soup kitchen. Then it occurred to me that if this guy over here would let me use his field, I could grow a garden just for the soup kitchen.” And so he did.

MOFGA Farmers in the Spotlight at Ag Trades Show
By Jean English
A strong drive to produce an abundance of healthful food is the force common to Tom Roberts and Gloria Varney, MOFGA’s “farmers in the spotlight” at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta last January. Roberts and his partner, Lois Labbe, raise organic crops at Snakeroot Organic Farm in Pittsfield, while Varney and her husband, Gregg, raise crops and animals and sell many value-added products at their Nezinscot Farm in Turner.

Living and Farming in New Zealand – My Five-Month Apprenticeship in the Southern Hemisphere
By Marada Cook
I cannot remember when I first decided that I loved farming. Maybe it was the day that I finally got to drive our beat up tractor around in the grassy fields on my fifteenth birthday. Maybe it was when I no longer felt a feeling akin to revulsion at the thought of picking (and squishing) potato beetles for hours on end. Whenever it was, that day was a turning point in my so-called ‘high school career.’ Suddenly I found myself wondering in biology class where and how these principles applied on our farm.

Gas-exposed women attend the 15th anniversary rally in Bhopal.
Gas-exposed women attend the 15th anniversary rally in Bhopal. Terry Allan photo.

Bhopal Revisited: A Personal Reflection
By Terry Allan
Remember Bhopal? The site of the worst chemical industrial disaster in history? I will never forget it. The tragedy of Bhopal put me on a path of questioning our agricultural systems that dramatically changed my world view and led to my decision to become an organic farmer. Going to Bhopal changed my life, forever.

Bhopal Update: April 20, 2000

The Zen of Farming
By Allegra Tiver
It’s not every day that two farmers using very different methods decide to work together in an effort to maintain a piece of land. Yet two New Hampshire farmers, with the capital of a local landowner, are doing just that.

Organic Agriculture and America’s Rural Crisis
By Larry Lack
I’m an organic farm inspector currently living in a city (Portland, Oregon) where I also help to manage a thriving farmers’ market. I’ve lived in the country most of my adult life, have been a farm worker and have also farmed commercially on a small scale. Because I have one foot in the city and the other in farm country, I’m especially convinced of the need for city and suburban people – who are the vast majority of North America’s population – to know more about farms and farming.

Values Added: The New New England Agriculture
By John E. Carroll
Contrary to the perceived decline in New England agriculture in the latter years of the 20th century, at least five new social movements in agriculture are emerging in the region. A trademark of these movements is their very explicit values orientation, which contrasts with previous values.

Jerry Brunetti
Soil expert Jerry Brunetti.
Jean English photo.

Experts Talk Soil at MOFGA Meetings
By Jean English
Jerry Brunetti is the managing director of Agri-Dynamics, a soil and animal health consulting company that also markets holistic remedies for animals in Easton, Pennsylvania. At MOFGA and Cooperative Extension’s Farmer to Farmer Conference in November, he spoke about improving soil chemistry and soil health through diversified cropping systems and amendments.

Basil: The Herb That Tastes Like Summer
By Ellie MacDougall
When I think of food on warm summer days, my taste buds begin smiling with the memory of sun-warmed tomatoes sliced plain on a plate and dusted with tiny flecks of basil. Sure, corn on the cob and summer salads rate right up there, but even these are given an ethereal air by judicious use of basil. Imagine corn on the cob grilled with basil butter inside the wrapper? Or a salad with herbed basil dressing? You’re getting the idea.

Harvest Kitchen: Keeping Food Fresh
By Roberta Bailey
The Centre Terre Vivante is an ecological research and educa­tional center in Mens, Domaine de Raud, a region in Southern France. The center hosts courses on regenerative gardening and farming, renewable energy, and ecological building techniques, as well as publishing over fifty books and its influential gardening magazine, Les Quatre Saisons du Jardinage.

Vitex: A Woman’s Ally
By Deb Soule
Vitex agnus-castus, commonly called Chasteberry, is native to Italy and Greece. It is a graceful and aromatic shrub of the Verbenaceae Family. It can grow 10 to 20 feet high in warmer climates. The leaves are dark green with a gray underside and grow to be 4 inches long. They are divided into 5 to 7 leaflets and look like an open hand with fingers stretching to the sky.

Toki Oshima drawing
Toki Oshima drawing

Grow Your Own Peaches
By Roberta Bailey
Peaches are a challenge to grow in northern climates. Mention peaches to Maine gardeners and they get a glint in their eye, either from anticipation that their three-year-old tree will make it through another winter and bear next year, or from the memory of that bushel of the world’s best tasting peaches that they harvested last year or the two peaches that they shared the year before the tree died.

The USDA’s Second Proposed Rule on Organic Agriculture
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Director of Technical Services for MOFGA
This time around the USDA did a much better job proposing a rule that will regulate organic agriculture in the United States. Its first try missed the mark by a mile, and hundreds of thousands of people let USDA know it. However, even though the second proposed Rule is quite acceptable, people should comment for three reasons.

How Many Rows to Grow?
TLC for Pumpkin Transplants
Metal Gas Can Safety
Understanding Your Tomatoes
Sheep Weed Christmas Tree Plots
Don’t Drill Into Sealed Frames
Monitoring Gypsy Moth Populations
Reducing Tractor Rollover Fatalities

Questions Animal Products at Fair by Susan Cockrell and Cherie Mason
Some Favorite Foods Have GM Ingredients by Ann Gibson Peluso


President’s Letter
Time to Ring Up Washington
By Sharon Tisher, 2000 MOFGA President
Earlier this year, MOFGA wrote to each of our representatives in Congress, asking them to cosponsor the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act [HR 3377 and S 2080]. Our letter, reprinted in the last issue of The MOF&G, traced the history of Maine citizens’ concern and legislative initiatives on GE labeling, back to 1993, before a single genetically engineered food or food ingredient had yet hit the supermarket shelves.

Voluntary Labeling is Not Enough
By Sharon Tisher
Proposed FDA rules, announced as we went to press, for voluntary labeling of foods that are NOT genetically engineered don’t in any sense change the urgency of passing this legislation. With voluntary labeling, the vast majority of foods in the marketplace will still be unlabeled, and we’ll still be buying foods in the dark.

Take Your Time
By Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
Perspectives matter. Last year, the United Plant Savers printed a piece that discussed the various ages to which plants (or their clonal descendants) can live. I was struck by the notion that a clump of lilies-of-the-valley can live for 670 years. As someone who was fortunate enough to inherit a planting, I realized that the ancestors of the plants on the edge of our yard could easily have been planted by the people who built the original farmhouse 200 years ago. The length of time that some of our activities will have an impact harkens to the “seventh generation” rule: Think about the results seven generations into the future.

Bad Air, Good Soil
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
Are your children breathing clean air? This question has come front and center in our small town of Lincolnville, as a very toxic fungus (Stachybotrys chartarum), harmful bacteria, high CO2 concentrations and asbestos have been found in our school during air quality testing and building inspection in preparation for renovating the school.

On People Saying They Can’t Afford Organic Food
By Beedy Parker
Say: What if you regard it as a donation to the agricultural workers, land, wildlife, neighbors, water supply, children’s health and everyone’s nervous system and hormone balance?

Reviews & Resources
Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs
Sustainable Vegetable Production From Start-Up to Market
Lavender: How to Grow and Use the Fragrant Herb
The Composting Toilet System Book
Grazing in the Northeast, NRAES-113
Priority Pasture Research and Education Needs, NRAES-113S


MOF&G Cover Summer 2000

News & Events

Maine Referendum Campaign on Genetic Engineering

Maine BPC Report
Neighbors’ Right to Know Debated
BPC Prioritizes “Discretionary” Tasks
Department Seeks Suspension of Data Collecting Requirements
Pesticides in the Schools Initiative
Hope Pesticide Control Area Petition
BPC Losing Two Public Members

MOFGA Board Approves Revised Standard for Certified Organic Honey
Long-Time MOFGA Members Win Award

Volunteer Profile
Amanda Beal

Fair News
2000 Exhibition Hall Rules