Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
2003 Common Ground Country Fair Keynote Speeches

The Organic Manifesto of a Biologist Mother
By Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D.
For her keynote address at the 2003 Common Ground Country Fair, Dr. Sandra Steingraber read the eloquent “Organic Manifesto” that she wrote for Organic Valley Family of Farms, which has published it as an attractive booklet. The Manifesto and accompanying photos by Carrie Branovan are reprinted here.

The Challenges to Food Security Posed by Neoliberal Globalization
By Juvelina Palma
A few years ago, when a Salvadoran woman from the Bangor-Carasque Sister City program was visiting Maine, some MOFGA members spoke with her and discovered that small farmers in El Salvador and Maine share some of the same problems – and are working on similar solutions to those problems. “We decided,” said MOFGA member Paul Volckhausen, in introducing Juvelina Palma’s keynote speech at the Common Ground Country Fair, “that it would be good for us to work together as farmers and as organizations working with farmers.

MOFGA Teach-in:
Cancer and the Environment

By Jean English
“How do you explain,” asked Sharon Tisher of MOFGA’s Public Policy Committee, “that cancer in this country has increased since 1950 by 35%, excluding lung cancer?” Introducing a teach-in on cancer and the environment at the Common Ground Country Fair in September, Tisher cited a Bangor Daily News article stating that Maine ranks seventh in the country in cancer. “This is a death rate, not an incidence rate,” Tisher explained.


The Gonsalves Live “Within Their Harvest” in Their Straw Bale House
By Joyce White
Beautiful and sturdy, the Gonsalves’ straw bale house fits snugly, organically, into its cleared niche between forest and brook with a sense of permanence and belonging. If the idea of a house of straw should conjure images of it being blown away with a huff and a puff from the big, bad wolf, seeing this real, lived-in straw bale house would quickly dispel any notion of impermanence or fragility.

Strawberries – A Good Crop for Northern Growers
By John Fuchs
New England growers rarely have an advantage over southern and western growers, but strawberries offer a delicious example of a crop that is better suited to the cool, moist climate and acidic soils of New England than to the heat of the south or the dry, alkaline conditions prevailing in many Western states. New Englanders should exploit their advantage.

’Matchbox’ Peppers: Finishing the Breeding of ‘Super Chili’
By Tim King
In late September, my glossy green ‘Matchbox’ peppers, with their heavy load of waxy red and yellow chilies, were like decorated Christmas trees. We used to grow ‘Super Chili’ before we grew ‘Matchbox,’ because ‘Super Chili’ deserved its All America Selections award when it was released over a decade ago. Its short, dense plants never failed to yield a hundred or more fruit, whether the weather was too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet. But like all good commercial hybrids, ‘Super Chili’ was in everyone’s catalog, and then, within five years of release, became initially hard to find and then, briefly, disappeared.

MOFGA’s [email protected]
By Jean English
In September, the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee, with funds from Maine Initiatives, the Unity Foundation, two Empty Bowl suppers and several private donors, brought four delegates from the Chalatenango department of El Salvador to Maine to visit farms, markets, colleges, a high school and activists in the area and to participate in the Common Ground Country Fair. Chalatenango is home to some 130,000 residents and is about the size of Waldo County. The delegates, who represented two nongovernmental organizations that are sistering with MOFGA, gave two talks in the Agricultural Demonstrations Area of the Fair, and delegate Juvelina Palma gave a keynote speech at the Fair. (A translation is provided in this MOF&G.)

Farming Across Generations: A Business Model
By Alice Torbert
Something is seriously rotten in the state of Maine agriculture. We may fly a flag with a farmer on it, but farmland acreage is steadily shrinking, and less than 1 percent of Maine’s people live on farms. Wisconsin cows are causing our cows some serious trouble, and Frito-Lay prefers Idaho variety #X129W to a good old-fashioned Kennebec. (Well, you know what they say – there’s no accounting for taste.)

Greenhouse Pest Management
By Colin Stewart, Ph.D., University of Maine Cooperative Extension Homeowner/Greenhouse IPM Specialist
This article discusses many lower toxicity pest control measures, including biological controls. The key to using biologicals successfully is to monitor your greenhouse regularly to detect and correctly identify pests and to introduce the correct biological control agent before large numbers of pests are present.

Cooking with Celeriac
By Jean Ann Pollard
What’s so round, so firm, so – strangely hairy? If you’ve never seen celeriac, you couldn’t guess. The literature has few references to it – at least in America. It’s a root vegetable that’s been around for about 4000 years, but its lack of publicity wouldn’t tell you so. In Europe, however, this member of the Umbelliferae family, related to parsnips (Pastinaca sativa), carrots (Daucus carota) and parsley (Petroselinum crispum), has long been revered.

Edible Flowers
By Ellie MacDougall
Soon after I began to grow vegetables, I realized that flowers have a place in the same garden. In fact, I don’t have a ‘vegetable garden’ or ‘flower garden’ any more, but just ‘the garden,’ and everybody seems to get along fine. Even more, some flowers, such as marigolds, not only taste good but help their companion vegetables grow stronger and healthier.

Harvest Kitchen: Green Soybean Succotash
By Roberta Bailey
This summer I trialed 10 varieties of green soybeans for a local seed company. I planted and labeled each variety carefully, then took notes at various stages of development. The crowning event was the edamame (green soybean) taste-off. I steamed each variety separately, then shelled them into individual bowls. All of them had the delicious, nutty taste of green soybeans, but three were a little sweeter: ‘Sayamasume,’ ‘Beer Friend’ and ‘Shironomai.’

Grow Your Own Soybeans/Edamame
By Roberta Bailey
Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote an article for The MOF&G entitled, “What is tofu?” At the time tofu was not available in convenient, pre-packed cartons on any grocery store shelf, but could be found in a 5-gallon pail in the cooler of the local food co-op, or you could make your own. Francis Moore Lappe’s message of a vegetarian “Diet for a Small Planet” was just taking hold. Many of us were learning to pass up the beef and cook with rice and beans, tofu, tempeh and miso. But very few were using edamame.

Blue Cohosh
By Deb Soule
Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), a member of the Berberidaceae family, is a long-lived herbaceous perennial that is native to the moist woodlands of the upper Appalachian Mountain Range. This plant is sensitive to light and therefore must grow in the understory, preferably of a mixed hardwood forest. It prefers a slightly acid forest loam (pH 5 to 6) that is moist and cool. I have seen beautiful large stands of several hundred blue cohosh plants growing in the southeastern corner of Ohio and in Vermont, but never in Maine.

Heritage Turkeys Increasing, but …
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy conducted a census of turkeys in the winter of 2002-2003. The results are encouraging – and concerning. Populations of standard varieties of turkeys are increasing, but the number of hatcheries actually breeding standard turkeys is declining. While standard turkeys are being brought back from the brink of extinction, they are not yet safe from peril.

Interesting New Studies
By Eric Sideman
In the fall I attended the 100th anniversary, annual meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences in Providence, Rhode Island. The ASHS has a good mix of members representing university researchers, Extension educators and industry who study all aspects of crop production. The reports covered very basic plant science to practical aspects of farming. The small sample below gives you an idea of some of the work that ASHS does.


MOFGA logo

Tips & Tidbits
$40,000 an Acre from Raspberries – Maybe
An Easy Berry Bush
Backyard Berries Make Easy Edible Landscape
Diesel Starting Tips
Hard-Working Wasps Help Protect Apple Crops
Incorporate Manure Quickly to Reduce N Losses
Pesticides Quiz and Info Online
Pruning Tips
Tips for Starting a CSA

Thwack Potato Beetles into Buckets
MOFGA Should Accept Art
Sludge Stance Appreciated

MOFGA Sludge Policy
After several months of investigation and discussion at the request of many members, MOFGA’s Public Policy Committee has developed a revised policy on sludge, which was approved by the Board of Directors on October 19, 2003. MOFGA’s previous policy, incorporated in its certification standards, banned the use of sludge on certified crop land but did not address the issue of application of sludge to land generally.

It’s All A Jumble Sometimes, by Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
The best part of being MOFGA’s executive director is getting to see what all of you are doing, and sometimes to get a glimpse of how all the pieces fit together. Of course the hardest part of the job is figuring out how to get some of the pieces to fit when they seem to be going in different directions. I thought I’d give a brief overview of how a few parts are going now.

A Few Words on Frank Eggert
Frank Eggert, MOFGA board president in 1981 and 1982, died at the age of 83 in late October.

Civilization: Seeking the Multipliers
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
My middle-school-age son is studying the transition of humans from nomadic hunter-gatherers to stable agrarian societies. I benefit by learning once again (or even for the first time) about events that contributed to human civilization: the discovery of metals; development of language; learning how to cultivate crops and domesticate animals; and so on.

Sourcing Good Goods for the Country Store

The Complete Guide to Making Great Garlic Powder, by Herrick Kimball
Guide Helps Farmers and Ranchers Transfer Land to the Next Generation
Turning to Earth: Stories of Ecological Conversion, by F. Marina Schauffler
Voices from the South Debunk GE Myths
Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, by Sandor Ellis Katz


News & Events

Board of Pesticides Control

Volunteer Profile
Country Store Coordinators Lisa and Roy Miller

A Delicious and Relaxing Fundraiser
Fundraiser for Laughing Stock Farm
Organizational Development Work: By-Laws Changes
Goodbye to Keith Zaltzberg
Hello to Andrew Marshall

Fair News
Thanks for Another Great Fair
Exhibition Hall Prizes
Food Area Ribbons
Donkey and Mule Show
Fleece Show Results
Livestock Awards
Oxen Scooting
SPA Awards
5K Foot Race Results
Common Kitchen 2003