MOFGA's Farm Training Project
2005 Workshop Series
Taking place on farms throughout Maine
Learn something new....
...meet like-minded folks...
...discover the diversity of Maine agriculture...
...and help keep alive the strong tradition of free and mutual exchange of ideas that makes the Maine organic farming community so vibrant, close-knit, and innovative.
These workshops are designed for and targeted to participants in MOFGA's Apprenticeship Program, but are free and open to anyone interested. They are intended to give apprentices and other young, beginning, and aspiring farmers the chance to visit other farms, learn from farmers about their areas of expertise, and socialize with peers.
The workshops follow an informal format. They generally begin in the late afternoon with a farm tour, followed by a presentation and demonstration on the topic of the day. Participants are then invited to stay for a potluck supper and discussion.
2005 Summer FTP Events
Starting with the Soil: Sustainable Soil Management (and 2005 apprentice orientation)
The inaugural event of the 2005 MOFGA apprentice season! Healthy, living soil is the foundation of successful organic agriculture. Join Dave Colson of New Leaf Farm, one of New England's premier organic farms, for an introduction to organic soil fertility management and the use of rotation, composting, green manures, cover crops, and tillage strategies to build organic matter and enhance the health and productivity of farm soil.
Directions: From I-295, take Exit 22 (Freeport/Durham) and follow Rt. 136 north about 6 miles to Durham. After passing through Durham, go south (left) on Davis Rd for 2 miles. New Leaf Farm is on the left (east) side of Davis Rd at the top of the hill.
Herbs for Health and Healing
Discover the wonderful world of herbs with Stony Brook Farm's Linda Nelson. Wander around her garden with her as she discusses the amazing powers of these wonderful plants. Linda will cover identification, propagation, growth habits and needs, harvesting, processing, storage, and preparation of many of her favorite herbs. Bring a Potluck Supper.
Directions: From Augusta: follow Routes 202, 11, 17 &100 for about 3 miles to Manchester. Turn right on Rt. 17 and go about 10 miles to Kents Hill. Turn right on Rt. 41 towards Mt. Vernon. Go about 3.5 miles until Rt. 41 crosses the stream between Echo Lake and Taylor Pond and there is a tall brick chimney beside the stream. Bear left onto Sandy River Rd. and go 1 mile to Stony Brook Herb Farm on the left. Look for the green metal roofs on barn and house. From Waterville: head west on Kennedy Memorial Drive (Routes 11 & 137) towards Oakland. Follow Rt. 11 thru Oakland and head south about 8 miles towards Belgrade until you intersect Rt. 135. Turn right on Rt. 135 for about 1 mile until you hit Rt. 27 at Christy's Store. Turn right on Rt. 27 and go about 4 miles until you see signs for Mt. Vernon. Turn left onto the Castle Island Rd. and go about 4 miles until it ends at the Watson Pond Rd. Turn left and follow the Watson Pond Rd until you get to Mt. Vernon (about 4 miles). At the Fire Station, turn right and go about 0.1 mile until you hit Rt. 41. Turn left on Rt. 41 and go 4-5 miles to the Sandy River Road on the right. Just beyond the Sandy River Rd., Rt. 41 crosses the stream between Echo Lake and Taylor Pond and there is a tall brick chimney beside the stream. Turn right on Sandy River Rd. and go 1 mile to Stony Brook Herb Farm on the left. Look for the green metal roofs on barn and house.
Selling what you Grow: Marketing Basics
Small farmers need to be creative and innovative marketers to be successful. The best are those that cultivate community involvement in their farms and nurture face-to-face relationships with their customers. Come meet Jill Agnew of Willow Pond Farm and Richard Rudolph of Rippling Waters Farm, two of Maine's veteran farm marketers, and hear about their diverse strategies for marketing their products, including Community Supported Agriculture, Farm Stands, Farmers Markets, cooperatives, and supplying the emergency food system.
Directions: Willow Pond farm is at 395 Middle Rd (Route 9) in Sabattus, just south of exit 86 on the Maine Turnpike. It is well-signed.
Introduction to Farm Equipment: Operation, Safety, and Basic Maintenance
Join MOFGA's staff for an introduction to basic farm equipment anatomy, safe operation, and maintenance. We'll cover tractor operation and safety; attaching, adjusting, and operating farm implements; and basic preventative lubrication and maintenance - because nobody wants a key piece of equipment to break down when it's needed most. Folks will get a chance to practice driving tractors of different models and sizes and attaching and operating implements.
Directions: From the South: Take I-95 to Exit 132 (Fairfield/Benton). Follow Route 139 East across the bridge in Fairfield, through Benton and all the way to Unity Village, (15 miles on Rte 139 to village). Turn left at the blinking light in Unity, then follow Route 139 by taking your first right turn. After you cross the train tracks, you'll turn right onto Route 220. Proceed just about two miles south on Route 220, then turn right on Crosby Brook Road. Proceed about 7/10 of a mile to a driveway on the left, which will lead you through the grounds gate.
From the North: Take I-95 to Exit 174 (Carmel). Take Route 69 South to the intersection with Route 202. Turn right on Route 202 West and follow 202 to Unity. 202 will merge with Route 220 and then 220 will branch off to the left in Unity. Proceed just about two miles south on Route 220, then turn right on Crosby Brook Road. Proceed about 7/10 of a mile to a left turn, which will lead you through the grounds gate.
From Belfast: Take Route 137 North out of Belfast to Knox Corner. Turn right on Route 220 North and drive through Thorndike. After Thorndike, drive about a half mile and turn left at the MOFGA sign onto Crosby Brook Road; after a half-mile, the entrance to the grounds is on the right.
The Nearing Legacy
Helen and Scott Nearing were eloquent spokespeople for the modern homesteading movement, and did a great deal to fuel the back-to-the-land movement in Maine that spawned MOFGA and seeded the landscape with the corps of curiously committed organic farmers that characterize Maine agriculture. Forest Farm, the Nearings' last homestead, in Harborside, is now open to the public. Come wander around, meet the Resident Stewards, and get inspired.
Directions: Follow route 1 to Orland. Take Route 15 south towards Blue Hill. Turn right onto Route 199, go to T-intersection. (Penobscot Town Hall will be in front of you.) Turn left onto Route 175 south to Brooksville. Turn right onto Route 176 going west. (Helpful hint: Follow signs for Holbrook Island Sanctuary, which is on the way to Forest Farm.) Stay on Route 176 west through North and West Brooksville. Take a right onto Cape Rosier Road. Go past Holbrook Island Sanctuary on right (don't turn), and Undercliff further down the road on left. Follow Cape Rosier Road until it branches. The old gray Rainbow/Rosier grange hall will be in front of you. Take a right, go about two miles to a T-intersection. Turn left, go two miles, past a cove that comes up to the road and a deer farm, to Orr's Cove and Forest Farm.
Livestock in the Farm System
An important principle of sustainable small-scale farming is diversity, and livestock play many key functional roles in a diverse farm system. Gregg and Gloria Varney of Nezinscot Farm have lots of livestock diversity on their farm. Come learn how they manage their critters and the benefits of their system.
Directions: From Maine Turnpike I-95, take Exit 75 (Auburn) to Rt. 4 North/East. Follow Rt. 4 to Turner. Take a right on Rt. 117 North. The Farm is midway between Turner Village and Turner Center.
While energy costs have continued to rise, and the ecological foundations of our current fossil-fuel-based energy economy have become increasingly unstable, Bluebird Hill Farm has been generating its own energy - with help from the sun and the wind - for 20 years. Come see how we make off-the-grid living work for our family. Join us for a potluck and stay overnight for an apprentice gathering! Meet other apprentices or reconnect.
Directions: from Rt 17, follow Rt 32 in Coopers Mills south toward Jefferson & Waldoboro for 2 miles. Bluebird Hill Rd is 2nd driveway on the left after the chiropractor. From Rt 1 in Waldoboro, take Rt 32 north to Jefferson. At the top of the lake, stay on Rt 32 (to the right). Go about 3 miles. Bluebird Hill Rd is 1st driveway on the right PAST the orchard.
Going for it: from Apprentice to Journeyperson to Farmer
MOFGA estimates that Maine needs about 150 new farmers a year just to maintain the infrastructure we need to support our local food system - so every new farm operation in Maine is a reason to celebrate. But it's becoming increasingly difficult to get started in farming. John and Stacy of Turkey Hill Community Farm were apprentices, then journeypersons, and are now in their second season farming independently with a creative leasehold arrangement in Cape Elizabeth. They will share their insights and enthusiasm about how they are making it work for their family. If you are considering farming for a living, please come and contribute to this important discussion.
Directions: Route 295 to Portland, take the Forest Ave exit towards downtown Portland. Follow State St through Portland to rt 77 south, and cross the bridge over the Fore River to Cape Elizabeth. Go through the town center, take first left onto Old Ocean House Rd after IGA Market. Go 1.1 miles, turn left into dirt driveway. House #122 (mailbox opposite).
Compost on the Farm
Making and using compost is a foundational skill for good organic soil management and a great way to close farm nutrient cycles. Quality compost is essential for building soil biological activity, increasing soil organic matter, and improving soil structure. Learn the basics of on-farm composting from Paul Volckhausen of Happy Town Farm, and tour his composting system.
Directions: Follow Rt. 1/3 to West Ellsworth, between Bucksport and Ellsworth. In West Ellsworth, head northwest on Happytown Rd. Happy Town Farm is 5 miles down this road.
Strawbale Building: Introduction and Home Tour
Strawbale buildings are low-tech, energy-efficient, ecologically responsible, and beautiful. Come tour this young family's self-built strawbale home and learn the basics of how to build your own cozy strawbale dwelling.
Directions: Directions: From the Maine Turnpike, take the Auburn Exit #75 to Rte 4 North. Follow Rte 4 through Turner to the intersection with Rte 219 in North Turner. Take a left on Rte 219 West. Follow Rte 219 into Sumner and take 2nd right after Sumner/Hartford Elem School onto Valley Rd. At 1st intersection, take a right up Fields Hill Rd. We are the 3rd house on the left up a long dirt driveway (#215 on mailbox). Phone #: 744-5158.
Irrigation Strategies for Vegetables & Flowers
More and more farms in Maine are using irrigation to more precisely manage the moisture needs of their crops. John Fromer of Appleton Ridge Farm is a wizard of horticultural water delivery systems, from sources to pumps to filters to emitters. Come see his handiwork and get an introduction to when and how to irrigate.
Directions: From the South and West, follow rt 17 to rt 131 north in Union. Follow rt 131 north for for 4 miles to rt 105 west. Left onto 105 west for 2 miles to Appleton ridge Rd on the left. The farm is the 2nd on the left, past a horse farm. From the North and East, follow rt 3 to rt 131 in Morrill. Take rt 131 south for about 7 miles to rt 105 west. Right onto rt 105 west for about 2 miles to Appleton Ridge Rd on the left. The farm is the second on the left, past the horse farm.
Preserving the Harvest: Pickling, Canning, Freezing, etc.
"Putting food by" is a fundamental skill to master if you want to be able to enjoy your garden's bounty all winter long. Join Linda Whitmore-Smithers of Medicine Hill Farm for a session on the basics of food preservation and all its various strategies - from pickling, to canning, to freezing, to root cellaring.
Directions: From the north or east: Map 20 in the Maine Atlas. Find Madison at the intersection of 139 & 43. Go to center of town at street light (only one in town). Head to Anson on route 43. Take the main street across the Madison Anson Bridge and turn left. Go 4.9 miles continuing on Route 43. Take left onto Sandy River Road. Go 2.5 miles. Farm on right. Red house and buildings. (10 minutes from light in Madison) From the south: Get off 1-95 in Augusta at the Route 27 exit 112B: exit headed towards Belgrade Lakes. Travel north through Belgrade Lakes on Route 27 until it ends at Route 2 (20 minutes). Take a left, drive one mile to New Sharon. As soon as you cross the bridge over the Sandy River, at flashing light, make an immediate right onto #134. Go 6.9 miles. At sharp sweeping left curve in the road, go straight 50 feet onto the gravel road and take right onto Sandy River Road (marked). Go 2 miles. Farm on left. Red Buildings. (45 minutes from exit to farm) From the west: Take Rte 2 through Farmington. Continue to New Sharon. Right before crossing the bridge over the Sandy River, turn left onto #134. Follow above directions.
Seed Saving on the Farm
Saving one's own seed is really fun, but it's also an important way of maintaining local biodiversity and declaring independence from the increasing corporate control of plant germplasm. Come participate in an on-farm demonstration of how to process seed from several vegetable crops. We'll discuss what fruit to choose, seed extraction techniques, washing, drying and seed storage. Mark Hutton, University of Maine Vegetable Specialist, will be on hand to share his expertise.
Directions: Exit 4 (Rt. 95) into Biddeford take Rt. 111 west toward Alfred for 11 miles until flashing light at intersection of Kennebunk Rd. (Post Office on right). Take left on Kennebunk for 1 mile over small bridge. Road forks, stay right (this is where Mouse lane begins but no sign) After another mile come to minor fork in road, stay right and proceed around sharp curve to the right. Farm is on right. Red barn and greenhouse just before driveway.
Farm Woodlot Management
Woodlots are an important part of a diverse farm system, providing fuel, building materials, and other value-added products such as maple syrup to supplement income. Join Brad Johnson, farm & woodlot manager at Chewonki, for a teaching tour of their woodlot. Brad will talk about why and how they manage their woodlands, with particular emphasis on his specialty, working in the woods with horses.
Directions: Take rt 1 south from Wiscasset 4 miles or north from Bath 6 miles. Turn onto rt 144. After railroad tracks turn right on Chewonki Neck Road. Follow signs to Chewonki.