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A. Kelly Bourdeau, public information officer of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, says, "We do have a once a year, free collection program...but our inventory roster is already filled to capacity for 2004 (our budget is $15,000)." She suggests that people register now for the 2005 program (the actual collection is usually in late summer or early fall) by downloading and completing the obsolete pesticide inventory form at www.thinkfirstspraylast.org or by calling the BPC at 287-2731--then hope that budgetary shortfalls do not require cutting this program in 2005.
Another method for properly disposing of unwanted pesticides is by delivering the product to a municipally-sponsored 'Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day,' says George M. MacDonald, Director of the Community Assistance Team of the Maine State Planning Office. "Many communities and regional programs offer their residents an opportunity to dispose of unwanted household hazardous wastes, including pesticides, at such an event. Some require signing up before the event; others may impose a small fee to help offset the cost of collection. You can contact your local municipal office to see if your community will be participating in such an event, or you may visit the Maine State Planning Office Web site that lists dates for household hazardous waste collections for dozens of towns at www.state.me.us/spo/recycle/hhw/collections.php. You may be able to encourage your community to provide such a collection event if one isn't planned." To dispose of other hazardous wastes, check with your town to find out what will or will not be accepted on collection days.
Also, the hazardous waste management company Clean Harbors at 17 Main Street in South Portland (799-8111; www.cleanharbors.com) accepts "walk-ins" who deliver residentially generated household hazardous wastes to their facility. A fee is charged depending upon the item and volume. Readers may want to contact Clean Harbors for details on what they accept and fees. The company is open from 9 to 3, Monday through Friday.
This is a collection of all questions and answers published in The MOF&G,. These are actual questions directed to various staff and volunteers at MOFGA. If you have questions about MOFGA's programs or about organic farming or gardening, please address them to the appropriate MOFGA staff person.
Q. How can I get a copy of the Common Ground Fair schedule to out-of-state friends?
A. The schedule is posted at www.MOFGA.org.
Q. We have a family membership to MOFGA and just one membership card. My family members are coming to the Fair at different times. How can each member get in free if we donít all have a membership card?
A. Getting all of your family members in at different times is easier than ever this year! We have a special booth at the Fair for this very situation. Simply go to the "I think Iím a member but donít have my card" booth, located outside the entrance gate, and give the booth attendant the name on the family membership. The booth attendant will check our membership rolls and will give the family member a pass to enter the Fair that day for free.
Q. What minerals can I give my livestock?
A. Basically all minerals are allowed. Usually the feed companies follow the AAFCO list--the federal list of allowed minerals for livestock feed. The problem is all of the additions, such as molasses, propylene glycol, mineral oil, flavorings and colorings. So check the ingredient list for those items to start. You can also send a copy of the ingredient tag to Diane Schivera at MOFGA (email@example.com), and she will look at it for you. Diane has tried looking for minerals at feed stores, but most that they carry are not OK, and there are so many varieties that it is best to ask about each type. Some companies that produce approved products are Fertrell in Pennsylvania (1-800-347-1566), Helfter Feeds Inc. (866-435-3837), North Country Organics in Vermont (802-222-4277) and Redman Minerals Inc. (800-367-7258). Other companies and products are available, but check before you use them.
Q. What should I do if my property, including my organic garden and organic pastures, is sprayed with pesticides accidentally by a conventional grower/neighbor or by a contracted pesticide applicator?
A. Call the Maine Board of Pesticides Control at 287-2731. This number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Q. Where can I get seeds of the chicory that you bring indoors and force in the winter?
A. This is Cicorium intybus, Belgian endive or witloof chicory, which is grown like a carrot in the summer, dug in the fall and stored in the refrigerator or root cellar, then forced to produce "chicons" in the winter. Johnny's offers seeds of 'Totem.' Fedco offers 'Pan di Zucchero,' which is not bitter, produces a fall crop of Romaine-shaped, 1-foot-tall leaves, and can be stored for three months if wrapped in newspaper and kept just above freezing. Fedco says that Maine chicory expert Lucie Arbuthnot compares 'Pan di Zucchero' with witloof chicory, "but without all the extra work."
Q. How well do corn gluten and soaps work as herbicides? Are they environmentally harmful in any way?
A. Corn gluten has had mixed reviews in how well it works. More important, it is not permitted on a certified organic farm because the corn gluten herbicide on the market has not been made from organic corn and so is likely to contain products from GMO corn.
Soaps do work as an herbicide on many plants. This is a general herbicide that can be used where all of the plants are targets. It will kill the top growth and some plants will regrow. It is best to test it out in your own situation and make sure it does what you hope to accomplish.
Q. How can I find out about MOFGA apprenticeships? Do farmers pay apprentices?
A. Here's what MOFGA's Web site says about benefits for apprentices: "Apprenticeships may begin any time during the year, though most farmers are looking for apprentices for the growing season (March through October). The usual apprenticeship is a practicum involving labor in return for room and board, instruction, and experience. Many farmers pay a modest stipend." You can find out more about MOFGA's apprenticeship program at www.mofga.org/apprinfo_04.html; by calling MOFGA at 568-4142; or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How can I find out whether a particular material is approved for use on organic farms?
A. MOFGA-certified growers can check the "OMRI Brand Name Products List" that they received with their certification application this year and the "National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances" (Appendix I in MOFGA Certification Services, LLC "Organic Certification Practice Manual"). If these do not answer your question, contact Eric Sideman (email@example.com; 946-4402) with questions about materials to be used on crops, and Diane Schivera (firstname.lastname@example.org; 568-4142) about materials for animals. Please provide the product name, manufacturer and manufacturer's phone number.
Q. Where can I get organic livestock feed for chickens, pigs, sheep and cows?
A. These are the grain dealers in the Northeast:
To ask MOFGA, send your question to the appropriate staff person.
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