MOFGA’s FARM TRAINING PROJECT
Taking place on premier farms throughout Maine
Learn farming skills from farmers themselves
Discover the diversity of Maine agriculture
Help keep alive the tradition of free and mutual exchange of ideas that makes the Maine organic farming community so vibrant 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 - bring a dish or something fresh from the farm to share.
For more information about or directions to any of the workshops, email Abby or call 568-4142.
To join the email list click here.
2013 FTP Workshop Schedule
(* subject to changes and additions *)
(* workshops are held rain or shine *)
Starting with the Soil: Sustainable Soil Management
Wednesday, May 22, 5pm at Six River Farm, Bowdoinham
Thursday, May 23, 5pm at Village Farm, Freedom
Healthy, living soil is the foundation of successful organic agriculture. Join MOFGA staff and several successful organic farmers 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. This is also the inaugural event of the 2013 MOFGA apprentice season, and a good chance to meet MOFGA staff and fellow apprentices from other farms.
Wednesday, May 29, 5pm at Peacemeal Farm, Dixmont
The greenhouse is a key part of any organic farm. As “the place where it all starts,” but also the place where a whole lot can go wrong in a hurry, learning proper greenhouse management is essential. Come see how Mark Guzzi & Marcia Ferry of Peacemeal Farm use their greenhouses for both starting the season and post-harvest handling as well as how they manage fertility, water, pests and diseases inside.
Introduction to Farm Equipment: Safety, Operation, and Basic Maintenance
Tuesday, June 4, 5pm at Deri Farm, N. Yarmouth
Wednesday, June 5, 5pm at MOFGA Headquarters, Unity
Join farmers and staff from MOFGA and University of Maine Cooperative Extension 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. Participants will get a chance to practice driving tractors of different models and sizes and attaching and operating implements.
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. Learn from several of Maine’s farmers, both new and veteran, about their diverse strategies for marketing their products, including Community Supported Agriculture, Farm Stands, Farmers Markets, and cooperatives. We’ll also hear about innovative partnerships with non-profits that incorporate education and community service.
Ecological Weed Management
Wednesday, June 19 at 5pm at University of Maine Rogers Farm, Orono
TBD, 5pm at Crystal Spring Farm, Brunswick
Weed control is a primary challenge in organic farming systems. This workshop will offer ecological and cultural approaches to weed management with experts from MOFGA and the University of Maine. It will also feature a primer on weed control using the various forms of cultivation equipment available to vegetable growers.
Tuesday, July 2, 5pm at Old Crow Ranch, Durham
TBD- 2nd location
An important principle of sustainable small-scale farming is diversity, and livestock play many key functional roles in a diverse farm system. Join the folks at Old Crow Ranch and New Leaf Farm diversified, pasture-based livestock operations and sell their animal products directly to consumers. Come learn how they manage their critters and the benefits of their system.
Ecological Pest Control
Wednesday, June 26, 5pm at Hatchet Cove Farm, Warren
Thursday, June 27, 5pm at Black Kettle Farm, Lyman
Effective ecological pest control starts with a farm system design based on the fundamental principles of diversity and complexity. Join Eric Sideman and Dave Colson, MOFGA’s crops specialists, for a comprehensive perspective on managing pests in organic vegetable systems.
Farm Woodlot Management
Thursday, July 11, 5pm at Hidden Valley Nature Center, Alna
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 HVNC staff, Sam Brown, Consulting Forester, and a few local loggers for a teaching tour of HVNC's woodlot. They will talk about why and how they manage the woodlot, with particular emphasis on long-term, low-impact forestry techniques using small-scale, multipurpose equipment. Hopefully, the workshop will include a hands-on demonstration of low-impact logging and yarding.
John Bunker Homestead Tour
Tuesday, July 16 at 5pm Super Chilly Farm, Palermo
Anyone who’s perused the Fedco Trees catalog has gotten a glimpse of John Bunker’s encyclopedic knowledge of and unbridled enthusiasm for the diversity of Maine’s agricultural flora. John, along with his partner Cammy Watts, also operates Super Chilly Farm in Palermo. They tend about 100 fruit trees, extensive small scale vegetable gardens, small fruits and many ornamentals. They grow most of their own food, storing much of it in their stone root cellar. The orchard features dozens of rare and historic varieties, many originating in Maine. Gardening is done entirely with hand tools. John will give a tour of their off-the-grid owner-built home, various apprentice log cabins and out buildings, gardens, orchard and nursery. There will be plenty of time for questions about farming and homesteading on a small scale. Come see what you can do over the course of forty years with marginal land and a lot of home made compost.
Farming with Horses
Using animals for draft power has a number of economic, environmental, and social benefits; but it is not easy. Come learn the basics of this genuinely solar-based system of farming; and meet a few of Maine's skilled horsefolk.
Preserving the Harvest: Pickling & Canning
Tuesday, August 6, 4pm at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
Wednesday, August 7, 4pm at UMaine Cooperative Extension, Lisbon Falls
“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 UMCE and MOFGA staff for a session on the basics of food preservation and all its various strategies – from pickling, to canning, to freezing, to root cellaring. Be prepared for a hands-on workshop. Space for these workshops is limited; Apprentices are given priority. $5.00 donation fee for non-apprentice participants. Register for this workshop online (coming soon) or by calling Abby at 568-4142. Please bring a pint canning jar if possible.
Introduction to Permaculture
Wednesday, August 14, 5pm at Schoodic Hollow Farm, Franklin
Thursday, August 15, 5pm at Rippling Waters Farm, Standish
Permaculture is a method of landscape design and food production that is based on the principles of ecology and diversity. Come and see two excellent examples of how permaculture can help bring vitality back to land, mitigate problematic soils and increase a farm's resilience.
Farming Off the Grid
Monday, August 19, 5pm at Rolling Acres Farm, Monroe
Rolling Acres Farm raises organic vegetables and livestock without the benefit of a connection to the power grid, which means that they developed a number of clever, innovative, energy-efficient strategies. Come see how they do it.
From Apprentice to Farmer: taking the next steps
TBD 5pm at Mackie Family Farm, Unity (on the MOFGA campus)
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. Join several of MOFGA’s current Journeypeople as they share their insights and enthusiasm about how they are managing their first few years farming independently. If you are considering farming for a living, please come and contribute to this important discussion.
Seed Saving and Production on a Diversified Farm
Thursday, September 5, 5pm at Seven Tree Farm, Vassalboro
Roberta Bailey of Fedco Seeds operates Seven Tree Farm, 18 acres with three field plots an orchard and grape arbor and many fruit and berry plantings. The farm also includes a solar house, root cellar, and many post and beam buildings, including a new barn and woodworking shop. The focus of their operation is to grow much of our food and to raise commercial seed crops on a small farm scale. Seed crops can work well with the home garden or the field production gardens, further diversifying a farm operation's income and securing seed supply in some situations. The talk will focus on interplanting seed crops in your gardens or field plots, using the by-products of the crop for food production or value added products to sell, and on basic seed saving and plant genetics, crop nutrition, rotations, isolations, and how to harvest and dry seed. The talk will cover biennials such as beets and carrots as well.
Dairy & Diversification
Wednesday, September 11, 5pm at Two Loons Farm and The Milkhouse
Dairy farming accounts for over half of organic agriculture in Maine. Join long-time organic farmers Paige Tyson and Spencer Aitel at Two Loons Farm to see how they manage logistics and systems for the many components of their operation. Newly part of the farm operation is The Milkhouse, a creamery and diversified vegetable and livestock operation including ducks and pigs. The Milkhouse is run by former Journeypersons Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith. Together these four farmers work collaboratively to reap the benefits of dairying in Maine.
Common Ground Country Fair
Friday, September 20 - Sunday, September 22 MOFGA Fairgrounds, Unity
If you’ve ever been to the Fair, you know — and if you haven’t been, anyone who has will tell you — it’s an event like no other, that brings together so many people from so many walks of life, all in the spirit of celebrating the rural and agricultural traditions of Maine. It is a great place to find a year-round apprenticeship or farm job as well as celebrate the winding down of your farming season. Join MOFGA or Volunteer for FREE admission!