Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Community \ MOFGA Notes

Read about MOFGA staff, board members, the Fair, volunteers, MOFGA members and more!

Farmer Programs Newsletter for May 4, 2020

Hi folks,

Here is MOFGA's Farmer Programs Newsletter for the week of May 4, 2020. During the current coronavirus pandemic, we aim to send this newsletter weekly, as so much is going on and changing. We will likely go down to twice a month when things settle down. Please send inquiries, suggestions, corrections or advice regarding this newsletter to [email protected].

MOFGA's Primary COVID-19 Resource Document for Farmers

The MOFGA Farmer Programs staff has compiled this clearinghouse of almost every topic and issue related to farming during the COVID-19 crisis, with links and information and resources about insurance, employees, farmers' markets, online marketing, loans and grants, etc. We update it several times daily – newest updates are highlighted in bold type.


Financial Relief





  • PPE and Other Farm Supplies for COVID-19 spreadsheet, curated by Nicolas Lindholm of MOFGA. Regularly updated list of sources for important items including hand sanitizer, nitrile gloves, face masks and sanitizable produce boxes/totes.

  • Low-Cost Options for Online Sales comparison Easy-to-read chart produced by MOFGA, focusing on seven low-cost choices for farmers to quickly launch an online sales platform. Now posted on the MOFGA website!

  • Maine Local Market Report. A new, regularly updated report, produced by Alex Fouliard of Maine Farmland Trust and Nicolas Lindholm of MOFGA. A concise synopsis of views and perceptions of current trends in the Maine local food marketplace. Contains responses from both farmers/producers and buyers/distributors. Currently being released as an email via MEVEG-BERRY and other listservs. To join the MEVEG-BERRY list, email [email protected].

  • COVID-19 and Maine Ag FAQ Univ. of Maine Cooperative Extension webpage where farmers' questions about anything related to the current pandemic are posted and answered. You can post a question or just read through all the other questions and answers.

  • Farm to Institution New England (FINE) spreadsheet helps farmers connect with wholesale buyers, and vice versa, throughout northern New England. Google sheet that allows you to list any item you have/can provide or any item you need/are looking for, with contact info for direct communications. Includes tabs for food, storage/cold storage, trucking/distribution, labor, technical assistance and more. 

  • The On-Ramp to Online Sales recorded webinar from 4/23/20. Presents what to consider and ways to prepare and launch an online sales platform for your farm products. Includes presentations by Linzy Witherspoon (Farmhand Automation), Nicolas Lindholm (MOFGA), Jonathan Malacarne (Univ. of Maine), with plenty of Q&A from participants. Hosted by Leah Cook (Maine DACF) and Caleb Goossen (MOFGA). 1 hr. 47 mins.


Get on the Map!



Upcoming Webinars


  • Dealing with Stress Zoom meeting. May 12, 5 p.m. Opportunity to talk about the new and many stresses and how you're dealing with them. Staff from MOFGA will join Karen Groat, farm coach and executive director of Family & Community Mediation; Leslie Forstadt, farm coach, human development specialist with UMaine Cooperative Extension and director of the Maine Agricultural Mediation Program; and Polly Shyka, farm coach and co-owner/operator of Villageside Farm. A very short presentation will kick off small group conversations in breakout rooms. Hosted by MOFGA. Free of charge.

  • Behavioral Health Planning: A Key to Farming in the COVID-19 Era webinar. May 12, 1 p.m. Focus will be on developing plans and habits for handling the many uncertainties and stresses of farming in the face of the current pandemic. Learn how to develop behavior plans that address signs of physical and emotional distress, daily behavior practices that nurture one another even if isolation becomes necessary, looking out for neighbors and loved ones while maintaining physical distance, building a support network that can be contacted when specific expertise is needed, and more. Hosted by AgriSafe Network, with Northeast Center for Occupational Health & Safety. Free of charge.

  • Scenario Planning webinar. May 7, 4 p.m. Discussion on assessing risks and evaluating farm business opportunities in these challenging times. This webinar will cover how to handle and compare different opportunities in the overwhelming and fast-changing world with COVID-19, to decide which direction to take your farm business. Hosted by The Farmers Office. Free of charge.

  • Q&A with SBDC Business Advisors Zoom meeting. May 7, noon. Open forum with several Maine small business advisors. A great opportunity to ask your coronavirus-related business questions and find out how the SBDC can help your farm business. Hosted by Maine Small Business Development Center. Free of charge.

  • Weekly Zoom meetings for farmers hosted by UMaine Cooperative Extension, Friday, May 1, 10 a.m. Farmers and others share what is happening on their farms, and what is and isn't working well. This is a chance to chat with others throughout the state to stay connected in these difficult times. Often a guest presents and/or a topic is given. Past meeting notes are archived on its site.




  • COVID-19 Maine Farmer Survey – 2nd Round. A second, updated survey from the Beginning Farmers Resource Network, which is a collaborative effort between MOFGA, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Farmland Trust, and the Maine DACF, among others. IF YOU HAVE ALREADY TAKEN THIS SURVEY, PLEASE TAKE IT AGAIN. New questions have been added as we track changes over the past few weeks. Your input is vital as agricultural service providers in Maine would like to learn how they can best support farmers through direct assistance and policy in this unpredictable time.


Good News Department


  • Maine Farmers Markets Reopen, but with Social Distancing and Other Precautions Mainebiz article featuring the Portland and the Lewiston farmers' markets. Good coverage of all of the safety considerations that the farmers have put in place. Good job, farmers and market leaders! By Renee Cordes. 

  • Farming in a Pandemic video series by American Farmland Trust. New series of short videos featuring small farmers and food system workers from across the country who talk about how the coronavirus crisis is impacting their farms, markets and lives.

  • National Guide to Finding Local Food Created by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, this web page lists most of the online sites, state by state, that help consumers locate farmers, ranchers and fishermen and get local food. Maine's listings include MOFGA Certification Services' online searchable database and the Univ. of Maine Cooperative Extension's Farm & Seafood Products directory. Let your family and friends in other parts of the country know how to find their local producers!

Previous Article Low Cost Options for Online Sales
Next Article 76 Maine Farmers Receive Maine Farm Emergency Grants