Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

March-April 1976 Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
 

Introducing MOFGA’s New Officers, New Chairpeople and Northeast Carry

1976 Officers
1976 Chairpeople
Introducing Northeast Carry
MOFGA President's Report

By Chaitanya York
1976 MOFGA Executive Director

New Officers

Considering the excellent people we have as officers and committee heads, this should indeed be a productive year for MOFGA. Chuck Vaughan, our new President, was one of two Maine farmers to win this year’s Goodyear National Conservation Award. He was co-director of Lincoln County MOFGA with his wife, Harriet (who is in charge of membership). Interested in marketing and agricultural development, Chuck sits on advisory boards to both Soil and Water Conservation Service, and the Extension Service (V.P. Knox-Lincoln Co.). Chuck is an effective organizer and administrator, and we are fortunate to have him as president.

As Vice-president, Cheli Pingree holds her third office in MOFGA. An efficient organizer, she brought sound, bookkeeping practice to our treasury and is likely to be directing this year’s apprenticeship program (pending funds).

Tony Bok, our v.p. in charge of the Farming Division, was one of the organizers and participants in the successful Camden Farmers’ market. He also grew for Liberty Coordinated Produce Co-op. Tony has done considerable organizing and will concentrate on direct marketing alternatives this year.

Janet Powell, Secretary, is one of the creators of the Hard Times Coop in Athens, Maine. Famous for her “Pinch of Love” granola, Janet and her husband, Allen, are codirectors of that up and coming Somerset County group.

Carolyn Robinson, our treasurer, organized two of the State’s most effective fertilizer order pickup and distribution systems last year. She’s director of the Hancock County group, and is always there with effective input at the monthly Board Meetings. Carolyn is the co-author of all the popular “Have-, More Plan” books.

Harriet Vaughan has the awesome task of bringing our ever-growing membership files up to date. Last year she developed an ingenious system which proved quite helpful, and we are now exploring the possibility of using a computer to assist her.

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New Chairpeople

Chuck Vaughan and I both have the intention to support and assist in facilitating increased committee effectiveness this year. We encourage all committee heads to call meetings and establish goals before the next Board Meeting. The research Committee has already set their goals (see elsewhere in this issue) and members are working on various tasks. Please call on Chuck and me and let us assist however best we can.

Certification

Al Marin had the unenviable responsibility of organizing the first fall certification of organic farmers right upon the heels of last spring’s certification. He did so quite effectively and is now working in cooperation with Bud Wallace (see below), and others to refine the certification process, and make it work even better.

Public Relations

Mort Mather, past president of MOFGA and present executive director of FOIL (Friends of Intelligent Land Use), has had considerable experience in this field and we are indeed fortunate to have him working with us again.

Finance

Nick Lore has experience in financial management and fund raising. Before moving to Maine, he managed a box factory and now operates Appleton Mills Bakery in cooperation with his wife Kathy. He has some exciting plans for fund raising this year.

Marketing

Jim Luthy, as last year’s v.p. Farming Division, assisted in organizing most of Maine’s farmers markets. As a Federation of Maine’s Cooperatives staff member, he worked on cooperative and direct marketing alternatives for Maine. Jim is a founder and major mover of this organization, and although he has less time than usual this year, his intention is to develop greater direct marketing in Maine.

Education and Assistance

Skip Howard works at Channel 7 out of Bangor and has experience in media presentations. He set up a number of educational and promotional spots for MOFGA and co-ops last year. We’re pleased to have him continuing his work. (Skip is also director of one of the Penobscot County groups.)

Research

The Research Committee has two directors this year. Will Brinton is farm manager of the Spock Farm in East Sullivan, and an extremely knowledgeable researcher. Eric Evans, a biologist at Marine Colloids and director of the upper Knox County group, is of a scientific mind and highly interested in research and organic methods. (Sec research report elsewhere in this issue.) Research Committee members include Dr. Jim Luthy, Dr. Fred Olday of College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine, and Eliot Coleman. It should be a great year for research.

Legislative Study

We are fortunate to have our wise man of farm politics, Dick McCollister, keeping tabs on legislative action for us again this year.

Watch this paper for Dick’s advice on agricultural bills and his sharings on the climate of the legislature.

President’s Special Committee on By-Laws

Bud Wallace, last year’s v.p. and our parliamentarian with an ever-helpful sense of order, will chair this committee. He’ll be studying our “sometimes cumbersome by-laws” and working in cooperation with our lawyer, Spike Stein, to correct any encumbrances and create a more precise set of laws for ratification at next year’s Annual Meeting.

Chairmen welcome your participation in these committees. Please take this opportunity to write or call the committee head of your choice and get involved. There’s plenty of room. We want your support. (Please see the MOFGA Directory for committee chairmen’s addresses and phone numbers elsewhere in this issue.)

... and Northeast Carry

At the MOFGA annual meeting at the University of Maine in Orono on Saturday, January 31st, unanimous and final approval was given for our participation in Northeast Carry. The by-law change, permitting Tym and me to be paid as Editor and Executive Director, respectively, was also ratified. On Tuesday, February 3rd, the project was finally approved by the granting foundation after numerous postponements.

This whole process began at the June '75 Board meeting at Shangri-La Farm when I requested permission to work with three other people on a proposal which eventually included funding for Tym and me as Editor and Director. A basic objective of the grant would be to create time and space in which to root MOFGA, establishing our greater self-sufficiency. During the summer months we met, often weekly, to draft and refine the proposal. We discussed Northeast Carry at every small and large Board meeting (six) and directors took information back to their county groups.

Ron Poitras wrote the final 40-page proposal and we submitted it to the foundation for consideration. Copies of the document were mailed to all officers, chairpeople, and County Directors. We discussed the Northeast Carry proposal at length, particularly MOFGA’s participation, at the December full Board meeting. The Board voted unanimous approval of both proposal and by-law changes with members to be notified and final approval made at the annual meeting.

Northeast Carry is a Maine-based organization for organization, education and development in three areas: organic and biological agriculture, alternative and appropriate technology, and small scale economics. Because these areas are so interrelated, the most productive work is accomplished when workers in these areas maintain a close working relationship. This is particularly true in publications and conference work.

MOFGA is the recognized leader in the promotion and development of organic agriculture in Maine. Tym and I will continue MOFGA’s work funded through Northeast Carry. MOFGA maintains its identity as a separate and independent organization. We share an office with other NEC members and cooperate on some projects mutually beneficial to all.

Tym and I worked full time last year with little remuneration. Nobody forced us to do it. It is simply what we enjoy doing most. I had a four month CETA grant and some money coming in from my tree /landscape business (I've now sold it.). Tym started getting paid $50.00/month a while back and received some support from his natural foods store.

According to the terms of the grant Tym and I get paid $6.00 an hour for 32-hour weeks. This works out to a little less than $10,000 year. We consider this retroactive to last year. Both of us have more than a few bills (and sick cars). For the record, I worked 56 hours last week, and I am sure Tym's hours are in that vicinity. Considering past experience this is likely to be the rule rather than an exception.

Chuck Vaughan, our MOFGA president, will be monitoring our work closely. All copies of MOFGA work will be sent to him, and I’ll be meeting with him at least monthly to keep him informed. Cheli Pingree, our vice president, has already attended a foundation advisory meeting, and is likely to be working part time at the office on this year’s apprenticeship program.

Other members of the NEC are, Albie Barden, from Norridgewock, who is remembered as the overall coordinator of last April’s Spring Growth Conference. Albert is an organizer, innovative thinker, wood heat authority. Most of his work will be in appropriate technology and small scale economics. Ron Poitras, writer, dome builder, creative thinker, will be working in all three areas with an emphasis on small scale economics. Deborah Ghoreyeb of Waldoboro, is our secretary, bookkeeper and office organizer extraordinaire.

Albie and Ron, particularly, will be exploring small scale ventures which can create measures of funding for NEC as well as MOFGA projects. The NEC will serve primarily as a marketing and development arm while MOFGA will continue its role as a membership organization and advocate for organic agriculture. Development projects may be a Community Development Corporation granite dust plant producing organic fertilizer or a water powered grist mill or a wood furniture shop.

We are all in high gear diligently working on the goals established for the first six months period. Should we accomplish these successfully we will be funded for another six months. There is the possibility of funding for a second and third year based on our performance. The grants get smaller each time according to our goal of creating increased self sufficiency.

Our office is at 134 Water Street in Hallowell on the third floor. The building is an old beauty built in 1789 — the design being similar to that of Independence Hall. It was here that the first issues of “The Farmers Almanac” were written and printed.

The office is available for MOFGA committee meetings most evenings and many days. Desks, typewriters and phones (local calls) are available at times when staff members are out of the office. Please call ahead and make arrangements. Our goals are your goals. Please support us and permit us the opportunity to serve you.

Peace

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MOFGA President's Report

By Chuck Vaughan

When I first heard about the grant for a paid executive director, I was concerned that MOFGA might fall too much under the influence of a few people handling the grant, and lose some of its identity as MOFGA and some of its broad base of support.

In turning over the Presidency to me and taking the job of Executive Director, Chaitanya has shown a strong concern for sharing the powers and responsibilities of leadership. We have worked out and will continue to refine procedures to allow the Board of Directors and the President to feed ideas to the Executive Director and to keep check on what he is doing.

I was pleased to be chosen president at this time because I have experienced successful working relationships with and between volunteer leaderships and paid staffs. Both the Extension Service and the Soil and Water Conservation District have functioned smoothly with the lay direction of professionals who do most of the actual work and make day to day decisions. There have been occasional conflicts in these organizations, but years of experience and common goals have resulted in many beautiful, productive relationships.

Many decisions should be made by the Executive Director alone since MOFGA is his main concern and preoccupation, while the other officers’ focus on MOFGA, by necessity, must take second place to the business of making a living.- For any major decisions, the Executive Director will consult with the President and/or the Board of Directors.

Chaitanya and I are looking forward to an innovative and productive year to further accelerate the momentum that MOFGA has been gaining.

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