Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

I love running (far) and I love farming. Both require endurance and focus and long periods outside. While I haven’t had success marrying the two together (especially in peak harvest season), I am usually doing at least one of them!

Since moving to Maine I’ve worked on a few MOFGA-certified organic farms and it’s been really inspiring to feel a part of a movement with other young farmers. On top of that, MOFGA events such as the Common Ground Country Fair and the Seed Swap and Scion Exchange provide so much knowledge and hope to me that I have been trying to find a way to give back.

Through a mutual friend I met Laura Sieger, the coordinator for MOFGA’s Maine Heritage Orchard (the 10-acre preservation orchard in Unity). I was already trying to grow heirloom apples at my in-laws after responding to an ad in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener for free, grafted heirloom apples. I completed an exchange at two different times in a parking lot in Yarmouth out of the back of a trunk, which may have looked suspect to onlookers! Laura gave me great advice on how to nurture the trees, and I have been very thankful for that.

With that connection, I decided to try to use my first 100-mile race (Riverlands 100 in Turner, Maine) to raise money for a cause I really care about: MOFGA and The Maine Heritage Orchard.

I got a little nervous having raised $1,150 through GoFundMe and collecting checks before completing the race, but I think the fundraising helped keep me accountable! In the end I placed second overall, at 21 hours 18 minutes, which took me totally by surprise! Toward the end of the race I did feel relief that I had held up my end of the bargain to all who donated and believed in me.  

Much gratitude to MOFGA and the Maine Heritage Orchard.  

– Clark Heijbroek, Gardiner, Maine