Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener – Fall 2020

Publications \ The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener \ Fall 2020

Photo courtesy of Mandala Farm
Some of the Mandala Farm family.
Grain from a Maine farm, Photo courtesy of the Maine Grain Alliance.
Grain from a Maine farm
Create habitat in your garden for beneficial insects such as ladybugs. English photo
Create habitat in your garden for beneficial insects such as ladybugs.
Making cannabis salves requires just a few ingredients. Roberta Bailey photo.
Making cannabis salves. Bailey photo.
Identifying Apples in 2020. Illustration by John Bunker
Identifying Apples in 2020. Bunker illustration.
 

Cultivating a Sense of Unity at Fjord Horse-Powered Mandala Farm
By Sonja Heyck-Merlin
Sara Faull and Genio Burtin were in their mid-20s when they purchased Mandala Farm in 2002. The 100 acres is on the Schoodic Peninsula in Gouldsboro, the easternmost town in Hancock County. The farmstead sits atop a hill with their 40 acres of fields sloping eastward to meet the shores of Jones Pond. Faull and Burtin have two children – Enna (12) and Ross (10). Burtin’s parents also live and work on the farm. When the Natural Resources Conservation Service soil specialist first walked the fields with Faull and Burtin, he joked that they could always sell gravel if they needed to. Selling gravel wasn't what the couple had in mind, though. Having already rescued the property from development, they wanted to put their horses to work.

The Postharvest Grain Handling Project of the Maine Grain Alliance
By Tristan Noyes
Maine's local and regional grain economy is sprouting new seeds for a vibrant future. Even in the midst of a health and economic crisis, farmers, producers, processors and consumers are valuing the importance of healthfully grown and processed grains for human consumption.

Controlling Pest Insects in the Organic Garden
By Will Bonsall
One of the most persistent problems in growing food is pest control: how to contend with the other sentient beings who love your food as much as you do. Oh sure, I hear people say, “If your soil is healthy enough, your plants will be so strong and vital that pests will just leave them alone and go after weaker, sicker ones.” That may be true to a large extent with diseases, but insects are another matter.

How to Make Cannabis Salve
By Roberta Bailey
As cannabis has become legal and more readily available, people are embracing its uses. Slowly we are coming back to a plant that was our ancient medicine. Slowly we relearn its delicate secrets, its diverse strengths. Cannabis has so much to offer, from enhancing the soil beneath us to providing fiber and medicine.

Organic Certification During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Chris Grigsby, Director, MOFGA Certification Services LLC        
The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 global pandemic has caused tremendous disruption to so many aspects of our daily lives, including our food system. MOFGA Certification Services (MCS) has also had to shift the organic certification process due to the regulatory requirements.

Questions About Poisonous Pasture Plants
By Jacki Perkins
I’ve received a few questions this summer about the effects of poisonous pasture plants on livestock. Here are my responses, along with a reference to a longer article on the subject in summer 2011 The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

What Apple Is This? Identifying Apples in 2020
By John Bunker
Although we usually begin to identify apples each year in August and early September, the Common Ground Country Fair weekend is the official kickoff of Maine apple ID season. A dedicated group of us looks forward to the opportunity to identify apples. It’s an annual ritual. Not only is doing the IDs a challenge, it also puts us in touch with people from every corner of the state who introduce us to the last of the rare historic fruit trees. Over the past few decades, we have been able to identify thousands of apples for people throughout the state.

Harvest Kitchen: Kids in the Kitchen
By Roberta Bailey
How strange not to be gathering for a celebration of Common Ground. For so many of us, the Fair has been a place to catch up with friends from afar, to listen to talks and learn how to do it all better, to eat great food, to sell or buy goods and crafts. For many, the Fair is a significant part of their yearly income. We are all missing it in so many ways. We are all adapting. Perhaps the key to success is not to try to hold onto everything being the same, but to embrace the shifts. So many are coming up with creative solutions. The online Common Ground Country Fair is one such solution.

Crop Tree Management: Managing for Value, Not Volume
By Noah Gleason-Hart
As farmers and gardeners we understand that plants need three things to grow: water, nutrients and light. In our gardens we can add compost and grow cover crops to enrich our soils, and we can irrigate to provide water during dry spells. When we extend our view past the edges of our fields and consider managing our woodlots, our management tools are more limited. Irrigation and fertilization are not feasible and probably not ecologically advisable in the forest. Instead, as forest managers our primary tool for encouraging growth is to use a process called thinning to reallocate existing growing space and light resources to trees we want to grow.

Reviews
Greenhorns Beginners Guide to Getting Into Farming
Welcome to the Agrihood – Housing, Shopping, and Gardening for a Farm-to-Table Lifestyle
Fighting Pollution and Climate Change
Plants for the People – A Modern Guide to Plant Medicine


 

Editorials

Look to Nature to Find Ways to Connect
By Sarah Alexander, MOFGA Executive Director

Essential Work: Addressing Our Communities’ Preexisting Conditions
By Eli Berry, MOFGA board member, and chair, Common Ground Country Fair Steering Committee

Thanks and See You Around
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener

Tribute to Jean English
By Heather Spalding

Staff Profile
Jean English

Volunteer Profile
Dusty Dowse