Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association


The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

June 1, 2020

By Ben Goldfarb, Chelsea Green, 2018. Thinking about beavers makes me happy. I don’t know much about them: They haven’t flooded my back garden, my neighbors’ back field or forest, chewed my trees down, jammed the culvert and inundated the road. But I think they might help us manage water, given the weather shift in climate change. “Eager: The Surprising Life of Beavers” joyfully and defiantly tracks work being done to bring beavers back, sometimes with human help, into damaged landscapes that can’t hold water anymore. Apparently the whole U.S. territory was crawling with beavers when Europeans arrived, a landscape of cascading dams and wide, shallow beaver flowages, full of all the other aquatic creatures. 304 pages, hardcover, $17.95


The Planter of Modern Life

Louis Bromfield and the Seeds of a Food Revolution

June 1, 2020

By Stephen Heyman, W.W. Norton & Company, 2020. How is it that a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer living and working outside of Paris after World War I whose success – literary and social – was envied by his friends Fitzgerald and Hemingway is the same man who inspired Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and Joel Salatin to proselytize on sustainable agriculture? This writer publicly fought the Franklin administration on behalf of America's farmers during World War II and then hosted Humphrey Bogart's second marriage to Lauren Bacall at his Ohio farm; the wedding was covered by newspapers and magazines around the world. He testified in Congress against the use of DDT and similar new pesticides in agriculture 17 years before the publication of “Silent Spring.” How is it that such a man seems forgotten today while those he worked and socialized with, along with those he inspired, live on in our memories as giants of their times?


Gardening with Emma

Grow and Have Fun: A Kid-to-Kid Guide

June 1, 2020

By Emma Biggs and Steven Biggs, Storey Publishing, 2019. The first thing you notice about this book is that it is bright! It’s filled with colorful photos and kid-friendly illustrations that invite you to explore the pages. The table of contents is laid out like square-foot beds, instead of list-style, each chapter’s block labeled with what’s inside. At a glance you can see that there’s practical garden advice, fall and winter gardening tips, and a huge section with garden ideas for kids. 144 pages, paperback, $18.95


The Farm That Feeds Us

A year in the life of an organic farm

June 1, 2020

By Nancy Castaldo; illustrated by Ginnie Hsu; Quarto Publishing, 2020. How wonderful to read a book that begins, “Hurrah for farms that supply us with the food we eat!” While some farms grow crops and some farms raise animals, the farm in this book does both. Divided into sections by season, “The Farm That Feeds Us” features a modern organic farm that provides food all year long. And it does so in a fun way. 80 pages, hardbound, $18.95


Willie Knows Who Done It

June 1, 2020

By Hans Krichels, Atmosphere Press, 2020. Hans Krichels migrated to Maine to homestead in the ‘70s and learned to appreciate the rural, independent way of life here – along with the many characters who lived that life. He sold his woodcarvings at early Common Ground Country Fairs. His book of stories and poems comes from his years of taking notes about these people and places. 208 pages, paperback, $15.99. Available at BookStacks in Bucksport, Union River Book & Toy Co. in Ellsworth, all Sherman’s locations, Longfellow Books in Portland, and from Amazon and


Edible Weeds on Farms

Northeast farmer’s guide to self-growing vegetables

June 1, 2020

By Tusha Yakovleva, 2020

The 98-page free PDF discusses weeds as foods, outlines harvesting and marketing, and offers weed identification resources and recipes. The information was researched thanks to a grant from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.


Tree Leaf Fodder for Livestock

Transitioning Farm Woodlots to ‘Air Meadow’ for Climate Resilience

June 1, 2020

By Shana Hanson, 2020

This is the final report about a SARE-funded study of pollarding and harvest of tree growth at 3 Streams Farm in Belfast, Maine, to feed livestock. Pollarding is pruning drastically above browse height, cutting close to livestock head-height on top of a clear stem in order to harvest new growth every three to six years for fodder. This 1-acre demonstration plot of “air meadow” fodder production tracked labor involved, and dry matter consumed by a small herd of dairy goats as well as feeding preferences when other livestock sampled pollarded products. The report offers pollarding guidelines with species-specific comments.


Wild About Weeds

March 2020

By Jack Wallington, Laurence King Publishing, 2019 – This book may make you stop cringing at the word “weed” (and even “invasive”) and enable you to consider some plants in a different light. Landscape garden designer and garden writer Jack Wallington profiles over 50 weeds and ways they might be used in the garden – with appropriate cautions, when necessary. 176 pages, hardcover, $24.99


The New American Farmer

Immigration, Race, and the Struggle for Sustainability

March 2020

By Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, MIT Press, 2019 – Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern recounts the stories of new Latino/a farmers who have miraculously managed, despite many obstacles, to move from farmworkers to farm owners in the United States. Of the dozens of farmers she interviewed, almost all use organic practices, but only two are certified organic. 214 pages, paperback, $30


Where Have All the Bees Gone? Pollinators in Crisis

March 2020

By Rebecca E. Hirsch, Twenty-First Century Books, 2020 – Bees are disappearing, and not just honey bees. Bumblebee populations are in decline, too. For those of us who like to eat, this is a problem because bees pollinate 75 percent of the fruits, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States – about $3 billion worth of crops each year. Plus, they pollinate plants and fruit trees that provide food for birds and other wildlife. 104 pages, library bound, $37.32