Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

MOFGA Staff Changes
Farm & Homestead Day: Knowing Takes Doing
Roderick Russell Show at John Bapst: Successful Fundraiser for MOFGA
Congratulations to Tom Roberts
MOFGA Member Is Congresswoman Pingree's Sustainable Ag Field Rep
Congratulations to the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee's CSA Raffle Winner!
Thanks to Empty Bowl Donors
Source Awards
Condolences

MOFGA Staff Changes

Abby Sadauckas, MOFGA's educational programs director, has decided to transition out of her role to take on a new endeavor with the Greenhorns, as project coordinator of Maine Sail Freight (http://www.thegreenhorns.net/mainesailfreight/), where she will be supporting an initiative to create a sea-based trade route from Maine to points south. She will continue as a volunteer on MOFGA's agricultural services and education committees.

"Throughout my time at MOFGA," said Sadauckas, "I've gained the knowledge to establish and run several farm businesses and now to mentor other new farmers as they undertake the same journey. I am enormously grateful for the experiences I've gained here, the people I've met and for co-workers who have become integral advisors and dear friends." Along with her partner, Jake Galle, Sadauckas runs MOFGA certified organic Apple Creek Farm in Bowdoinham.
 
"We are saddened by Abby's decision to leave," said MOFGA's executive director, Ted Quaday. "She is a valued employee with tremendous skill and enthusiasm for her work training and supporting organic farmers in Maine. We will miss her deep knowledge of her program areas and her historical perspective."

Daniel MacPhee, a former MOFGA journeyperson who, with Corinne Wesh, now farms Blackbird Rise in Palermo – another MOFGA certified organic farm – will now direct MOFGA's educational programs. MacPhee has served as farm manager and educator at Yale University and Kennebec Valley Community College. He currently serves on the board of the Grassroots Seed Network and is particularly passionate about organic seed production and family farm viability. Of his new role at MOFGA, MacPhee says, "having personally benefited so greatly from the educational programming and networking opportunities provided by MOFGA, I am thrilled for the chance to add my experience and perspective to the ongoing work of educating and supporting farmers, gardeners and consumers to help build an ever-more robust and sustainable agricultural community in Maine."

Jennifer Brown has joined MOFGA as its development associate. Brown brings an eclectic and diverse background to her new work here. She apprenticed on a diversified farm in Jefferson for several summers, grows and wildcrafts medicine plants and food, works as a professional gardener, practices permaculture and hybridizes daylilies. Brown spent several decades teaching on the Audubon Expedition Institute, a traveling experiential college and graduate program focusing on community-based ecological education and leadership. She has lived and traveled extensively in South and Southeast Asia: working for the Marine National Parks in Thailand, developing and delivering a walking semester program in Nepal, and teaching several semesters in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Kerala in India. More locally she has served on the Waldo County Cooperative Extension executive committee, is actively involved in Belfast Transition and its new Head of Tide Permaculture Project, and co-facilitated a participatory action research project with women leaders from across the state. For the past two summers, Brown developed an experiential learning curriculum for the Blueberry Harvest School that serves Mi'kmaq, Passamaquoddy, Latino and other diverse populations of students who are the children of migrant workers. "I am excited and delighted to be working at MOFGA," says Brown.


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Joe Dupere
Joe Dupere
 

Farm & Homestead Day: Knowing Takes Doing
By Kyle McCaskill

What makes Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA different from other events? From the beginning, the Farm & Homestead Day all-volunteer organizing committee, otherwise known as "the Rabble," has not wavered from its commitment to make the event as widely accessible as possible – read FREE. And the accessible concept isn't restricted to the lack of cost barriers: What is largely taught are simple technologies that use readily available items and can be learned by ordinary people with no previous experience. The organizers have also remained steadfast in their determination that all workshops be participatory and hands-on.

My late husband, Joe Dupere, was a member of the organizing committee for the first Farm & Homestead Day in 2012 – the original Rabble. Although I was not part of Farm & Homestead Day then, I felt as if I were, because Joe and I talked about it continuously. We were on a journey to learn to lead less consumptive and more sustainable, empowered lives, so we were rereading a lot of appropriate technology material from the 1970s. I remember many conversations during morning milking, over the backs of goats, which started with me asking Joe how plans for Farm & Homestead Day were developing. Such conversations quickly branched into a discussion of the appropriate technology movement and correlations with Farm & Homestead Day. Sometimes, in this context, we would talk about Transition Towns, and what could be drawn from some of their re-skilling efforts for Farm & Homestead Day. Often the discussion meandered into medieval technologies and what important lessons could be taken from them, in relationship to . . . Farm & Homestead Day.

The best description I have read of appropriate technology (AT) – and I forget where I saw it – was "simple things done in a smart way." Appropriate technology projects tended to be small-scale, local and sustainable, meaning they didn't use up or ruin the resources they relied on. They could be carried out or managed by individuals rather than corporations. Appropriate technology attempted to create solutions that were only as complex as the problems demanded. It was not a Luddite movement but an attempt to use the best of what we know, wisely. I remember many stories about people using salvaged materials to create ingenious things in their garages and backyards. In the ‘70s, AT seemed like an obvious way to ameliorate worsening crises. It was an approach that allowed many of us to maintain hope.

Now, instead of AT, people talk about "resilience." For instance, we advertise Farm & Homestead Day as "re-skilling for resilience." This strikes me as a harder-edged and more resigned approach than the hopeful spirit with which AT was heralded. Resilience requires strengthening oneself to withstand stress – the way a sapling subjected to constant wind will develop "wind firmness."

Farm & Homestead Day is indeed about resilience, in terms of sharing knowledge, preserving useful skills and enhancing our ability to weather stress. It is also about place – this wonderful place where we are. It is about community; about energy and vision; about people and empowerment. And yes, it is about hope.

Joe Dupere was unshakably convinced of the need for, and value of, Farm & Homestead Day. Not that long ago, he would observe, the average person needed to know more practical skills to get through a single day than most people now learn in a lifetime. Not that long ago, he would say, most people were primarily producers and makers instead of consumers. It is not enough – and here Joe would really get serious – just to learn skills. We need to practice them, preserve them and pass them on to the next generation. The implicit value of a hands-on-learning event was a no-brainer to Joe. Knowing takes doing.


Roderick Russell Show at John Bapst: Successful Fundraiser for MOFGA

In April, students in the Student Environmental Action Committee at John Bapst Memorial High School hosted a fundraiser show with all profits – $500! – going to MOFGA as part of the club's Earth Month activities. The show featured Roderick Russell, a professional sword swallower, mind reader, stage hypnotist and speaker who performs nationally and internationally. This is the second year that this club has honored MOFGA with its fundraiser. Thank you, students – especially Anna Bryan, who helped coordinate this effort for the past two years.

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Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets board of directors co-chair, Jack McAdam (left) presents Tom Roberts with the organization’s Founders’ Award.
Jasper, the youngest member of the MOFGA-El Salvador sistering committee, drew the winning ticket for the CSA raffle. English photo
Ray and Cindy Schofield of Back 40 Bakehouse in Montville donated all the bread for the Empty Bowl Supper – and even made a 6-pound loaf, with the MOFGA logo, which was raffled off. English photo

Congratulations to Tom Roberts

In January the Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets awarded Pittsfield farmer Tom Roberts of Snakeroot Organic Farm its Founders' Award. The award honors Roberts' decades of dedication, service and mentorship to Maine's farmers' market community. Roberts recognized the importance of farmers' markets to the viability of Maine's farms and food network as far back as the early '90s and formed a network of like-minded individuals that eventually became the Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets. He has impacted farmers and farmers' markets across the state with his generous and thoughtful sharing of knowledge and experience.

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MOFGA Member Is Congresswoman Pingree's Sustainable Ag Field Rep

Former MOFGA employee and current MOFGA member Emily Horton recently accepted a position as Congresswoman Chellie Pingree's sustainable agriculture field representative. Horton, from Montville, Maine, was raised on one of the first MOFGA certified organic family farms. She held a variety of positions at MOFGA from 2010 to 2013 and most recently worked for Healthy Androscoggin in Lewiston, managing its SNAP nutrition education program for low-income Mainers. In her new position Horton will be supporting Congresswoman Pingree's Portland office and its outreach efforts relating to Maine agriculture and aquaculture, conservation and environmental regulations. She will be based in the Portland office but expects to be working and meeting with constituents across the state. You can contact Horton at Congresswoman Pingree's Portland office: 2 Portland Fish Pier, Suite 304, Portland, ME 04101; 207-774-5019; https://pingree.house.gov/contact-chellie.

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Congratulations to the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee's CSA Raffle Winner!

Jasper, the youngest member of the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee, drew the winning ticket for the committee's CSA raffle. Kyle Avila won $350 toward a MOFGA certified organic CSA!

Thanks to everyone who bought tickets, making this fundraiser a success; to Crosstrax in Unity for selling tickets; and to Rising Tide Coop in Damariscotta and the CSA fairs, which provided space for us to sell tickets. Thanks, too, to Laurah Brown at MOFGA for handling ticket sales there and to Grace Keown at MOFGA for tracking sales.

Thanks to Empty Bowl Donors

The MOFGA-El Salvador sistering committee's 14th annual Empty Bowl supper in April was a success! Thanks to all who came to Belfast to support the committee's work, and a special thanks to our cosponsors, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast.

Thanks so much to all the donors who made this supper a success:

Soup – Cheryl Wixson and Mary Yurlina
Food – Belfast Coop Store; Happytown Farm, Orland; Pheonix O'Brien, Unity; MOFGA-El Salvador committee members
Bread – Back 40 Bakehouse, Montville
Facility – The Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast
Music – Gray Parrot, Hancock
Organization – Susan Pierce, Northport
Potters –
Charlie Grosjean, Hog Bay Pottery, Franklin
Chris Breedlove, Honey Bee Pottery, Mt. Desert
Robert and Wendy Esposito, Unity Pond Pottery, Unity
Barbara Walch Pottery & Fire Flower Garden, Thorndike
Beth Goettel, Thomaston
Betsy Levine, Prescott Hill Pottery, Liberty
Mary Trotochaud, Everyday Pottery, Belmont
Akemi Wray, Gull Rock Pottery, Hancock
Chris Covert, Point Road Pottery, Hancock
H.O.M.E., Orland
Loken Pottery, Farmingdale
Lee Cummings, Orono


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Source Awards

The Portland Press Herald announced its "Source Awards" in April to leaders in sustainability in Maine. They included The Farm Stand in South Portland (Newcomer Award), Hannaford Supermarkets (Pollinator Award for managing sustainability across a large number of stores), Stewart Smith of Lakeside Farm (Elder Award), Eliot Coleman (Healthy Food Champion), Tyler Frank of Garbage to Garden (Good Neighbor), Robin Alden of Penobscot East Resources Center (Innovator), Maine Farmland Trust (Storyteller) and The Ecology School (Educator). Congratulations, all. 

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Condolences

Condolences to the family and friends of Michael Zuck of Everlasting Farm in Bangor, who died from lymphoma this winter. Michael was a good friend of MOFGA. He took some of his final days to write his thoughts about life and gardening for The MOF&G. Please see his writing in this issue of the paper.

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