Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
By Russell Libby

One of the things that we learn early on farms is that there is a cycle to life. Crops grow, mature, and are harvested. Animals are born, grow, and die. After a while we look around and realize that we’re part of the cycle, too. Over the past few months MOFGA has lost a few “organic pioneers.”

Mollie Birdsall died August 26, at Horsepower Farm in Penobscot. For 28 years Mollie was the glue that made Horsepower Farm go. She was a pioneer in the Blue Hill Farmers’ Market, which celebrated its 25th birthday this year. She was an organizer of the Wednesday Spinners, joining them for 23 consecutive years in showing the visitors at Common Ground Country Fair the whole process of spinning, from wool to finished product. Mollie and Paul have hosted over 120 apprentices through the years, and she kept up with them afterwards. Mollie was a key organizer of the Hancock Organic Growers Cooperative in Blue Hill, and as Scott Howell said, she got things done. Several hundred people joined Paul and his family at a memorial celebration at Horsepower Farm in September, and a granite bench was dedicated in her name at this year’s Fair.

Eldridge “Bud” Wallace died on the eighth of September. An organic farmer in Leeds for many years, Bud didn’t hesitate to tell you what he thought worked, and what didn’t, and then go out and show you why. He sold for 27 years at a roadside stand on Route 202, and built the soil there to a high level of fertility. Bud, too, hosted apprentices through the years and had a big influence on those who passed through. He believed in working hard and getting done on time, and shared his experiences freely with all who passed. His wife, Barbara, remains at the farm.

Finally, an organic “pioneer,” Eugene Carpovich of Fayette, died August 26 at 94 years of age. When the dominant mindset was to find chemicals to kill any insects, Eugene started looking for alternatives. A scientist, born in Russia, he experimented and began finding alternatives. He did some of the earliest research on sticky traps for codling moth, and wrote articles in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Organic Gardening magazine that helped in the transition to organic orcharding for many.

There are many friends of MOFGA who have passed on through the years. What they have in common is their desire to make the world better. Our thanks and sympathy go out to the families of Mollie Birdsall, Bud Wallace, and Eugene Carpovitch, and the many other workers for organic agriculture.
MOF&G Cover Winter 2000-2001