Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
President’s Letter – Winter 2000-2001

Publications \ The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener \ Winter 2000-2001 \ President

By Sharon Tisher, 2000 MOFGA President

As I sit down to write, I have a startling revelation: This is my last President’s letter. In January, I turn over the helm to Eric Rector, biologist, creator of our web site, prize-winning chef, and organic gardener and animal husbander. It’s been a whirlwind two years, full of challenges and projects that kept all of us very busy and very enthused. It’s nice to wind up this term at a time of year, post-Fair, when we traditionally get many accolades. An e-mail from our friend The Humble Farmer: “The Common Ground Fair is the high point of my summer – Everyone there seems to be one of my friends – [Y]ou’d have to go to Cambridge to find as much IQ assembled in one such small area – Your web site is a great help to anyone wanting to find out about MOFGA and The Common Ground Fair. It is very well done. If anyone were to ask me, I would have to say that MOFGA is the most important organization in Maine.” John Cole’s column in The Maine Times (“Maine – the way food should be”): “the French-fries I bought at a small booth on that perfect Friday afternoon were the very best I have ever tasted – At my advanced years, it’s no small thing to experience such an epiphany.”

In the area of pesticide regulation, my special interest, it’s nice to be able to point to a few milestones as I depart: the first Critical Pesticide Control Area for human chemical sensitivity, the first Board of Pesticides Control member who’s a certified MOFGA grower (see p. 10) and the initiation of a major effort to reduce pesticide use in schools (see p. 9). In genetic engineering, a major Board effort this summer has distributed nearly all of our 50,000 free mini-issues [of The MOF&G] on healthy food and genetic engineering. We’ve been getting praise from all corners of the country. We produced what is probably the world’s first musical puppet play about GE food, and performed it at six fairs and events over the summer and fall. Working with our puppet master Kathy Lyons, playwright and director Tamela Glenn, and an extremely talented group of high school performers, was a thrill.

Recently I’ve had great fun working with Heather Spalding on the Information Quest game and contest for school groups at the Fair. Heather created the game two years ago – a scavenger hunt to find answers to questions by interacting with exhibitors and farmers at the Fair. This year we turned it into a contest, inviting school groups to submit scrapbooks that present their answers to the Quest and creatively describe their experience at the Fair. The contest was generously supported by a grant from the Captain Planet Foundation, and gift certificate awards donated by FEDCO Seeds and Johnny’s Selected Seeds. The winners this year, I’m very proud to announce, were the Appleton Village School, Benton Elementary School, the Islesboro Central School, Mt. Vernon Elementary School, and Toddy Pond School. Their scrapbooks present a totally delightful, child’s-eye view of the experience of the Fair. They’ll be on exhibit at next year’s Fair, and a selection of pages from the winners will be published in our spring issue of The MOF&G.

So, many thanks for the chance to serve the “most important organization in Maine” (or was it the country?).
MOF&G Cover Winter 2000-2001