the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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summer semester at stone soup

tiny house 005
Stone Soup Institute is a small non-profit organization teaching sustainable/rural living skills, located in Harpswell Maine. Our program is project based, and hands-on. We are offering the Spring/Summer semester with a focus on building a mobile Tiny House.  We will be building with lumber sawn from trees salvaged from storm damage, as well as materials salvaged from local remodeling contractors. Students will learn how to plan and build a tiny house from start to finish. The goal is to begin in mid May and finish by mid August. Instruction in gardening, animal husbandry, and  homestead related crafts round out our time together. For more information about the Spring/Summer semester visit our website
Also, see our Tiny House blog:
Please contact Jim Cornish for more information at 207-833-2884 or by e-mail:

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grassroots seed network

Maine farmer, seed curator forms new grass-roots group
By Mary Pols for the Portland Press Herald, February 16
After a rift in the community of seed-savers, Will Bonsall takes matters into his own hands to continue protecting hundreds of varieties of potatoes and other plants.



Read the full article HERE
and check out the Grassroots Seed Network!

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mofga: grow your own organic garden workshops

Grow your own organic garden MOFGA

Locations across Maine

April 2, 2014: 6-9 pm

Are you concerned about the rising cost of food? Unsure what the term “certified organic” means? Interested in learning how to grow your own vegetables in a sustainable manner?
Join MOFGA for an evening-long workshop on how to grow your own garden, where the basics of soil science, how to enrich your soil to produce healthy, high-yielding plants will be discussed. The course will also cover the basics of making and using compost, the principles of crop rotation and how to incorporate green manures and manage nutrients in the garden. Other topics will include how to tell the difference between cultivated plants and weeds, basic weed control strategies and common insect pests and methods of natural insect control. The instructor will be an experienced farmer or gardener from your region.
More about these workshops and MOFGA can be found HERE

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save the date: maine grain conference!

We will post registration information as soon as we have it!

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2014 Maine Grain Conference, March 15th – Bangor, ME
We are extremely fortunate this year to have as our main speakers Mary-Howell and Klaas Martens of Lakeview Organic Grains, Penn Yan, NY.  The Martens are regional experts in all aspects of organic grain production and handling.  They will discuss crop rotations, fertility and weed management, seed production, and post-harvest grain cleaning, drying, and storage; as well as the topics and questions that you bring.  We’ll also learn from a panel of Maine grain growers about their successes and lessons learned; and hear about results from UMaine grain research.

Save March 15th on your calendar and look for upcoming registration information!




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greenhorns in maine tomorrow!

Thursday night( JAN 23)  for the Halcyon Grange at Blue Hill Public LIbrary, 7pm ( with potluck cookie jar) about the history and future of the Grange movement. national_grange-194x300

Severine Fleming will report her work (with Jen Griffith) on a project called Grange Future.
The Grange is the oldest Agricultural organization in the United States, its peak coincided with the golden age of family farming in the 1880s- 1920s, recruitment and action spurred by the anti-monopolist sentiments of family farmers being gauged by the unregulated Railroad empires.
For today’s young farmers the grange is a kind of syllabus in community-scale organizing, regional development, cooperative economics and kinship-based policy advocacy.

Grange Future is a community history project undertaken by The Greenhorns, a young farmers network, to help interpret the both the past and future of the Grange and grange movement,not in a nostalgic or abstract way, but as an appropriate institutional format for contemporary users concerned with rebuilding our food system.  Continue reading

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a model for conversation and creativity

We love this idea.  And if you’re feeling the spirit of giving, chip in!

Lily Piel PIctures Oct. 2011 001

Quill’s End  Farm is a 100 acre farm in Penobscot, Maine.   It is a grass-based cow dairy and raises small livestock on pasture grazing rotationally.  Heather and Phil Retberg farm this plot of land with their three children, Alexander, Benjamin and Carolyn.  Phil hand milks 4-6 cows and all the milk is exchanged through a private buying club and their on-farm store.  While they have farmed for 16 years, the last few years have posed some challenges they couldn’t overcome alone.  They came to the conclusion that hard work and perseverance was not going to address those challenges and   reached out to their farm patrons, friends, and community of support to help them brainstorm some creative ways forward during a potluck brainstorm session in November.  Below is how Heather describes the day and what transpired:

“We brought together between 35-40 of our Quill’s End farm patrons for a potluck–midwives, teachers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, bakers, beer brewers, parents, retired and young  to help us brainstorm on some tough obstacles intersecting to pose some real survival challenges to small, diversified farms of our generation.   Continue reading

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sweet farmstead for sale in unity, me


This 16-acre property is MOFGA certified organic and ready to be a home to your operation. The fertile pastures are fully-fenced, and there are existing NRCS Contracts, established Infrastructure for poultry & ruminants, and a well-managed woodlot. It’s located just a few miles from MOFGA’s fairgrounds and in the midst of one of Maine’s key farming communities.  Greenhorns’ friend and ally, Abby, has run Bacon Brook Farmstead on the property for several years and is now moving on to pastures that are just as green and lush to join and help expand another Maine farm.  She has great taste and the home has been renovated beautifully.

View the listing HERE Continue reading

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conflict negotiation


Farmers and Landowners: Learn to Negotiate and Manage Conflict
Are you a farmer trying to lease land? A landlord renting to a tenant? A food producer seeking entry into an existing wholesale or restaurant market?

Whether transacting a lease, a sales agreement or a worker contract, farmers and landowners benefit from good negotiating skills – the subject of a day-long workshop in November at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity.

Negotiation and conflict are a part of our daily lives – with customers, suppliers, co-workers, business associates, family members and others. Despite this pervasiveness, negotiations often do not go as well as we would like. Continue reading

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maine/NH young farmer mixer! sept 28th

Arundel Mixer Poster2Hey ME and NH farmers!
It’s time to celebrate the harvest and connect with fellow young farmers! On Saturday, September 28th, join us for the kick-off event of the Greater Portland Young Farmers Coalition, the newest chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition! NYFC chapters bring farmers together to share meals, opportunities and strategies for overcoming the obstacles we face in starting careers in farming. It’s a wonderful community to be a part of, and you won’t want to miss this party. Continue reading

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maine grain alliance


The Maine Grain Alliance seeks applications to award mini-grants of $200 – $1,000 to fund need-based technical assistance (TA) that will help grain-based business owners secure economic opportunities in Maine.  A total of $2500 will be awarded in this round of grants. 

For more information about the Maine Grain Alliance and its other programs, please visit  The Maine Grain Alliance is a 501c3 non-profit organization.  This technical assistance grant program is made possible by a donor-advised grant program at the Maine Community Foundation.

For more information about the request for proposals email Please email completed proposals to: Application Deadline: August 30th 5:00 pm. Awards Announcement: September 20th.


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burdock gathering


Burdock 2013
12th annual gathering for a free and sustainable future. New location!
August 20-27, Pittston, Maine

A participatory community gathering
Workshops, discussions, & skillshares
Kids workshops & activities
Campfires, swimming, music & art
Lots of fun & free healthy food
Participating rain or shine! 

Music, Bartering, Performance and Celebration
Barter Fair! Saturday August 3rd from 1-4pm Bring crafts,medicine, food, clothing, books or anything else you want to trade. Continue reading


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