the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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maine’s mofga receives $1 million for farmer training

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, A farming organization with a strong grassroots history, announced Wednesday that it received a gift of $1 million to help support and train new farmers, the largest financial donation in its history.

Officials from the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association said that they were thrilled with the gift from the New York City-based Partridge Foundation, which also pledged an additional $1 million to MOFGA if the Maine group can raise a matching amount over the next 18 months. All the monies are to be used for MOFGA’s new farmer programming.

To read more about this amazing news, click HERE!


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MOFGA’s farm & homestead day

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So many people asked, “Whatever happened to Small Farm Field Day?” that a group of dedicated volunteers decided to resurrect the event as Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA. The emphasis is on teaching rural living skills through a variety of hands-on activities. The event will be held this year on Saturday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity.

Workshops will include tool sharpening, raising meat rabbits, leather working, all things scythe and many more. The fiber area will have spinning, weaving, carding, felting and other workshops. Come learn to use a treadle sewing machine!  Continue reading


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maine’s young farmer alliance

Gathering of Maine’s Young Farmers Alliance!

Grassland Promo

The next gathering will be held at Grassland Farm in Skowhegan on Saturday May 10th at 5pm. After a round of introductions there will be a farm tour and potluck. Please bring a dish and drinks to share. FMI or to carpool email David Gulak, davidgulak@gmail.com. Grassland Farm is located at 41 Grassland Lane, Skowhegan.

Photo courtesy of Grassland Farm: http://www.grasslandorganicfarm.com/

Maine’s Young Farmer Alliance is a Chapter of NYFC: http://www.youngfarmers.org/


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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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MOFGA farmer-in-residence opportunity

FIR-AdThis is an incredible opportunity, greenhorns.  Apply!

MOFGA’s Farmer-in-Residence (F.I.R.) Program offers aspiring farmers committed to organic agriculture and public outreach the opportunity to live and farm at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity, Maine. Farmers-in-Residence participate in MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program, which gives new and aspiring organic farmers access to the land, resources, and support they need to establish successful farm enterprises.

MOFGA’s property in Unity encompasses 250+ acres in predominantly agricultural Waldo County. In addition to hosting the Common Ground Country Fair every September, the land is home to MOFGA’s staff offices, a number of livestock barns, an exhibition hall, and an ecologically-designed farmhouse. The F.I.R. journeypersons have access to the farmhouse to use as a dwelling and headquarters for their farming activities. They also have access to MOFGA’s agricultural resource base with which to establish and develop their own farm businesses.


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conflict negotiation

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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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seeking volunteer tabler posse

for this year’s Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine.  This is an important event for Greenhorns and we need a few dedicated volunteers to help represent us.

Volunteers will help us run the booth, answer questions about Greenhorns, network with other organizations and enjoy the one of the best organic farming gatherings in the country.

If you are interested, please email office@thegreenhorns.net and let us know which day(s) you would like to volunteer.  Your admission to the fair will be covered. Volunteers must make their own travel and sleeping arrangements.

Looking forward to hearing from a few of you who want to attend!


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late summer/fall apprenticeships

If you’ve been reading our blog all summer and dreaming of getting  your hands in the soil, consider applying to MOFGA’s apprenticeship program.

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NOW is a great time to apprentice on a farm in Maine. Many of the farms participating in MOFGA’s Apprenticeship Program are looking for fun, hard-working and energetic crew members for the months of August, September and October. With an increase in the number of fall CSAs and winter markets Maine farmers are extending their seasons and are able to offer longer season apprenticeships.  The MOFGA Apprenticeship program is an excellent way to learn by doing. Farms in the program include vegetable, livestock and dairy operations and range in scale from homestead and farmstead production to market gardens and commercial operations- so what ever interests you have- there is an apprentice situation for you. The program includes weekly Farm Training Projects that run through mid-September. These topic specific weekly gatherings supplement on-farm training and are a great way to meet other apprentices. For more information about MOFGA’s Apprenticeship Program, Farm Training Project and to apply please visit www.mofga.org > programs > apprenticeship or call the MOFGA Office 207-568-4142.


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john bunker homestead tour – tonight

Another great offering from MOFGA, as part of their Farm Training Project workshop series.
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Tuesday, July 16 at 5pm Super Chilly Farm, Palermo
Anyone who’s perused the Fedco Trees catalog has gotten a glimpse of John Bunker’s encyclopedic knowledge of and unbridled enthusiasm for the diversity of Maine’s agricultural flora. John, along with his partner Cammy Watts, also operates Super Chilly Farm in Palermo. They tend about 100 fruit trees, extensive small scale vegetable gardens, small fruits and many ornamentals. They grow most of their own food, storing much of it in their stone root cellar. The orchard features dozens of rare and historic varieties, many originating in Maine. Gardening is done entirely with hand tools. John will give a tour of their off-the-grid owner-built home, various apprentice log cabins and out buildings, gardens, orchard and nursery. There will be plenty of time for questions about farming and homesteading on a small scale. Come see what you can do over the course of forty years with marginal land and a lot of home made compost.


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ecological pest control

This week’s Farm Training Project event from MOFGA.  Always a good model for other organizations/educational initiatives. IMG_4586

Ecological Pest Control
Wednesday, June 26, 5pm at Hatchet Cove Farm, Warren
Thursday, June 27, 5pm at Black Kettle Farm, Lyman
Effective ecological pest control starts with a farm system design based on the fundamental principles of diversity and complexity. Join Eric Sideman and Dave Colson, MOFGA’s crops specialists, for a comprehensive perspective on managing pests in organic vegetable systems.

 


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marketing basics from mofga

We’ll continue to post MOFGA’s weekly Farm Training Project Workshops because it’s such a terrific model. If you’re anywhere in the area, check them out!

JeanPic6.ashx This week: Selling what you Grow: Marketing Basics
Wednesday, June 12, 5pm at Morning Dew Farm, Newcastle
Thursday, June 13, 5pm at King Hill Farm, Penobscot
Small farmers need to be creative and innovative marketers to be successful. The best are those that cultivate community involvement in their farms and nurture face-to-face relationships with their customers. Learn from several of Maine’s farmers, both new and veteran, about their diverse strategies for marketing their products, including Community Supported Agriculture, Farm Stands, Farmers Markets, and cooperatives. We’ll also hear about innovative partnerships with non-profits that incorporate education and community service.


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MOFGA’s farm training project

For all of the apprentices in their system and other aspiring farmers.  Such a great model. 

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Here’s what they’re up to this week:
Greenhouse Management.
Wednesday, May 29, 5pm at Peacemeal Farm, Dixmont
Thursday, May 30, 5pm at Broadturn Farm, Scarborough
The greenhouse is a key part of any organic farm. As “the place where it all starts,” but also the place where a whole lot can go wrong in a hurry, learning proper greenhouse management is essential. Come see how Mark Guzzi & Marcia Ferry of Peacemeal Farm use their greenhouses for both starting the season and post-harvest handling as well as how they manage fertility, water, pests and diseases inside.
Join us for a second workshop in Southern Maine which will feature greenhouse tours of three farms. We’ll start at Broadturn Farm, then head to Snell Family Farm, followed by Frith Farm. A potluck will follow, held at Frith Farm.

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