the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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listen: Severine talks seaweed on the BBC

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Photo Credit: Gordon Chibroski/Press Herald Staff Photographer

Severine spoke to BBC radio in the UK this about the need for an informed and sustainable approach to seaweed farming, one of the fastest growing aquaculture sectors anywhere right now. Listen to her talk about the culinary benefits of seaweed, and tell the story about how she got into seaweed herself on the coast of Maine by getting in literal touch with nature.

Listen to the full programme HERE


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the 12th annual blackfly ball is this weekend!

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credit: Gabby Schutlz and the beehive collective 

The 12th annual all-ages dress-up Blackfly Ball is taking place this weekend, August 19th, in Machias, Maine. The Ball has been taking place every year since 2005 to celebrate the restoration and reopening of the Machias Valley Grange Hall and as a testimony to the 100+ years that the building has served as a community center to the people of Washington County. The event itself embodies the history of the building, bringing together people from all walks of life to find a common ground through community and celebration.

This years line up features soothing brass, wacky ukuleles, flocks of fiddles and more from far and wide. This event is 100% free and is entirely funded by poster sales, the posters are designed each year by the newest illustrator to join the Beehive Collective and are exceptionally beautiful!

To see all of the previous posters click HERE and to find out more information about the ball and to keep up to date or to organise ride sharing to and from the ball click HERE


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apply to work with mofga!

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Credit: MOFGA

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) are hiring! They have just announced two  new exciting full time positions, Director of Development and Community Engagement Coordinator.

Both roles will remain open until MOFGA find the best candidate possible for the position, however the first review of candidates for the position will begin on September 6th for the Director of Development, and August 14th for community engagement coordinator position. So if interested in either post, be sure to get your application in before the relevant date!

To find out more information about these roles or to how to apply, click HERE 


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the shortage of livestock veterinarians is reaching “crisis levels”

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Even after the lamb comes, the ewe continues to strain. Sticky with afterbirth, the ram lamb calls to his mother in quavering tenor, but though she lifts her head in his direction and lets out a low moan of response, her heaving sides won’t let her rise and go to him.

In the compounded darkness of the manger—it’s well after sunset—it’s hard to see what’s happening. The ewe stretches a hind leg in effort, and then again, and again, pushing. She stops her rhythmic movement, breath ragged. Someone shines a light: there is something there, behind her hind legs, on the straw. A second lamb? The thing is dark, darker than the first lamb. A black lamb? But no, it glistens too strangely in the odd glare/shadow contrast of the flashlight.

“I—I think that’s part of her body.” What? “I think those are her organs.” 

The stillness breaks. The livestock manager is called. “Prolapse,” “iodine,” “warm water,” “towels.” There is a flurry of activity in service to these words. The rumble of a truck announces the arrival of Josh, the livestock manager, from down the road. He clicks his headlamp on to peer at the lumpen tangle between the prostrate ewe’s legs. “That’s her uterus,” he says, and walks away to call the vet.

He returns shaking his head. The vet can’t come for two hours—there’s another emergency, over the border in Vermont. “I guess I’ll try to put it back, but I’ve never had much luck.”

Josh instructs someone to fetch sugar, someone to fetch a better light, someone to prepare a bottle of colostrum for the new lamb (“He’s huge, look how huge he is! That must be what did it”). He sloshes iodine up to his elbows while two people hold the ewe still. Gingerly, he lifts the uterus from ground, pulling off bits of straw and hay. He pours sugar over it. “The vet says this will make it shrink, so that it will fit,” he tells us. Then in a low mutter, to himself, “This was my favorite sheep.”

After a few moments, he begins trying to push the uterus back into the ewe. But even gritty with sugar, reverse-osmosis starting to drain the fluid, it’s slippery and swollen, bulging any place where Josh’s hands can’t stretch, the task like trying to fit a water ballon into the tap from which it was filled. “She’s pushing against me,” he says. “Her body thinks she’s having a lamb.”

He keeps trying: adding more sugar, repositioning, applying prolonged pressure, but it won’t go. Josh sits back on his heels. There’s nothing to do but wait for the vet.
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making the eggs-pansion a reality!

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OK, gang, here’s the deal: our friends at Apple Creek Farm (run by Greenhorn Abby Sadauckus and her partner) just needs a few more eggs in their basket to be successfully funded in their Barnraiser! With three days to go, they are within 85% of their goal of funding a the construction of a chicken coop that would allow them to meet the demand for local pasture-raised eggs at their local farmers market. As Abby writes below and as every farmer can empathize, raising money is so just so much harder than the actually work of farming, so let’s help a sister out!

More info about the eggs-pansion (and I hope you’ve caught the double pun there) here!

Here’s the latest from Abby: “As we are all well aware starting a farm takes more that great products, consistent markets and energy—it takes the support of the community as well. The campaign will fund the construction of a hoop house which will serve as winter housing for our expanded flock of organic laying hens.

We’ve met our minimum funding goal of $8,000 and the remaining funds will help us purchase new nest boxes that will make egg collection easier, the lumber for constructing our end walls, and an exhaust fan to keep the house dry.

By improving the way we produce our eggs we’ll be able to offer the same unparalleled product, enhance our hen’s living conditions and double our flock without increasing our workload! Eggs are a key component of our market presence and when we run out in the first two hours of markets our customers notice! This project will enable us to sell more eggs to market shoppers, natural foods stores and through a CSA.

Since we brought all of our farming activities to Bowdoinham we’ve increased our capacity and now we’ve outgrown our current buildings and are ready to take the next step. So, we have this fundraising campaign. We’ve been pushing it for a month and to be honest, it’s harder than farming!”

Support the Greenhorns community! Donate here!

 


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latest ourland episode is out! and it’s awesome

Our Land Episode 6: Growing a Regional Food Economy from The Greenhorns on Vimeo.

No secret that we can’t be exactly unbiased talking about the latest Our Land episode, but as a blogger who has essentially no film-making skills and had no part in the making of this video, I have to say that it’s kind of the bomb-diggity. Episode Six, “Building a Regional Food System,” which follows the Cook family of Maine. The Cooks are responsible for the first large organic potato operation in Aroostiuck County, the phenomenally innovative and inspiring Crown of Maine Co-op, and Northern Girl— a value added processing plant that provides rural farmers with access to institutional buyers across New England. The story and its footage is as poignant and hopeful as you’d like to start off your day, but the video goes so far beyond your typical feel-good foodie youtube piece and into the nitty-gritty challenges of what it actually takes to create resilient regional food systems.