the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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farming songbirds in maine

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Mainers should take note that they have three opportunities this weekend to see the talented and charming Adam Nordell and Johanna Davis, partners and farmers of Songbird Farm in Unity, ME. To celebrate the release of Adam’s most recent album, Maine Farmland Trust is hosting a mini concert series:  Deering Grange in Portland on August 25; The Hub in Unity on August 26; and Halcyon Grange in Blue Hill on August 27.

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Nordell and Davis are small grain and mixed vegetables farmers by day and summer and traveling musicians by night and winter. They bring a banjo, guitar, and a fiddle to the stage with boot-stomping energy to dances, concerts, and workshops around New England. The latest CD is something of a musical meditation on agrarian life, and I’ll bet you 10 ears of fresh-picked sweet corn that Nordell’s description will resonate with all you small-scale veggie farmers out there:

“You might think of this as a slow-song movement: I’ll get the seed of a song while I’m doing field work, maybe cultivating beets. Something like ”The red dirt shows in the space between the rows.  That grass will grow back, we’ll be back at it with our hoes.” I’ll get stuck on those two lines for a long time.  But then I’ll be hoeing an identical row of beets two years later, and out of nowhere, that lyric will come rushing back, followed by the rest of the song.    It will have accumulated all of these  images from the farm  and our travels, and maybe – hopefully – it will have something broader to say.”

Listen to some of their music, here!


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maine dairy: eight generations and counting

Meet Your Farmer – Tide Mill Farm from Pull-Start Pictures on Vimeo, featuring Aaron Bell and Carly DelSignore and their four children. Aaron is the 8th generation of the Bell family that has lived on Tide Mill Farm, where they now raise chickens, pigs, dairy cows, and beef, along with two acres of mixed vegetables. They are also featured in the critically-acclaimed documentary Betting the Farma film about a milk marketing-coop they formed with other Maine dairy farmers.

Word on the street is that they’re hiring for their apprentice program too! Learn more about that here.


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these border collies melt my stoneheart

This short documentary out of the UMaine Extension office may appear jut to be another movie about sheep, but don’t be fooled; it’s actually the most heartwarming dog movie since Homeward Bound! (Or, we should say, at least for agricultural geeks…) Featuring: Doreen and John Simmons, Gwen, and Bea of Stoneheart Farm in South Paris, Maine.


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from away, a comical and respectful rendering of maine

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“From Away” is currently in pre-production but has already sparked the interest of distribution giants Netflix and Hulu. Each episode of “From Away” is a hilarious and thoughtful  intimate portrait of different do-it-yourself Mainers at work and at play, told with an unprecedented blend of humor and deep respect. Professions you may think you know — a lobster fisherman, an organic farmer, a brewer — are disrobed of stereotype and revealed in a much more personal light. The show’s host, Teagan *me* has had a successful media career, hosting a national TV show on NBC, creating and starring in several big brand ads, and working behind the scenes in a myriad of productions. And yes, in case you were wondering, I was prom king (bet that still stings, doesn’t it, Nick D.?)

But my dream for a long time coming has been to put Maine in the spotlight and finally put New Hampshire and Alaska for that matter in their respective places!!! . I’m launching a Kickstarter campaign TODAY, hoping that fans of Maine and great video content everywhere will jump at the opportunity to be a part of this community-funded project about Maine’s communities. Whereas the series has up until now been a purely self-funded passion project. Contributions of any size can and WILL make a difference

Please click on the link below to go to the Kickstarter website to get a better understanding of the true scope and vision of the show.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1660820662/from-away-0


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maine: dandelion wine making workshop

Dandelion Wine Workshop:

Want to figure out what to do with all of those dandelion petals in your yard? Make wine with them! In Harpswell, Maine, there will be an instructional workshop on how to turn your dandelion petals into wine. Each participant will leave with a 5 gallon wine bucket and airlock containing gallons of future dandelion wine!

  • Saturday, May 21, 2016 Time: 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Location: 286 Allen Point Road, Harpswell, ME
  • Cost: $50.00 per person ($25.00 deposit required)
    (Cash or checks payable “Stone Soup Institute”)
  • Wine samples will be available. 
  • To register call 207-833-2884
    Email: stonesoupins@comcast.net
    mail@stone-soup-institute.org


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greenhorns releases: MANIFESTA!

We are so proud of this awesome collaboration. If you’ve been wondering how a maritime art stunt fits into the mission of an organization that supports farmers (I mean, talk about your landlubbers!), this publication is for you! Manifesta lays out the story, history, discourse, and activism behind the Maine Sail Freight project last summer! The un-monograph is a fun and galvanizing read, and we think it is going to make a real believer out of you!

This is a story about a group of young farmers staging a pageant-like protest about the terms of trade in our agricultural economy, and the nature of transportation and exchange within that model.

It’s an elaborate stunt, invoking colonial history and the maritime ex- traction economy of coastal Maine as a platform for discourse on a more regional, more prosperous, and more diverse food economy for the future.

We claim the ocean as an ally and a commons—a venue to imagine what a world where 60% of the retail price goes to the farmer, and view- point from which to watch the farmers of the region operate, and co-oper- ate to circulate wealth and add value. We raise a flag for food sovereignty on the mast of our sail boat.

We are not content to labor where 70% of the agricultural work is performed by those without citizenship. We are not content to operate
in a high-volume, low-value commodity extraction economy. We are not content to be silent while our nation negotiates yet more free trade agree- ments freeing only those at the top of the capitalist slag heap and chaining the rest of us to their terms.

This project is our retort!


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maine: goat intensive biochar workshop with shana hanson

 

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Dear friends,

Sunday at 8 AM Gary Masalin and Shana Hanson will lead an optimum open burn for
biochar in the Rainbow Roof house pasture (striped multicolored roof, 195 Back Belmont Rd. on the north side of the rd. just out of town from Jesse Robbins Rd. by less than half a mile).  Spectators and helpers are invited.

This practice is especially suited to goat farmers feeding high quantities of tree fodder, as we collect a surplus of brush annually, and tend not to have time to move brush to, nor size for, a retort burner.  I use the biochar to seed new pasture species into sod, and
for urine catchment and soil improvement at gates, on paths and in bedding (which later gets spread).  The (usually white) goats like to roll in the charcoal for skin mites – handy labor saver if your desired use requires the biochar to be ground up.

I have a small video camera.  I am hoping that one of you will volunteer to capture our burn process on video, to be of use to others.

RSVP if possible, but certainly you are also welcome to just show up.

Thanks, Shana

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