plant matter art show in portland maine april 13th

posted March 30, 2018

Rachel Alexandrou has been a regular contributor to Greenhorns New Farmers Almanac over the years. Her stunning work will be shown in a solo art show on April 13th in Portland Maine at Oxbow Brewery’s Gallery 49. Rachel’s current work focuses on concepts of decay, plant matter and herbarium specimens. 20% of the proceeds of the show will be kindly donated by Rachel to two land trust in the area, the Damariscotta River Association and Midcoast Conservancy.
Please support this wonderful artist and the equally wonderful cause that she has chosen.

mofga seeks new executive director!

posted March 3, 2018

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) -fiscal sponsor of the Greenhorns – has launched a search for its next Executive Director. MOFGA’s Board of Directors seeks a dynamic leader and proven manager who shares the organization’s passion for organic agriculture, local food production, a healthy environment, and thriving Maine communities.

Background and Overview

Formed in 1971, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is the oldest and largest state organic organization in the country. MOFGA takes pride in its success in promoting and supporting Maine farmers and a multi-generational agricultural community and has been at the heart of changing Maine’s farm culture. MOFGA’s efforts have resulted in dramatically increasing the popularity of organic local agriculture and healthy living, and its organizational successes and impact have resulted in national and international recognition.

When asked to describe MOFGA, the first response is almost always: “It’s a community.” Today that community includes more than 6,200 memberships, with over 11,000 members, a volunteer corps of more than 2,500, a 20 member board of directors, and a staff of 34. This community is best symbolized by its signature community gathering: the Common Ground Country Fair, which annually attracts more than 63,000 visitors during one weekend in September.

The core work of MOFGA is educating people about how to grow, prepare, and share good organic food. MOFGA’s organic certification program annually reviews the practices of over 500 farms and food processors to help assure the public that food labeled as “certified organic” has been grown according to nationally accepted organic standards. Today, as a result of MOFGA’s support for, and partnership with, farmers in Maine, more than 95,000 acres of farmland in the state is MOFGA certified organic. MOFGA works to grow the market for local organic products and strengthen the economic viability of MOFGA certified producers and local communities.

A more comprehensive description of MOFGA and its many programs and services can be found on the website.

Guided by a recently completed strategic plan, the Executive Director will work with the Board of Directors, MOFGA volunteers and partners, and a talented and experienced staff to lead and grow the organic movement in Maine. MOFGA’s Board is seeking an energetic and trusted leader who can build and nurture essential relationships throughout Maine—a leader who can embrace MOFGA’s culture, honor its grassroots history, and support a highly regarded staff team to achieve ambitious goals for the future.

Organizational priorities to guide the next Executive Director

• Build relationships and strengthen bonds with our members, volunteers and donors, across the state of Maine, while working with the board, staff, and committees to advance the goals of deepening member engagement and building the diversity of our membership.
• Guide and support communication efforts to promote the Maine organic brand, to expand markets for organic products, and bring heightened visibility and recognition to MOFGA.
• Play an active and visible role in ensuring MOFGA’s financial well-being and sustainability while taking a leadership role in annual and capital fundraising efforts.
• Support the staff team, taking steps to empower them in their work, build their capacity, and ensure they have the organizational, technological, and physical infrastructure in place to be successful.
• Partner with the board and staff to advance the strategic plan, bring rigor to the tracking and evaluation of performance, and support the ongoing development of board governance practices.
• Represent MOFGA in Augusta and in Washington D.C, advocating for organic integrity, small farmers, and a healthy, sustainable environment.

Position Requirements

To lead MOFGA requires a comprehensive set of skills and abilities. We expect that the successful candidate
will bring the following to MOFGA:
• A passion for our values, our mission, agriculture and the environment
• A “curious mind” and a hunger for learning
• Senior-level leadership experience, including proven ability to manage and support staff and volunteer teams
• Solid writing skills, comfort in public speaking, and being regarded by all as a “good listener”
• A proven “relationship builder” who can also demonstrate hands-on experience with and a readiness to engage in fundraising
• The highest level of recommendations from references, collaborative partners, and peers

In addition to the expectations listed above, preference will be given to candidates who can also
demonstrate the following:

• A deep appreciation for the value and impact of volunteers and a track-record of successfully working with volunteers to achieve shared goals
• Demonstrated ability in developing organizational strategies and carrying them through to completion
• Nonprofit experience, including working in a healthy and productive partnership with a board of directors
• A global vision coupled with relevant policy and advocacy knowledge and experience at the state and federal level
• Hands-on experience with, and or a deep knowledge of, farming, growing, organic practices, and the realities of rural living
• Ability to engage with our varied and diverse community and develop and nurture essential relationships

Compensation

Comprehensive benefits package and competitive salary commensurate with experience.
This position reports directly to the Board of Directors. The successful candidate can expect a formal review after six months as well as an annual review.

To Apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and résumé to Starboard Leadership Consulting at the
following address search1@starboardleadership.com. The cover letter and résumé should contain detailed
information concerning work experience, past successes, leadership experience and qualifications. Please
be prepared to provide contact information for professional references upon request.

Paper copies may be sent to
Lisa Belyea, Starboard Leadership Consulting,
84 Harlow St.,
Bangor, ME 04401,

Electronic submission of materials is preferred.
No phone inquiries, please.
Review of applications will begin on March 28, 2018.

MOFGA also has job openings in expanding program and administration areas. Currently posted positions include: Organic Crops and Conservation Specialist; Low Impact Forestry Coordinator; and Development Coordinator.


home for rent in beautiful down east maine on cobscook bay

posted February 24, 2018

The view from the porch!

A wonderful and cozy home in Pembroke, Maine is available to rent for a number of weeks during the Summer of 2018. If you are hoping to attend one of our exciting upcoming events or just want to soak up the atmosphere in Downeast Maine and explore the new home of the Greenhorns this is the perfect place to stay.

These are the dates that are still available (as of 2.23.18).

– May 19th-26th

– May 26th – June 2nd

– June 2nd – 9th

– July 7th – 14th

– July 14th – 21st

– July 21st – 28th (especially relevant to anybody attending“Halls away Downeast” – A bus-tour of historic halls from Ellsworth to Eastport, Maine which takes place on July 21st and 22nd!)

– July 28th – August 2nd

The restored 1840s homestead has 450 feet of frontage on the Pennamaquan Estuary of Cobscook Bay, 10 acres of open fields, and over 40 acres of forest that include a well-marked set of hiking trails. The house is also fully equipped and can sleep eight to ten persons. Finally, the homestead is situated on the Leighton Point Road between The Reversing Hall (Greenhorns HQ) and Smithereen Farm.

For more information and photographs please contact Catherine Adelman at: adelman.cm@gmail.com.


a digital map leads to reparations for black and indigenous farmers

posted February 24, 2018

Credit: Soul Fire Farm

Check out this awesome article written by very good friend of the Greenhorns, Jean Willoughby for Yes! Magazine. Jean writes about the recent changes within the farming movement. Her article focuses on the increase in the number of voluntary transfers of land and resources to people of color as a means of reparations for past injustices.

“Last month, Dallas Robinson received an email from someone she didn’t know, asking if she would be open to receiving a large sum of money—with no strings attached. For once, it wasn’t spam. She hit reply.
Robinson is a beginning farmer with experience in organic agriculture, and has had plans to establish the Harriet Tubman Freedom Farm on 10 acres of family land near her home in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Located in an area where the poverty rate hovers at nearly 20 percent, according to census data, and where both food insecurity and obesity rates are even higher, the farm will focus on serving the needs of the surrounding community by producing vegetables, herbs, and mushrooms.
The gift from the stranger arrived thanks to a new online map, the Black-Indigenous Farmers Reparations Map, a project to promote “people-to-people” reparations.”

The email that Robinson received was from Douglass DeCandia (regular contributor to the Greenhorns New Farmers Almanac!) who had heard Robinson speak at the young farmers conference this year which featured the controversial speech from keynote Mark Bittman. Bittman’s response to those speaking truth to power at the conference was a stark awakening for many and has encouraged many of those who hold power to question how they are holding themselves accountable.

Click HERE to read the full article.


the quivira coalition seeks an education and outreach coordinator.

posted February 5, 2018

The Quivira Coalition, a Santa Fe­ based nonprofit that builds resilience by fostering ecological, economic and social health on Western working lands, is seeking an Education and Outreach Coordinator. The chosen candidate should understand the connections between land health, working watersheds, and good food. In addition, they should also have a genuine passion for helping others develop the knowledge and skills to contribute to vital food and agriculture systems and healthy watersheds and soil.

The coordinator should be a people­ oriented organizer who has worked with agricultural producers and/or in experiential education. They should possess strong communications, logistics, and event management skills. An ideal candidate would enjoy working with ranchers, land managers, farmers, and the public and is dedicated to about solving
current food production, agriculture, and land health challenges. This person should also live in or near Santa Fe, New Mexico (or be willing to relocate), have the flexibility to travel to farms and ranches, and have experience in large and small event management.

The coordinator will work closely with Quivira staff to support successful educational programming. This includes land health workshops, a variety of agrarian trainings and the annual Quivira Conference (conference coordination comprises approximately 50% of this position). Additionally, this person will work closely with director to build capacity in the Education and Outreach program and expand its scope. Specific duties and responsibilities include: (more…)


woodlanders – exploring the work of people who depend on and care for forests

posted December 15, 2017

Woodlanders is an online film series that seeks to document the work of people who care for and depend on forests for their livelihood and well-being throughout the world. They are up to 21 episodes now, and each episode focuses on a person or culture who has a sustainable relationship and/or livelihood with a forest. The topics covered range from Chestnut nurseries to oak swill basketry to woodland mushroom cultivation.

Click HERE to read more about the project and please consider donating to the patreon fund if you like the work that these wonderful filmmakers are doing.


how does change happen on the land?

posted November 23, 2017

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The Edmund Hillary Fellowship just published this great article about Severine! 

There is a question we need to ask when talking about food production. The question is, “Who is telling what story, and on whose behalf?” Is it a story that goes with dinner? Or does it perhaps focus on the “We feed the world” narrative so dominant in the agricultural and general press these days? That story goes something like this: We (Read: developed world) need to grow food as quickly, cheaply, and efficiently as possible in order to be able to feed a growing (Read under-developed world) population that is growing at a rate of change faster than we can keep up with. Crops are necessarily bred for maximum size, yield, speed to harvest, and disease-resistance, while taste, diversity and nutritional value considered somewhat irrelevant. We are told this is the only way to keep up with our growing population.

If we are to believe the predominant narrative, there is no other way to feed a rapidly growing global population.

Simultaneously, there is a crisis looming across much of the developed world. Bluntly put, farmers are becoming a dying breed. The older generation is retiring, while their children and grandchildren now have alternative options available to them — they’re moving to the cities, they’re chasing a multitude of new career opportunities, they are no longer opting for a hard day’s labour in the dirt. They’re not taking on the family farm, the way that generations before have done since the dawn of the agricultural age.

I wrote about the future of farming a couple of years ago, and New Zealand’s golden opportunity to leverage our natural advantages to become a premium producer of sustainably-produced agricultural products, that regenerate the land. Now, we can look to the far northeast at a number of growing movements that can offer a potential pathway for New Zealand’s agricultural transformation. Across the Pacific, there is a seed of hoping springing forth. There are radical new green shoots breaking through the endless monocultures that sprawl across the midwestern United States. There is a new movement of young farmers, who recognise that short term thinking and the ecological damage inherent in the industrial food system, is leading us rapidly towards the edge of the proverbial cliff.

At the coal face of this movement is Severine von Tscharner Fleming, based in Champlain Valley, New York.

In the past few years, members of Edmund Hillary Fellowship team have been connecting with communities who are leading global work around building a robust, sustainable and healthy food system. In conversation with diverse groups from Bioneers to the Near Future Summit and EAT Forum, people everywhere have told us “You’ve got to connect with Severine”. It seems that within both new and ancient holistic farming circles, all roads lead to Severine.

Speaking in the video below at New Frontiers festival in New Zealand earlier this year, Severine describes farming in America today as both a privilege and a service. She has co-founded, led and been involved in a number of different initiatives to bring young people back to the land, and stands as a dedicated voice for regenerative agriculture and land reform. And there is a growing chorus of voices behind her, walking the talk and providing the collective roadmap to feed the planet in a healthy, sustainable way.

Her talk at New Frontiers was entitled “The Project is Land Repair”. This title alone provides an insight into how a generation of young farmers are thinking about what they do. Natural ecosystems are very good at repairing themselves. Plants and trees provide organic matter to the soil below, which composts alongside waste matter from passing animals and birds. This provides the land with the right nutrients that it needs to thrive. The protective canopy of plants drip feeds water to the land, while providing a root system that keeps the soil in place, and shade that keeps moisture in and provides a home for countless helpful bugs and microorganisms. Dozens of other symbiotic exchanges occur to keep the ecosystem in balance.

Monoculture farming strips all of this away. We have placed value on only some parts of the ecological system, devaluing others, removing some crucial parts altogether, and resulting in degraded land. Decades of abuse at the hands of the “produce-as-much-as-you-can-at-all-costs-with-as-little-land-as-possible” mentality, has left millions of acres of agricultural land in dire need of repair.

The young farmers at the spearhead of this land repair movement have a name — the Greenhorns — and they are bringing the “human” back into farming. Greenhorns is a grassroots organisation founded by Severine, with the mission to recruit, promote and support the rising generation of new farmers in America. Or as Severine put it, “it’s about the recruitment of bodies back onto the land.” An identity as well as an organisation, the people who call themselves Greenhorns are those that are embracing farming as a calling and a way of life.

It started with a film project of the same name in 2011, after Severine spent three years travelling across America interviewing young farmers. Originally a platform to broadcast the voices and visions of young farmers, it has now grown to a thriving nationwide community that produces literary journals, almanacs, a popular blog, a weekly radio show, a short film series, and a national OPEN GIS farmer database, while also hosting a variety of social and political events. On a broad level, the work of the Greenhorns is to provide the cultural infrastructure required to inspire an agrarian revolution.

(more…)


organic gardening tips from MOFGA

posted November 5, 2017

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credit: MOFGA
The seedcorn maggot is the larvae of a fly, says Eric Sideman, MOFGA’s organic crop specialist, in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. He continues: This critter spends the winter as a pupa in the soil. Flies emerge very early in the spring from these pupae and lay eggs near decaying organic matter and germinating seeds. The eggs hatch into maggots that feed on the seeds or young plants. Gaps in rows of crops such as onions, spinach, corn, peas, etc., often blamed on poor seed, actually result more often from seedcorn maggot feeding. The fly is often attracted to decaying organic matter, including some fertilizers that organic farmers use, such as soybean meal. In such cases the maggots end up feeding on the seeds and seedlings.

(more…)


sam clovis withdraws nomination for agriculture department chief scientist

posted November 5, 2017

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credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP

We’ve written about his preposterous nomination before due to his sheer inadequacy for the job and thankfully Sam Clovis has finally withdrawn his nomination for chief scientist of the agriculture department. Clovis is a climate change sceptic and was just another cog in the anti-science Trump administration. However make no mistake, his lack of qualification for the job is not why he withdrew his nomination. Clovis wrote to president Trump this week saying that he ‘did not want to be a distraction’ after it was revealed that he had communication with George Papadopoulos  who admitted to the FBI that he lied about his work with Robert Mueller as part of the investigations into the links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Clovis who had not yet been confirmed by the senate would have faced presumably intense scrutiny on his Russian connections by the Senate agriculture committee had he not withdrawn.

Either way, Clovis’ withdrawal is good news for the department of agriculture’s science department, perhaps their next pick will be an actual scientist suited to such an important governmental position.