singing to garlic: MAINE’S FARMER MUSICIANS BY CARRIE BRAMAN PHOTOGRAPHS BY MOLLY HALEY
MFT is a member-powered organization. Throughout our 20th year, we are highlighting some of these amazing members. Read the first batch of member profiles below:
Warren & Helen Balgooyen
Wishing Well Farm. Norridgewock, ME
Our friend Jim Hastings introduced me to MFT at an early meeting at his house in Skowhegan. As a career naturalist and environmental educator, much of my incentive comes from an interest in wildlife and conservation education. I’ve always been an avid land protector, and we worked with MFT to protect our 272-acre farm in 2004, and hope to add another nearly 200 acres in the near future. Over the last 20 years, development has swallowed up prime agricultural land. Climate change is having an effect via drought, new insects, and invasive plants. At the same time, we see more young people getting into farming- mostly small produce farms. MFT’s Farmlink and Farmland Protection programs have helped those who can’t afford the rising price of farmland. We hope MFT will continue to keep up the good work!
Warren Balgooyen passed away in January 2019, a few months after this interview.
Member since 2000. Protected their farm in 2004, and protected another 110 acres with 7 Lakes Alliance in December 2018.
I support MFT’s mission in the abstract because I have long believed in the importance of a strong web of local commerce and food production, but I’m pretty personally invested, too. The livelihoods of former and current employers and mentors—not to mention their customers— depends on the health of that system. I love that Maine Farmland Trust has a multi-pronged approach to the goal of growing the future for farming. All of it’s important, too. I grew up in a small town in the midwest and have watched, over the years, patches of land be purchased and developed. MFT’s efforts to keep arable land in the hands of farmers are really important.
Member since 2016.
Troy & Brenda White
Lil Bit Organic Farm. Lagrange, ME.
Some of the fields that we leased for hay went up for sale. We knew these fields would appeal to a developer for house lots. Also, if we lost these fields, it would be detrimental to our bottom line and Maine would lose more farmland! However, the cost was way out of our reach. Without MFT, we would not have been able to secure the farmland and to protect the farmland for future generations.
The landscape of farming has changed in Maine and in our country for many reasons. Developers are buying farmland to turn to house developments. It is imperative for everyone to support MFT so we can all continue to work together to protect our farmland and to help farmers.
Member since 2014. Protected their farm in 2014.
Allagash Brewing Company. Portland, ME.
There are so many benefits to bringing industries like farming back to local communities: jobs, profits, sustainability, the value in knowing where ingredients are coming from, etc. Much like the craft beer movement, and Allagash, in particular, is bringing beer back to local communities, we see that MFT is working to bring farming back to local communities.
Supporter since 2015.