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Staff Spotlight: Charlie Baldwin

Charlie Baldwin,  Farmland Protection Project Manager for Southern Maine

Charlie was born and raised on a communal farm in Surry, Maine. He now lives in South Portland with his wife and young son, where they spend their free time rehabbing their old house, gardening, and exploring local open spaces. He and his family are “big foodies”, and his appreciation for delicious local food adds extra motivation for the work he does as a Farmland Protection Project Manager at Maine Farmland Trust.

Q: Why do you work for MFT?
A: Farmland protection positively impacts so many issues — from food security to climate change, habitat conservation to ensuring the economic strength of our communities. My job as a land protection staff member at MFT gives me the opportunity to make positive change on so many levels.

Q: What are some goals or projects you’re psyched about, or are important in your role?
A: I love hard cider. Maine once produced an enormous amount of the stuff. Cider apples are a peculiar fruit, not worth eating but great when pressed and fermented. Many of these cider trees were lost to the encroaching woods when cider went “out of fashion”. I’ve got it in my mind that some of these old orchards may be rehabilitated and Maine can reestablish itself as a great cider making state once more. So, I’m particularly excited to about the potential to help protect and revive farms with old orchards!
Q: What is the biggest challenge you look forward to working on?
A: Southern Maine is under such enormous development pressure. Our farmland protection efforts in this area target critical areas for conservation and actually carve out some large exclusions from this rampant development.  That’s really important for future food production, as well as a slew of environmental benefits, from water recharge to wildlife habitat.
“This Aldo Leopold quote from A Sand County Almanac really sums up why I do this work: “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
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