Tag Archives: agricultural history

Maine Agriculture: Views from the Past

Photos from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection Captions by Maine Historian William H. Bunting Exhibit Produced by the Penobscot Marine Museum
Opening Reception on Friday, January 28, 2011 from 5-7pm The show will be on display until March 21st. The MFT Gallery is open Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm.
HISTORIC PHOTOS OF MAINE AGRICULTURE ON DISPLAY

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery Hosts Exhibit of Long-Ago Farm Life

A new exhibit in Belfast will explore a bygone age of Maine’s agriculture in photography dating from 75 to 100 years ago. “Maine Agriculture: Views From the Past” will be on display in the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, 97 Main St., Belfast, from January 26 through March 21. An opening reception will be held Friday, January 28, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  The exhibit and reception are free to the public.   Included in the show are images of potato and dairy farming, the poultry industry, corn husking, canning operations, farm houses, fields, farm animals and farm people. Renowned Maine historian William H. Bunting conducted research for the exhibit and wrote the captions. The black-and-white images, shot originally on glass-plate negatives, are part of the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company collection owned by Penobscot Marine Museum. The show is funded by a grant from the NLT Foundation.   “A century ago, agriculture was a highly visible component of the Maine landscape and a central element of its culture and economy,” says historian Bunting. “Today it is nearly invisible in some parts of the state and its impact, while still significant, is recognized by few. This exhibit reminds us of the underpinning role that agriculture can play in a still-rural state like Maine.”   Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide non-profit organization working to permanently preserve and protect Maine’s agricultural lands, and to keep Maine’s farms farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate art in agriculture, and to inspire and inform visitors regarding the vibrancy of farming in Maine.

For more information visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org.   Located on US Rte. 1 in Searsport, ME, between Camden, Bangor, and Mt. Desert Island, Penobscot Marine Museum is Maine’s oldest maritime museum and home to outstanding collections of marine art and artifacts, small craft, ship models and historic photography. Its campus – including four ship captains’ homes, two boat houses, a town hall, a carriage house and other buildings – recreates a bustling coastal village during the Age of Sail. Exhibits are currently closed for the season, but special activities and presentations are scheduled year-round.

For information about the Eastern Illustrating photo collection, or for information about the museum, visit www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org or call 207-548-2529.

Fertile Soil

People have been growing food in the upper Kennebec Valley for thousands of years. Native Americans and European settlers alike recognized that the intervale land, at the confluence of the Sandy and Kennebec Rivers, is some of the most productive land in New England. Jay Robinson, of Sweet Land Farm in Starks, says that his land “can grow anything,” boasting prime agricultural soils and southern exposure.

Now, thanks to a conservation easement, Jay’s 113 acres of rich farmland will continue to be available for farming far into the future.

When Jay bought the farm in 1978, it was being used exclusively to produce feed corn for dairy farms. Now he grows all kinds of vegetables, including the trifecta of squash, sweet corn, and beans that Native Americans had been growing for centuries. He sells through farmer’s markets and to various wholesale markets, including Good Shepherd Food Bank’s “Mainers Feeding Mainers” program.

“It’s ironic that [the region] is considered impoverished now,” Jay says. The wealth in soil doesn’t necessarily translate to feeding the area’s inhabitants, but by selling vegetables to the food bank, Jay is hoping to help change that. He says it works out well for him—he gets a stable wholesale price for his product, and doesn’t have to market, package, and deliver his goods—and the food gets to those who need it most. He’s also looking ahead to the future, participating in seed trials for Johnny’s Selected Seeds and growing specialty crops for emerging markets.

Jay is looking further into the future by helping to cultivate the next generation of farmers in the Kennebec Valley region. His farm apprenticeships provide invaluable experience for interns, and for several years he leased a portion of his land to young farmers Adam and Johanna of Songbird Farm so they could grow heritage flint corn. As the number of young farmers in Maine grows, Jay hopes more of them will put down roots in the Kennebec Valley. The landscape is slowly changing, he says: now, young farmers are interested in Waldo County, but that area is getting saturated, and they’ll start looking west. There’s a lot of prime, underutilized soil in the area, and he would like to see others take advantage of that potential.

Maine Agriculture: Views from the Past

Photos from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection Captions by Maine Historian William H. Bunting Exhibit Produced by the Penobscot Marine Museum
Opening Reception on Friday, January 28, 2011 from 5-7pm The show will be on display until March 21st. The MFT Gallery is open Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm.
HISTORIC PHOTOS OF MAINE AGRICULTURE ON DISPLAY

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery Hosts Exhibit of Long-Ago Farm Life

A new exhibit in Belfast will explore a bygone age of Maine’s agriculture in photography dating from 75 to 100 years ago. “Maine Agriculture: Views From the Past” will be on display in the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, 97 Main St., Belfast, from January 26 through March 21. An opening reception will be held Friday, January 28, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  The exhibit and reception are free to the public.   Included in the show are images of potato and dairy farming, the poultry industry, corn husking, canning operations, farm houses, fields, farm animals and farm people. Renowned Maine historian William H. Bunting conducted research for the exhibit and wrote the captions. The black-and-white images, shot originally on glass-plate negatives, are part of the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company collection owned by Penobscot Marine Museum. The show is funded by a grant from the NLT Foundation.   “A century ago, agriculture was a highly visible component of the Maine landscape and a central element of its culture and economy,” says historian Bunting. “Today it is nearly invisible in some parts of the state and its impact, while still significant, is recognized by few. This exhibit reminds us of the underpinning role that agriculture can play in a still-rural state like Maine.”   Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide non-profit organization working to permanently preserve and protect Maine’s agricultural lands, and to keep Maine’s farms farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate art in agriculture, and to inspire and inform visitors regarding the vibrancy of farming in Maine.

For more information visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org.   Located on US Rte. 1 in Searsport, ME, between Camden, Bangor, and Mt. Desert Island, Penobscot Marine Museum is Maine’s oldest maritime museum and home to outstanding collections of marine art and artifacts, small craft, ship models and historic photography. Its campus – including four ship captains’ homes, two boat houses, a town hall, a carriage house and other buildings – recreates a bustling coastal village during the Age of Sail. Exhibits are currently closed for the season, but special activities and presentations are scheduled year-round.

For information about the Eastern Illustrating photo collection, or for information about the museum, visit www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org or call 207-548-2529.