Tag Archives: local food

RSVP: Forever Farm Party at Morning Dew Farm

MFT & Damariscotta River Association invite you to a celebration of farmland protection and community collaboration in Damariscotta!

 

Join us at recently protected farmland on Rt. One in Damariscotta, now owned and farmed by the farmers of Morning Dew Farm.

** Come rain or shine! In the event of rain, the event will still happen! We have a rain plan in place just in case. **

 

Thursday, July 26

5-8PM

 

Food by Harvest Moon Catering, beer from Oxbow Brewing Co.

Music by The Newell Family & Sharon Pyne.

 

PLEASE NOTE THE PARKING SITUATION: Guests must park at the DRA Round Top Farm, 3 Round Top Lane, Damariscotta. We will take shuttles to the farm from there. There is NO PARKING allowed at the farm site.

 

Free & All are Welcome! Bring the whole family! SEE YOU AT THE ROUND TOP FARM!

Maine Fare: Finale Feast, Tasting & Storytelling

The  Finale Feast will begin with a casual tasting of small plates that reflect the traditional foodways of Western Maine, using ingredients from local producers and prepared by some of Maine’s finest chefs. Each plate will be paired with a beverage (wine, beer, or hard cider- for those 21 & up). 

After filling our bellies, we’ll move to the Stoneheart Farm lamb barn (lambs included!) to hear food-focused stories told live by a lineup of local friends. 

Meet the chefs:

Corey Dilts, chef at Norway Brewing Company, will be creating egg yolk raviolo, served with Tourmaline Hill Ricotta, six month dry cured Leg of Lamb from Wrinkle in Thyme Farm, maple chive cured duck egg yolk from his own farm, and a beet chive reduction.

Ian Desjardins, a chef from the Penobscot Nation, will be creating a sample plate of fiddleheads, Passamaquoddy maple syrup, cornbread, and smoked Micmac trout.

Shawn Stemp, chef at Ondine Oyster + Wine Bar and Black Trumpet, will be serving wood-fired oysters and accompaniments.

Frank Giglio, chef at Three Lily Provisions cooking school, will be creating a lamb and mushroom ragu, served over acorn polenta.

 

Meet the storytellers:

Lee Dassler. Lee has a background in theater, carpentry and architecture and is the executive director of Western Foothills Land Trust.

Scott Vlaun. Scott is a photographer, homesteader, permaculture designer, dad and the executive director at Center for an Ecology-Based Economy.

Mary Anne Haxton and Marty Elkin. Mary Anne and Marty own A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm in Sumner where they raise sheep and host fiber workshops.

Bonnie Pooley. Bonnie taught at Gould Academy for 35 years, and is actively involved in local conservation and food initiatives, such as Mahoosuc Land Trust and the Alan Day Community Garden.

+ Storytelling will be emceed by MFT’s own Chris Franklin, our farmland protection project manager working in Western Maine!

 

MFT members receive 10% discount on tickets.

Not a member? Join today and receive 10% off your ticket!

Check out the other Maine Fare events happening throughout the month!

Maine Fare: Farmstead Cheesemaking

Gloria Varney at Nezinscot Farm will host a hands-on class that allows students the opportunity to gain skills and understanding of both soft and semi-hard cheeses. We’ll finish the process of making a dry-curd cottage cheese, a versatile cheese that can be eaten fresh or pressed to create a farmers-style cheese. Participants will also prepare goat’s milk  to make a chevre and brie (or camembert). Everyone will leave with a sampling of cheeses to take home.

 ***THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT***

MFT members receive 10% discount on tickets.

Not a member? Join today and receive 10% off your ticket!

Check out the other Maine Fare events happening throughout the month!

Maine Fare: Foraging and Growing Mushrooms

Scott Vlaun, the executive director at the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy in Norway, Maine, will lead a workshop on the basics of the mushroom life cycle, production, and different types of fungi, specifically oyster and shitake mushrooms. Participants will drill, plug and wax their own mushroom log to take home, and learn about log stacking methods, incubation and fruiting. We’ll discuss foraging strategies and etiquette in the Maine woods and learn about some of the easy to identify medicinal and edible mushrooms.

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT! 

Make sure to check out our other Maine Fare events happening throughout the month of June!

June 17th: Farmstead Cheesemaking

June 24th: Whole Lamb Butchery

June 30th: Finale Feast, Tasting & Storytelling

 

MFT members receive 10% discount on tickets.

Not a member? Join today and receive 10% off your ticket!

Check out the other Maine Fare events happening throughout the month!

The 2018 Farm Bill is Rejected in the House

On Friday, May 18, 2018, a draft of the farm bill was rejected on the floor of the House of Representatives by a vote of 198-213, with all Democrats and 30 Republicans voting against it. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and others are trying to obtain enough votes to bring the bill back to the House floor for another vote on June 22nd. Doing so would require reaching a deal with either moderate Republicans or the House Freedom Caucus. These negotiations will involve not only issues related to the farm bill, but also an immigration bill that House Freedom Caucus members are demanding a vote on before consideration of the farm bill. Others are advocating for House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) to restart the process in the House Agriculture Committee, working with Democrats on the Committee this time to produce a bipartisan farm bill that has enough support for passage.

 

MFT believes the best path forward is for the House Agriculture Committee to restart the Committee process and produce a bipartisan farm bill that does not contain some of the devastating cuts to working lands conservation programs and business development programs that support Maine farmers in their efforts to be good stewards of their land and to grow their businesses. Although the draft farm bill contains some important funding increases for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program (FINI), it also contains some provisions that are very problematic for Maine farmers. These provisions include:

 

  • Decreased funding for working lands conservation programs by nearly $5 billion over 10 years, including eliminating the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP);
  • Allowing 100% forested lands to be eligible for ACEP, thereby decreasing the easement funding available for working farms;
  • No mandatory funding for the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP), the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP), and the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG), all of which are important to the business development of Maine farmers; and
  • Elimination of the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP).

 

More information on the specifics of the House farm bill can be found HERE.

 

The Senate Agriculture Committee is continuing to work on a bipartisan basis to produce its version of the 2018 farm bill. Although the specific timeline is not clear, the Committee will likely release its bill in the coming weeks. The current farm bill expires on September 30, 2018. If a 2018 bill is not passed by both the House and Senate by September, a bill to extend the current farm bill for some period of time will need to be passed in order for all programs included in the last farm bill to continue to be funded in the interim before the next one is passed.

 

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

Maine Farmland Trust Awards Blue Hill Peninsula Grants

MFT recently awarded 22 Blue Hill Peninsula Community Food Grants, totaling more than $55,000. The average grant received was just over $2,500. Grants were awarded to projects or programs intended to increase food sustainability and improve the health and well-being of Blue Hill Peninsula residents. MFT recognized programs that create a more just and sustainable local food system through production and education within both the immediate and surrounding communities.

Tree of Life food pantry was one of this year’s grantees. Betsy Bott, a volunteer at the pantry, explains, “The Community Food Grant and Good Shepherd’s Mainers Feeding Mainers have made it possible for us to put the best our local farms have to offer onto the plates of our community’s food insecure. Due to this support, the Tree of Life has returned 8-10 thousand dollars a year back to local farmers. It’s a win-win, as cliché as that is. That’s what’s so great about these grants. They get really good food to our neighbors, and give farmers a payment.” Healthy Peninsula’s Healthy Eating Initiative received one of the other grants.

Awards were also given to individuals and businesses. “Receiving this grant is enabling us to accelerate the growth of our home garden through the purchase of essential tools, cold frames, and a small greenhouse. As a family of five that wants to eat organic, non-gmo, local food our grocery bill is very high – so being able to grow more of our own food is a high priority for us. Working with our children cultivating the land and showing them how to provide for themselves is one of the most important lessons that we can teach.” says Alycia Brown, of the Blue Hill home garden project.

Other projects awarded grants involved purchasing produce from local farmers to share with food insecure neighbors, construction of farm stands, purchasing farm equipment (as well as home garden tools and improvements), and summer camp garden programs for kids. MFT would like to congratulate everyone who was awarded a grant and thank everyone who applied.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

Maine Fare 2018 heads for Maine’s Western Foothills

Maine Fare is a month-long series of hands-on field trips and workshops throughout the month of June, culminating into a unique finale feast on June 30th.

Formerly a food festival that drew thousands of local food lovers to Belfast, MFT has re-imagined this popular event to provide more in-depth food experiences that highlight different regions throughout our state. This June, organizers have planned five events throughout the month in Maine’s western foothills region on various topics central to Maine’s food landscape. The 2018 workshops will cover topics that reflect the region’s unique food culture. Workshops include: indigenous foodways with GEDAKINA, mushroom foraging and cultivation, farmstead cheesemaking and lamb butchery.

“Western Maine’s historic and current food system is defined by the geography and landscape– the woods, freshwater lakes and streams, and hillside pastures well-suited to sheep and other livestock,” says Meg Quinn, event manager at MFT.

All workshops and the finale feast are individually ticketed, and tickets will be available April 30 on mainefarmlandtrust.org. MFT members receive a 10% discount on all tickets!

click on the dates to purchase tickets!

Workshops Include:

 

June 3rd: Indigenous Foodways

The presentation will cover indigenous food system recovery work happening in different parts of the state and offer the opportunity to sample foods from the tribal community.

 

June 10th: Foraging and Growing Mushrooms

This workshop will focus on the basics of the mushroom life cycle, production, and different types of fungi- specifically oyster and shitake mushrooms.

 

June 17th: Farmstead Cheesemaking

Nezinscot Farm will host a hands-on class that allows students the opportunity to gain skills and understanding of both soft and semi-hard cheeses.

 

June 24th: Whole Lamb Butchery

Students will learn from and work with a butcher from Rosemont Market & Bakery to breakdown and butcher a lamb from Stoneheart Farm.

 

June 30th: Finale Feast

The event will feature a casual tasting of small plates prepared by some of Maine’s finest chefs, paired with local beer, wine and cider. This will be followed by storytelling in the lamb barn.

Not a member? Join today and receive 10% off your ticket!

House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill is a Mixed Bag for Maine Farmers

On Thursday, April 12th, the House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX) introduced his draft of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2). On Wednesday, April 18th, the Committee voted the bill out of Committee on a strictly party-line vote (26-20). The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill in May. This bill is very much a mixed bag for farmers in Maine. Although it contains some important provisions for farmland conservation, beginning farmers, food access, and organic research, it either eliminates mandatory funding, does not increase funding, or makes problematic administrative changes to many programs that are vital to Maine farmers.

 

Funding for Farmland Conservation

Good:

  • Restores $500 million in mandatory funding for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which provides funding for easements on agricultural land.
  • Makes some administrative changes to ACEP that will make the program easier to use for farmers and conservation organizations.
  • Increases baseline funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which provides funding for conservation activities through public-private partnerships.

Problematic:

  • Cuts funding for working lands conservation programs by nearly $5 billion over 10 years.
  • Eliminates the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which provides farmers with comprehensive support to address natural resources concerns on their property while keeping their land in production. Replaces CSP with Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) stewardship contracts that do not have the core features of CSP and will not have an equal amount of funding.
  • Allows 100% forested land to be eligible for ACEP, diluting the funding available for easements on working farms.

 

Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

Good:

  • Reauthorizes and continues existing mandatory funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), which provides competitively awarded grants to academic institutions, state extension services, producer groups, and community organizations to support and train new farmers and ranchers.
  • Expands the focus of BFRDP to include food safety training, land access, and succession planning.
  • Includes a new Farmland Tenure, Transition, and Entry Data Initiative to collect important data on farmland ownership, tenure, transition, barriers to entry, profitability and viability of beginning farmers in order to improve policymaking and analysis.
  • Reauthorizes and maintains level funding for the Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP) to help facilitate the transition of farmland coming out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to the next generation of farmers. But it does not make needed administrative changes to improve the effectiveness of the program.

Problematic:

  • Farm Service Agency (FSA) guaranteed operating loan limits are increased without increasing overall program funding, thereby decreasing the opportunity for small-scale and beginning farmers to access loans.
  • No increases to FSA direct farm ownership loan limits.

 

Local and Regional Food Systems and Rural Development

Good:

  • Increases mandatory funding to $275 million over 5 years for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program (FINI), which provides competitive grants to projects that help low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables through incentives.

Problematic:

  • Provides no mandatory funding for the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP), which is a competitive grant program to help farmers and processors comply with new food safety requirements.
  • Provides no mandatory funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP), which is a competitive grant program that funds direct-to-consumer marketing strategies as well as local and regional food business enterprises.
  • Provides no mandatory funding for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG), which provides competitively awarded grants to producers to create or develop value-added producer-owned businesses.
  • Eliminates the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP), which helps small and mid-sized organic farm businesses afford annual certification costs.

 

Research

Good:

  • Provides a $10 million increase in mandatory funding for the Organic Agriculture Research & Extension Initiative (OREI), which supports research projects that address the most critical challenges that organic farmers face.

Problematic:

  • Reauthorizes the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE), which provides funding for farmer-driven research, but provides no increases in funding.
  • Reauthorizes the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which provides competitive grants to researchers to solve pressing challenges facing farmers and society, but provides no increases in funding.
  • Reauthorizes the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), which provides competitive grants for regional and multi-state projects that conduct research related to specialty crops, but provides no increases in funding.

 

Although there are many aspects of this bill that need to be improved for the benefit of Maine farmers, the vote by the House Agriculture Committee is just the first step. The full House of Representatives is supposed to vote on the bill in May. We urge you to contact your representative, either Congresswoman Chellie Pingree or Congressman Bruce Poliquin, to make your voice heard about this bill.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

‘Growing Local’ screening on Earth Day in Bethel

Come celebrate Earth Day at the Gem Theater! There will be a Potluck at 3:30pm, followed by showings at 4:30pm of farm-friendly films including:

  • ‘Growing Local’: While “buying local” is on the rise, the stories in Growing Local make clear that small farms and access to locally produced food is not a sure thing. These three poignant stories help us understand the interconnected fates of Maine’s small farms, consumers and the local food movement. Growing Local was directed and produced by Bridget Besaw of Seedlight Pictures.
  • ‘Farms of Western Maine: Moon Dance Farm’, which was created by junior high students at The Eddy School.
  • Alan Day Community Garden will show a short film about their Youth Leadership Program.
  • Center For an Ecology Based Economy (CEBE) in Norway will show a short film about their food festival.

After these films, we will have Q&A with representatives of all of those organizations, including MFT’s Chris Franklin.