Tag Archives: Maine Farmland Trust

Farm to Glass

At this educational tasting opportunity, you will discover how local ingredients enhance the local brews you love. Learn more about the brewing process and how grains, hops, malts, and orchards affect the flavor of the beer you drink, and how you can make your own.

TICKETS are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.
(MFT members receive a special discount! Email Rachel, rkeidan@mainefarmlandtrust.org for the discount code)

Featuring: Atlantic Brewing, Black Bear Brewing, The Hop Growers Association, Maine Malt House, Orono Brewing, and more.

Forever Farm Party at Romac Orchard & Goat Hill

Wednesday, Spetember 12th

4-7PM

Romac Orchard & Goat Hill was protected last summer by MFT and our co-host, Three Rivers Land Trust. The orchards have produced apples for the wholesale market for 80 years, and the hilltop has long been a cherished destination for year-round and seasonal residents of the region.

Celebrate farmland protection and community collaboration in Acton. Good food, cider + beer, and music!

Free & All are Welcome!

Please RSVP below or call the MFT office (207) 338-6575

Agrarian Acts 2018

Join us for our 3rd annual celebration of agriculture through music!

Doors at 3:30/Music 4-7pm ish

BUY TICKETS HERE.

An evening of music in the fields at the Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson. This year’s line-up features three all-female bands with deep roots in rural Maine:

Ticket includes

Farm pizza & salad made by Uproot Pie Co.

Cash bar with beer & wine

Bring your own blankets and chairs

 

Kids under 5 FREE

Kids 6-15 $15

Adults $35

 

BUY TICKETS HERE.

Summer Garden Party & BBQ

Please join neighbors, friends, and staff of MFT for a casual & informative evening of food, conversation and community in Freedom.  Learn more about what MFT is up to locally, and statewide, to ensure farming will continue to feed Maine for generations to come.
We’ll have plenty of meat and veggies on the grill and a big green salad (all from local farms).  Please feel free to bring a side dish, dessert, or drinks to add to the mix!
Families welcome, no dogs please.
To RSVP or for more information, call or email Caroline (207-338-6575; caroline@mainefarmlandtrust.org)

Maine nutrition incentive programs get a big boost from large federal grant award

Innovative “nutrition incentive” programs that get more local, healthy food to low-income Mainers while growing the customer base for Maine farms have received federal funding through a large, multi-state grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Last week the USDA announced over $4 million in funding for the regional proposal, led by Farm Fresh Rhode Island and including two Maine organizations: MFT and Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets. The award is the largest grant allocated in this grant cycle. The grant will help fund nutrition incentive programs in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island for the next four years.

“We’re really glad to be part of this collaborative effort to increase access to healthy food and support farmers across New England,” says Shannon Grimes, Nutrition Incentive Project Manager at MFT. “Having this grant provides important stability to help us expand our programs even more over the next few years.”

Nutrition incentive programs offer vouchers for low-income shoppers who use SNAP/EBT (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) when they purchase local food. The vouchers can be redeemed to purchase more locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Nutrition incentives are a win-win-win: Families who use SNAP benefits are able to access more local, healthful food; Maine farmers gain new customers; and more food dollars stay in the local economy.

In Maine, there are two types of nutrition incentive programs: Maine Harvest Bucks, which is offered at farmers’ markets, CSA’s, and farm stands through Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets (MFFM), and Farm Fresh Rewards, offered in local stores and administered by MFT.

Maine Harvest Bucks is available at 60 sites across the state. MFFM partners with Saint Mary’s Nutrition Center, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, and Cultivating Community to implement Maine Harvest Bucks at various direct-to-consumer markets throughout the state. Since 2015, Maine Harvest Bucks has provided more than $250,000 in local fruits and vegetables to shoppers using SNAP. When SNAP benefits are factored in, Maine shoppers have purchased more than $600,00 from local farms in the past 3 years through the Maine Harvest Bucks program.

In 2015, MFT began a project to expand nutrition incentives to stores selling local food. Farm Fresh Rewards has also proved successful: 69% of responding customers report buying more fruits and vegetables as a result of the program, over half (56%) reported a health benefit, and more than two-thirds (69%) noted that they “feel more connected with farmers and other food producers.” Customers are buying more local food, supporting the more than 300 farmers who sell products to participating stores. MFT looks forward to growing these successes with renewed funding. Farm Fresh Rewards is also supported by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation in Southern Maine.

In total, these two nutrition incentive programs have helped increase sales for over 1,000 farmers and producers, with more than $700,000 in SNAP and nutrition incentive sales since 2015.

“After three years of development, we are excited to see our program continue to grow with the support of the FINI grant” says Jimmy DeBiasi, the SNAP Program Coordinator at MFFM. “We’re looking forward to continuing to work with the Department of Health and Maine SNAP-Ed, whose support has been critical, as we test new outreach strategies, launch a farm stand pilot, and expand our impact among farmers and shoppers using SNAP.”

For more information about Maine Farmland Trust’s Farm Fresh Rewards program, contact Shannon Grimes, shannon@mainefarmlandtrust.org or 207-338-6575.

For more information about the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets’ Maine Harvest Bucks program, contact Jimmy DeBiasi, SNAP@mffm.org or 207-487-7114.

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

Andrew Marshall joins MFT as the next Wang Food and Farming Fellow

Andrew Marshall of Montville, Maine has been selected by MFT to serve as its next Wang Food and Farming Fellow.

As a Fellow, Marshall will work for a year at the Trust conducting research activities to inform an understanding of best practices in farmland reclamation, as well as investigating varied, innovative strategies for protecting farmland from development. In this role, he will also serve as a resource for research that supports the overall effectiveness of MFT’s programs, with a particular focus on working to enhance opportunities for farmer engagement in designing research activities and priorities.

Marshall received his BA from Bowdoin College and earned his MA from the University of Santa Cruz.  Since then, Marshall has taught sustainable agriculture courses as adjunct faculty at Unity College, Kennebec Valley Community College, and he continues to teach at Colby College. In addition, Marshall has worked most recently for Land for Good as their Education and Field Director, and prior to that, as the Education Programs Director at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Meanwhile, Marshall and his family have operated Dorelenna Farm since 2007, where they raise mixed vegetables and chickens for many local markets and restaurants.

Marshall has also served on numerous boards and committees related to agriculture and conservation over the years, including the Wellspring Council and Conservation Committee,  Waldo County Extension Association, and Northeast On-Farm Mentors Network.

MFT created the Fellowship in honor of David and Cecile Wang. The Wangs have provided critical support and trusted guidance to MFT over many years. The Wangs also have a long history of supporting organizational innovation, including their pivotal role in supporting the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which has effectively advocated for fair wages and better working conditions for farmworkers over the past two decades.

Marshall’s appointment follows Ellen Stern Griswold, JD, LL.M. of Portland, Maine who was MFT’s inaugural Wang Food and Farming Fellow, and now serves as the organization’s Policy and Research Director.

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

Land & Sea

A FRESH LOOK AT OUR REGION’S FOOD FUTURE

By Amanda Beal & Robin Alden

Illustrations by Sarah Wineberg

On September 29, 2016, the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries (formerly Penobscot East Resource Center) and Maine Farmland Trust hosted the Land & Sea Colloquium at Bowdoin College to explore a whole-system approach to increased food production in Maine. The discussion also examined the connections between economic growth potential in the food sector, good natural resource stewardship, and the overall health of our communities. More than 70 people were engaged in the discussion. The following is based on the transcript of the event (a video of the presentations and panel session can be viewed here).

Maine and New England food production is experiencing a renaissance. New farms are cropping up across the region and the average age of our farmers is declining, signaling that younger farmers are moving into the picture. Maine has a thriving inshore fishing fleet, and there is great interest in aquaculture expansion. Direct farm- and boat-to-consumer markets have expanded, and more and more eaters want to know where their food comes from. All of this is reinvigorating our rural landscapes and contributing to a growing local food culture.

Our region is widely viewed as a land of opportunity for increased land- and sea-based food production and harvesting over the coming decades. Maine is a national leader in river restoration, which is positively impacting marine systems, and has a significant amount of coastline adjacent to the Gulf of Maine. We have good farmland, a moderate growing season, and communities throughout the region that value locally grown and harvested food. Maine has the potential to be a major source for the New England food market, and many predict broad and positive economic impact.

But what exactly does sustainable expansion—economically and environmentally—of the region’s food production look like? How can major change take place in a manner that strengthens local communities, improves individual well-being, delivers economic benefit to producers and others along the food chain, and strongly supports the land and water resources upon which all production and harvesting depend?

All of these questions, considered simultaneously, create a complex and challenging puzzle that we must work to solve to ensure that we create real and lasting benefit for Maine’s people into the future.

MAINE PRODUCES

Currently, about 90% of the food we eat in New England comes from outside the region.1 We have the potential to produce a lot more food in New England—perhaps half of what we eat or even more—but to do so, Maine needs to play a major role in expanding food production.

Over the past 25 years, Maine has seen a positive trend in the number of farms and land in farms reported by the USDA Census data. The last count, in 2012, reported 8,174 farms and 1,454,104 acres categorized as farmland. These numbers are encouraging, particularly after the long and steep decline that began in the middle of the 20th century, when Maine counted just over 42,000 farms encompassing 4.6 million acres. Meanwhile, we have done well in effectively managing our natural

resources, recognizing that they are an essential foundation for increased production now, and for sustained production into the future. With over 5,300 miles of coastline, Maine’s fisheries support approximately 5,000 commercial fishermen. In addition, about 90 companies operate 180 aquaculture farms, which employ approximately 600 more people in the fisheries sector.2 It’s known that fishing can be an in-credible economic engine, providing jobs that help to sustain coastal communities, but it’s also true that ongoing success for our fisheries requires a healthy environment. These two factors are inextricably linked. The ocean is downstream from all human activity; in Maine, we are fortunate that by global standards our water quality is still remarkably high.

We have many reasons to be excited about the potential for Maine’s food production to grow to feed ourselves as well as the region, and beyond, but for Maine’s food producers to achieve livable wages, while also supporting their stewardship activities and making sure the food they grow is accessible and affordable, it is clear that numerous shifts are needed within our current food system.

The potential to significantly expand Maine’s food production is real, and there are signs of progress in some areas. But it’s important that we not only look at the positive and exciting data trends that show growth in sales or pounds of food produced. For instance, we would not want to increase land-based production by reclaiming farmland in an area or in a manner that leads to runoff that would endanger the productivity of our marine waters or in a way that prohibits farmers from being able to cover their costs and pay themselves and their workers a fair wage, impacting overall farm viability.

This second example has been a long-standing issue in the commercial dairy sector, where farmers operate at the mercy of the fluctuating federal milk price, leading to an ongoing decline in the number of mid-scale commercial dairy farms. These farms are an important anchor for services that other farmers rely on, which will create challenges for all farmers if this trend continues. Likewise, overfishing a species when a new market emerges, as we did with sea urchins, may bring short-term economic benefit to a few, but limits the longer-term productivity of this fishery and affects the ecosystem for other important commercial species.

These are just a few examples of how looking at only one piece of the system without considering the whole can limit our ability to see the lon-ger-term implications of our decisions and to foster an overall

productive, viable, and healthy food system that works for all.

CURRENT CONDITIONS AND CHALLENGES

Farming and fishing in Maine today are benefiting from a more engaged public that has a growing interest in knowing where their food comes from, who grows and harvests it, and how they can play a role in supporting the producers’ efforts. More than at any other time in recent history, Mainers value food producers as important members of our communities. Yet, even with this level of support, we still have challenges to overcome to make sure that our food businesses can thrive now and in the future.

On land, many farmers still struggle to make a living, largely due to the rising cost of doing business and the small portion of the food dollar
(which in 2015 reached its lowest level in a decade) that is paid to producers.3 This economic trend of rising costs and lower returns affects the system on down the line, making it challenging
to build and sustain the needed infrastructure
to process and distribute farm products, to allow entrepreneurs to develop value-added products, and to make Maine-grown food more widely available to institutions and larger markets. Without the intentional will or some other force that inspires consumers to pay more for food, these challenges will continue to affect the future of our food system. Without addressing the underlying economic dynamic, it will be difficult to achieve broad economic benefits for the agricultural food sector as a whole.

In fisheries, if we look at the aggregate haul of Maine commercial landings, the overall trend looks really good. But looking more closely, we see that the majority of the upswing is due to lobster production, which in 2016 saw record-level landings of 130 million pounds, valued at $533.1 million.4 It’s believed that  the continued growth in lobster production can be attributed to a decades-long decline in lobster predators like cod, warming waters, and strong management and conservation efforts within the lobster fishery.5 As a result, many rural coastal towns now depend almost entirely on lobstering to support their local economy. The lobster industry seems to  be faring better than farming, but this dependence on one species creates a vulnerability in our fisheries economy. Also, lobsters have a cold temperature threshold, beyond which they cannot survive their larval stage, when they float on the ocean surface.

So, although we are currently in a sweet spot, the fact that the Gulf of Maine continues to warm raises concerns about how long lobster production can remain at the current, high level. Climate change impacts create uncertainty for both land- and sea-based food production. While the changes we see in the ocean include warming waters, increasing acidification, and some shifting of species habitat, on land we see changes to the growing season, less predictability of warming and cooling cycles, issues with water availability, new pests and diseases, and an overall heightened risk of crop failure due to these factors and others, such as increases in intense weather events. Because food production relies on an ecological foundation, as that foundation becomes less stable and predictable, our ability to project what food system changes are possible is increasingly challenged.

COMPLICATING THE PICTURE: CONNECTIVITY AND INTERCONNECTEDNESS

We are producing food in a profoundly complex and dynamic ecosystem that includes a complex and dynamic economy. We also know that Maine’s natural resource economy is the lifeblood of literally hundreds of Maine communities. It is vital that as we invest in the new agriculture economy, or modern fisheries and aquaculture opportunities, we do so in a way that takes into account the many system interactions and that supports values such as long- term sustainability, equity, and community health.

It is daunting to consider our food production from a systems perspective, and in the past we have not even tried. Policy is compartmentalized, with agriculture, water quality, aquaculture, and fisheries in separate agencies and university departments.

Agency and academic science have, of necessity,  made assumptions to simplify the issues, to enable management schemes that are now, in a changing climate, no longer valid. Fisheries science for regulation setting, for example, has been treated like a math problem, predicting broad scale future abundance on the basis of random surveys and past patterns. Not only is this no longer wise in a rapidly changing ocean environment, but it also overlooks new knowledge about local ecology populations of fish and shellfish.

It is, of course, important to understand the func- tioning of each of the many systems as well as the individual components at play. But we also need to pay attention to key interconnections, otherwise the result will be that we operate with a skewed under- standing of the whole picture and we risk not seeing trends that may tell us an important part of the story.

When thinking about the food system, we need  to consider the markets—local, regional, national, international—and how they fit together. We need to recognize who, and what, drives change. For instance, policies can impact the food system as a driver, as can market demands, access to capital, and technology. Remembering that our food system is, well, a system, we need to understand what ties these pieces together—the farmer, the delivery truck, marinas, etc.—and think about what effects any one action might have on these connected parts of the system. We need to acknowledge potential competition for resources, like land and space in the marine environment, and the fact that different places in the ocean have different ecological functions.

Finally, as we consider these and other questions, we must make ourselves aware of the consequences of any actions, intended or unintended. Keeping these questions and intersecting concerns in the forefront of our planning can increase our understanding of the underlying system, which can lead us to effective and meaningful change.

HOW TO MOVE FORWARD IN A COMPLEX SYSTEM

So, where do we go from here? How do we make and support changes in our food system that have real,

positive impact and take into consideration the complexities of today and the unknowns about the future?

The Land & Sea Colloquium was a call for us all to go a step further in our thinking about how to navigate the complex interconnected human-natural system that is our food system. We know we must under- stand the components, and the relationship between them, within this dynamic system. It is important that we work to develop institutions that understand and embrace these interconnections, fostering think- ing that cuts across sectors, holds multiple values at the center of decision-making, and establishes tight feedback loops that enhance our ability to adapt as things change, such as in a future of more agriculture, more aquaculture, restored river fisheries after dam removal, shifting markets, and climate change.

On land and sea, we would do well to take a management approach that allows for shared learning to provide the capacity for adaptation and adjustment along the way. We need to build flexibility into our regulatory structures and management strategies that allows for shifting ecological and economic conditions. Enabling flexibility and adaptability in any planning helps to minimize risk and swiftly respond to new opportunities in an unknowable future.

It is crucial that we look at various ways to accumulate and assess information. It is just as important to gather and understand farmers’ and fishermen’s knowledge as it is academic knowledge. Farmers and fishermen have a fine-scale understanding of their environment

and the day-to-day conditions that impact their success. All of this knowledge taken together provides a powerful way to understand how changes to any part of the food system impact the whole.

On land and sea, different values and interests can lead to conflicts about how resources are best used. Taking a comprehensive look at overall goals for our landscapes, watersheds, and the people in them can help us to reconcile various viewpoints, and to connect otherwise isolated conversations about land and aquatic environment use. Although it is incredibly challenging, we should move toward coming up with multiple-interest and multiple-use guidelines for these resources.

We must also keep an eye on the whole system to avoid making unintentional trade-offs, and to in- crease the positive potential of our collective efforts. A powerful example of this is unfolding before us, as our understanding of the systemic impacts of dam- ming rivers has become clearer. Beginning in 1790, we installed 202 dams in 210 years, almost a dam a year for two centuries. This has been problematic for several reasons, including the impact on fish that must travel upriver to reach their historical spawning grounds. We saw a significant collapse of forage fish after the Veazie Dam was built at the head of tide on the Penobscot River, where alewives, blueback herring, and other migratory fish once were plentiful.

According to an article in the New York Times last fall, two years since the removal of the Veazie Dam, nearly 8,000 shad were counted swimming upstream, along with more than 500 Atlantic salmon and almost two million alewives.6 This gives us insight into the potentially significant impacts of ecological restoration, which could greatly benefit future generations by encouraging greater species richness and diversity in the Gulf of Maine.

It is not a given that we will realize the highest po- tential for Maine’s food producing future. Known and unknown challenges will require us to be adaptable, to actively share knowledge across our areas of expertise and immediate interest, and to work to- gether strategically. As we think about opportunities to increase food production in Maine, it’s important that we rigorously address all of the values that we want to ensure are built into that growth. How will we address change and build a model of equity?

How can we assure that, while supporting growth, we still live within the bounds of our ecosystem, supporting the productivity of our connected land and marine systems to the highest degree possible?

Maine has an opportunity. By looking at our past mistakes and at the challenges other regions face where management of land and sea resources areat odds, we know that Maine can be an innovative world leader in building a robust environment for food production that addresses the whole system, and that can be sustained for generations to come. Maine Farmland Trust and the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries are committed to working together to continue this dialog. We invite others to join us, as we acknowledge that no one organization, business, or person can create and sustain the kind of systems change that is needed, and that ongoing connectivity is the key to helping us all to understand the broader picture while we each work to do our parts.

Amanda Beal is the president & CEO of Maine Farmland Trust and a Ph.D. candidate in the Natural Resources  and Earth Systems Science program at the University of New Hampshire. Robin Alden is the founder and executive director of the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries and a past Maine Department of Marine Resources commissioner under Governor Kings administration.

Other speakers at the Land & Sea Colloquium whose remarks contributed to this article included: John Piotti, past-president of Maine Farmland Trust

and now president of American Farmland Trust; Tim Griffin, director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment graduate program at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Bob Steneck, professor in the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine; and moderator Jo D. Saffeir

 

notes

  1. Donahue, Brian, and Joanne Burke, Molly, D. Anderson, Amanda Beal, Tom Kelly, Mark Lapping, Linda Berlin, A New England Food Vision: Healthy Food for All, Sustainable Farming and Fishing, Thriving Communities (Durham, NH: Food Solutions New England, University of New Hampshire, 2014)
  2. Bell, Tom, “Maine Aquaculture Industry is Snagging Investors,” Portland Press Herald, January 15, 2015, posted January 15, 2015, http://www.pressherald.com/2015/01/15/ maine-aquaculture-snagging-investors/
  3. USDA Economic Research Serv “Food Dollar Series.” Last updated March 16, 2017. https://www.ers.usda.gov/ data-products/food-dollar-series/
  4. Overton, Penelope, “Maine Lobster Catch Tipped the Scale at a Record 130 Million Pounds in 2016,” Portland Press Herald, posted March 3, 2017, http://www.pressherald.com/2017/03/03/ maine-lobster-landings-set-records-in-2016/
  5. Steneck, Robert , et al., “Creation of a Gilded Trap by the High Economic Value of the Maine Lobster Fishery,” Conservation Biology, Society for Conservation Biology, Volume 25, Issue 5, (2011): 904–912
  6. Carpenter, Murray, “Taking Down Dams and Letting the Fish Flow,” New York Times, posted October 25, 2016, https://www.nytimes. com/2016/10/25/science/ penobscot-river-maine-dam-removal-fish.html.

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

Hear the Stories from Maine Fare: Finale Feast & Storytelling

Maine Fare is a month-long series of hands-on field trips and workshops throughout the month of June, that culminated into a unique finale feast on June 30th. This year MFT held Maine Fare in the western foothills region; all events reflected the region’s unique food culture. The culmination event was a tasting and storytelling event held at Stoneheart Farms in South Paris.

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

Rain Begins the Day by Jodi Paloni

Jodi Paloni was the literary resident at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center throughout the month of July, into August. She worked on completing a novel and also wrote weekly reflections on her time at the residency.

 

Big rains have come. They fall in sheet-like vertical lines that cross the field following paths rendered by wind. Tree branches undulate, gentling the picture, and then suddenly the wind is given to change, leaves turned inside out. Leaves on the maples that flank the yard, liaisons between domesticity and all the wilding beyond the fence­–––five gentle turkey hens, a hawk swooping its prey, coyote kits yipping in the night, and even the gardener wearing her straw hat who wades through the field, brushing palms over the surface of hay grasses and wildflowers as if giving a blessing or taking one, even she becomes the wild of the field. Beyond all of that, the dead continue to sleep among weasels slinking the rock wall, loons chorus their lament, and above, as always, there’s the sky, today, a dirty white.

On the desk, a manuscript in paper, completed, while incomplete, soaks up the damp, when yesterday, pages quivered and flapped in breezes that skimmed across them. The writer allows her characters to rest, to settle into their narrative, reliving their matrices of push and complacency, which is a kind of push, too. She’ll let them examine their agency, see what fits, what is fitting, what squeezes them or lays them out bare beyond the reader’s capacity, but she’ll not let them rest for too long. Time, which was once a playmate, has shifted and now bullies the house, which is only to say how cherished this house has been, and these trees and the field, the cerulean ribbon of lake in the distance.

The middle fruits come in steadily like the end days of July–––string beans of chromium oxide and indigo, cadmium summer squash, and tomatoes with medium violet skins and terre verte flesh. The last lettuces taste sharp in the mouth. The house knows what all this means, but doesn’t speak it, until it does speak it, and turns suddenly as sour as the rough and bitter leaves. Thoughts run ahead to crisper airs and tubers–––carrots, beets, potatoes–––and among these thoughts there’s a stew. The house struggles to find peace while pushed and pulled by roots and shoots timetables, June weeds turned to seed, and planet energies, mercurial. The Internet is slow. Glue turns paper soft. It’s a good day for problem-solving the humidity, for private query, for the felt sense brush stroking of a self-portrait.

Yesterday, residents traveled a near road or two to the archives of the painter this place is named for and viewed more of the tangibles made manifest by his hand, as far as any one person’s eye can turn sight into vision and ask the consumer to see all that was felt or at least to try. Some are moved by the clatter of narrative and color, others by the peace they might take from a line reminiscent of a relatable figure. All are moved by a collection of stones arranged in an old printers box set on the table under the sky light, a scrim of barn dust and splinter of hay making it holy. It’s an artifact, a childlike thing, like this summer month of days with few boundaries, where the inner wilding as been allowed a sliver moon howl swelling towards eclipse. There’s nothing as sacred as emptiness in the quiet after a howl. There’s nothing as sacred as paying attention to what makes us and to what we make.

Here’s one thing the writer now knows for certain, what she has always suspected. Process isn’t solely for the artist; it’s for embedding process into the physical plane–––the canvas, the rice paper, the vellum, the page, the clear glass jars of liquid plant pigment on the pantry shelf–––for what travels over time and through space are the material vestiges of process impermanence.

Take heart, the writer will say to herself and the others, a departure looming.

The field has witnessed your arrival. It has allowed you, has taken you in, as it also swallows the rain, lifts up the birdsong afterwards.

Take heart. You have become immune to describable form, but your having resided here will be held within the forever of this field.

 

 

Jodi Paloni, July 2018

Wild and Scenic

Wild & Scenic Film festival in Ellsworth

Join us for the first Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Downeast Maine! The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is the largest film festival of its kind. It will leave you feeling inspired and motivated to make a difference in your community and the world.

There will be food and drinks, a raffle, and information from participating hosts at 7pm; we’ll start showing the films just after sunset around 8pm.

 

Co-hosted by Downeast Salmon Federation, Downeast Institute, Downeast Audubon, Schoodic Institute, Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, Blue Hill Heritage Trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and MFT.

Sponsored in part by: Downeast Fisheries Partnership, Downeast Conservation Network, and Hawkes & Quirk, LLC. Additional national sponsorship provided by: Peak Design, EarthJustice, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, Klean Kanteen, CLIF Bar, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

This is a FREE community event! Learn more about the films at https://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/.