Tag Archives: MFT Events

A very special new year: 2019 is our 20th!

In 1999, a small group of farmers and farm advocates planted the seed of an idea: farmland matters, and should be protected. Word spread, meetings were held with like minds, and soon, MFT began as the first and only land trust in the state focused on protecting farmland and supporting farmers. Thanks to the pioneering vision of our founders, the hard work of volunteers and staff, and the support of members, that seed took root and grew! 

This year, we’ll celebrate 20 years of growing the future for farming by reflecting on our milestones over the years, acknowledging the many people who have helped shape MFT, and by looking ahead to the next chapter. We’ll share stories of farmers and members, host some really fun events, organize a listening tour, and more. Most importantly, we want to create opportunities for you to be involved in shaping the next 20 years and beyond.

Together, we can have a lasting and positive impact on the future for farming in Maine.

Visit our anniversary website to keep up on all things 20th, and stay tuned for details about happenings. Be sure to join us for our Kick Off Party in Belfast on January 24th!

Listen to some stories from the field

No matter how many seasons they have been with their soil, farmers develop a strong connection with their land. For each farmer, this relationship is unique and therefore, manifests differently into the food we eat and the communities we live in. MFT hosted three storytellers for live event at the Maine Historical Society to explore these relationships. The yearlong exhibitions, Maine Eats: The Food Revolution Starts Here, was also open for viewing that evening.


Listen to the stories from the field below:


Farm to Glass for Portland Beer Week

Join Oxbow for a night to celebrate & educate about Maine’s interconnected beer & farming industries. Get a taste of what it takes to make Maine-grown ingredients in Maine-made beer.

We will have tasting flights of 5 all-Maine ingredient beers. Proceeds to benefit MFT!

Join us for panels & presentations by grain farmers, hop growers, and brewers.

The event is free and open to the public. Flights are $10. Ages 21+

Oxbow Blending and Bottling  (49 Washington Ave, Portland)

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.

3rd Annual Farmland Access Conference

In the next decade, more than 400,000 acres of Maine farmland will transition in ownership. What will happen to that land? Farmers, landowners, and farm advocates are invited to the third annual Farmland Access Conference on December 4, 2017 at the Augusta Civic Center, Augusta ME co-hosted by Maine Farmland Trust and Land For Good. The day-long conference will delve into some of the stickiest issues facing farming today. Workshops will tackle challenges of how to provide for a farm’s future when a farmer is ready to retire, and how next generation farmers can take on the stewardship of farmland in transition and shepherd the future of Maine’s food system.

Deadline to register is

Thursday, November 30. Cost of attendance is $15 per person and includes a lunch sourced from local farmers and producers.


  • 8-8:30 Registration
  • 8:30-10 Welcome, Opening Plenary: Farmland in the Balance: At the Nexus of Access, Transfer, Viability, and Conservation
    • Chellie Pingree, US Congress
    • Walter Whitcomb, Maine Agriculture Commissioner
    • Amanda Beal, President, and CEO, Maine Farmland Trust
    • Jim Hafner, Executive Director, Land For Good

Farmland Access is a cross-cutting issue that requires multiples perspectives and approaches. Our panelists will share remarks from their own rich experiences and areas of expertise in farm access, transfer, viability, and conservation; and offer insights into what’s needed in these areas to continue making progress towards a robust and sustainable Maine food system. A facilitated discussion between the panelists and the audience will follow.  

  • 10-10:25  Break
  • 10:30-Noon  Breakout 1
  • Noon-12:45  Lunch  
  • 12:45-2  Breakout 2  
  • 2-2:25  Break
  • 2:30-3:30  Breakout 3

See the Breakout Session Descriptions here.

walk-in registration the day of the conference is welcome!

Questions?  Interested in sponsoring the event? Contact Erica Buswell: ebuswell@mainefarmlandtrust.org

Thank you to our sponsors!

In the Interval Between Snowflakes on view at MFT Gallery

Belfast. In a state like Maine, sometimes the greatest fruits of our labor grow through friendship.

The multi-media exhibit “In the INTERVAL between snowflakes,” on view at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery from November 20 through January 5, is a case in point.

The exhibition (part photography, part sculpture, part poetry) is a result of over 25 years of friendship between artist Bruce McAffee Towl and farmers Barbara and Jason Kafka, of Checkerberry Farm in Parkman, Maine.

“It all started twenty-five years ago,” McAffee Towl recounts, “because Jason held out his hand and in his palm were the seeds for an entire crop of onions, and we said ‘Let’s make a book for the Common Ground Fair!’ That’s what got us started.”

“It was all drawings at first,” McAffee Towl continues. “It was the friendship that allowed the farmers and their crew to feel comfortable, to have someone right there with pencil and paper to record their triumphs and less-than-triumphs.” His nickname soon became The Spector.

Fast forward two and a half decades: McAffee Towl presented the harvest of 25 years of drawings, photography, sculpture and poetry to his community, in the barn adjacent to his home in Dover-Foxcroft, in October of 2016.

“It was an emotionally moving experience,” writes John Harker, now retired but previously Director of Market and Production Development for the Maine Department of Agriculture for 26 years. He and many others felt that this exhibit must be shared around the State, as a way to raise awareness of the work that goes into growing food and simultaneously, as a way to celebrate Maine’s family farms.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery was a logical first choice. “It was Barbara Kafka from Checkerberry Farm who approached us about Bruce’s exhibit,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, gallery curator at Maine Farmland Trust. “When I went to see Bruce’s exhibit in early 2017, she was there, and it became immediately apparent that this production was truly a team effort, and important to many.”

The Maine Arts Commission awarded INTERVAL partial funding to be adapted for display at other venues. Betsy Miller Minott, a former farm crew member at Checkerberry, has since been instrumental in converting the exhibit for display at MFT Gallery.

As curator of MFT Gallery, Witholt Abaldo has seen a plethora of artworks and exhibits that speak to farm life. “INTERVAL is unique,” she notes, “because of the decades of heartfelt observation that pour out through the poetry, the photographs, even the hand-hewn bench made from a fallen tree which serves as a seat to view the digital slide show. It is truly a labor of love.”

In McAffee Towl’s own words, the exhibit “celebrates the I N T E R V A L between snowflakes: raising organic fruits and vegetables on a rural Maine farm in the state’s short growing season, and aims to honor all those who ‘bend’ to raise food for many of us.”

The exhibit will be on display from November 20, 2017 through January 5, 2018, and opens with a festive, public reception on Saturday December 2, during the Belfast Holiday Art Walk. The reception will be preceded by Artist/Farmer Talks at 5pm; the reception runs from 5:30-8pm.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, located at 97 Main Street, Belfast, is open Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm. More information can be found at www.mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide, member-powered nonprofit working to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate agriculture through art, and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine. For more information on the Trust visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org.

September Open Studio Day at Rolling Acres Farm

Join Maine Farmland Trust on Saturday, September 30th  from 11am-3pm, at our Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm for a family-friendly Open Studio Day. Come meet and view the work of September’s artists Anne Alexander, a sculptor from Windham who creates nature-based work (MFA in Sculpture from Alfred University, NY, 1989) and Jude Valentine, a printmaker and pastel artist hailing from East Machias, (MFA in Visual Art  with a concentration in multi-disciplinary media, Vermont College of Fine Art, Montpelier, VT.)   There will be live music on the lawn, and free coffee, tea and ice cream. Located right on Damariscotta Lake the public is invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the Center’s grounds for the day.

Front of Fiore Center house

August Open Studio Day at Rolling Acres Farm

Join Maine Farmland Trust on Saturday, August 26th from 11am-3pm, at our Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm for a family-friendly Open Studio Day. Come meet and view the work of August’s artists-in-residence: Elizabeth Hoy, an abstract painter living in Brooklyn , NY (MFA, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2009) and Jessica Klier, from Northampton, MA, who fashions elaborate installations from recycled waste (BA in Expressive Arts and Community Engagement with a Minor in Studio Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.) There will be live music on the lawn by father and daughter Phil Clement (guitar) and Sophia Buckley-Clement (voice), and free coffee, tea and ice cream. The Gallery at Rolling Acres will be open, currently showing a group exhibit with sixteen painters: Conversations, Studio and Table.

Located right on Damariscotta Lake at 152 Punk Point Road in Jefferson, the Fiore Art Center is a perfect place for a fun family outing – the public is invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the Center’s grounds for the day.


Front of Fiore Center house

July Open Studio Day at Rolling Acres Farm

Join Maine Farmland Trust on Saturday, July 29  from 11am-3pm, at our Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm for a family-friendly Open Studio Day. Come meet and view the work of July’s artists Tanja Kunz, an oil painter living in Bath (MFA, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC) and Josselyn Richards Daniels, a young illustrator and native Mainer from Yarmouth, currently a student at Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, CA. There will be live music on the lawn, and free coffee, tea and ice cream. Located right on Damariscotta Lake the public is invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the Center’s grounds for the day.

2nd Annual Agrarian Acts concert brings The Mallett Brothers Band to a farm “up north”

What do farming and music have in common? Quite a lot, according to Maine Farmland Trust. The statewide nonprofit is known for using creative and artistic means to communicate the importance of farmland and farming, and on August 25th they’ll host the 2nd Annual Agrarian Acts concert with The Mallett Brothers Band. The show will be held on a farm in Sebec, Maine, but the setting isn’t the only connection to working the land.

A Maine-based band, The Mallett Brothers are a nationally touring country rock and roll and Americana group. Their latest release, The Falling of the Pine, celebrates Maine’s rural history and landscape by re-imagining a collection of 19th century folk songs collected in the 1927 book “The Minstrelsy of Maine”. That concept struck a chord with the Trust, whose annual Agrarian Acts concert is “a celebration of agriculture through music.”

“We were looking for band that had a clear connection to the land,” said MFT’s outreach director Ellen Sabina. The new album, and the fact that Maine Farmland Trust recently protected an iconic farm in Sebec, the Mallett’s hometown, “seemed like the perfect ingredients for a farm concert,” Sabina said.

Luke and Will Mallett, who lead the band, have roots in the area and their mother and father (folk singer David Mallett) still live close by. In 2012, David Mallett put out his album, Greenin’ Up, in conjunction with Maine Farmland Trust. The album includes updated versions of Mallett’s most beloved folk songs from the ‘70s, and celebrates rural living in Maine.


The Mallett Brothers Band will perform in a hayfield at Eagle View Ranch. The ranch was formerly known as Varnum Farms. Maine Farmland Trust protected the 2,068-acre piece of land and sold the property to the current owner several years ago. The new farmer raises beef cattle on the property. “It’ll be a bit more rustic than your average concert venue,” said Sabina. “We’re encouraging people to bring their own blankets and chairs to stake out their spot in the field and enjoy the show.”

But rustic doesn’t mean there won’t be good food and drink. The ticket prices include dinner, prepared by Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen. The menu includes locally pastured chicken sandwiches on fresh, handmade croissants, pulled pork sliders, farm green salad, potato salad and other sides, and fruit hand pies and flourless raspberry corncakes for dessert. A cash bar will have several local beer and wine options available for purchase, and non-alcoholic options as well.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for kids age 6-15 (kids 5 and under get in for free). The ticket price includes a hearty meal of local food. Tickets can be purchased HERE or by calling 207-338-6575.