I have seen the future of Maine agriculture…and I am wicked excited!
Just spent the last 2 days at MOFGA’s annual Farmer to Farmer conference at Point Look-Out in Northport. MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) has been hosting this conference for over 20 years, and it is based on the philosophy of peer-to-peer learning…farmers learn best from each other. What a concept? Can you see Monsanto doing this…sharing ideas and practices!!
In the unique three hour workshop sessions, the first half is dedicated to presentations by agricultural service professionals and farmers, while the second half is a round-table discussion intended to solicit and capitalize on the accumulated knowledge of all farmers in attendance.
I spent my time learning about organic strawberry production, and met some of the up and coming small fruit growers in the state…yahoo! More jam next year! I also moderated a panel on “Growing the Organic Market”….nothing selfish here…just want more Maine food on Maine plates.
Saturday night we were entertained by Ian Cheney, filmmaker. Best known perhaps for King Corn…we saw clips from his new film TRUCK FARM …. a dose of whimsy…Ian talked about his quirky agricultural project in the back of a Dodge pick-up.
Sunday morning we heard inspiring remarks from Brian Snyder on building the capacity and voice for a stronger sustainable agricultural movement. We were charged with what we need to do right now to serve our communities and save the world. Pretty heady stuff.
And later that morning, I learned how to legally slaughter my certified organic rabbits so I can sell them to restaurants and consumers…
And the food…I could not stop eating….we have the best food in the world…and when 200 or so farmers get together, we sure eat well.
But by far the best part was the farmers…the average age was maybe 30 …these young folks are going to do it…the place was buzzing with activity…babies, toddlers,…don’t tell me that Maine agriculture is going grey (just folks like Flip and me). Maine is the place to be…we are the only state where the average age of farmers is going down…and the number of farms is going up….we will be a significant part of the New England foodshed..
I have seen the future of Maine agriculture… and honey, let me tell ya…We are going to eat well!