Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Maine Hay Directory & Maine Straw Directory

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Do you have enough hay to get through the winter?  Do you have hay for sale?  Use the Maine Hay Directory to locate possible hay sources or post the availability of your hay.hay-bales

If you need straw or have straw for sale, use the Maine Straw Directory.

Connecting with a Peer Support Group in Your Community

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

It takes time to adjust to using a wheelchair, no matter why you’re using one. Having a friend who has already rolled a mile in your shoes can help make the journey a little smoother. That’s why Wheel:Life encourages all of our readers to get involved in a peer support group in their local community.

Why “Thank You” Matters

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Why “Thank You” Matters.

A new publication part of the new Maine Family Farms: Life and Business in Balance series available through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

“Everyone needs to know that someone else cares about them, worries about them, and notices their contribution. Sharing a few simple words of appreciation and love can make a dramatic difference in farm family relationships.”

Farmer Veteran Coalition of Maine

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The newly-formed Farmer Veteran Coalition of Maine (FVC-ME) is conducting a survey to determine the needs of Maine military veterans interested in a career in agriculture and the Maine food system. There are basic questions about what Farmer/Veterans would like the FVC-ME to do and what volunteer opportunities with FVC-ME might interest you. It also asks some basic demographic questions to give FVC-ME some idea of where people are in the state and what their educational background is. If you would like to help FVC-ME with this statewide needs assessment, please go to: and tell us about you!

Maine AgrAbility Helps Pietree Orchard

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Farming is a tough business, but people of all kinds of abilities can farm successfully.  Read more at Pietree Orchards website.

AgrAbility National Training Workshops Archived

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The AgrAbility Virtual National Training Workshop is an annual web conference consisting of a series of webinars conducted over three days.  Webinars offered included:

  • An update from the USDA NIFA office on AgrAbility
  • Alternative Production Systems for Farmers with Disabilities: Local Food and Beyond
  • The Affordable Care Act for Rural Americans
  • An update from the farmer Veteran Coalition
  • Product Liability in the Farm Equipment Industry
  • Selecting and Evaluating Farm Enterprises for Individuals with Limitations

More information is available on the National AgrAbility program website.


What’s possible: Maine AgrAbility helps farmers with disabilities remain active and independent

Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Naomi King and Alexandra Tomaso in an apple orchard

King, far left, operates Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Maine, with the help of her assistant Alexandra Tomaso. Tomaso started working for King this past April at the suggestion of Maine AgrAbility.

Naomi King, a Unitarian Universalist minister and daughter of authors Tabitha and Stephen King, moved to Sweden, Maine in 2012 to be closer to her family after her rare muscular disorder started to advance. King, who uses a wheelchair, took the management job at the family-owned farm business.

By February 2013, the challenges of managing a successful, growing mid-size farm began to take a toll.

“I was at the point where I could not work at all here anymore,” King says.

Then King discovered a reference to the National AgrAbility Project online. When she learned there was a Maine program, King contacted Maine AgrAbility Project Coordinator Lani Carlson to determine if the program would apply to her.

Maine AgrAbility, a USDA grant-funded state program helps farmers with chronic health conditions and disabilities gain more control of their lives, continue to farm successfully and live independently. The Maine AgrAbility program is a nonprofit collaboration of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One.

Since receiving USDA funding in 2010, Maine AgrAbility has assisted more than 160 Maine farmers who have disabilities by offering services that range from answering agricultural questions, to suggesting ways to adapt tools or work sites, to referring farmers to other local support agencies.

“I was tremendously discouraged and convinced I couldn’t do anything related to the farm anymore,” King says. “So to be able to come to work six days a week is invaluable to me. It gives me a lot of purpose.”

Read more about King’s experience with Maine AgrAbility.

Low Vision Gardening

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

The American Council of the Blind of Maine (ACB of Maine)  shared an article written by David Perry.  David talks about his experiences of  gardening with a vision impairment. The article, Low Vision Gardening, shares tips on planning, organizing and being in the garden as well as how and when to ask for assistance.

New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference – December 17-19, 2013

Monday, November 18th, 2013

New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference and Trade Show
Tuesday through Thursday, December 17-19, 2013
Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire

The New England Vegetable and Fruit (NEVF) Conference will include more than 25 educational sessions over 3 days, covering major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops as well as various special topics. A Farmer to Farmer meeting after each morning and afternoon session will bring speakers and farmers together for informal, in-depth discussion on certain issues. There is also an extensive Trade Show with over 100 exhibitors.

The conference is put together with close collaboration between growers and Cooperative Extension from across the region. This is a great opportunity to meet with fellow growers, advisors, researchers, and industry representatives.

For more information and to register, please visit the NEVF Conference website,

Diabetes Awareness Month & World Diabetes Day November 14

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month & World Diabetes Day November 14

Diabetes can affect anyone.

A farmer with diabetes should consider their health needs before starting their daily chores. It’s important to pace work throughout the day considering physical endurance as well as food breaks and maintaining communication with someone else nearby.

Physical endurance:

  • Work simplification to avoid getting over tired
  • Having tools and equipment close to where they are used
  • Planning the day, allowing the best use of time and energy

Sense of touch and circulation in extremities:

  • Compensate for the loss of sensation by using other senses
  • Avoid exposure to temperature extremes; wear gloves and boots that fit properly to protect the skin and prevent injury
  • Thoroughly dry hands if exposed to water, use lotion to prevent chapping
  • Inspect skin for cuts or blisters daily; and seek medical attention if needed
  • Increase flexibility and circulation with stretches and exercises throughout the day

Because blood-sugar levels change in relation to activity level and diet, be sure to always have an established source of communication to summon help if needed ie: intercom system, radio or cell phone. Also make sure someone knows where you are and when you should be done.   Additional ideas can be found on the Ohio AgrAbility Fact Sheet: Farming with Diabetes, AEX-982.6-11.