Naomi King, a Unitarian Universalist minister and daughter of authors Tabitha and Stephen King, moved to Sweden 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.”
Image Description: Naomi King and Alexandra Tomaso in an apple orchard
The December 2013/January 2014 issue of Farm Scoop is now available: Farm Scoop – December 2013/January 2014. Read about the New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference, Cornell Small Farms Marketing Class, 2014 Maine Agricultural Trades Show, and Value -Added Producer Grant.
“Keeping Your Herd Healthy” is the theme of the Maine Beef Producers Association’s (MBPA) 24th Annual Beef Conference on Saturday, Dec.7, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bangor, Maine.
Presenters include: Walter Whitcomb, commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Dr. Simon Alexander, veterinarian at Exeter Veterinary Services; Cindy Kilgore, livestock specialist with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; and Dr. Anne Lichtenwalner, veterinarian and director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Animal Health Laboratory.
The MBPA and the Maine Grass Farmers Network (MGFN) are co-hosting the event; registration begins at 8 a.m. the day of the conference. Nonmember registration, including lunch, is $60 for the first person from a farm and $40 for all others from the same farm. The student rate is $20. Discounts are available for MGFN and MBPA association members.
Sponsors are UMaine Cooperative Extension, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and Hilton Garden Inn.
For registration details, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Melissa Libby at 1.800.287.7170 in Maine or 207.581.2788 outside of Maine. More details, including the keynote speaker, will be announced at the UMaine Extension Beef website.
Image Description: beef cows and calves on pasture; photo by Edwin Remsberg
The Kennebec Journal interviewed Jim McConnon, University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist and professor of economics, about the city of Gardiner’s plan to develop a food policy that brands the city as a local food hub and encourages people and groups to purchase locally grown and raised food products.
McConnon said more of the money that is spent on products from local growers remains in the community. He cited a 2005 Iowa State University study that indicated each dollar spent at farmers’ markets in that state had generated an additional 58 cents in direct sales for the economy.
A free panel discussion about the Washington County food system will be held Wednesday, December 11, 6-7:30 p.m., at Kimball Hall at the University of Maine at Machias.
Much of the food we consume is imported into the area from other counties, states and countries. This has impacts on local land use, the environment, employment and economics.
Panelists include Kevin Athearn, associate professor of environmental and community economics at the University of Maine at Machias; Carly DelSignore, co-owner and operator of Tide Mill Farm in Edmunds; Inez Lombardo, founder and coordinator of Machias Marketplace online farmers market; and David Thompson, store manager of the Machias Hannaford.
Following each panelist’s presentation, audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions. The event, which is open to the public, will be streamed live over theInternet and archived online for future (machias.edu/umm-live).
This is the third panel in the Food and Community Series sponsored by Psychology and Community Studies at UMM, UMaine Extension and the Libra Foundation. For more information, contact UMaine Extension Educator Alan Majka, 207.255.3345 or University of Maine at Machias Professor Meghan Duff, 207.255.1227. To request a disability accommodation, call Jo Ellen Scribner at the University of Maine at Machias, 207.255.1228.
The Weekly previewed the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 2013 Maine Food Summit to be held 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Friday, December 6, in Wells Conference Center at the University of Maine.
To register or to request a disability accommodation for the summit, call Meghan Dill at 207-581-3878.
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, www.newenglandvfc.org.
A University of Maine Cooperative Extension class was mentioned in the latest entry of the Portland Press Herald blog, “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources.” The article, titled “Food safety and preservation training with UMaine Extension crosses borders,” focused on a two-part training program offered in Falmouth to people from the Democratic Republic of Congo who came to Maine for farm business and food safety training with the UMaine Extension.
Registration is underway for the 2013 Maine Food Summit, a daylong conference Friday, Dec. 6 at the University of Maine. The event, sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Wells Conference Center on the Orono campus.
The summit is an opportunity for food producers, business owners and anyone involved with and interested in Maine’s dynamic food system to share ideas about growing Maine’s agriculture and fishery, supporting the state’s economy and improving food security.
Tim Griffin, associate professor and director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, and Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, are keynote presenters. In addition, there will be panel discussions, workshops and opportunities to meet others interested in food systems.
Registration is $30 ($20 for students) through Nov. 22, and $40 ($30 for students) from Nov. 23 until the Nov. 27 deadline. Lunch is included. For more information or to register online, visit http://umaine.edu/agriculture/maine-food-summit/.
To register or request a disability accommodation, call Meghan Dill at 207.581.3878. For more information, contact John Jemison at 207.581.3241.
Image Description: State of Maine
Richard Kersbergen, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator on sustainable dairy and forage systems, was quoted in an Associated Press article about goCrop, a new app that helps map crops and monitor irrigation systems. Kersbergen said goCrop would be a potentially useful tool in helping dairy farmers keep records. NWCN.com carried the report.