John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about planting fall crops such as spinach and arugula as summer gardening wanes and space becomes available in the garden. He also suggested gardeners plant cover crops such as a mixture of peas and oats to amend the soil before putting the garden to bed for the winter.
Penobscot Bay Pilot and The Free Press reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a train-the-trainer workshop for those interested in leading 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) experiments at their work sites. Designed for 4-H volunteers, teachers, library staff and after-school or childcare providers, the workshop will be available via distance learning at sites throughout the state in September and October. NYSD is held annually to promote programming that sparks interest and leadership in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
The University of Maine was mentioned in articles by the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News on climate change and the increase of ticks and Lyme disease. Both reports referenced a question on the November ballot that will ask voters to approve an $8 million bond that would support a laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for monitoring Lyme disease and other health threats related to mosquitoes, bed bugs and ticks. Research from UMaine’s Climate Change Institute also was referenced in the BDN article. A clinical research associate at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, which tracks tick populations in the state, said CCI research shows the state will grow significantly warmer by 2050.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a food safety workshop for volunteer cooks, 1–5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at the University of Maine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104, Falmouth.
Cooking for Crowds offers up-to-date information about safely handling, preparing, storing and transporting food for large groups of people, including at soup kitchens, church suppers, food pantries and community fundraisers. The class meets the Good Shepherd Food Bank safety training requirements.
Cost is $15; partial scholarships are available. Register online by Sept. 11. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine). To receive notice of other educational opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on Maine AgrAbility, a USDA grant-funded state program that helps farmers with chronic health conditions and disabilities gain more control of their lives, continue to farm successfully and live independently. The program is a nonprofit collaboration of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. The report focused on a farmer in Winterport who was helped by the program. Richard Brzozowski, project director of Maine AgrAbility and a small ruminant and poultry specialist with UMaine Extension, told WABI “You don’t look at the disability part. You think of what they can do; the ability part.”
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about changes in U.S. Department of Agriculture standards that require organic beer to be brewed with organic hops and how those changes are inspiring more Maine brewers to grow hops. According to the article, UMaine Extension is testing several organic hop varieties to see which thrive and can make tasty brews in Maine.
The University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture (CCAR) in Franklin was mentioned in an Aquaculture North America article about Acadia Harvest Inc. of Brunswick, Maine, reaching the final pilot phase of its work on land-based re-circ aquaculture of California yellowtail. The company also is laying the groundwork for commercial production of yellowtail, and hopes to add black sea bass in the future, the article states. Taylor Pryor, a chief scientist and marine biologist at Acadia Harvest Inc., said the company wouldn’t have accomplished as much in the past three years without the expertise at CCAR, which supports aquaculture business incubation. “The CCAR staff are wonderfully competent in their hatchery work,” Pryor said. “Having their expertise and the CCAR facility can vastly reduce the time needed to move projects forward.”
A Portland Press Herald article about Maine bakeries using more local grains mentioned the Northern New England Local Bread Wheat Project, a USDA-funded collaboration of researchers, farmers, millers and bakers in Vermont and Maine that aims to help farmers increase organic bread wheat production and quality. For the past four years, Alison Pray, co-owner of the Standard Baking Co. in Portland, has been working with the Northern New England Local Bread Wheat Project at the University of Maine and the Northern Grain Growers Association. The groups occasionally send her new heritage wheat varieties to bake with so she can evaluate their properties and flavor, according to the article.
The University of Maine’s Aroostook Farm in Presque Isle is celebrating 100 years of service to the state and Maine’s potato industry with a centennial celebration and alumni social on Aug. 13.
As the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’s potato research facility, the farm is the center for agricultural research and development for Maine’s potato industry. Research and outreach programs at Aroostook Farm aim to provide essential information for Maine’s potato industry to remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace.
The farm’s celebration will include tours, a program commemorating the anniversary, and a social and picnic.
Invitations were mailed to more than 1,000 individuals and organizations including growers, producers and other representatives from the agricultural community; local, state and federal policymakers; university administrators; and alumni.
More information about Aroostook Farm and its centennial celebration is online.
James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about Maine seeing an increase in tick-bite illnesses other than Lyme disease. Cases of anaplasmosis and babesiosis, which can seriously affect health if undetected, are at or nearing record levels in the state, according to the article. Dill said the good thing about illnesses from ticks is they can be treated with antibiotics. “That’s why, when we have a tick bite, we always tell the individual to contact their physician, especially if people find a tick that is attached and it has started to feed,” he said. He also stressed the importance of having a dedicated tick laboratory at UMaine, which would be funded if voters support Question 2 on the November ballot.