The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Harvest for Hunger program was the focus of the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with UMaine Extension, spoke about the importance of the program that provides produce and recipes for those in need. This week, Master Gardener Volunteers at the Orono Community Garden will harvest greens for about 50 local senior citizens. Since Maine Harvest for Hunger began about 15 years ago, it has provided more than 1.6 million pounds of food for community members, according to the report.
The St. John Valley Times reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Potato Board will sponsor the “Potatoes for the Health of it” potato-cooking contest July 27 at the 2014 Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle. Participants are asked to prepare a heart-healthy recipe using the Maine potato as a primary ingredient. Recipes must contain no more than 30 percent fat and no more than 140 mg sodium per serving, feature Maine potatoes and use ingredients that are readily available. Recipe categories are soups, salads, breads, casseroles, desserts and miscellaneous.
Master Gardener Training Offered in SkowheganUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers training will be held Mondays, Sept. 8 through Nov. 17, 2014, and Mondays, Jan. 19 through Feb. 9, 2015. Classes will meet 6–9 p.m. at the UMaine Extension Somerset County Office, County Drive, Skowhegan.
UMaine and state specialists will present 15 three-hour gardening sessions focused on vegetables, fruit and volunteerism. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and, following the course, work on educationally based, volunteer projects. Projects may include assisting people taking part in community vegetable gardens and/or school gardens, designing and creating displays for fairs and other public functions and answering public calls and requests.
Cost is $220; scholarships are available. The course features an online manual and requires an Internet connection. For more information, to request an application or disability accommodation, or if interested and do not have reliable Internet access, call Pete Bastien, 207.474.9622, 800.287.1495 (in Maine). Completed applications are due by Aug. 22, 2014.
Keri Kaczor, of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and coordinator of Maine Healthy Beaches, spoke with SeacoastOnline about the health of Maine’s beaches following the release of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s annual report on the water quality at beaches throughout the nation. Maine Healthy Beaches is a partnership between the UMaine Extension/Sea Grant, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and local municipalities. The statewide organization is dedicated to monitoring and keeping beaches clean. Kaczor said despite Maine’s low rank in the NRDC report, there are plenty of beaches in the state with nearly spotless records, and most of those beaches are in state or national parks where there is little to no development.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a youth 4-H club focusing on entomology from 9 to 11 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, Aug. 4–20, at the UMaine Extension office, 28 Center St., Machias. Activities are designed to teach youth ages 8–10 about the environment through bugs. Cost is $10 per child; registration is limited to 10. For more information, to register or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.255.3345 or email email@example.com.
Barbara Murphy, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and gardening expert, was a guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show focused on gardening advice and touched on topics such as soil conditions and crops gardeners should expect to see ready by July.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor Jane Haskell specializes in strengthening skills of group facilitators so meetings can be conducted effectively and efficiently. Fishermen and graduate students are among her more than 400 clients.
This summer, Haskell, who has authored a national facilitation-training curriculum, is working with members of Wabanaki Nations.
She’s also researching how to buoy skills of facilitators who assist refugees. Specifically, she’s studying how American-born, English-speaking facilitators and group leaders ask for feedback from refugees who have recently arrived in the United States.
Refugees, she says, may not have positive experience with regard to giving comments in a formal group setting and may not understand the concept from a Western perspective or framework.
Haskell and a colleague who specializes in immigration and refugees issues are exploring how to best partner with refugees so that their perspectives are heard and understood in Maine.
The 6th Annual Backyard Locavore Day, sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, in six gardens in Brunswick and Freeport. This self-guided tour will be held independent of the weather.
Learn do-it-yourself strategies for becoming a locavore — a person who eats food locally grown and produced. Demonstrations and talk topics include vegetable and square-foot gardening, backyard composting, greenhouses, beekeeping and backyard poultry. Each garden session will feature food-preservation methods, including drying, hot water bath canning and making herbal vinegars and jam. Complimentary food samples will be provided. UMaine Extension Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver Volunteers, as well as homeowners, will answer questions.
Cost is $15 for those who register in advance, $20 the day of event and free for children younger than 12. Registrants will receive a booklet with a map and descriptions of each site. Proceeds benefit UMaine Extension’s Cumberland County Food Preservation Program. Online registration and information are available at umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/locavore. Also, for more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099, 800.287.1471 (in Maine), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles by Mainebiz, The Forecaster and the Portland Press Herald on a $1.7 million training program launched by Wolfe’s Neck Farm and Stonyfield to invigorate the local and regional organic dairy industry and jumpstart the next generation of organic dairy farmers included statistics from University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor Rick Kersbergen. WLBZ (Channel 2) reported Wolfe’s Neck is working with UMaine Extension to develop the training program. There are currently 285 dairy farms in Maine, compared to 597 in 1995, Kersbergen says. Within the same time frame, Kersbergen says the number of organic dairies has increased from one to 60.
The Morning Sentinel advanced a University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cooking for Crowds workshop 1–5 p.m. Monday, July 7, at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office. Topics include safely preparing, handling and serving food for large groups, including at soup kitchens, church functions, food pantries and community fundraisers. Cost is $15 per person; scholarships are available. To register, visit umaine.edu/food-health/food-safety/cooking-for-crowds or bring a check to class.