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What’s New at Moose Tubers

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Welcome to Moose Tubers! This is our 30th year offering certified seed potatoes, onion and shallot sets and, recently, ginger and sweet potatoes. This year we’ve added some new varieties we think you’ll love, while continuing to carry the old tried-and-trues you depend on. You also have a new potato coordinator this year—Hello! My name is Megan Gardner. I live and farm with my partner on the MOFGA fairgrounds in Unity, ME, where we are the current MOFGA farmers-in-residence. We raise produce, including about an acre of potatoes.

Every year, MOFGA makes strides towards ensuring the future of farming in Maine. One of the most important ways MOFGA is doing that is by educating young farmers. The Journeyperson program, of which I am a part, offers business classes, an education stipend, a paid mentorship and free admission to all MOFGA workshops and events. In my case, MOFGA has also provided land to farm and a place to live. It has been an absolutely propelling experience; one that we have taken advantage of fully. If not for MOFGA and its supporters, my partner and I would not be running our own business—we might not even be farming.

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We’re in the midst of a revival of the small, organic, diversified, family farm. Sure, agribusiness is still pumping along, using up thousands of acres in Maine to grow GM crops. But at the same time, consumers are more engaged and educated about their food and more willing to pay the real cost of real food. To fill this demand for good food, first-generation farmers like me are coming along, despite lacking generations of experience, land and much equipment. These deficits create quite an obstacle for most of us young farmers who are not independently wealthy. Getting going farming is expensive and difficult even with all the support out there.

One way we’ve tackled this obstacle on our farm is by going back to the basics, back to the way people farmed when family farms were a viable business, if not the most viable business, in rural communities. We use draft horses instead of a tractor to do all our field work and haying. A couple of diesel-devoted neighbors call us crazy for farming with horses, and maybe we are. But so far it is working for us. We have been able to buy, in the clear, three horses and all of the equipment we need to get our work done.

I’m not suggesting farming with the horses is the only way, or the best way. But it’s good for people to know that it still is a way. I believe farming can be profitable. So much of what we need to grow food is already here for us—sunshine and rain and air and all the helpful organisms in the soil that grow if we only feed them. By using Ben, Bob, and Heaven instead of a tractor, we are able to take the most advantage of all that free stuff. Grass instead of fuel. Sweat and manure instead of exhaust and chemicals.

Special thanks to Margaret Liebman, who has steered and enlivened Moose Tubers for five years. She is working with me this year to promote a seamless transition in providing you with great seed potatoes. And thank you for supporting Fedco, and for contributing to the Scatterseed Project, which is so committed to preserving the genetic diversity of our food crops. I can’t imagine a better endeavor than growing healthy food from healthy seed.

Megan Gardner