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What's New at Organic Growers Supply

ogs letter - top image The realization that large-scale commercial agriculture is a dead-end and that the answer to eliminating hunger and providing food security for the world’s population will come from small, sustainable farms is dawning. Slowly, to be sure, and still too often dismissed as pie-in-the-sky foolishness by the people who monopolize too much of our public discourse, but dawning thanks to the efforts of organizations like MOFGA and the visionaries who lead them, people like Russell Libby.

Among the many projects that occupied Russell Libby’s last years was his vision that Maine could feed New England, that we could free ourselves from dependence on the national, and increasingly international, food distribution system. He talked of bringing two million more acres of Maine land into production. His dream wasn’t multi-thousand-acre mega-farms or even thousand-acre farms, but, true to his principles and his years at MOFGA, he envisioned five or ten thousand new family farms working together to produce the food that would feed us and, in the process, create an economic system that would nourish, not exploit. He was quick to point out these farms should and would operate on sustainable organic principles because, as he was fond of saying, it was not enough to stand in the organic corner saying we’re having a good time minding our own business over here. Not when we have, if not all the answers, at least the right questions.

For thirty-six years Fedco has provided the seeds and supplies people need to feed themselves and their neighbors. For more than forty years, MOFGA has provided support and inspiration through the Common Ground Country Fair, with its education and Ag Services programs, and through organic certification. Local organic has gone from meaning gnarly and buggy to bountiful and healthy. Organic Growers Supply grew out of a MOFGA effort to provide suitable soil amendments for organic agriculture. As MOFGA has grown, so has Fedco.

This year we’ve stepped up our support for MOFGA, making a commitment to provide at least $10,000 a year for the next five years to support the work MOFGA does to train new farmers and gardeners, and provide assistance to the folks already in the fields. To help meet this goal, we will donate 1% of each order from a MOFGA member and we will match any refunds donated to MOFGA. We look to you to pitch in by making a donation along with your Fedco Seeds or OGS order.

We lost a great soul and wonderful friend with Russell’s passing last December. I joined the MOFGA board 10 years ago because I believe in and value the work MOFGA does and what it represents, but also because I wanted the opportunity to spend time in Russell’s presence, to watch his mind at work and to see how he touched so many people. It was a pure joy to watch him pause in his thought to pick up and comfort one of the babies who’d come to a board meeting and found it much longer than she bargained for.

Even though we’ve lost a friend, he left us his vision and inspiration. As long as we are creating a local food system and healthy local economy, we haven’t lost his spirit.

David Shipman
OGS Coordinator