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Organic Consumers Association

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners—Teaching Generations to Love Mother Earth

  • By Charlotte Warren
    Organic Consumers Association, April 16, 2014

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page and our Organic Transitions page.

Do you know where the largest and oldest state organic organization is in the Unites States?

It’s in Maine!

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), formed in 1971, is the country’s longest existing and biggest state organic organization in the country. MOFGA mission is to help farmers and gardeners: grow organic food, fiber and other crops; protect the environment; recycle natural resources; increase local food production; support rural communities; and illuminate for consumers the connection between healthful food and environmentally sound farming practices.

MOFGA led the charge to pass a GMO labeling law in Maine. In fact, they started off this year in the office of Maine’s Governor, Republican Paul LePage. They were there to deliver hundreds of postcards encouraging him to sign the bill previously passed by Maine’s legislature with near unanimous votes. Governor LePage signed the bill the next day, and Maine became the second state in the country to adopt labeling requirements for foods derived from genetically modified crops and animals.

Well done, MOFGA!

One of MOFGA’s largest programs, The Common Ground Country Fair, occurs each year on the third weekend after Labor Day in Unity, Maine. The Common Ground Country Fair which started in 1977 as a “harvest celebration” will celebrate its 38th year this September. Each fall, almost 60,000 people travel to attend the fair.
Along with lots of information about the fair schedule and exhibits, the MOFGA website also has some great information on how fairgoers can start preparing now.

And, as you might expect, these recommendations are also great for our planet.

One of the ways that MOFGA suggests to prepare for the fair is to order seeds and start plants for your garden. Then, enter your results in the Exhibition Hall displays or offer them to the Common Kitchen to help feed volunteers during the Fair. Grow a row to create common ground!

Folks can also work with their local schools and teachers to plan a student field trip to Common Ground. What a fun way to teach children about farming, recycling, and all sorts of other ways to be good stewards of our earth.

Another suggestion is to tune-up your bicycle—and your body—by cycling to the fair. A suggestion heeded by nearly 600 cyclists every year. The fair program even includes valet bicycle parking.

MOFGA and the Common Ground Country Fair are unique and creative in their approach to teaching people of all ages how to love our mother earth. You can read a bit more about the history of this historic organization here.

Charlotte Warren is media manager for the Organic Consumers Association.

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