Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Maine AgrAbility Builds Vertical Garden in Unity

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

volunteers build a trellis-based vertical garden as part of a permanent display by Maine AgrAbility at the Common Ground fairgroundsA trellis-based vertical garden is now part of a display by Maine AgrAbility at the Common Ground fairgrounds to demonstrate accessible structures for gardeners with limited mobility.

The vertical garden was built June 17 in a workshop presented by Maine AgrAbility during Farm and Homestead Day at MOFGA. The annual free event offers hands-on workshops focused on sustainable living skills.

The vertical garden joins two raised bed gardens built by Maine AgrAbility in 2015–16 to demonstrate accessible options.

In this year’s Maine AgrAbility workshop, participants learned how to construct a sturdy garden trellis in three sections. They also had an opportunity to try out ergonomic gardening tools, receive handouts about services, and harvest lettuce from a raised bed.

volunteers build a trellis-based vertical garden as part of a permanent display by Maine AgrAbility at the Common Ground fairgroundsVertical gardens are designed to provide a big yield in a small space and allow harvesting from a standing position, which is easier for people with arthritis and other physical limitations. The trellis-based vertical garden now at the fairgrounds was made with naturally rot-resistant cedar posts and cross pieces harvested in Maine, and sections of cattle panels available at farm supply stores. Materials for construction cost approximately $150.

Maine AgrAbility works with Maine farmers who struggle to continue their work due to injury, illness or disability. The USDA-funded program is a partnership between University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Alpha One, and Goodwill of Northern New England. Each partner brings its expertise and institutional insights to the challenges at the intersection of farming, health and employment.

Maine AgrAbility Addresses Challenges of Cheese-Making on the Farm at Appleton Creamery

Friday, June 16th, 2017

milk container atop a wheeled cartAgrAbility staff member, Ellen Gibson, spent several hours on-farm at Appleton Creamery observing owner Caitlin Hunter at work to see how she could change her working routines to ease the stress and strain on her body and to determine which general ergonomic principles Hunter could incorporate to make her work easier. Read more at MOFGA’s website.

Universal Design on the Farm

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Disability is not a special condition of a few; it is ordinary and effects most of us for some parts of our lives.

If a design works well for people with disabilities, it works better for everyone. Universal design is a method of designing tools, buildings and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible. On April 28, 2017, Maine Cite hosted Maine AgrAbility to present the webinar ”Universal Design on the Farm: Planning for Safety, Efficiency and Independence”.

For more information on Universal Design visit our other page under Resources & Solutions: Universal Design.

Watch the recording:

Visit MaineCite:

Maine Cite enriching lives through assisitive and universally designed technology

Monthly Update on Maine AgrAbility

Monday, April 24th, 2017

2017 Fishermen’s Forum Exhibit

On March 2-4, Maine AgrAbility exhibited at the 3-day Fishermen’s Forum in Rockland, Maine. This event hosts fishermen, gear suppliers, scientists, government and other stakeholders to collaborate on all things fishing: markets, resource status, regulations, the latest in technology, the environment and more. Maine AgrAbility’s – FishAbility program featured Universal design as it applies to the fishing tools, vessels and work spaces.

Project coordinator Lani Carlson, attended the 2017 Maine Aquaculture R&D & Education Summit on Monday March 6th. Approximately 150 attended the event, representing every part of the aquaculture sector: growers, processors, regulators, managers, researchers, K-12 teachers, informal educators, NGOs, service providers, investors, and small business development support providers, to meet, exchange ideas, and explore innovative, cutting edge solutions for Maine’s aquaculture industry needs.

On March 9th, Maine AgrAbility hosted a Cultural Diversity Training for staff, advisory council members, veteran farmers and Ag-service providers. The training was facilitated by Visions, Inc.

L-R Richard Brzozowski, Lelan Dixon (USDA), Aida Balsano (USDA), Ellen Gibson, Lani Carlson, Ketra Crosson, Dan Vigue

(L-R) R. Brzozowski, L. Dixon (USDA), A. Balsano (USDA), E. Gibson, L. Carlson, K. Crosson, D. Vigue

Maine AgrAbility staff had a great time learning and sharing information at the NTW in Knoxville. During the NTW, four Maine staff members presented three workshops: Keeping Kids Safe on the Farm, Universal Design on the Farm and Planning and Maintaining a Useful Farm Shop.

Interested in what’s happening with other AgrAbility projects across the United States? National AgrAbility e-Note


Maine scallop diver James Sewell featured in short documentary

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

The New York Times presented “Diving for Scallops,” a short documentary profiling James Sewell, a fisherman in Maine who practices a fading craft: diving for sea scallops on the ocean floor. In 2009 Sewell lost his right arm in a snowmobile accident. Less than a year later, he was diving again, feeling more stable 80 feet below the surface than he did on land. Read more and view the video. See Gabe Souza’s photos.

Maine Needs More People with Disabilities to Work

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

farmer scratches goat's earsMaine is facing an impending shortage of workers. Adding 10,000 working-age people with disabilities to the working ranks would boost Maine’s employment rate among that population to 38.3 percent, above the national average of 34.9 percent. There is evidence of an economic return from employing people with disabilities.

Read more in “I Have Something Still to Give,” third in the Bangor Daily News’ series called Forgotten Maine Workers that examines how Maine could realize the hidden potential among its workers.


Farming the Sea – UMaine Magazine

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Farming the sea

Farms and Food Systems Blog – April 2017

Friday, March 31st, 2017
WLA workers harvesting a peach crop on a farm near Leesburg, Virginia in August 1944. Photo by the USDA

WLA workers harvesting a peach crop on a farm near Leesburg, Virginia in August 1944. Photo by the USDA

In this issue:

  • Finding Farm Labor
  • Worker Protection Standards Inspection Checklist
  • High Tunnel Pest Management Strategies
  • Organic No-till Crop Management!?
  • Tractor Maintenance and Avoiding Breakdowns
  • Tractor Safety Courses Offered Statewide
  • Farm Safety in Maine: On-Farm Safety Reviews Offered
  • Working with Your Meat Processor
  • Avian Influenza and the Importance of Biosecurity
  • Directories and Resources
  • Upcoming Events

Bordine you CAN garden

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

I met Duane Bordine and his wife last week at the National AgrAbility Training Workshop. ‘Beautiful cut flowers from Raised Beds’ from Stockbridge MI.

Proposed Legislation Would Make It Easier for Aspiring Young Loggers to Get into the Business

Friday, March 17th, 2017

logger looking at chainsaw and felled treeProposed legislation would level the playing field with other agricultural fields by allowing family members to get experience in logging from an earlier age so they can carry on a family business. Read more in Morning AgClips.