UMaine Extension to celebrate farming at Maine Agricultural Trades Show, through publications

January 11th, 2017 9:53 AM

This month, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will celebrate farming in the state at the annual State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show.

Residents are encouraged to visit the UMaine Extension booth during the show, Jan. 10–12 at the Augusta Civic Center.

UMaine Extension offers a variety of farming resources, including several publications:

This series recognizes that the needs of farmers at each life stage are unique, as choices about farming practices, child rearing, business growth, and succession planning enter into decision-making. The series consists of five fact sheets.

Have you ever thought about moving to a farm and wondered whether it’s the right life for you and your family? Answering the questions in this four-page bulletin related to the realities of farming in Maine will help you decide.

Farm accidents can cause serious injury or death, and present tremendous financial challenges to small-scale farmers. Many accidents can be prevented through education. This series of 66 fact sheets forms a comprehensive farm safety library.

Visit the Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog for more farming and gardening information, including new bulletins:

Other seasonal publications include:

Master Gardener Volunteers served 35,000 hours for educational, food security projects in 2016

December 30th, 2016 3:27 PM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is celebrating the 952 Master Gardener Volunteers who, combined, gave more than 35,000 hours of their time to a variety of educational and food security projects in 2016.

The team supported 80 community gardens, 86 school gardens, 103 demonstration gardens and 56 programs involving 1,579 youth in horticulture activities this year. Those involved with food security projects distributed 257,426 pounds of food to 142 food distribution agencies and countless neighbors in need as part of the Maine Harvest for Hunger program.

The Master Gardener Volunteers program provides participants with a minimum of 40 hours of in-depth training in the art and science of horticulture. Trainees receive current, research-based information from UMaine Extension educators and industry experts, and are connected with service projects that match their interests, skill set and availability.

All gardeners are encouraged to join the Master Gardener Volunteers team. Several counties are now accepting applications for local training programs starting this winter with application deadlines as early as Jan. 4.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 800.287.0274 or visit the UMaine Extension website.

UMaine Extension names new sustainable agriculture professor for Aroostook County

December 30th, 2016 2:44 PM

Sukhwinder Bali has been appointed University of Maine Cooperative Extension assistant professor and University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) assistant professor of sustainable agriculture.

Bali earned a master’s degree in soil science with a minor in botany from Punjab Agricultural University. She recently completed a second master’s degree in natural resource management from North Dakota State University. Bali has lived in Maine since September 2015.

Based in the Aroostook County Extension office, Bali will join a team of Extension and University of Maine at Presque Isle staff and will provide classroom instruction at UMPI. She will develop and conduct educational outreach and applied research with an emphasis on Aroostook County, work with other faculty to offer off-campus programs addressing the educational needs of commercial agriculture and teach academic courses in the UMPI sustainable agriculture concentration.

UMaine Extension also has hired Colt Knight as the new Extension livestock educator.

Knight grew up in West Virginia and has a background in livestock production and management. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona where he researched grazing patterns of cattle using precision agriculture technologies.

With UMaine Extension, his focus will be on developing and conducting educational programs and applied research projects statewide with an emphasis on livestock enterprises, animal health and nutrition, meat science, small-farm management and sustainable farming practices.

Knight will begin at UMaine in Orono on Jan. 9.

More about the Extension livestock program is available online or by calling 581.3188.

UMaine Extension offers tips on preserving, preparing cranberries

October 28th, 2016 11:26 AM

With fall comes the arrival of local cranberries — a favorite at holiday dinner tables. Cranberries can be added to many dishes, including breads, salads, relishes, salsas, chutneys, soups, grain-based entrees and desserts.

As the fruit becomes available, it’s recommended to buy extra berries and freeze for later use. University of Maine Cooperative Extension publishes information to help find, grow, use, preserve and store cranberries, as well as a variety of other in-season fruits and vegetables in Maine.

Visit extension.umaine.edu to order or download bulletins to fit the season. November favorites include “Canning and Freezing Quick Guides,” “Let’s Preserve: Apples,” “Vegetables and Fruits for Health: Cranberries, Winter Squash and Pumpkins” and “Safe Homemade Cider.”

UMaine Extension educator Kathy Savoie recommends getting up-to-date information on the best methods, canners, jars and seals to ensure a safe result before preserving food. Recommendations are available from local UMaine Extension offices or by calling 581.3188; 800.287.0274 (in Maine). More information, including upcoming food preservation workshops and how-to videos, is available online.

Community: Growing Maine — Treworgy Family Orchards

October 28th, 2016 9:49 AM

Read transcript

The latest installment of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s “Growing Maine” series tells the story of Patty and Gary Treworgy and their children on their second-generation orchard and family farm. Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant had a rough start after the first planting of apples failed. But with perseverance and by “starting small,” the farm grew to be a destination for over 35,000 visitors each year. The “Growing Maine” short documentaries highlight Maine food producers and farm families. The series helps consumers get to know their food sources better, as farmers and producers share their “behind-the-scenes” perspectives on how decisions are made.

UMaine Extension publications offer tips for seasonal pastimes

October 5th, 2016 2:08 PM

It’s that time of year when the days are cooling, the apples are falling from the trees, and everyone is picking their favorite sports team.

Visit the Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog for seasonal information, such as:

Fall also is a great time to plant trees and shrubs:

Maine Farmers Polled About Crop Damage Due to Drought

October 3rd, 2016 10:17 AM

Have you experienced crop damage or loss caused by dry/droughty conditions this growing season? Yes = 310 (53.91%); No = 97 (16.87%)A drought survey developed by University of Maine Cooperative Extension food system program administrator Richard Brzozowski, and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) agricultural services director Dave Colson, shows more than half of the 579 farmers who responded have experienced crop damage or loss due to the dry conditions this growing season.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (MDACF), Maine Farm Bureau, MOFGA, and UMaine Extension distributed the survey in early September to farmers and growers throughout the state.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) convened the state’s drought task force for the first time in 14 years in response to the dry weather.

Their most recent report shows 15 Maine counties with abnormally dry conditions, with Aroostook the only exception.

For more information about the survey results or the impact of the current dry conditions on the Maine food system, contact Brzozowski, 207.581.3222, richard.brzozowski@maine.edu.

‘Growing Maine’ orchard video released for apple season

September 14th, 2016 11:09 AM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension has released the latest installment of “Growing Maine,” a series of short documentaries highlighting Maine food producers and farm families. The third video tells the story of Patty and Gary Treworgy and their children on their second-generation orchard and family farm.

Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant had a rough start after the first planting of apples failed. But with perseverance and by “starting small,” the farm grew to be a destination for more than 35,000 visitors each year.

The “Growing Maine” video series helps consumers get to know their food sources better, as farmers and producers share their “behind-the-scenes” perspectives on how decisions are made. For those aspiring to farm, the videos are a way to hear directly from farmers and producers about what is most important to them.

UMaine Extension helps support and grow the food-based economy statewide, and is the only entity that touches every aspect of the Maine Food System, where policy, research, education, production, processing, commerce, nutrition, and food security and safety are integral and interrelated.

Videos in the series can be viewed online. Viewers also have the opportunity to suggest future story ideas for new videos that will be released throughout the year. For more information contact Leslie Forstadt, 207.581.3487, leslie.forstadt@maine.edu.

Motivated college students sought to take action to alleviate hunger

September 8th, 2016 1:33 PM

The Maine Hunger Dialogue is looking for college students angry that millions of people around the world, and thousands in Maine, do not have enough to eat. And who are motivated to do something about it.

“From Outrage to Action” is the theme of the third annual Maine Hunger Dialogue that opens at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 28, in Jewett Hall at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Before the two-day event ends at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, about 150 students and staff from 20 universities and colleges throughout the state will have packed 10,000 nutritious, nonperishable meals for use by Maine food pantries.

The theme “From Outrage to Action” was adapted from Roger Thurow’s “Outrage and Inspire” blogs that utilize storytelling to bring focus to global hunger, poverty and malnutrition. Thurow is a senior fellow on global food and agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

“He inspires students and others to get angry at the sheer inconceivable fact that so many are going hungry in the world when there is enough food for everyone. Hunger is a result of lack of political will,” says Frank Wertheim, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator in York County.

“He encourages us to learn and become outraged at the unnecessary suffering of millions and to channel that outrage into inspiration or, as we have interpreted, action.”

The Maine Hunger Dialogue began in 2014. It grew out of the UMaine Extension Maine Harvest for Hunger program, which since 2000 has donated 2,197,000 pounds of surplus fruits and vegetables to people, soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters in the state.

“The goal of the Maine Hunger Dialogue is to inspire students from the state’s public and private universities and colleges, including community colleges, to learn, share ideas, network and work together to fight hunger across Maine,” says Wertheim.

This year’s speakers — including Karin Lapping, a nutrition specialist with Save the Children based in Washington, D.C.; and Mark Lapping, professor emeritus, Muskie School of Public Service — will present information, engage discussion and seek to inspire participants.

Karin Lapping, whose work has focused on nutrition in the developing world, says many distinctions made in the past between developed and developing contexts are disintegrating.

“It is clear that we need to look locally and globally for innovative solutions to the persistent hunger and malnutrition challenges,” she says. “The Maine Hunger Dialogue will provide just such an opportunity.”

Mark Lapping says hunger is part of the food system landscape of Maine.

“By describing the larger issues confronting our state’s food system we can understand that hunger alleviation must be part of any strategy to address the other concerns which combine to make us so vulnerable,” he says.

From 2012 to 2014, Feeding America found Maine was one of 14 states with a significantly higher household food insecurity rate (16.2 percent) than the U.S. national average (14.3 percent). Maine has an annual gap of 36 million meals — meaning 36 million more meals are needed each year for every household to be food secure.

Dialogue participants will be connected with resources to benefit Mainers who are among the 48 million Americans estimated by Feeding America to be living in food insecure households.

In addition to discussing food insecurity issues, participants will hone skills to design, communicate and launch effective community-supported hunger-alleviation projects.

They’ll build on the success of student projects that originated at the previous two hunger dialogues. Campus teams will formulate project ideas, develop budgets and craft social media messages and verbal pitches. Planning team members will provide coaching and technical assistance.

Organizers seek to award a minimum of 15 $500–$1,000 grants to student campus groups to carry out plans. This year, campus community projects funded by a Hudson Foundation grant will assist immigrant and migrant populations in the state. The groups will be invited to return next fall to share success stories and best practices to inform future efforts to end hunger in Maine and beyond.

At the prior two dialogues at UMaine, 235 faculty and students from 20 college campuses and one high school committed to action plans to address hunger in their respective communities.

Twenty-one campus teams were awarded $500 grants for hunger-alleviation projects that were used to establish or maintain campus food pantries as well as plant campus-based community gardens to produce fresh vegetables for local food pantries and for students with low incomes.

Other projects created campus food recovery networks to redirect cafeteria surplus to local food security organizations, as well as promoted campus hunger awareness and student engagement activities and organized fundraisers that resulted in $2,500 for the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program.

“By focusing on campuses and surrounding communities across the state, students can make a real difference in people’s lives, as well as gain career skills, raise awareness of and work toward ending food insecurity in Maine,” says Wertheim. “Next year, we’ll come back together to share and develop new projects and continue to elevate the effort to reduce food insecurity among our families, neighbors and friends.”

Lisa Morin, coordinator with the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism at UMaine, says she’s excited support for the event has continued for a third year. “These students want to make a difference and the Maine Hunger Dialogue is helping them to achieve sustainable change,” she says.

The planning team includes UMaine Extension, Maine Campus Compact, faculty and staff from multiple Maine college campuses, businesses and community volunteers. The $25 registration fee ($35 after Oct. 7) includes meals. To register and for more information, visit the Maine Hunger Dialogue website. To request a disability accommodation, contact Theresa Tilton, 207.942.7396, theresa.tilton@maine.edu.

More ‘Preserving the Harvest’ workshops offered around state

September 2nd, 2016 3:25 PM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering hands-on “Preserving the Harvest” workshops throughout the summer and fall in locations around the state.

Upcoming workshops include:

Boiling Water Bath Canning and Freezing

  • 6–9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, Messalonskee High School, 131 Messalonskee High Drive, Oakland; $26

Canning Tomatoes and Salsa

  • 5:30–8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, UMaine Extension, 24 Main St., Lisbon Falls; $20
  • 5:30–8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, UMaine Extension, 138 Pleasant St. Suite 1, Farmington; $20

Preserve the Harvest: Apples and More

  • 6–9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, Scarborough High School, 11 Municipal Drive, Scarborough; $26

Fermenting Sauerkraut

  • 6–7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, Skowhegan Area High School, 61 Academy Circle, Skowhegan; $25

Preserving the Harvest: A Hands-On Food Preservation Workshop

  • 5:30–8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, Traip Academy, 12 Williams Ave., Kittery; $30

Canning and Preservation

  • 6:30–8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, Lewiston High School, 146 East Ave., Lewiston; $29

Making Low-Sugar Jam from Frozen Maine Fruit

  • 6–9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, Bonny Eagle Middle School, 92 Sokokis Trail, Buxton; $30

UMaine Extension staff and volunteers will lead the workshops. Fresh produce, jars and other canning equipment will be provided. Fees include a sample to take home.

Registration is online. More workshops will be added. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).