Local Farmer Joins Extension Executive Committee

Natasha and Dustin Colbry
Natasha and Dustin Colbry

The Executive Committee of Piscataquis County University of Maine Cooperative Extension recently announced the addition of local farmer Natasha Colbry as their newest member. Natasha and her husband Dustin own and operate Spruce Mill Farm in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.

They are both Natural Science Graduates of University of Maine Farmington with focuses in Entomology, Botany and Geology.  Both have held several farm apprentice positions in Maine including a year with Will Bonsell and Eliot Colman.  The farm practices sustainable/biointensive agricultural for the most efficient production of nutritious and delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Pastured pork and chicken is also grown for farm share customers.

Executive Committee President Walter Boomsma says the committee is welcoming Natasha with open arms. “You don’t talk to Natasha very long before you realize she and Dustin are truly passionate about community education in Piscataquis County, particularly relative to small-scale agricultural production and natural resource management. Since Extension is all about education and extending the resources of UMaine to our communities, our farms and our citizens, this is a perfect fit! We’re looking forward to her energy and contributions.”

Colbry joins the Executive Committee—a group of volunteers who assist Extension Staff by helping determine priorities, promoting and evaluating programs and helping address the needs and interests of county residents consistent with Extension’s Mission—at a time when agriculture is on the upswing throughout Maine in general and very specifically in Piscataquis County. “We face the challenge of many organizations who must do more with less,” Boomsma reported. “But we also have a unique ability to network and collaborate thanks to an executive committee with diverse skills and interests. We’re often able to meet challenges by reaching out to other organizations committee members are familiar with and sometimes involved in.”

As relatively new farmers, the Colbrys both reflect the growth trend of agriculture and are anxious to support it. One of the reasons Natasha decided to join the Executive Committee is the contributions Extension has made to Spruce Mill Farm. “The UMaine Cooperative extension is a valuable resource for the farm as we establish our foundation in the community.  The Extension is a priceless tool for networking with local growers, educators and policy makers to improve the dynamics of agriculture in Piscataquis County for the current and future generations of farmers.  We love that they assist everyone from someone who has never grown anything before (through programs like One Tomato, encouraging people to grow just one) to growers that have been in agriculture for decades.   We are excited to be a part of the UMaine Cooperative Extension and represent our Farm and our Community!”