Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) is a national leader in new farmer training programs. Their programs reach hundreds annually and eighty-nine percent of their graduates go on to farm in Maine—having established more than 150 farm businesses across the state.
Sarah Longstreth, of Frith Farm, is an inspiring example of one such farmer. She enrolled in MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program (JP) to learn how to raise organic livestock in a more profitable way. Last year she raised 27 hogs, 400 laying hens, 300 broilers and a dozen sheep. Sarah also runs a 350-member vegetable CSA with her partner Daniel Mays (another JP graduate!), employs five farm apprentices and grows her produce using innovative no-till techniques. The JP program is essential to her success, providing access to technical support, business training, a vibrant network of other farmers, a devoted mentor, numerous outside resources—and perhaps most importantly, the confidence to grow her farm.
Maine needs to add nearly 150 farmers each year to meet growing consumer demand and replace retiring farmers. This makes MOFGA’s training programs all the more important. “With the generous support of Farm Aid, we have been able to increase our capacity and expand the reach of our new farmer training programs. By providing beginning farmers with the education and support they need to establish viable and lasting farm businesses in Maine, we are supporting individual farmers as well as strengthening the whole fabric of our rural economy one family farm at a time.”