Some of our favorite resources and organizations working to promote sustainable agriculture in Maine and the Northeast:
New England Farmers Union – New England Farmers Union works to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life of family farmers, fishermen, foresters, nursery growers and consumers in all six New England states. Learn more about an opportunity to win a trip to Washington, DC on the NEFU homepage.
New England Food Policy: Building A Sustainable Food System – A new report released by the American Farmland Trust, Conservation Law Foundation, and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.
Cooperative Farming Handbook – A new resource that helps people understand the “Frameworks for Farming Together”
UNDERSTANDING THE DICHOTOMY BETWEEN INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE AND SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE: Types and Characteristics of Maine Farms. A 2004 MESAS report discussing definitions, concepts and models of sustainable agriculture, and demonstrating the character and extent of sustainable agriculture in Maine.
Science and Technology Training Library
From the the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and several land grant universities. Archived and upcoming webinars on soil health, livestock & crop integration, and much more.
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
A regional network of organizations and individuals working together to create a more sustainable and secure regional food system — one that is economically viable, environmentally sound and socially just and produces safe and healthful food.
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
Also known just as “SARE”. A USDA competitive grants program supporting agriculture that is profitable, environmentally sound, and good for communities. You may be interested in looking at the SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF SARE-funded projects, dating back to 1994 and some earlier. These projects are generally designed and conducted by partnerships of farmers, university researchers, and other professionals.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Provides practical, how-to solutions based on university research. Agriculture experts help keep Maine farms financially, environmentally, and socially sustainable by developing new crops, forage crop management strategies, pasture and grazing systems, soil health practices, irrigation and crop storage technologies, integrated pest management training, nutrient and waste management solutions, and value-added products. Click here for some of Extension’s latest research on sustainable agriculture production practices.
Maine Agriculture Center
Brings together the agriculturally related programs of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture; the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Maine Food Strategy
The Maine Food Strategy is an initiative to create a broader and more strongly connected network of organizations, agencies, businesses and individuals contributing to the food system in Maine. The initiative seeks to convene a statewide participatory process that will identify and advance shared goals to support a robust food economy and a thriving natural resource base in our state. Currently three people from MESAS serve on the MFS Steering Committee: Mark Hews, Executive Director and Board Members Bill Eldridge and Penny Jordan.
The current Maine Food Strategy Newsletter is available here.
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
The oldest and largest state organic organization in the country, whose purpose is to help farmers and gardeners grow organic food, fiber and other crops – and so much more. You might be particularly interested in the Farmer-to-Farmer conference held every year in November.
ELFC (Eat Local Foods Coalition)
A state-wide non-profit network that seeks social change at a fundamental level: changing what we eat and how we make decisions about what we buy. ELFC is a coalition of organizations and individuals interested in creating a shift towards a locally-based food system that is economically vibrant, environmentally sustainable, and healthy.
Maine Rural Partners and Maine Farm Energy Partners
MRP’s Farm Energy Partners network provides a forum for everyone interested in renewable energy production and on-farm energy efficiencies to organize our resources around this emerging market. The network connects farmers, business planners, researchers, renewable technology developers, environmental interests, financiers and others to bring all supporting resources to bear in moving forward.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Do you know what soils you are farming? A great resource for farmers and any landowner is the Web Soil Survey maintained by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. Visit the site today to see what soils you farm.