In Maine, promising trends are emerging that indicate a real and growing interest in farming. With each new USDA Census of Agriculture, we see that the number of farms is increasing overall. When we look more deeply at the types of farms that are growing in numbers, as of the 2007 Census, more than 40 percent are in the one- to forty-nine-acre range. These smaller farms are also becoming more diversified in their product offerings, and are increasingly choosing to be certified organic, or are adopting mainly organic and agroecological methods, whether certified or not.
In fact, there has been a marked increase in the number of certified organic farms over the past twenty-five years. In 1988, there were just 42 certified farms in the state. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) - an organization that has been instrumental in fostering this growing organic movement in Maine, and nationally, and on whose board I served as president (from 2007 - 2008) has estimated that this number will climb to 450 certified farms by the end of 2013.
Also notable is the fact that the average age of organic farmers is lower than the average age of farmers in general, which tells us that younger generations are acting upon the belief that opportunity exists here to both make a living and to make a good life, raising food and fiber using organic methods in the beautiful fields, forests, and coastal areas of Maine.
About the Author
Peter Felsenthal began taking photos long ago with a box camera, before a career in technology ushered him into the digital age. His writing experience spans newspapers, proposal writing, and poetry.
Peter's life-long interest in farms and gardens and frequent visits to farmers' markets near his home in Boothbay lead him to this book.
In my own experience, as the daughter of an organic dairy farmer, I think this book holds great importance, as it provides a snapshot of what Maine's organic farms look like today as they adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Farming is hard work, and that can be seen up close here in pictures that capture the setting of everyday chores, along with the bucolic charm of wide-angled landscape shots.
These images also reveal the obvious joy these innovative and dedicated farmers experience as they produce our food, and illuminate why it is that farmers who work to use sustainable farming practices hold a much-deserved growing importance in our culture.
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