Portraits of Six Maine Organic Farms


By many accounts farming is on the decline, but this close look at six organic farms in Maine tells a different story. Small groups of, men and women are opting out of urban life and white-collar professions in favor of working the earth and raising families on a farm. They are building local community through food grown and raised in ways that give back to the land. They are using 21st Century science to replenish the soil while helping people in their local communities connect to the sources of their food.

In compelling photographs and prose, Peter Felsenthal captures the spirit and voices of these six farms. Through images and profiles based on hours of interviews with the farmers, Felsenthal captures the worries and joys of organic farming, the struggle and wonderment. Through their own hard work and idealism, these pioneering farmers just might be leading us into a new age of local, organic food. Small organic farms like these are part of a countrywide movement that is changing the way we look at what we eat, and this book gives us an intimate view of the people and places behind this movement.

ISBN: 978-0-692-21854-9
10 3/8 x 9 7/8 x 5/8 of an inch, 146 pages, 2 pounds

$23.80 (free Media Mail shipping)
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  • Book Sample: Introduction

    Book Sample: Introduction

  • Book Sample: Pages of Chapter Buckwheat Blossom Farm

    Book Sample: Pages of Chapter Buckwheat Blossom Farm

  • Book Sample: Pages of Chapter Six River Farm

    Book Sample: Pages of Chapter Six River Farm

  • Book Sample: Pages of Chapter Square Tarbox Farm

    Book Sample: Pages of Chapter Square Tarbox Farm


New Growth

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

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.


Former Board President of The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)

You can read more testmonies on the press page.