Local Chapters

Portland, Maine

This local chapter is located in/near Portland, Maine.
To contact/join this chapter, please see the contact info on the left.

Upcoming Events & Meetings: 

When: Saturday, September 21, 2019, from 6:30 - 9:00pm
Where: Full Fork Farm 154 Dutton Rd, China, ME 04358  [ Map ]
Next Chapter Meeting! Make a trip out of it! Come out for Common Ground Fair, then meet back at the farm at 6:30pm for a potluck and meeting. We'll discuss our soil test results and recommendations, amending best practices, and putting together a group mineral order.
See you soon!
Sam & Anson

Parking/Entry Instructions
There's a prominent farm sign in front of the house that'll help you know you've found the right place. Parking is fairly straightforward. To the immediate right when you turn into the driveway is a plowed area. Should be able to fit plenty of cars there if initial folks pull forward to let a car park behind them. For people with mobility concerns, or if the lower parking fills up, just head farther up the driveway and park there.

To Note! We rarely use our front entrance at the farm. It'll be kept unlocked in case someone misses this part of the email or forgets, but there's a side entry into the kitchen alongside the driveway. We'll have it sanded and well-lit for you. Come into the house that way.
Any problems finding the place, etc. you can call the house's landline: (207) 923-7028

When: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Where: Full Fork Farm 154 Dutton Rd, China, ME 04358  [ Map ]
Save the date! We are hosting Mark Shepard on the 15th of October.
Stay tuned for details to follow...

Who is Mark Shepard?
Mark is the CEO of Restoration Agriculture Development, Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC, and runs New Forest Farm, a 110 acre perennial agricultural savanna, one of the first of its kind in the USA. New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland and eastern woodlands as the ecological models.

Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals) fuel, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is solar and wind powered.

Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of forest derived agricultural products for human foods and bio fuels production. Mark was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Mollison, the founder of the international Permaculture movement.

He is the author of the bestselling book Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers, available at http://www.acresusa.com/restoration-agriculture-in-practice-book-dvd-combo


Last Meeting's Notes

We had a good time at Full Fork Farm with our guest Dan Kittredge, Founder and Executive Director of the BFA.

We shared a potluck meal and walked the land, talking amongst ourselves. We spent part of our tour in a new high tunnel where Anson observed a portion of the tunnel that was presenting stunted growth and lack of plant vigor. Dan discussed the ins & outs of getting a general picture the soil's nutrient content using a soil conductivity meter, and identified the pooling of soluble nutrients as the likely cause of the issue, as well as offered a solution to bind those nutrients by applying a carbon source like biochar or humates.

Dan explained that conductivity can range from "hot to not", and how either end of the spectrum tends to burn a plant's roots. Pooling nutrients from compost/soil amendments can increase conductivity to detrimental levels. Dan elaborated that the soil type and subtle topography come into greater importance for farmers as they amend soil. Having EC and Brix meters in hand can give important feedback for a farmer's learning process.

Once indoors, we gathered around the idea of the remineralization mission of our BFA chapter.  Seawater and rock dust can work wonders with out getting very technical. Personal experience attests to this for many of us. Dan gave us a recipe that utilizes lye to separate trace minerals out of seawater at a manageable scale. We'll be sure to circulate that information, and might make a group trip later this fall to collection seawater and harvest trace minerals. There really are countless reasons to improve soil fertility, and we loved getting together to talk about them all!

Finally, we discussed the logistics of setting up a Maine-based Mineral Depot for farmers and gardeners in the state to access soil amendments for crop production. This is something we as chapter hosts are committed to working toward as volunteers, and we have collaborative strategy with the BFA to make it happen. Dan has offered to have the BFA's agronomist review any Logan Labs soil test results we receive from members with personalized mineral application recommendations, and done in a way that considers an individual's budget for short-term/long-term growing goals. Follow this link for the form, take your soil test, and be sure to include both yourself and bfamaine@gmail.com as recipients of the results. August 19th is the deadline to send out your soil samples. The info needed by that deadline:

1. Logan Lab Test Results (include bfamaine@gmail.com as a recipient of the results)
2. In a separate email sent to bfamaine@gmail.com: area to be amended (sq. ft. or acres); crops you're producing; budget for amendments.

With a local chapter depot, we can make it easier for food growers to access the amendments they want to grow nutrient dense produce, herbal medicines, and healthy humans. Together, we can develop our soils and learn how to improve our capacity for soil improvement in the region.

Mark Cohen
We are working to organize an online phone conversation focused on chapter organizing with Mark Cohen coming up in August. TBD, but possibly on August 11th. Mark has a background in wildlife biology, ecology, ethnobotany, permaculture, cooperative land use, and renewable energy. He's been an organic inspector with OEFFA for 26 years, and lives in Southern Ohio at Far Valley Farm, a 30-year old intentional community he helped co-found. He is well-versed in what it takes to organize successfully as a group. The conversation will touch on our work as a BFAchapter, but will be open enough in format to discuss group organizing in a larger context as well. We'll let you know with a follow up email the date/time for this call.