Saturday, March 17, 2007

MOFGA conference on tap today

Kennebec Journal

Friday, March 16, 2007

UNITY -- The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association will seek to teach farmers to think globally and act locally at its annual Spring Growth Conference scheduled for Saturday.

The conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Common Ground Education Center.

The registration period ends at noon today.

Lectures and discussion will center on issues related to energy, the climate and Maine agriculture, said Andrew Marshall, educational programs director for Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

"We want to marry a big picture of use and consumption and its contributions to global climate change and bring it to a local level with a look at how climate change might affect the Maine climate and Maine agriculture in particular," Marshall said.

The keynote speaker is agricultural engineer Kamyar Enshayan, who will compare energy consumption for local food systems vs. global systems, Marshall said.

Daniel Sosland, executive director of Environment Northeast in Rockland, will discuss emerging policy and opportunities for addressing climate change.

After getting an overview of climate change in the morning, the afternoon session will be spent learning about alternate energy options for small farms, Marshall said.

John Bartok, University of Connecticut agricultural engineer and greenhouse expert, will highlight the growing popularity of greenhouses and farm-scale alternative energy options.

Ron Desrosiers will discuss the Maine Farm Energy Partnership, which is a clearinghouse for information and incentives for farmers to reduce their energy consumption, Marshall said.

Maine Organic Farmers has hosted the conference for the past five years, each year highlighting a different topic. Climate change was selected this year because the issue is a growing concern for farmers, Marshall said.

"(The conference) is really to investigate a certain topic as deeply as we can in a day," Marshall said. "It's a concentrated effort to bring in experts and really stimulate deep thoughts and discussion."

The conference costs $35 per person and $50 per couple and includes lunch.

For more information, to register, and or for information on cancellations or rescheduling due to the predicted storm, log onto or call 568-4142.

Craig Crosby -- 861-9253

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