FIELD NOTES 2021 • THE COMMUNITY ISSUE
TRANSFORMING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FARMING AND FOOD FOR A HEALTHIER PLANET
Our Farm Discovery School Educators
The Power of Growing Our Communities
t has been said a dozen different ways – the past year has been unprecedented and heartbreaking; a charter into unknown waters, a “new normal.” Your first Zoom, first pandemic birthday, first missed holiday. But just as flowers can bloom through the ashes, communities have found silver linings throughout the pandemic. Wolfe’s Neck Center is part of many communities: the greater Freeport community, farmers, restaurant partners, neighbors, donors, scientists and researchers, climate advocates, nature lovers, young students, and life-long learners. Throughout the pandemic, not only have we as an organization leaned on our communities, we
have encouraged those around us to use Wolfe’s Neck Center as a place of respite, fresh air, and inspiration; a space where individuals, families, and friends could safely meet for a walk, a snowshoe, a kayak trip; a destination for anyone looking to reconnect with the outdoors and animals. Our community has been strengthened and refined. So too has our resolve and commitment to transform our relationship with farming and food for a healthier planet. This issue of Field Notes pays tribute to you – no matter how you fit into our community.
Non-Profit U.S. Postage PAID Portland, ME 04103 Permit #454
Dave Herring, Executive Director
Plan Your Visit
We are open daily to the public from dawn until dusk. Come visit the livestock, attend a program, grab a meal, and more!
SEASONAL ACTIVITIES Oceanfront Camping Kayak, Canoe, & Bicycle Rentals Farm Café & Store Community & Visitor Programs
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YEAR-ROUND OFFERINGS Barnyard & Gardens Extensive Nature Trails Educational Workshops Group Experiences
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Farm Discovery School: A Bright Spot in Remote Learning Students stepping away from Zoom to learn on the farm By: Molly Cyr, Farm Camps Manager, Michael Messina, Education Programs Assistant, and Kaiti Davis, School Programs Educator & Assistant Camp Manager
184 Burnett Road Freeport, Maine 04032
he image of a child being “in school” at home in front of a screen is one that has defined the pandemic. Across the globe, kids of all ages have attempted to navigate online learning, with their parents often struggling to support them. Zoom, Google Classroom and other online platforms have dominated their educational experience leaving them disconnected from their friends and teachers and missing out on handson learning. Now more than ever, we know that experiential education plays a key role in the healthy development of kids, and that we need to find ways to create better access to outdoor learning experiences. The creation of Farm Discovery School (FDS) at Wolfe’s Neck Center is one of the silver linings of COVID-19 and has supported our local community at a time when being on the farm
working with the animals, walking in the woods, digging in the gardens, and exploring the shoreline was just what kids needed. The preparation for FDS began in late summer of 2020 amid the uncertainty of traditional education during the pandemic. The closer we crept towards the end of August, the clearer it became that most, if not all schools would not return to full-time, in-person learning. Wolfe’s Neck Center had success with a pared-down summer camp, which showed us that it was possible to safely host groups of kids as they learned and explored the property. That experience, combined with our on-hand, school group-based curriculum, and a desire to support our community, led to the creation of FDS.
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There is so much to look forward to this year at Wolfe’s Neck Center.
Open daily from 8am-8pm, May 28 through the end of October. Menu subject to change.
Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment is a nonprofit organization with a mission to transform our relationship with farming and food for a healthier planet. Situated on over 600 acres of preserved coastal landscape in Freeport, Maine, we use our setting to connect people of all ages to the food they eat and where it comes from.
served until 11am
Egg & Cheese Breakfast Panini • Add sausage, bacon, spinach, or tomato • Herb & veggie cream cheese with spinach Grilled Blueberry Muffin
Lunch + Dinner Burgers
Mini Pizza (cheese or pepperoni) Chicken Tenders Uncrustables
Fries/Tots Side Salad Slaw Fresh Veggies & Dip
Grilled Cheese Panini
We are open year-round for visitors to enjoy the barns, trails, and coastline. Check out our seasonal Farm Café or stay in our oceanfront campground. From nature trails to community programs and more, visitors can immerse themselves in food and farming!
Farm Dog Chicken Tenders
Giffords Ice Cream & Sorbet
Garden Salad Rolls (chicken, tuna, or egg salad on split-top bun)
Plus daily specials!
F LY IN G PO
Farm Store Campground Office Bicycle Rentals
WALK-IN / TENTS ONLY
(opening late sum
Farm Offices Farm Camp Wishcamper Education Barn
AD RO T ET RN
ST AT E
New this year! Our Farm Store has expanded to a 30'x40' foot open-air tent to allow for more space and options.
Middle Bay TENTS ONLY
BAYVIEW CABIN COVE CABIN
Casco Bay Atlantic Ocean
POINT SENIOR CABIN
Organic Vegetable Fields
West Bay Recreation Field
Field Notes is published annually by Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Dave Herring, Executive Director | Lia Bensley, Editor Wolfe's Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment 184 Burnett Road, Freeport, ME 04032 207.865.4469 | www.wolfesneck.org 2 l Wolfe’s Neck Center
Looking to bring a piece of the farm home with you? Stop into our Farm Store (behind the Campground Office), to pick up fresh produce, pastureraised meats, apparel, and a tasteful array of Maine maple syrup, honey, jams, and other local products.
Wolfe’s Neck Oceanfront Camping 134 Burnett Road, Freeport, ME 04032 207.865.9307 | www.freeportcamping.com
How Food and Farming Connect Us All By: Joe Grady, Deputy Director/Senior Director of Programs
’ve been thinking a lot over the last year about how and why I got into farming. On some level, I know that it was an outgrowth of a deep desire to be more responsible to myself and my family in terms of the food we eat and the lives we live. Over time, I came to understand that what I love most about nature are the very things that encourage health in the mind, body, and spirit. Green grass, fresh air, sunlight, blue sky, and the diversity of the surrounding ecosystem deliver not only beauty but an overwhelming indulgence for the senses. Those elements not only make us feel alive but are the same ingredients that produce life. Learning that not every tomato, nor egg, nor steak is created equally was a revelation to me. I came to understand that the nutrient density of our food – its literal composition – varies widely based on how it was raised. This took my breath away. We know, without a doubt, that nature has provided a blueprint for how to grow food that nourishes, heals, and inspires wellness. Traditional cultures all over the world hold vast amounts of knowledge and practice that demonstrate the long-term physical and mental health benefits of working with nature and honoring her grand design.
of how food is raised and the impact that process has on all aspects of our world. Moving beyond that awareness and offering instruction in the skills and methods used to produce and offer this food is an inspiring line of work. I found myself coming back, again and again, to some simple truths that I came to know and love as a member of the agricultural community. I know that many of us have struggled to find hope and possibility in the landscape laid out before us over the past 12 months. Fear, uncertainty, confusion, and the disappearance of so much we took for granted rattled all of us. But through all of that, these simple truths have stayed clear and relevant. I have found all three to be integral and well supported by the work we do at Wolfe’s Neck Center.
Be Part of Your Environment
Never have I been more grateful to live and work where I do than over the past year. We occupy a space that, by its very nature, gets the heart racing and the blood pumping. Where the land meets the water, where the sky meets the soil, and where the sun and wind are free to roam, the human spirit is naturally lifted. Anecdotal as well as scientific evidence abounds pointing to the many "Learning that not every tomato, not every egg, not every steak is benefits of immersing yourself created equally was a revelation to me. Coming to understand that in nature and the elements. Exposure to the many and varied the nutrient density of our food – its literal composition – varied organisms in the environment, widely based on how it was raised. This took my breath away." to the variations in temperature and weather, as well as to the wonderful effects of sunlight Since I first read it about three years ago, I have been all produce measurable benefits to health and welldrawn to Wolfe's Neck Center's mission statement: being. It has been amazing to see so many visitors “Transforming our relationship with farming and food take advantage of those things here at Wolfe's Neck for a healthier planet.” Solutions to so many of the Center this past year. The hiking trails, the oceansworld’s ills can be found in that simple phrase. That ide campsites, the educational programs for kids all is what the Wolfe’s Neck Center community is all serve to unite humans with their environment in about – creating awareness around the importance ways that heal and nurture.
Start with a Strong Foundation
When you begin to understand how all things are connected and work together in a natural system, you can appreciate how important it is to have a good foundation. That foundation in farming is, of course, the soil. It’s hard to imagine much that we do here at Wolfe’s Neck Center that does not find its way back to the soil. What could better represent the importance of community than the soil and its web of interdependent biological organisms that make life’s cycles possible? Like the soil, we are continually learning about the vast web of microbes and biology that populate the human body, most notably in our digestive system, that interacts with and utilizes the food we eat. Maintaining a healthy community of microbes in our system is vital to our health and wellbeing as well as our ability to properly process what we eat. Like the soil, our gut biology needs to be properly fed and tended to function at optimal levels ensuring a robust immune system and the proper uptake of nutrients from our food.
Focus on Relationship and Connection
The last of the three elements I found myself coming back to in the past year is the importance of relationships and connection. More than anything else, Wolfe’s Neck Center is a community of people who live, work, and utilize this 626-acre place of beauty, diversity, and productivity. Wolfe's Neck Center is a place to gather and connect, and to build relationships with the land, our food, and other people. Over the past year, Wolfe's Neck Center met the needs of so many searching for a place to be outside and make those connections. While farming can often be a lonely profession, it also provides immense joy when the act of stewardship and the connection to the land can be modeled, exemplified, and shared with fellow humans. Our staff rejoices in the opportunity this organization gives us to do just that. All our lives are fuller, richer, and more vibrant when we interact and engage with our community.
Wolfe’s Neck Center is now the home of the MAINE GRASS FARMERS NETWORK (MGFN). The MGFN was created to gather and provide information for livestock farmers interested in the effective utilization of pasture for raising and finishing livestock. The organization holds annual conferences, seasonal pasture walks, and workshops focused on management practices for various pasture-based livestock production systems, including milk, meat, poultry, and eggs. The network includes, farmers, researchers, and agricultural professionals creating a robust network of experience and knowledge to share. Please contact Leah Puro, firstname.lastname@example.org, for membership information.
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From Forest to Pasture to Shoreline – All in a Day’s Visit By: Andrew Lombardi, Events & Public Programs Manager
t’s your first time visiting Wolfe’s Neck Center. On your drive in, you’ve stopped at the Little River bridge to admire the view of Casco Bay outside of your car window. Perhaps you’ve stopped to greet the cows grazing lazily in the pasture. You park your car on the side of Burnett Road, take in a deep breath of the fresh salty air, and… now what? Visit with the animals: Head to the Education Barn to visit with goat kids, sheep and lambs, chickens, and our ever-growing group of Silver Fox rabbits! Head out for a hike: Just beyond the Education Barn is our new Guided Family Nature Walk. Follow the signs on this beautiful mile-long adventure – learn about the flora and fauna of our forest as you and your family have a fun adventure in the woods. Grab some lunch: Head up to the Farm Café for tasty farm offerings. Don’t forget to hit the Farm Store as well for something fresh to take home, or to pick up a
Wolfe Tracks Scavenger Hunt – back for the 2021 season! Observe our herds: Take the Discovery Trail back to the Education Barn to check out our pasture map. New this season, a huge map and guide will show you where all of our herds are grazing. Explore the farm roads (bring your bike or rent one from the Farm Store!) to get a look at our livestock munching summer grasses. Explore the shore: After all this fun on a summer day, you'll likely be ready to cool off ! End your day with a stop at the ocean. Park the bikes at Hayload Point or the Little River bridge to dip your toes into cool Casco Bay. If the tides are right, you can even search for crabs in the tide pools! It will be time to go home, but if you are looking for more, why not just stay the night in our Oceanfront Campground and do it all over again the next day? There aren’t many better ways to spend the summer here in coastal Maine.
When we think about the thousands of visitors we have the privilege of hosting, touring, and teaching at the farm every year, the scope of who our Community & Visitor Programs touch invites reflection. There are so many different types and ages of people who come through our ‘doors’ to learn and engage with the farm, but there is a singular thread weaving them into one community: people making a connection with farming. It looks different for toddlers or adults, or neighbors or visitors from away, but everyone that comes to our programs leaves with a closer connection to what makes farming so important. We believe that this knowledge will make a difference as farming becomes a tool for a healthier planet, and a healthier us. We invite people of all ages and from all communities to become immersed in this special place. Learn more at:
Food Fresh From the Farm for Everyone’s Table
Community coming together to nourish our neighbors By: Eliza Baker-Wacks, Fruit & Vegetable Production Manager
and potatoes to weekly donations of salad mix and kale. Delivering to the food pantries is always the highlight of our week and helps us feel grounded in our work as farmers.
Wolfe’s Neck Center provides fresh produce yearround to local food pantries as an important part of our mission. Over the past five years, we have donated nearly 6,000 pounds of fresh produce, with items ranging from truckloads of winter squash
Our 55-foot-long high tunnel greenhouse extends our growing season, enabling us to donate throughout the winter. Hardier crops like kale, carrots, and spinach grow under row covers in the colder months, and warmer weather crops can be started earlier in the season. The greenhouse is on wheels, which allows us to use our fields more efficiently. It also enables us to practice no-till agriculture, which can be healthier for our soils and communities by reducing tractor use and minimizing soil disturbance. This spring we received funding from Hannaford Supermarkets to heat the greenhouse which will allow us to grow and then donate a wider variety of crops year-round.
eeding our community has always been a top priority for the Fruit & Vegetable team at Wolfe’s Neck Center. Maine is the most food insecure state in New England; over 200,000 residents are food insecure and one in four children are unsure of where their next meal will come from. A 2015 USDA report revealed that Maine has the second-highest rate of “very low food security” in the country. With the added burden of heating costs, food insecurity tends to increase in the winter. Food pantries often struggle to meet this increase due to a drop in fresh produce during the colder months.
Last year, amid the pandemic, our annual Farm to Table series was canceled, and we shifted the food, staff time, and other resources that would have gone into the events to bolster food insecurity efforts in our community. This effort was enthusiastically supported by our Host Committee who had signed up for the events planning to enjoy delicious meals with friends at the farm – instead, they helped to make sure others had access to fresh, healthy food. While some Farm to Table events will be returning this year, we know that many of our neighbors continue to struggle to put food on their tables. In 2021 we will strengthen our partnerships with Freeport Community Services and Cooking for Community to meet this need by donating fresh meat and produce from the farm. We have been inspired by the generosity and enthusiasm to make a difference within our community – people want to be engaged in a meaningful way. This year, we will
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community cultivators LIBBY MOORE lived a life im-
mersed in nature; finding comfort, inspiration and meaning in the outdoors. When she and her husband, Bob, chose to raise their family on a saltwater farm in Freeport, it was in-part due to the extraordinary natural surroundings – Casco Bay, the many hiking trails, and Wolfe’s Neck Center. In her 33 years in Freeport, Libby became integrally linked to her communities of church, school, sports teams, and extended family. Libby’s goal was never to claim the spotlight, and famously (to her family) expressed the desire to simply “be regular”. That humility, coupled with a big heart and innate desire to be of service to others, made a lasting impression on the people she encountered. Libby passed away in September of 2020, one year after her cancer diagnosis, leaving behind a legacy of love, spirituality, and community. She a made bequest to Wolfe’s Neck Center to honor her love of nature and her commitment to sustainable stewardship of the land for healthy people and landscapes. This gift will help carry Libby’s spirit forward by supporting authentic, hands-on experiences for people all ages in food and farming.
The Heirloom Circle
Wolfe’s Neck Center invites you to envision your legacy. Planned gifts, large and small, have the potential to transform the farm. Please contact Jeannie Mattson at email@example.com or 207.865.4469, ext. 110, to discuss options and details in confidence.
Farm Discovery School continued from cover
From the beginning, our goal was to partner directly with our local school district, RSU5, for six weeks in late fall. The initial timing and questions about funding did not allow for that partnership to form right away, but we knew there were other families who were feeling the weight of continued remote learning, so we ran the program ourselves. From September 28-November 6, 2020, we had over 150 kids join us, primarily from the area between Falmouth and Brunswick, but some coming all the way from Litchfield and Newcastle. After a long and tumultuous year, it was a great joy to have kids digging through compost in search of worms, trekking to far-away forest fire pits, and caring for our goats, sheep, and chickens as they normally would.
for the first time, or how they were so excited to us, becoming our gateway to programming in what In the midst of those six weeks, the partnership see a group of children playing games and having are normally our slower seasons. We have seen with RSU5 was created. With funding through the fun again. Farm Discovery School has provided a the scope of its impact, and it is our sincere hope CARES Act, specifically earmarked for finding almuch-needed sense of normalcy, the importance that Wolfe’s Neck Center’s education programs ternatives to conventional classroom learning, 200 of which is both hard to measure and hard to overwill continue to grow and support the surrounding K-5 kids from Morse Street School, Mast Landing state. community for years to come. School, and the Durham community school If we, as humans, have needed anything joined us on the farm for six weeks in Noduring this pandemic it is support. Proof "Farm Discovery School has provided a much-needed vember and December. We were thrilled that we are here for one another, proof that to welcome the kids back this March, and sense of normalcy, the importance of which is both we see each other, even if we cannot hug they will be with us through early June. The or shake hands. Right now, that looks like hard to measure and hard to overstate." students come for half days on days when giving parents three hours to themselves they would otherwise be at home doing so they can work and make uninterrupted online learning. While they are here, they While we set out to support our fellow communiphone calls, or maybe even sleep, or have a hot learn about a variety of topics, such as animal husty members, FDS’s positive impacts have been inshower, and not worry if their child is only prebandry, fruit and vegetable production, outdoor fectious for the Wolfe’s Neck Center staff as well. tending to play the recorder during their Zoom muskills, agricultural research, and ecology. Beyond Coming to work on a bone-chilling December or sic class. In future years, it will probably (hopefulthat, the students are interacting with their peers February day is brightened by the colorful snowly) look different. Whatever that future looks like, in a safe environment, making those social consuits bumbling their way towards the Wishcamper we at Wolfe’s Neck Center will be here to create a nections that are an essential part of growing up Barn to feel the soft warmth of rabbits on cold finsafe and educational space for kids to come and get and that have been sorely lacking for much of the gertips, or hearing peals of laughter from groups sniffed by a goat or squeal when they get licked by last year. sledding down the once rocky slopes of “the shire.” a cow for the first time. Because if we have learned The response from our community has been overKnowing that we are a part of something that is one thing during this journey with Farm Discovwhelmingly positive. We have received countless making school kids open their eyes just a little bit ery School, it is that when it comes to experiential calls, letters, emails, and messages from families wider, to a world full of sensing and exploring, has learning, teaching and fun go hand in hand. If you and neighbors, sharing their delight as their child invigorated us during the long winter and spring walk by any of our groups, you’ll see… the proof is came home and told the story of holding a chicken months. Farm Discovery School has invigorated in the pudding.
• The • n o
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ADVENTURES EXPLORING FOOD, FARMING, AND OUR EXTRAORDINARY LANDSCAPE TO BENEFIT THIS PLACE YOU LOVE Online Bidding • June 3-10, 2021
one-of-a-kind items, including:
e • auct i
Private Goat Adventure
Sunrise Kayak & Breakfast
Cheese Tasting with Winter Hill
Two-Hour Garden Consultation
Private 50-Person Event Hosting
Two Nights of Glamping
In-Home Dinner with Miyake
Family Movie Night
register & bid: www.wolfesneck.org/auction-2021
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Growing Wolfe's Neck Center for Future Generations of Learners
f you have visited Wolfe’s Neck Center over the last few years, you have likely noticed that we have been hard at work improving our campus. These improvements are part of a property-wide Master Plan that was developed in 20152018 and has been implemented, piece-by-piece, each year since. New and improved trails, better signage, renovated historic buildings, new barns and more. While 2020 may not have been a big year for making major investments in the campus, we were busy planning and designing the next projects that will support a more efficient operation, enhance your visit and help us continue to build community. Here’s a glimpse at what you can expect in 2021 and beyond:
SMITH CENTER FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
RENDERING OVERLOOKING THE COTTRELL SCHE The centerpiece of our reimagined campus, the Smith Center, is named in honor of LMC and Eleanor Houston Smith and their family. The Smiths founded Wolfe’s Neck Farm in the 1960s and conserved it for future generations. We are thrilled to be naming this new center after them and are so excited by all the programs and activities that WELCOME CENTER CLASSROOMS this new center will support. Now in the final stages of architectural design, we hope to begin construction in late 2021 or early 2022. Speaking of building community, this new facility, slated for construction in summer 2021, will honor an early member of the Wolfe’s Neck community and help us expand another one. The Charlie DeGrandpre Sr. Operations Center will house all of our equipment and maintenance functions AND will also include a new compost operation. We have long envisioned doing more composting on site here at the farm and doing so will help us build our microbial community and improve our soils.
CHARLIE DEGRANDPRE SR. OPERATIONS CENTER
The large open area behind and to the side of the site of . the current Pole Barn/future site of the Smith Center will be named after long-time Board member (current Board Chair) Lee Schepps, his wife Barbara Cottrell and their family in recognition of their generous contributions to Wolfe's Neck Center. Over the course of 2021 and 2022, you will see the garden coming to life, welcoming visitors to enjoy the area and the many new features that will be included in the Cottrell Schepps Family Farm Discovery Garden.
RIPARIAN BUFFER ZONE
COTTRELL SCHEPPS FAMILY FARM DISCOVERY GARDEN
HUGELKULTUR & PERMACULTURE
Thanks to one family'sEDGE love of Maine, visitors of all ages will have the chance to explore and learn in the CottrellFOREST Schepps Family Farm GARDEN POLLINATOR EDGE Discovery Garden. Lee Schepps and Barbara Cottrell moved to Freeport in 2013 and both immediately becameLONG-TERM involved with Wolfe's ROTATIONAL GRAZING, SOIL-BUILDING CULTIVATING THE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP BRIDGE TO WELCOME CENTER NO-TILL PASTURE MANAGEMENT & COMPOSTING Neck CenterBETWEEN and in theGROUND community. is active with Freeport Equestrian Center. As chair of the Wolfe's NeckTECHNIQUE Center &board, ABOVE PLANTINGS &Barbara THROUGH PLANTINGS THATthe MANAGE POLLINATOR FORAGE BIODIVERSE EDIBLE LANDSCAPE BELOW GROUND FUNGAL NETWORKS STORMWATER FLOWS, FILTER POLLUTANTS Lee has helped the organization through anUPexciting period of growth and transformation, including the development of new INguide THIS SPECIES-RICH HABITAT & TAKE EXCESS NUTRIENTS infrastructure. In honor of their sons, Benjamin and Phillip, Barbara and Lee, along with Lee's children, Jake and Robin, made a significant leadership gift to create this immersive educational garden that will be at the physical and metaphorical heart of the new campus. Thank you to the donors of the Farm Discovery Garden crowdfunding campaign whose contributions are also making this project possible.
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DISCOVERY GARDEN FROM LOOKOUT POINT Wolfe’s Neck Center |
August 20, 2018 |
24”x 36” |
LINK GROUND F SOIL S
New Technology Meets Old Farming Practices to Cool the Planet With its launch of a major new initiative in 2019, OpenTEAM (Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management), Wolfe’s Neck Center is transforming into a hub for soil health research, demonstration, and education for farmers and the general public with the intention of inspiring action and innovation. OpenTEAM represents a collaborative group of farmers, scientists, industry leaders and ag technologists with a goal to support producer transition, adoption and support of soil health management practices. Regenerative agriculture implemented on a broad scale captures carbon productively while also im-
proving weather resilience, strengthening ecosystem services and creating a healthier food system. The tools and practices developed through OpenTEAM serves as an example of community collaboration that can be replicated in other geographies and production systems that will be necessary to rapidly reduce worldwide agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. In the last year, OpenTEAM has grown from 35 to over 200 participants every month. As our membership grows to over 36 collaborating organizations, we are accelerating our shared learning around how we can change our food and agriculGENERAL MILLS Minneapolis, MN
ture systems through technology. We are tackling challenges that are often impossible to solve alone and using an open source framework to accomplish what Wolfe’s Neck’s mission is all about: transforming our relationship with farming and food for a healthier environment. At the heart of our work, we want to support farmers and ranchers with every day decisions that can positively impact their soils and their bottom line.
Learn more at:
ORGANIC VALLEY La Farge, WI MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY WOLFE'S NECK CENTER East Lansing, MI Freeport, ME STONYFIELD ORGANIC Londonderry, NH
CENTRE FOR SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS AT UBC FARM Vancouver, BC
STONE BARNS CENTER Pocantico Hills, NY PASA SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE Harrisburg, PA
PAICINES RANCH Paicines, CA
MILLION ACRE CHALLENGE Maryland MAD AGRICULTURE Boulder, CO QUIVIRA COALITION Santa Fe, NM
SOIL HEALTH PARTNERSHIP Chesterfield, MO
CANEY FORK FARMS Carthage, TN
The Launch of the Maine Soil Health Network Healthy soil – and the farmers that steward it – are key to mitigating climate change
he Maine Soil Health Network is a new collaboration between Wolfe’s Neck Center and Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) to provide in-state farmers with information and support to improve soil health.
“There is a need to find innovative ways to help farmers understand more about the outcomes of their management practices," said Dave Herring, Executive Director at Wolfe's Neck Center. “We are excited to apply the work of OpenTEAM, a global collaborative developing accessible and relevant digital tools for farmers, to allow Maine farmers to gain site-specific information that will help them improve their practices and their farm businesses.” This pilot project will support an initial cohort of eight farms, all of which are MFT land easement holders, to ensure their properties will remain in agricul-
ture production. The farms, which are diverse in scale and crop type, will participate in the Soil Health Benchmark Study, a citizen science research project developed managed by Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, a Pennsylvania-based association, including tracking management, soil test results, access to technical assistance resources in Maine and beyond, group calls to share ideas and experiences, and focused discussion on topics of interest. The farms participating in the Maine Soil Health Network’s initial cohort are:
Balfour Farm, Pittsfield Bumbleroot Organic Farm, Windham Erickson Fields, Rockport Ketch Farms, Woodland
The Milkhouse, Monmouth Songbird Farm, Unity South Paw Farm, Freedom Two Coves Farm, Harpswell
Linda Hyatt is someone who likes to make things happen. From the day she became a part of the Wolfe's
Neck Center community, she has found ways to make a real impact here. She has been part of the volunteer crew that makes beautiful flower arrangements for our Farm to Table events, helped to organize our online auction, and made a donation that created new raised beds in our education garden. Linda says that she has been so inspired by the beauty of this place and our mission to change the way we grow and eat food that she enrolled in the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Training Program, which is designed to train volunteers for horticulture and food system related community service projects. Linda believes deeply in our mission of training the next generation of farmers and wanted to see how she could help address the real problem of aging farmers in Maine. Thank to Linda's generous support, we are offering our first ever All-Farm Apprentice Program, where new farmers get access to a wide variety of educational opportunities, learning about dairy, diversified livestock, and fruit and vegetable production. We are so lucky to have people like Linda in the Wolfe's Neck Center community who bring their passion and support to make a real difference in food and farming in Maine and beyond. Wolfe’s Neck Center l 7
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invite volunteers to get their hands dirty in the production plot weeding and caring for the crops and harvesting fruits and vegetables that will end up at local food pantries. This is work which benefits all of us and helps us feel more connected to the land, our food, and our neighbors. This past year has demonstrated what a strong community can accomplish together. At Wolfe’s Neck Center, donating food to local food pantries has always been a part of what we do, but now we are doing it with a new sense of purpose and with the members of our community standing right along with us. Freeport Community Services is at the heart of our local community – enriching lives, connecting neighbors, and helping those in need through a food pantry, fuel assistance, summer camp scholarships, summer lunch program, holiday meals, and holiday helpline. This year, we will donate fresh eggs, meat, and produce to be included in their grocery boxes. In addition, our Fruit and Vegetable farmers will be on-site at FCS’s community gardens a couple of times this growing season to answer questions and provide support for the gardeners raising food there. Cooking for Community is a volunteer-led, grassroots organization that raises money to hire local restaurants to prepare healthy meals that social service agencies then distribute to the underserved in our communities. Wolfe’s Neck Center partners UNION, Gather, and Chaval have been a part of this program since it began last April in response to the pandemic, and we are so pleased to be teaming up with them again this season. We will provide meat and produce for 450 delicious and nutritious meals expertly prepared by these talented chefs.
Our 2021 Farm to Table Series is proudly supported by:
"Why Did You Move to Maine?"
Introducing our new dairy manager – and how he moved his herd from Nebraska to Maine
n May 5, 2021, I loaded my entire herd of cattle on a semi-trailer in Nebraska and watched it drive away. As the truck tires kicked up dust from the gravel road and the roar of the diesel motor grew faint in the distance, my stomach churned, and my hands began to sweat. The hollow feeling of anxiety as I watched my life’s work disappear on the horizon lasted almost two days until, 36 hours later, I unloaded them into the seaside pasture below the Pote House at Wolfe’s Neck Center, 1,800 miles away from where they started. It seems I have never been without my cow herd. I got my first Jersey at the age of 10, and for the past 31 years have been building, re-building, and re-defining it. My cows have seen me through all of my life’s transitions. They have moved with me wherever I have gone, from our shared roots along the banks of Holt Creek in the Nebraska Sandhills to the Missouri Ozarks and now to the coast of Maine. The arrival of my small herd of Jerseys at Wolfe’s Neck Center has brought closer the idea that this place is my new home. While I have been
living and working here since November, the first two months were spent without my wife, Tammy, and our daughter, Charlotte, who both came back with me after Christmas. Even then, the cows remained behind, in the care of a neighbor in Nebraska. Friends, former customers, and co-workers all asked me, “Why did you move to Maine?” I usually replied, half-jokingly, “I ask myself the same thing every day.” But it isn’t a half-joke. It is a statement. Written in black marker on a flip-chart paper stuck to the wall in the Wolfe's Neck Center break room is the question, “Why are we here?” And then, below it, is a related question, “Why are you here?” I encourage my team members to think about themselves in the context of the bigger picture. I ask them to contemplate how their own goals and values interact with the goals and values of Wolfe’s Neck Center as an organization as well as within the broader context of our regional and national agricultural landscape. For me, the main reason I am here is to teach young people how to learn to be successful in
the field of grass-based dairy production. Lifelong learning is important to me and I am enjoying helping others make the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program at Wolfe’s Neck Center the best it can be. I believe that by working with nature, utilizing research, and enabling innovation, members of the dairy team here can become leaders in the exciting future of regenerative food production. Why did I move to Maine? The best answer I can give is that I don’t know yet. I don’t know if my ideas or methods will work here. I don’t know if my cattle will thrive, if my breeding plan will be able to re-shape the Wolfe’s Neck dairy herd into a high-functioning, well-adapted group of grazers. I don’t know if I will be able to transform my relationship with farming and food or enable others to do the same. But when I see cows with their calves beside them on pasture against the backdrop of the coastline or when I watch the apprentices taking forage inventories and setting up the next paddock cross-fenced, I see something taking shape here, and it gives me hope. This place, its people, and its potential give me the confidence to say: it was worth it.
BEN GOTSCHALL WITH HIS WIFE, TAMMY, AND THEIR DAUGHTER, CHARLOTTE
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How Much Methane is in That Cow Burp?
How a seaweed snack for our dairy cows can help fight climate change By: Leah Puro, Agricultural Research Coordinator
olfe’s Neck Center is part of the Bovine Burp Busters (B3) Project, a collaborative research initiative that aims to assess the impacts of using seaweed in dairy cow feeds on methane emissions. Most of the methane released from cows during their natural digestion process is through burps, which contributes to global warming. This release has implications for the individual cows and for the environment. Methane production and emission is an energy loss for dairy cows that could have been used to produce more milk. At the global level, methane has 30 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide. With over 1.4 billion cows in the world, using seaweed to reduce enteric emissions could contribute greatly to minimizing our greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts. Seaweed is not new to our dairy cows at Wolfe’s Neck Center. In fact, many livestock farmers already feed seaweed products to their animals to increase micronutrient intake, aid in immune system function, and improve overall animal health. During the B3 project, we are quantifying the beneficial effects of certain seaweeds on animal health as well as on the methane emissions of our cows. Seaweeds contain different compounds that may aid in the reduction of methane that builds up in the cow’s rumen. Starting from a simple seeded line on an aquaculture farm floating along Maine’s coast, certain species of seaweed are grown and harvested. Processors then clean and dry it for distribution to feed producers who, in turn, mix it with grain as a nutritional supplement for dairy cattle. This “blue milk” supply chain involves multiple markets and many economic agents before it winds up in your bowl of cereal, your yogurt, or the cheese on your pizza. As Maine's oceans warm, aquaculture can contribute to robust coastal livelihoods as local seaweeds find new markets and support sustainable economic activities. Our partners are conducting a supply chain analysis and producing economic tools to help seaweed and dairy farmers balance profitability and environmental impacts in forging links from sea to pasture to locally sourced dairy products. Prior to our live animal trials, our partners conducted experiments in the laboratory.
To study the likely effect that seaweed will have on a cow’s rumen before we feed it to a live animal, we use two types of laboratory set-ups: incubated benchtop flasks that make up our “bottle herd" and custom-designed bioreactors. Both simulate a cow’s rumen to test the effect of a given seaweed species. We collect rumen fluid from living, healthy cows through a small surgical opening on the side of their bodies called a fistula, and then add this fluid to either the incubated flasks or the bioreactors. For the organic sector, manure can also be used to inoculate cultures. These laboratory experiments helped us to determine the type and amount of seaweed to give each cow in our live animal trial. The first 10-week trial with our cows at Wolfe's Neck Center has been completed. We enrolled 22 of our milking cows in the study and divided them into two groups, the control group and experimental group, to test the effectiveness of the seaweed to reduce methane emissions. The control group was fed the same normal grain and forage ration as the rest of the milking herd and the experimental group was fed forage, customized grain, and the seaweed supplement of interest. Both the control and experimental groups had access throughout the study to The GreenFeed (C-Lock Inc.). This is a system designed to measure gas fluxes of methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) from individual animals. By enticing the cows with grain pellets, the cows place their heads in a feeder for a few minutes while the gases from their breath and burps are quantified. The GreenFeed has a cow ID chip reader that can identify each cow and provide data to the team on the gas emissions, the amount of time each cow spent at the feeder, and the number of times each day that the cow entered the feeder. In addition to collecting data on methane emissions, we collected biweekly data on milk production, milk quality, animal weight, and overall animal health to understand the impacts of the seaweed on animal health and production. Now that our first trial is complete, the Wolfe's Neck Center team and our collaborators will work together to organize and analyze the data to understand how the seaweed additive impacted the methane emissions from our cows.
When Maine Beer Company was founded in 2009, taking care of the environment was an important priority – and remains so today. Business owners Daniel and David Kleban felt it was their responsibility to lessen the company’s environmental impact wherever possible and serve as stewards in the community to help protect and preserve the environment. They started by signing up for 1% for the Planet, making the commitment to donate 1% of their gross annual sales to environmental nonprofits. This commitment guaranteed that money from every beer purchased would go to help one of the nonprofits the company partners with, including Wolfe’s Neck Center. Beer production consumes a lot of energy, which made it even more important to be conscious of the impact the company has on the environment. When Maine Beer Company moved to Freeport in 2013, there was an opportunity to expand production. Instead, the owners chose to install solar on the building to help mitigate the impact the business was having on the environment. Now, with an even larger facility five years later, Maine Beer Company received a REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) grant to make the improvements needed to outfit the rest of their facility with solar. This project, completed in August 2020, replaces 51% (223,762 kWh) of the energy they use. Maine Beer Company has committed to producing more clean energy than they consume by 2030. Beyond solar and sustainability measures in-house, this plan involves providing solar to Maine Beer Company’s nonprofit partners, including the solar panel installation on our new dairy facility. These projects enable nonprofits like Wolfe’s Neck Center to go green while saving money and energy at their facilities. The partnership between Maine Beer Company and Wolfe’s Neck Center extends beyond our shared commitment to the environment. Between Farm to Table dinners and other community events, staff volunteer outings, and exploration of the trails and waters around Wolfe's Neck, you'll often find Maine Beer Company's team enjoying all the Center has to offer. Maine Beer Company’s collaboration with and admiration for Wolfe’s Neck Center’s work resulted in a new beer a few years ago: Wolfe's Neck IPA. The beer was named after the area and in honor of the Smith's legacy and the continued partnership with Wolfe's Neck Center.
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Join Our Member Community Let’s create a healthier future, together
ur impact and mission come alive through our member community, who serve as the backbone of Wolfe’s Neck Center. Members are not only critical in helping to advance our work in placed-based education, farmer training, and research, but they also receive perks including discounts at our Farm Café and store,
first access to our CSA and pasture-raised meats, early ticket access to popular events, and special member-only volunteer opportunities and events throughout the year. Learn more and join us:
Green Thumb $35 Individual Membership | Plant a seed, and watch it grow! Support from our wide base of individual members makes up a community of people that keep our tractor wheels turning.
Flockstar $60 Family Membership | Be a good egg and make a gift for your whole brood. Our Flockstars are the life of the barnyard and support fun and learning for all ages.
Cash Cow $500+ | Our top of the herd Cash Cows are the best in show for moving our mission forward.
Thank You to Our 2020-2021 Business Sponsors 1% for the Planet Anchour Bath Savings Institution & Bath Savings Trust Big Tree Hospitality Bow Street Market Charlie Burnham Energy and Heating Chaval Gather Eatery Gnome, Inc. Goodwin Chevrolet/Mazda Griffin & Griffin Houses & Barns by John Libby Johnny’s Selected Seeds Kennebec Savings Bank Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty
L.L. Bean Love Point Oysters Luna and Salt Yard at the Canopy Portland Waterfront Maine Beer Company Maine Optometry Miyake New England Distilling POWER Engineers, Inc. Re/Max by the Bay ReVision Energy Riley Insurance Agency, LLC Royal River Natural Foods Stonyfield Organic The Strainrite Cos./Geary Brewing Co. Visit Freeport Wicked Joe Organic Coffee Winter Hill Farm
Farm Dog $25 Dog Membership | Give your pooch something to wag a tail about! Our exclusive pawsonly membership supports stewardship of the places Fido loves to sniff, walk, and roam.
community cultivators "As a mom to two young children, I am so grateful to be a neighbor and longtime member of Wolfe's Neck Center. Over the past 10 years, we have made countless memories spending restorative time on the trails and marshes, playing in the barns with the animals, experiencing magical member events, and enjoying time at the Farm Store and Café for ice cream and wood-fired pizzas. Our kids have grown up romping and biking across the grounds, and our oldest will benefit her whole life from her time in Farm Discovery School – the highlight of the COVID-19 pandemic year for our family. We are proud to support this amazing place! " –Emily Carville, Freeport, ME
During a members-only virtual event in April, a ewe gave birth! Our Programs Manager was in the middle of reading a story when we turned around to see a sweet little ram making his appearance. An hour later, his brother arrived. If that's not an incentive to become a member, we don't know what is!
THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING FOUNDATIONS FOR THEIR GENEROUS SUPPORT: Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Davis Conservation Foundation, Globetrotter Foundation/#NoRegrets Initiative, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Hannaford Supermarkets, Horizon Foundation, L.L. Bean, Inc., Maine State Department of Environmental Protection, The Onion Foundation, Patagonia, Stonyfield Organic, Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, and The 1772 Foundation in cooperation with Maine Preservation.
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WORD on the FARM Meet the people who make it all happen – and some of their farm favorites
NAME: Eliza Baker-Wacks WHERE I'M FROM: Los Angeles, CA POSITION: Fruit & Vegetable Production Manager HAPPY PLACE: Hayload Point in the summer – the rocks just to the right are an amazing place to have a picnic and look out at the beautiful view! FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Breakfast Sandwich
NAME: Lia Bensley WHERE I'M FROM: Harrisburg, PA POSITION: Marketing & Communications Manager HAPPY PLACE: The Hayloft conference room – it overlooks the Education Barn and I love listening to the sounds of visitors and animals while working. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Grilled Cheese Panini
NAME: Susan Connolly WHERE I'M FROM: Boonton Twp., NJ POSITION: Director of Finance & Administration HAPPY PLACE: Visiting the goats in the Education Barn with a pear in hand as a special treat! FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Salad or Burger
NAME: Dorn Cox, Ph.D. WHERE I'M FROM: Lee, NH POSITION: Research Director HAPPY PLACE: Brocklebank Field, sitting outside the research station. It is nearly always quiet except for the hum of the sensors and is a great place for conversations with visitors. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Grilled Cheese Panini
NAME: Molly Cyr WHERE I'M FROM: Farmingdale, ME POSITION: Farm Camps Manager HAPPY PLACE: I have two! Down by the bridge, next to the marshy area on the rocks AND going up Little River in my kayak – it's so quiet and secluded. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: I hear the burgers are delish!
NAME: Jim DeGrandpre WHERE I'M FROM: Freeport, ME POSITION: Director of Visitor Services HAPPY PLACE: The Mallet Barn – it's a peaceful, beautiful place that represents all of things I value about the farm. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Medium rare cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and onion.
NAME: Laura Demmel Gilmer WHERE I'M FROM: Grant, NE POSITION: OpenTEAM Global Coordinator & Community Facilitator HAPPY PLACE: On the trails peering out toward chickens and cows. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Whatever the special is!
NAME: Ben Gotschall WHERE I'M FROM: Atkinson, NE POSITION: Dairy Manager HAPPY PLACE: Now that my cows have arrived, among them, wherever they are, observing their discovery of and interaction with their new home. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: You can’t go wrong with the burger & fries.
NAME: Joe Grady WHERE I'M FROM: Grosse Pointe, MI POSITION: Deputy Director/ Senior Director of Programs HAPPY PLACE: I love what we call the "fingers" pastures. Those little spits of land that look out over the water and often have cows grazing on them... amazing. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Farm burger, hands down.
NAME: Dave Herring WHERE I'M FROM: Okemos, MI POSITION: Executive Director HAPPY PLACE: On our trails because I love experiencing the many different ecosystems at Wolfe's Neck Center. The trails travel through so many unique features and landscapes. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Breakfast Sandwich
NAME: Andrew Lombardi WHERE I'M FROM: Meriden, CT POSITION: Events & Public Programs Manager HAPPY PLACE: The Shire! It’s the rocky pasture behind the Education Barn and it has the greatest summer breezes and views on the whole property. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Breakfast Panini with Farm Sausage
NAME: Marissa Mastors WHERE I'M FROM: Swampscott, MA POSITION: Grants & Development Manager HAPPY PLACE: I walk the trails behind the Farmhouse almost every day. It’s so calm and peaceful, winding through the forest along the marsh. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Egg & Cheese on an English Muffin
NAME: Jeannie Mattson WHERE I'M FROM: Deer Isle, ME POSITION: Director of Development & Community Engagement HAPPY PLACE: Every time I cross the bridge, I am always taken by the beauty of the view, no matter what the tide or time of year. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Veggie Burger
NAME: Michael Messina WHERE I'M FROM: Oak Park, IL POSITION: Education Programs Assistant HAPPY PLACE: The Dairy Discovery Trail. It’s a beautiful trail that takes you through different ecosystems in a very short distance & is a great habitat for birds and wildlife. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Burger with Fries
NAME: Tom Prohl WHERE I'M FROM: New London, NH POSITION: Farm Operations & Systems Manager HAPPY PLACE: Early mornings in the vegetable plot. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Iced coffee with just a touch of cream.
NAME: Leah Puro WHERE I'M FROM: Ossining, NY POSITION: Agricultural Research Coordinator HAPPY PLACE: The back of Fogg Field. It’s a special pasture with a rolling hill that is totally surrounded by trees and feels as though you've been transported to a different world. FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Bacon, egg, & cheese with a large black coffee.
NAME: Stephanie Tibbetts WHERE I'M FROM: Fryeburg, ME POSITION: Assistant Dairy Manager HAPPY PLACE: In the milking parlor, spending time keeping the cows happy and healthy! FARM CAFÉ ORDER: Burger (with bacon, of course)!
NAME: Joan Wiley WHERE I'M FROM: Cincinnati, OH POSITION: Bookkeeper HAPPY PLACE: Stopping in the barn to see the animals before I start work! FARM CAFÉ ORDER: This is my first year so I am excited to try out the Café!
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At Wolfe’s Neck Center, we believe the future of agriculture must be liberating, not confining, and that we must consciously work to undo institutional injustices of the past.
e recognize that climate change and food sovereignty are inherently interwoven into issues around racial injustice, and because of that, we believe that as an organization we have a responsibility to make lasting changes to improve our role in serving people of color. Through collaboration with our board, staff, and other organizations involved in this work, we have spent the last year developing a vision of how Wolfe's Neck Center can play a role in racial justice in Maine and beyond. We are committed to learning, listening, and creating the necessary action items to cultivate change and move this important work forward for our organization.
ers Association) and funded by SARE’s (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) Professional Development Program grant. The project, "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training for Agricultural Organizations and Individual Service Providers" will provide training for agricultural service providers on topics such as racial justice, personal bias, land justice, and LGBTQ+ competency, in work towards supporting farmers in intersectional identities and experiences. Seven participating organizations, including Wolfe's Neck Center, will engage in an internal facilitation process to help shift our organizational work and structure to a more equitable one.
Wolfe’s Neck Center is thrilled to be a participating farm in a special three-year program led by MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Grow-
Learn more about Wolfe’s Neck Center’s DEI efforts at: www.wolfesneck.org/equity.
We farm on Abenaki Land. Wolfe’s Neck Center recognizes that it farms on the
historic lands of the Abenaki people, members of the Wabanaki Confederation of Native people in Maine. We acknowledge and honor the tribes who comprise the Wabanaki Confederacy – the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Abenaki, and Mi’kmaq peoples – who have stewarded these lands for centuries. We support their efforts for land and water protection and restoration, when issues of sovereignty, and encroachment on their sacred sites is ongoing.
Board of Directors David Bennell Peter Bouman Morgan Cuthbert, Secretary
Tim Griffin, Vice Chair Gray Harris Megan Hellstedt
Triplett Kise Tucker Lannon Raina Maxwell, Treasurer
Vivi Stevenson Miller Brett Pierce Lee Schepps, Chair
Sam Smith Meredeth Winter
Board Spotlight: Gray Harris Gray Harris joined the board in 2013, bringing with her a strong background in sustainable agriculture and its impact on the Maine economy. As a senior vice president at Coastal Enterprises Inc., Gray leads action-oriented business initiatives in land- and sea-based food systems; this includes spearheading the development of funds for sector-specific lending and investing. She had known about the farm for years as a wonderful local resource and was intrigued by the development of a new strategic vision for then Wolfe’s Neck Farm to play a meaningful role in agriculture in Maine.
As Wolfe’s Neck Center refocused its mission on sustainable agriculture, organic dairy emerged as a real growth area for Maine and New England. It was Gray who introduced Stonyfield to Wolfe’s Neck Center, knowing that the farm is well suited for dairy and could help deal with the problem of Maine and New England’s aging dairy farmer population. “I saw this as a real opportunity to train new organic dairy farmers,” says Gray. “Dairy is the backbone of the agricultural economy in Maine because it is resource intensive; it builds up the service community that all farmers need – feed and seed stores, veterinary services, equipment and repair shops. It lifts up Gray was deeply involved in the strategic plan- farming communities and rural economies.” The ning process that has driven the transformation partnership between Stonyfield and Wolfe's Neck of Wolfe’s Neck Center over the past five years. Center in 2016 created a two-year residential apprenticeship program for new and transitioning commercial organic dairy farmers. "Dairy is the backbone of the agricultural economy in Maine because
it is resource intensive; it builds up the service community that all farmers need – feed and seed stores, veterinary services, equipment and repair shops. It lifts up farming communities & rural economies.” Her work at CEI provides her a unique perspective on what Maine farmers need to be successful. In the past ten years, she has led financing of over $40 million into food businesses, representing over 1,000 jobs and keeping 8,377 acres of farmland in working production.
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Once the Organic Dairy Farmer Training Program was up and running, Gray connected Wolfe’s Neck Center with the Dairy Grazing Apprentice (DGA) program, a National Apprenticeship under the U.S. Department of Labor-Employment and Training Administration. Our apprentices follow the DGA training program which lays out the competencies that must be met to own and operate a managed-grazing organic dairy farm. This represented the DGA’s first foray on the east coast, and the partnership has
grown over the past few years. “It’s very exciting when you can bring your network to bear on other aspects of your life and see that it can have a broader impact,” Gray says. “Simply making introductions can make amazing things happen.” Gray gets “really jazzed seeing the new dairy facility” and is excited for what the future holds. “Having that asset shows a deeper commitment to organic dairy, it’s great to see the vision come to life.” The farmer training programs at Wolfe’s Neck Center are rooted in regenerative agriculture which deepens Gray’s commitment to this place. “What the farm is doing in terms of soil health research and climate smart farming is very powerful – it’s amazing when you think about the world class work that is happening right here in our little corner in Freeport,” she says. “The potential for impact across the agricultural sector in this country is extraordinary – the data collected can turn into income for our farmers, making agriculture better for farmers and the planet.”