Organic food workshop aims to unite growers

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host an all-day workshop, The Mechanics of Organics, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Campus Center.  

The Center for Advancement of Rural Living (CARL) a public nonprofit organization based in Caribou, will sponsor the event. The goal of the conference is to open up dialogue among organic food growers in Aroostook County and to establish a network for information sharing.  

Conference director Tony Gauvin, a member of the CARL board of directors, said that there are a number of individuals growing organic food in The County and he hopes to bring them together to discuss their work and learn from one another.

“Growing organic food is something that has really come on strong here in the County,” said Gauvin, who is an associate professor of e-commerce at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

“I have been exploring the organic food movement here and have discovered some very diverse and interesting initiatives,” he said. “I hope that we can bring a number of growers together to learn more about their interests and how they came to the work they are doing.”

A final list of speakers is not yet complete but Gauvin hopes to have representation from Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service. Other presenters are anticipated.  A major part of the conference will be panel discussions.

“We would really like to engage local growers in discussion about various aspects of organic farming whether they are just growing as a hobby or a small family farm or are scaling up operations,” Gauvin said. “There are many challenges to growing organics it would be great to share some knowledge.”

Individuals who are thinking about beginning to grow organics are welcome to attend the conference.  There will be informational materials available as well as links to helpful organizations. The cost for the conference is $15 and includes lunch.   

The conference has been made possible by a grant from the New England Grass Roots Environment Fund.

The Center for Advancement of Rural Living is a non-profit 501-C3 organization based in Caribou. The organization was established in 2011 for the purpose of filling gaps in service for rural populations with a focus on social, economic and cultural arenas. The group’s key areas of focus include the arts and culture, economic development, job training, veterans and veteran homelessness, small farm agricultural, substance use disorder, addiction and recovery.  

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