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March 2020


Maine AgrAbility is into month two of Boots-2-Bushels (B2B): Boot Camp for Military Veteran Market Gardeners & Farmers. This is a nine-month market gardening education and training program for military veterans and their family members. This program, sponsored by UMaine Cooperative Extension's Maine AgrAbility in partnership with the Veterans Administration and the Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener Association (MOFGA), takes participants from seed-to-salary in a hands-on and realistic project. Students are provided 10 weeks of classroom instruction by Extension and MOFGA educators that include practices for growing fruits and vegetables for market, as well as business skills required to sustain a farm business. Participants put all this knowledge into an intensive six-month growing season to provide food for their families, other veterans and employees at the VA health center, and the local food bank communities.

On February 22, Richard Brzozowski staffed the AgrAbility display at the Wild Blueberry Conference in Bangor. The event drew about 150 people. Richard presented "Tips for Aging Farmers" to about 60 people during the conference and distributed brochures to all in attendance. On February 27, Richard was interviewed by the Bangor Daily News about his work with AgrAbility and Tips for Aging Farmers.

On February 29, Maine AgrAbility hosted its first farm theater event at the Waldo County annual meeting. Staff used the material titled "A new way to deliver health and safety information to farm families," developed by Dr. Deborah B. Reed, University of Kentucky College of Nursing and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. There were 41 people in attendance with a nice mix of farm backgrounds. The audience was engaged and held good discussions after the skits. The event was moderated by AgrAbility with support from the UMaine Ag Mediation team.

February 2020 was filled with helpful webinars hosted by one of Maine AgrAbility's partner networks, Maine CITE.

Submitted by Lani Carlson