Maine Leads the Way with Unique Farms

| 11/2/2014 5:04:00 PM

Tags: sustainable farming, farm apprenticeships, Maine, Mary Quinn Doyle,

The diversity of sustainable agricultural enterprises taking place in Maine is truly quite remarkable. As a writer and photographer, it seemed as though documenting Maine farms through photos and stories would be a productive undertaking. Many farm-related books are written for pre-schoolers and elementary school students, and several highly-technical farm publications are also available. For many years, it became apparent that there was a genuine need for an all-inclusive resource about Maine farms that would be geared to middle schoolers through adults.

In June of 2012, the Unique Maine Farms’ project took form. Over the past 28 months, it has evolved into a journey involving thousands of volunteer-hours. Over 30,000 miles have been clocked on our “often but not always reliable” 1994 Toyota Tercel. I have navigated throughout the beautiful back roads, woods, mountains, and the inland and coastal areas of Maine.

The Unique Maine Farms’ project is committed to the preservation of farmland and natural resources for future generations. By promoting the efforts of all types of farms, it educates students and the public about local food systems and the many career opportunities in agriculture. Because of its all-inclusive core belief that “farming is for everyone,” Unique Maine Farms strives to support all types of agricultural pursuits in Maine including farming that is taking place among the disenfranchised and vulnerable populations.

Unique Maine Farms Profiles

Unique Maine Farms Project

Bill and Anna Spiller of Spiller Farm in Wells, Maine, were chosen as the very first farmers to be profiled on the Unique Maine Farms' website because of their incredible commitment to address the issue of hunger in Maine and to follow through with a pledge to donate a large percentage of their crops to those in need. Although they grow many of the same crops that other Maine farmers do, the Spillers stood out for their efforts in sharing what they have grown on a very large scale with those who have very little.

The Unique Maine Farms website focuses on profiling the many unique Maine farms that are truly “hidden gems.” Maine farmers have adapted to changing markets. They have diversified in ways that farmers in the colonial days through the twentieth century could never even imagine. Farmers often do not have the time or resources to promote the work that they do. For many farmers, marketing and discussions about the possibilities of careers that are available in agriculture takes a back seat. There are so many demands that need to be addressed in the day-to-day operation of a farm.

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