press release - agriculture series

Public Relations | Press Releases


Release date 02-04-14


KVCC to offer speaker series on agriculture topics beginning in February


FAIRFIELD, ME – Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) will offer a series of seven agriculture-oriented speakers and panel discussions beginning in early February.

The series will focus on issues important to Maine’s sustainable agriculture and farm-to-table culinary arts efforts. Each session will be held in the conference room at the Muriel P. Frye Building at KVCC’s Fairfield Campus at 92 Western Ave. in Fairfield. All events are free and open to the public.

"We hope these talks will encourage useful discussions and deepen connections within KVCC and among the larger community,” Heather Halsey, project manager for KVCC’s Growing Maine Project, which is offering the series, said. “Each of these speakers supports increased access to locally-produced, farm-fresh foods in some unique way, and they are representative of the outstanding work being done to improve and support agricultural production and access to fresh food in Maine."

The series will include the following:

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification, Feb. 6, 12:30-1:30 p.m., featuring Jed Beach and Emilia Carbone of Ararat Farm Lincolnville, a husband and wife team who will talk about running a G.A.P. Certified Farm selling to institutions and large wholesale accounts. Learn more at:

Beginning Farmers Resource Network, Feb. 12, 12:30-1:30 p.m., featuring Gray Harris of Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) moderating a panel discussion including Abby Sadauckas of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), Erica Buswell of Maine Farmland Trust, and Tori Jackson of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Harris is the director of sustainable agriculture and healthy food finance at CEI, supervises all work in CEI’s agriculture and food systems programs, and is responsible for the management, development and deployment of Sustainable Agriculture Investment Funds and Healthy Food Finance Funds. Learn more at:

Hunger Relief in Maine, Feb. 26, 12:30-1:30 p.m., featuring Nancy Perry of Good Shepherd Food Bank and the Mainers Feeding Mainers program. Perry is the food sourcing manager at Good Shepherd Food Bank and the director of Mainers Feeding Mainers, an innovative program enlisting and supporting Maine farmers to grow food for food pantries around the state. Her talk will focus on the food relief system and needs in Maine. Learn more at:

What is Organic? Feb. 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m., featuring Kate Newkirk of MOFGA Certification Services, LLC. Newkirk is the associate director of processing and handling at MOFGA Certification Services, LLC. Newkirk and her husband, Peter, operate WinterGreen Herbs & Vegetables - a certified organic farm in Winslow, ME. She holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Agronomy. Learn more at:

A Farmworker Cooperative, March 5, 12:30-1:30 p.m., featuring Jane Livingston of MaineWORCS. The MaineWORCS project has received a Farm Credit Grant to investigate the feasibility of a farmworker cooperative. Learn more about this group’s goals of providing sustainable employment, supporting organic farming, strengthening local food security, and reducing the carbon footprint. Or sign up to join or work for the company this year! This panel discussion will include students, project managers, and volunteers presenting details about the project. Learn more at:

Nutrition, Health, and Cooking Matters in Maine, March 10, 12:30-1:30 p.m., featuring Courtney Kennedy of Good Shepherd Food Bank. Kennedy runs the Cooking Matters Program for the Good Shepherd Food Bank, and coordinates classes across the state. Since 1993, Cooking Matters (formerly Operation Frontline) has provided low-income people at risk of hunger with hands-on cooking and nutrition classes led by volunteer professional chefs and nutritionists. Kennedy’s talk will focus on the Cooking Matters Program. Learn more at:

Securing a Future for Farming, March 20, 12:30-1:30 p.m., featuring Mike Gold of Maine Farmland Trust’s Farm Viability Program. Under the Farm Viability Program, Gold manages projects in farm business development, a shared-use equipment program, a community farm share, manages a Community Food Grant, and is involved in projects related to market development, four-season farming, and food hubs. Learn more at:

The Growing Maine Project is part of KVCC’s emerging focus on sustainable agriculture and agriculture-related programs. In the spring of 2013 the College began creating an agriculture-oriented education hub now known as the KVCC Center for Farm-to-Table Innovation. College programs in Sustainable Agriculture and Culinary Arts are currently admitting students for spring, fall, and summer programs; these include planned summer intensive programs in Sustainable Vegetable Production and Culinary Arts. An associate’s degree program in Food Science and certificate programs in Food Technology and Quality Control will be coming soon.

The Center for Farm-to-Table Innovation is being developed at KVCC’s new Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley and will include a unique collection of facilities, staff and resources dedicated to preparing the labor force in mid-Maine to meet the increasing demand for skills related to farming, food preparation, and healthy living. The farm-to-table focus of KVCC’s new programs will provide hands-on educational opportunities including re-training for displaced workers and veterans, educational enhancement for high school students seeking entry into farming and culinary arts careers, and transferrable credits for those considering further education.

KVCC will integrate business and entrepreneurship skills into all new programs at the Center for Farm-to-Table Innovation and is eager to engage local stakeholders in these discussions not only to expand awareness of key issues, but also to provide a venue for authentic community dialogue.

The KVCC Farm being developed on 120 acres of the Alfond Campus will be at the heart of these new initiatives, and is a centerpiece of the new campus and a new chapter in the evolution of the College. The target start date for operations there is September 2014.

KVCC’s Sustainable Agriculture and Culinary Arts Programs are being funded in part by a $2.5 million dollar Employment and Training Administration Grant awarded to KVCC by the U.S. Department of Labor.

For more information on the Growing Maine Project please call Heather Halsey at 207-453-5858 or email



External Links