MEET OUR MemberS

Select a member’s photo to see their story.

Chris Hamilton

Barred Owl Creamery • Whitefield, Maine

From our very first meeting in 1999, MFT had ambitious goals and a confident energy. I am in awe of MFT’s proactive perspective--the organization has accomplished so much because it has been willing to envision a bold future, take risks, and step forward. Without question, the landscape in Maine looks different because of MFT. For example, our family farm benefits from MFT’s work every day because we run our sheep and goats on our neighbor’s land – which would likely have been a subdivision if our neighbors (led by Bambi Jones) and MFT had not stepped in. We are grateful every day.

Founding board member in 1999

Warren & Helen Balgooyen

WISHING WELL FARM • NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine

Our friend Jim Hastings introduced me to MFT at an early meeting at his house in Skowhegan. As a career naturalist and environmental educator, much of my incentive comes from an interest in wildlife and conservation education. I’ve always been an avid land protector, and we worked with MFT to protect our 272-acre farm in 2004, and hope to add another nearly 200 acres in the near future. Over the last 20 years, development has swallowed up prime agricultural land.  Climate change is having an effect via drought, new insects, and invasive plants. At the same time, we see more young people getting into farming- mostly small produce farms.  MFT’s Farmlink and Farmland Protection programs have helped those who can’t afford the rising price of farmland. We hope MFT will continue to keep up the good work!

Warren Balgooyen passed away in January 2019, a few months after this interview.

MEMBER SINCE 2000, PROTECTED THEIR FARM IN 2004, and protected another 110 acres with 7 Lakes alliance in December 2018

Ellen & Jack McAdam

MCDOUGAL ORCHARDS • SPRINGVALE, Maine

In 2000, the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, under the leadership of Bob Spear, began sponsoring an action plan for farmland protection through the Land for Maine’s Future Program. My brother, Evan McDougal, floated the idea of selling McDougal Orchards’ development rights to keep the property from being subdivided in the future and to stabilize the farm’s finances.  At the time, my father opposed the idea. He felt we would be signing on to something that would burden future generations and take away their rights as private property owners. He was eventually persuaded, and we began working on the sale of the easement. The sale finally went through in 2005. We continue to support MFT because we believe land suitable for farming should be preserved for that use.  Everybody eats, and all that food needs to come from somewhere. We have had discussions with our two children and they are interested in taking over the operation in the near future. This would make the 8th generation on the farm. We hope the farm can stay in the family for generations to come but, if not, we know it will stay in agriculture.

MEMBER SINCE 2001, PROTECTED THEIR FARM IN 2005

David Flanagan

Viking Lumber • Belfast, Maine

Hopefully, over the last 20 years,  awareness has grown enough to help create an economy of appreciation for more healthy foods and the local, small farms, so our farmers can continue their hard work and thrive.

MEMBER SINCE 2003

Frances Kilea

Appleton, Maine

I support MFT's mission in the abstract because I have long believed in the importance of a strong web of local commerce and food production, but I'm pretty personally invested, too. The livelihoods of former and current employers and mentors—not to mention their customers— depends on the health of that system.  I love that Maine Farmland Trust has a multi-pronged approach to the goal of growing the future for farming.  All of it's important, too. I grew up in a small town in the midwest and have watched, over the years, patches of land be purchased and developed. MFT's efforts to keep arable land in the hands of farmers are really important.

MEMBER SINCE 2016

Rob Tod

Allagash Brewing Company • portland, Maine

There are so many benefits to bringing industries like farming back to local communities: jobs, profits, sustainability, the value in knowing where ingredients are coming from, etc. Much like the craft beer movement, and Allagash, in particular, is bringing beer back to local communities, we see that MFT is working to bring farming back to local communities.

SUPPORTER SINCE 2015

Troy & Brenda White

Lil Bit Organic Farm • LaGrange, Maine

Some of the fields that we leased for hay went up for sale. We knew these fields would appeal to a developer for house lots. Also, if we lost these fields, it would be detrimental to our bottom line and Maine would lose more farmland! However, the cost was way out of our reach. Without MFT, we would not have been able to secure the farmland and to protect the farmland for future generations.

The landscape of farming has changed in Maine and in our country for many reasons. Developers are buying farmland to turn to house developments. It is imperative for everyone to support MFT so we can all continue to work together to protect our farmland and to help farmers.

MEMBER SINCE 2014, PROTECTED THEIR FARM IN 2014

Sam Hayward

FORE STREET RESTAURANT • portland, Maine

In the time I’ve been cooking in Maine—that is, since 1974—everything has changed. Then, almost all food supplies for restaurants came from commercial wholesalers, originating in industrial California farms and Midwestern feedlots. A flip to the availability of local foods began in my own work in the early ‘80s, and continues even now. It’s almost inconceivable that a new restaurant would open in Maine that doesn’t give at least lip service to local foods.

I support MFT’s mission because of my concern for the future of farming—and farmland—in Maine, believing that efforts must be made across the food system to preserve crop and pasture lands available for food production.

MEMBER SINCE 2007

Jodi Paloni

writer • Jefferson, Maine

As the daughter of farmers on both sides of the family from the mid-Atlantic region, my move to New England as a young adult in the late eighties to attend a graduate environmental studies program was part of my commitment to work on land preservation after seeing what had become of my hometown hills after credit card companies and plastics industry moved in. I landed in education, hoping to affect young hearts and minds to learn and love a place as I had, to love it enough to grow up and work to protect it. This past summer, living five weeks on a Forever Farm at MFT’s Fiore Art Center, eating food grown on the land, I got to see up close and on many levels how MFT is working in Maine. My knowledge and support of the organization have only just begun.

WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE AT JOSEPH A. FIORE ART CENTER 2018

Stacy Brenner

Broadturn Farm • Scarborough, Maine

My hope for the future is that the shelves of the Hannafords and Shaws and Market Baskets around the state are filled with Maine-grown produce and only the things we can't grow in Maine are from away. Maine is poised to get it right and support new producers as they launch and grow their businesses. By keeping land values affordable and quality farmland out of development, MFT is affecting the future of rural wellness through ensuring land-based businesses can continue to be solvent in Maine for years to come.

MEMBER SINCE 2008, CURRENT BOARD MEMBER

Andrew Sevey

Broadcrest Farm • ripley, Maine

We have to have our farms because if we don’t have our farms, rural America is dead, period.  As a lifelong farmer, I saw some beautiful tracts of land that were subdivided. Development has a place but the best farmland needs to be to feed the people, it doesn’t need to be developed.   We have to stay on the forefront of protecting the land, the public and landowners need to all be educated on how important it is to protect farmland-- without it, we won’t have a food supply. Once the farms are broken up, it’s hard to put them back together.  We need to be able to take care of ourselves, and our state.

MEMBER SINCE 2014, PROTECTED THEIR FARM IN 2013

Carrie Whitcomb

Springdale Farm • Waldo, Maine

It was my grandmother's relentless passion for farming and her farmland that led her to MFT.  She shivered at the thought of her beloved ground being developed. Protecting the farmland from future development through MFT put her mind at ease, knowing that someone could always farm here.  It also helped facilitate important conversations about transitioning the farm to the next generation. It is my hope to continue to transform our cows' milk into delicious cheese and dairy products that I can share with my community and beyond while carrying on the family's farming tradition.

MEMBER SINCE 2017, PROTECTED THEIR FARM IN 2015

Heather & Phil Retberg

QUILLS END FARM • PENOBSCOT, Maine

The future of farming in Maine hangs in the balance.  Its future very much depends on what we do now in terms of creating supportive policy, attracting young and beginning farmers, maintaining and increasing the number of successful farm transfers and farmland protection, continued farm patron education, and the ability of farmers to adapt to climate, financial, infrastructure and policy challenges. MFT can help secure the future of farming in Maine by continuing its responsiveness to challenges and its receptivity to creative, paradigm-shifting thinking; by continuing to share member farms’ stories keeping the people and working lands of Maine in front of its non-farming people. MFT’s willingness to adapt along with farmers to the challenges we face will be essential for moving into the future.

purchased a protected farm through farmlink, 2004


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