UNITY, Maine — The annual Spring Growth Conference presented by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and held at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity is a daylong event that digs deeply into topics that impact farmers, whether a specific crop, technique or management practice. The 2019 conference, to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 27, will focus on labor management.
The program at Spring Growth this year will help participants navigate the legalities of hiring and managing farm labor. Learn from other farmers about their farm labor models. Come talk about farm labor law, different labor model strategies and how to adjust to labor shortages. The day will feature two panels, including one of farmers with different labor strategies and one of service providers who will speak about how to find and keep labor. A roundtable portion of the day will focus on tips and tricks for different labor models.
During the farmer panel, hear from producers from Patch Farm, Pineland Farms Produce Division, Frith Farm, Broadturn Farm and Buckle Farm.
These farms have different labor management strategies, including hired laborers, H-2A employees and apprentices. Panelists will briefly introduce themselves, their farm operation, the evolution to their current staffing model and one particularly unique or important aspect of their management or mentorship model. Farmers will discuss how they have adjusted to labor shortages. Facilitated questions and discussion will follow.
The labor law panel will include a lawyer, an advocate for seasonal farm workers and a representative of the Maine Department of Labor. They will discuss systems to support farmers and laborers in labor management as well as the legalities of labor management. Facilitated questions and discussion will follow.
During the roundtable, learn from the knowledge in the room. Workshop participants will select a thematic roundtable of their choice that discusses the specifics of a particular labor strategy. Each table will develop a list of recommended resources and tips/tricks that will be compiled and shared with all workshop participants.
Registration (includes lunch) is $20 for MOFGA members and certified organic growers; $30 for nonmembers. This event is free for current MOFGA apprenticeship host farms and journeypersons. For more information and to register, please visit http://www.mofga.org/MOFGA-
–Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
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