LEWISTON — “A Face, A Place, A Taste: Our Next Agriculture” is the title of a talk by Russell Libby, executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, at this month’s Great Falls Forum. It is scheduled for noon Thursday, April 15, in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library, 200 Lisbon St.
Libby planted his first garden after getting free seeds at the end of fourth grade. His involvement with MOFGA started when he was a college student and attended the organization’s first Common Ground Country Fair in 1977 where he saw a connection between local, organic food and a strong Maine economy. He began participating in the Consortium for Maine Food Self-Reliance in 1979, and joined the MOFGA board of directors in 1983. After a dozen years on the board, including two years as president, he became executive director in 1995.
Libby has led MOFGA’s growth over the past decade as the organization moved to the new Common Ground Education Center in Unity. He also supported the expansion of MOFGA’s agricultural services and education programs, and the creation of a subsidiary to run an organic farm certification program.
He has a wide range of agricultural affiliations, including 10 years as research director at the Maine Department of Agriculture. He currently serves on the boards of the Agricultural Council of Maine, the University of Maine Board of Agriculture, Maine Farmland Trust, Eat Local Foods Coalition, National Organic Coalition and FEDCO Seeds.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bowdoin College and a master’s degree in resource economics from the University of Maine.
Libby operates Three Sisters Farm, a small diversified farm in Mount Vernon, with his wife, Mary Anne, and their three daughters. He served three years on the school board there, and currently chairs the town’s Comprehensive Plan Committee and serves as a selectman. He also writes poetry in his spare time. His first book, “Balance: A Late Pastoral,” was published in 2007.
The Lewiston Public Library invited Libby to speak this month as part of its One Book/One Community reading program, which this year has an agricultural theme as it centers on the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” Libby will take questions from the audience following his Great Falls Forum presentation.
Admission to the Great Falls Forum is free. Attendees are invited to bring brown-bag lunches, or to take advantage of the Forum’s partnership with Guthries cafe and request one of the eatery’s sandwiches or salads to be delivered to the library in advance of the talk. Orders may be placed by calling Guthries at 376-3344. The menu is available at www.myspace.com/guthriesplace. Bottled water will be available on site at the library.
More information on Thursday’s lecture or other upcoming events in the Great Falls Forum series is available by contacting the Lewiston Public Library at 513-3135 or www.LPLonline.org.