SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the oldest and largest organic organization in the country, announced a million dollar gift from the Partridge Foundation to launch an Educational Programs Endowment.
"Today, we are committed to building on our success by bringing even more farmers, more jobs and more economic expansion to Maine," stated MOFGA's executive director, Ted Quaday.
The gift could grow substantially if MOFGA is able to raise another one million dollars over the next 18 months, as the Partridge Foundation has pledged to match those donations with another million dollar donation, bringing the endowment to $3 million by the end of next year.
"It is the single largest gift in the history of the organization," said Quaday.
He says the money will be used to continue and expand their already extensive educational offerings to farmers interested in organic agriculture. Quaday says more than 200 people have completed their intensive journeyperson program over the past decade.
"These farmers have created more than 150 new farm businesses," explained Quaday. "More than 1/3 of the farmers selling at the Portland Farmer's Market this season trained as MOFGA journeypersons."
He says an additional 1700 people have studied as apprentices on farms across the state.
"We have been dedicated to providing aspiring farmers with the information and the growing skills that they need in the field and in the marketplace," he said. "Organic agriculture is a growing economic opportunity in Maine. Young people see that."