Articles by Lauren Abbate

A customer shops for fresh produce at the Portland Farmers' Market in this November 2013 file photo.

New USM food studies program taking an interdisciplinary look at food systems

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 21, 2017, at 10:33 a.m.
The questions surrounding food systems come from a variety of different angles. As food makes its way from soil to mouth, the issues that it intersects with are scientific, environmental, social, economic and political.
A man makes his way down Hammond street during a snowstorm on Monday in Bangor. The recent snowfall could bring some relief to the drought which has persisted for much of the last year.

Winter weather on track to soothe ongoing drought conditions

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 15, 2017, at 10:42 a.m.
“In order to really see how well it eases the drought, we have to see … how quickly it melts.”
Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson now serves as Maine Farmland Trust's Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, where four artists each spent a month last summer completing an art residency.

Maine Farmland Trust artist residency program promotes agriculture through visual arts

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 14, 2017, at 8:09 a.m.
“Farmers are makers, and artists are makers, and they seem to have a lot of shared passion for our rural environments and heritage here in Maine.”
Paul Costello, executive director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, speaks as the keynote speaker to kick off a daylong discussion hosted by Envision Maine that focused on the economy of rural Maine and opportunities to grow it on Friday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Creating bright futures for Maine’s rural economies relies on collaboration of ideas

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 10, 2017, at 5:27 p.m.
Communities throughout rural Maine are up against no shortage of challenges.
Carl Johanson, 26, plays with his dog while talking about the recently installed large solar array at Goranson Farm in Dresden. Johanson's parents own the farm and were the driving force behind the project that is to cover the energy needs at the 80-acre organic farm.

Solar array adds to the sustainable future of a historically progressive family farm in Maine

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 10, 2017, at 6:57 a.m.
“We’re trying to survive as a family business, while being less dependent on energy sources that are beyond our control. [Solar] seemed an appropriate way to go.”

Possessions, cost must be considered before downsizing to a tiny house

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 04, 2017, at 7:40 a.m.
There are a few things that should be taken into consideration before deciding to buy your tiny own home.
Nic Ledoux (left) and his wife, Robin Bienenstock, recently sit in their tiny home that is parked at a campground in Freeport. They bought the home last year and decided to come to Maine for their first winter.

A 200-square-foot winter: Colder months an added adventure for tiny home dwellers

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 04, 2017, at 7:40 a.m.
“We love it,” Robin Bienenstock said. “[The tiny house is] one of the best places we’ve lived.”

Daylong event to focus on rural Maine’s economy, future

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 03, 2017, at 12:49 p.m.
A daylong discussion focusing on rural Maine’s economy and its future is being held Feb. 10, featuring more than 50 presenters and numerous workshops.
A burning bush turns prematurely red in Illinois, on September 21, 2012.

33 plants deemed invasive can no longer be sold in Maine

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 02, 2017, at 6:22 a.m.
“The plants on the list have invaded farms, fields, forests and wetlands throughout the state.”

Maine offers plenty of ways to add agriculture to vacation plans

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 28, 2017, at 7:20 a.m.
Though you may have come to Maine for the coastline or the mountains, there are ample ways to check out the local agriculture offerings along the way.
Visitors take a hayride at Treworgy Family Orchard in Levant in September 2016.

New agriculture map seeks to promote Maine farms to the tourism market

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 28, 2017, at 7:20 a.m.
The map will help connect the many tourists who visit the state each year with this local agriculture and Maine’s farming traditions.
Brian Papineau (foreground) of Old Town reaches for an LED light as Sid Sinclair (left), a field representative with the Efficiency Maine lighting program, and Lowe's customer service associate Willy Willette (background) help him make his choice at the new Lowe's Home Improvement store on Springer Drive in Bangor.

Energy savings and sustainable practices not out of reach midwinter

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 25, 2017, at 1 p.m.
Despite winter’s elements making it difficult to avoid higher heat and light usage, there is a wide range of ways people can reduce their energy consumption on a daily basis, proving that sustainable lifestyle habits aren’t out of reach during the winter.
Eliot Coleman, the co-owner of Four Season Farm, talks about winter farming on Tuesday at the farm in Brooksville.

How some Maine farmers have turned cold winter months into an extended growing season

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 23, 2017, at 6:51 a.m.
“The benefit here is that this is local, sustainable agriculture. If we’re growing year-round we’re not having to import it from anywhere else. We have it right here. It’s good, fresh stuff.”
Livestock such as these cattle can be seen at the Fryeburg Fair in Fryeburg in this October 2014 file photo.

This club will teach Maine children how to raise, market livestock

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 18, 2017, at 6:29 a.m.
With the new club educating children and families on what exactly goes into raising a variety of different animals, Judy Smith said they will be more informed about what exactly goes into raising the food they consume.
High school senior Franci Bliss, 17, of Portland is a certified doula who has assisted in around 15 births since August.

17-year-old finds passion for birthwork while becoming a doula

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 14, 2017, at 7:29 a.m.
Regardless where the future takes her, helping others will be at the center of her plans.
Three roosting chickens are the focus of the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair poster, which was released by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association this week.

Maine association unveils 2017 Common Ground Country Fair poster

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 12, 2017, at 3:57 p.m.
The poster represents the 41st annual Common Ground Country Fair, which will be be held Sept. 22 through Sept. 24.
Visitors and vendors can be seen during the annual State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center in this January 2011 file photo.

LePage: Maine agriculture ‘can become a major industry, not just a boutique industry’

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 11, 2017, at 1 a.m.
“Where [farmers] are all spread out on the landscape during the growing season and the busy time of the year, I think the [trades show] is a good time to get everyone together.”

Collaboration brings midcoast students a community-oriented garden project

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 10, 2017, at 3:23 p.m.
“I see this space as a way to connect the students to their community, thinking in terms of what to grow there in regards to what the community needs.”
A tub of fresh butter is seen on Friday at Rollins Orchard in Garland. Rollins Orchard began making butter in 2015.

For quality small-batch butter, try churning it at home

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 05, 2017, at 6:34 a.m.
“We use the slow traditional process to give [the butter] better flavor. It gives it a more buttery flavor.”
Brian St. Laurent washes carrot bunches at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association farm in Unity, Aug. 24, 2011.

Agriculture organizations reflect on 2016, look ahead to a new year

By Lauren Abbate on Dec. 31, 2016, at 7 a.m.
Statewide agriculture organizations say that despite challenging conditions 2016 was an exciting year for the overall realm of local food and farming in Maine — a year that gives hope to continued growth in the coming 365 days.