Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Maine Senior FarmShare Program

Through the Maine Senior FarmShare Program, Maine farmers provide fresh, unprocessed, locally grown produce to low-income seniors. Food is distributed directly from farms to seniors. Each participating senior receives a share worth $50 of produce during the growing season.

Farms are prepaid in the spring for the produce they agree to provide later in the season. Only fresh, unprocessed vegetables, fruits and herbs from the farmer are acceptable FarmShare products.

To qualify, seniors must meet both age and income requirements. They must be age 60 or over (age 55 or over for Native Americans), and have a total income (including all pensions, social security and other payments) of no more than 185% of the poverty level. Participating seniors must sign an agreement with a specific farmer to provide their share.

The Maine Senior FarmShare Program is administered by the Maine Department of Agriculture (DOA) in partnership with other agencies and organizations, including the Office of Elder Services, the Maine Nutrition Network, Maine Cooperative Extension, and Maine's five Area Agencies on Aging. The Program is funded through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

For more information on program guidelines and participating farmers call Area Agencies on Aging at 1-877-353-3771 or visit www.getrealmaine.com.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quickbooks Class

I am a big Quickbooks fan and have used it for years in my own business but working on the books for a Non-Profit and creating a "complete picture" profile is another story.

Fred Donovan and I had a 3 hour Quickbooks lesson today from Cheryl Hajek who is an accountant and Quickbooks Certified teacher. 

I had all the entries in Quickbooks for past 3 years for 2 different bank accounts, but I didn't know what accounts to assign the proper accounts.
What I mean by that is tracking the 1st floor from the 2nd floor entries, tracking volunteer hours that can be used for grants matches, listing donated products & from whom, tracking the various CDBG & USDA Grants, etc.

But then there is the whole thing of the difference between a fixed asset and just an expense.
 Cheryl helped create and put everything in the proper account!
Wow... it was fun and I learned a lot!  Now we can see the whole picture of our physical and monetary value.

Everything is up to date and in good order! YEAH! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday update

Well our last day with the Charleston crew for awhile. They are off to other nonprofits to help in other communities. 
They are a great bunch of guys and supervisor who I have gotten to know and like. It has been a great experience working with them. They have made it very clear that they are really appreciate being out of the facility during the day, but more that, they are giving back to the community! Some of our guys will have completed their time soon and they are anxious to come back (with their kids) when are open and show off their handiwork!
I applaud Charleston Correctional Facility for providing this service to our community and the inmates for wanting a change in their lives.
The floor is completely done on the 2nd floor and they were trying to finish up the wall around the office today. When I left about 1:30 today, they were about 2/3 done.
Once again I want to thank Rich Frank for bringing donuts & a homecooked meals everyday this week for the guys, Kay Gray for her whoppie pies, Sam Brown for all the flooring, Ernest Rollins for the hemlock boards for the wall, Darlene Bagley for all the coffee beans (they love their coffee in an unheated building). 
I also want to thank Roger Brawn who is President of DRDC. He opens the building every morning and closes at night, and lately he has made a bunch of trips to Sam's for more wood!!! He also listens to me bitch & complain, but lately just be excited that things are finally moving forward quickly! We work as a team...
"It takes a village..." Thanks everyone
Next week we will be having another cleaning bee... Wanna help?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday update:

This has been a busy productive week!
Charleston Crew has been working all week on the floor upstairs and as of this afternoon it is almost done.  They ran out of flooring, so if we get some more it will be all done by Friday.  The new flooring has ALL been donated by Sam Brown and has been mixed in with the salvaged hardwood flooring that was original to the building.

I ordered wall studs from Dexter Lumber today and they delivered this morning.  I got a great price at Yoders too, but the delivery was worth it this time.  We are trying to buy all local and spread it around.  The local guys have been wonderful and supportive!!!

This wood is for putting up a wall around the office area and since we have the experienced free labor we must take advantage of it!
Ernest Rollins gave us 300 board feet of milled boards and delivered it for the walls today.  Thanks Ernest!!! Ernest runs Rollins Apple Farm in Garland.

I met with Keith & Andrew from Plymouth Engineering yesterday and they went all over our building, but focused on the "new wet" wall and how it is going to be fixed.  The good news is they don't think we will have to replace the whole wall, only 1/2.  The first part, where we are getting the splash back from the building next door, may be fixed by attaching metal to the outside of the wall.
The 2nd part of the wall, where the water is coming off the adjoining building's roof, into their wall and then into our wall, where it is joined, that is going to be moved in probably about a foot.  This will separate the 2 buildings for good.  Too bad that hadn't been done in the first place.  Live and learn....
A side note:  Keith Ewing went to school in Dexter as a kid!  Kinda kewl to have that local connection (a coincidence, but neat).

I want to also thank Rich Frank.  The past 2 days, Mr. Frank has met the crew in the morning with a box of donuts and then provided them with a hot lunch too!  Yesterday it was fried chicken and potato wedges and today he cooked a Beef Brisket and made sandwiches.  I think I need to be there at lunch time!!!!
Supervisor Neal Pinkerton said the guys are VERY happy!!!  Tomorrow Kay Gray is making them her famous Whoppie Pies... 

Thanks everyone who has been assisting and supporting our project!  
Next week I have a meeting with Quickbooks expert & teacher Cheryl Hajek.  She is going to go over my current Quickbooks entries and tweak it for me.  I (sorta) learned the difference between a Fixed Asset and an Expense the other day from her, now we need to apply it to Quickbooks.  She will be giving some classes, with the focus on agriculture, when we have our Conference Room done.  stay tuned...

That's it for now...  hear it is going to warm up next week and be in the 60's and maybe even hit 70!  Spring is coming!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Update

Monday update: Charleston crew is unexpectedly back for the whole week!!!
Roger Brawn went to Sam Brown's and got more flooring to finish up the floor upstairs, and I am heading down to meet with Supervisor Neal Pinkerton to measure for studding up the wall between the Conference Room area and the Office area. YIPEEE

I just ground another pound of coffee for the crew, they like their coffee!!! 
If anyone wants to bake something for the guys this week, feel free! They really love their treats and I love to keep 'em happy and working :)

Anyone have any extra 2x4's and/or boarding for walls? We were thinking even barn boards would look good. But rough cut would be great too!

The upstairs work IE... floor and interior walls is being paid for by DRDC and funds are running low.

Dover-Foxcroft-High Tunnel Workshop

The Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District will be holding a High Tunnel Workshop Saturday, April 14th from 10am until noon, at the Thompson Free Library, 186 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft.

Jerry Doxtader, a farmer from Dexter who practices organic farming methods, will make a presentation on seasonal high tunnels and how they can extend your growing season and help manage garden pests. There will be a small high tunnel on the premises to view. 

To preregister and find out more information, please call Shelia or Lynn at 564-2321, ext. 3 or come in to our office in the Pine Crest Business Park, at 42 Engdahl Drive, Dover-Foxcroft from 8am -4:30pm or contact us at info@piscataquisswcd.org.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

FREE workshop

On Saturday, March 31 from 9:30 to 11:30am the Abbott Memorial Library and the Dexter Dover Area Towns in Transition (DDATT) will sponsor another free food preservation workshop: Root Cellars.  
Lisa Laser of Dover-Foxcroft will share her knowledge of and experiences with root cellars.  Joining Lisa for a question and answer session will be several other local root cellar users.
   Topics to be covered include: humidity, temperature, ventilation, storage containers, and types of food to store.  Since each home site has different requirements, root cellar construction will be touched upon, but not emphasized.
   The workshop will be held in the meeting room of the library at 1 Church St., Dexter.  Pre-registration is suggested:  dexterareatransition@gmail.com  or    924-3836 (evenings).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

DRDC; agenda for tonight

DRDC President Roger Brawn Opens meeting
Secretary Report:  Sandy
Treasurer Report:  Dave

President updates Roger Brawn

Dexter Community Project Building Updates:  (Roger & Judy)

Ø  2nd floor update; working with Charleston Correctional Crew
Ø  Leaky wall:  met with contractors & had site evaluation;  site inspection of Dexter Café’s leak; DRDC Board met to decide how to move forward; talk with CDBG Terry Ann Stevens on how to proceed;  met with Engineers on site; hired Engineer firm
Ø  Interview by Jeff Nichols of ME Rural Partners for their InspireME program (available online)
Ø  New blueprints printed at Central Maine Drafting & they scanned so that future prints for General Contractors who will bid in the near future.
Ø  Talked with DDATT to parallel our efforts in the community
Ø  Called Tri-County Tech Center for design, green technology, art department etc. to collaborate with students
Ø  Created new Newsletter format using MailChimp, updated website, blog, photo album & Facebook for seamless information and linked all to one another for easy access.

DCFP NEW BUSINESS, Ideas  and To Do List:
Ø  Chair lift donated by Frank Spizuoco of Maine Military Supply
         - we will need to pay for installation cost
Ø  Create a “New” farmer survey to distribute again.  The last was 2 ½ years ago and distribute via online, newspapers, local businesses.
Ø  Identify farms who want to participate at opening
Ø  Creating a Bulk Distribution List for wholesale sales ie: schools, restaurants, institutions 
Ø  Sebasticook Valley Chamber of Commerce Biz Show in May 5th (do we want to have a table?)... if so, volunteers?
Ø  Work bee office area cleaning & setting up (Thursday is supposed to be warm)
Ø  Source Wood for wall dividing office & conference room area
Ø  Lights & ideas:  Work Bee making lights (have examples)
Ø  Investigate licensing & permits needed for opening
Ø  Find funding for startup costs:  goods, personnel, etc.

General Discussion  /  Q & A

Bid Information (sent to Directors)
The bids have come in for an Engineer Firm to redesign the leaky wall and the only one that come for a walk thru was Plymouth Engineering.
Roger and I both like the guys when they came by on Wednesday for the "Look See".
I have talked with Terry Ann Stevens at the CDBG office and she has given the go ahead to contact them, which I did.
Keith Ewing is my contact there, and he is hoping they can start in 3 weeks or less, knowing we are in a time crunch with the opening & planting season.

I have attached the bid for the proposed redesign (which Terry Ann said was very reasonable).  I got one estimate that it would be $7000 at the very least.  wow!
The next steps are as follows: 
  •     Receive their bid
  •     Give to Jason to put in the Bid Package for finishing the building
  •     Jason sends to Terry Ann for approval
  •     Send out to papers
  •     Walk through with bidders
  •     Pick contractors
  •     Start the building process....
......Potentially we can start by mid to late April if all goes right!!!!!!!!
So we are off an running!!!

Other updates
Today I got an email from Karen L. Walsh, Instructor of the Graphic Design & Communications at Tri-County Technical Center.  I am meeting her and some students at the store tomorrow for them to take measurements of the store windows and they are going to start “creating”.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Engineer has been chosen

The bids have come in for an Engineer Firm to redesign the leaky wall that adjoins the Dexter Cafe building (where the leaks originates) and the one winning the bid is Plymouth Engineering.
Roger and I both like the guys when they came by on Wednesday for the "Look See".
I have talked with Terry Ann Stevens at the CDBG office and she has given the go ahead to contact them, which I did.
Keith Ewing is my contact there, and he is hoping they can start in 3 weeks or less, knowing we are in a time crunch with the opening & planting season.

     The next steps are as follows: 

  •     Receive their plans in the next few weeks
  •     Give the plans to Jason Bird to put in the Bid Package for finishing the building
  •     Jason sends to Terry Ann (CDBG office) for approval
  •     Send RFPs out to the papers to advertise
  •     Holding a "Walk through" with bidders
  •     Pick contractors after bids have been submitted (about 3 weeks after advertised)
  •     Start the building process....
......Potentially we can start by mid to late April if all goes right!!!!!!!!

So we are off an running!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

InspireME article by Maine Rural Partners

  We are being Featured

Jeff Nichols of Maine Rural Partners, who I met at the Ag Trades Show last month,  contacted me recently and asked if he could do an Inspire Me case study on the Dexter Community Farm Project.
He said, "It really sounds like a great project. We feature innovative projects like yours in a section of our site called Inspire Me."
You can see previous case studies at  http://inspireme.mainerural.org/inspireme/

 Jeff is coming to do an interview, take some photos, and even shoot some video.  He said, "It will be no cost to you and it provides a chance to tell others in Maine interested in your kind of project and how you did it."

The case study that was completed today can be found by clicking here.
The video  features Farmer and DRDC Board member Ernest Rolling, Charleston Correction Crew supervisor Neal Pinkerton and 2 of the working crew from Charleston, and myself.

I hope it will give people a better insight in the project.

March Monthly Meeting

Monthly Meeting

The next DRDC & Dexter Community Farm Project meeting is March 6th at 7 PM.
Lauraine Piquette has graciously agreed to host the meeting at her lovely home "The Mansion" on 14 High Street in Dexter.  That is the 2nd house on the left) after turning off Main Street Hill to High Street.  Coffee will be served by Lauraine and we hope to have some snacks.  (bring something to share if you would like)... Parking in the back.

We will be going over all the latest that has happen at the Fossa Store; the progress of the 2nd floor with the Charleston Correctional Crew, the findings of the Engineer on our wall that has to be moved, lighting ideas, and other store related things.

I am hoping that more farmers will start coming again to give their ideas and what products they may provide for the year round store.  We have to start planning for the summer and what needs to be done to get open after construction is done.
We are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel...
Let hope for a Summer opening people.....

Looking forward to seeing you all again!  All are welcome... Please call or email judy@DexterFarmProject if you need more information, have questions or would like to RSVP.

Our Links:
Website:  www.DexterFarmProject.com
Blog:  http://dexterfarmproject.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/152687234513/
Photo Album: 
Email:  judy@DexterFarmProject.com