Producers/Hosts: Caitlyn Barker, Holli Cederholm
Editing: Clare Boland
Common Ground Radio: A monthly hour-long discussion of local food and organic agriculture with people here in the state of Maine and beyond.
This episode of Common Ground Radio digs into PFAS contamination of farmland in Maine. Host Holli Cederholm talked with Sarah Alexander, executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA); Ryan Dennett, MOFGA’s farmer programs director; and Caleb Goossen, crop specialist with MOFGA. The discussion covered the impact of PFAS contamination on Maine’s farmers as well as PFAS legislation enacted in Maine and how it can serve as a roadmap for other states also dealing with contamination from so-called “forever” and “everywhere” chemicals.
Key Discussion Points:
1. Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
2. PFAS contamination of farmland
3. PFAS contamination pathways
4. PFAS legislation in Maine
5. Farms impacted by PFAS
6. PFAS mitigation
7. PFAS testing for farms
Sarah Alexander, executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA);
Ryan Dennett, MOFGA’s farmer programs director; and
Caleb Goossen, crop specialist with MOFGA.
MOFGA’s PFAS resource page
PFAS Q&A with Caleb Goossen: mofga.org/resources/toxics/pfas-contamination-in-maine
PFAS policy recap
“Webinar: Lessons from Maine: Food, Farms and Forever Chemicals” from Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy: iatp.org/watch-lessons-maine-food-farms-and-forever-chemicals
About the hosts:
Holli Cederholm has been involved in organic agriculture since 2005 when she first apprenticed on a small farm. She has worked on organic farms in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Scotland and Italy and, in 2010, founded a small farm focused on celebrating open-pollinated and heirloom vegetables. As the former manager of a national nonprofit dedicated to organic seed growers, she authored a peer-reviewed handbook on GMO avoidance strategies for seed growers. Holli has also been a steward at Forest Farm, the iconic homestead of “The Good Life” authors Helen and Scott Nearing; a host of “The Farm Report” on Heritage Radio Network; and a long-time contributor for The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, which she now edits in her role as content creator and editor at MOFGA.
Caitlyn Barker has worked in education and organic agriculture on and off for the last 17 years. She has worked on an organic vegetable farm, served on the Maine Farm to School network, worked in early childhood education and taught elementary school. She currently serves as the community engagement coordinator for MOFGA.