About the Unique Maine
        Farms’ Project

Mainers often pride themselves in the value of their independent nature, their work ethic, their resourcefulness, and their resiliency. These particular traits are very much ingrained in the lives of many Maine farmers.

Risks are inherent in farming.  If you are growing crops or raising animals, there's always the threat

of weather challenges such as droughts, high winds, hail, frost, floods, and storms.  If you add the destruction that can be caused by diseases, insects and predators, it's a wonder how people often even get by in an agriculture-related career.  Yet, many unique Maine farms are making great strides and continuing to leave their mark.

Bill and Anna Spiller were chosen as the very first farmers to be profiled on this website because of their incredible commitment to address the issue of hunger in our state and to follow through with a pledge to donate a large percentage of their crops to those in need.  Although they grow many of the same crops that other Maine farmers do, the Spillers stand out for their efforts in sharing what they have grown on a very large scale with those who have very little.

Bob Crichton of Pine Hill Mules was next to be profiled because he raises mules.  This career pursuit is rather unique when one considers that there are only a handful of mule farmers in the state of Maine and it appears that there are many Maine residents who might appreciate learning more about an animal that is often inaccurately portrayed.

Maine’s agricultural history is rich with tradition and folklore.  As the trend towards large corporate farms took hold throughout our country, many small family farms were threatened.  While many Maine farms were forced to close due to the challenged economy and the sharp rise in operating costs, there is a source of pride in the Maine farms that have prevailed.  A resurgence in farmers markets has taken hold and an appreciation for sustainability and supporting local farms has proven most exciting.

This website will focus on profiling the many unique Maine farms that are truly “hidden gems.”  Maine farmers have adapted to changing markets.  They have diversified in ways that farmers in the colonial days through the twentieth century could never even imagine.

Farmers often do not have the time or resources to promote the work that they do.  For many farmers, marketing and discussions about the possibilities of careers that are available in agriculture takes a back seat.  There are so many demands that need to be addressed in the day-to-day operation of a farm.

Opportunities for young men and women to enroll in or to explore agricultural studies and careers are not readily available in some parts of Maine.  Much of the literature about farming is often geared towards young elementary school students or it is highly technical in nature.  There was a need for a book which contains profiles of many different types of farms. It had to be designed in a format that appealed to a  general audience.  It was important that it contain many vibrant photographs that would illustrate the entire spectrum of farming and not just farms associated with a certain organization or a certain type of farming.

In addition to the many depictions of organic and conventional farms throughout the state, the Unique Maine Farms’ project profiles farms with individuals who are physically disabled and mentally challenged.  There are profiles of farms for the visually impaired, homeless, behaviorally challenged, and farms operated by single parents and individuals in recovery.  There are farms run by senior citizens and low income residents, several farms run by refugees and immigrants, a farm that works with the incarcerated, and a farm with a history of employing migrant workers.

The theme of “farming for everyone” is a key component underlying the Unique Maine Farms’

project.  The sharing of this all-inclusive aspect of farming is being communicated through the

Unique Maine Farms’ website,  a traveling photo exhibit and slideshow and talk, and  through the recent publication of a 296-page book entitled Unique Maine Farms.

There is a four-minute video that highlights the early stages of the project (with photos of the first farms that were profiled) that can be accessed by searching for “Unique Maine Farms” on YouTube:     www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWFctjyVE4w

Over 180 farms throughout the state have been included in this independent volunteer project.  Each farm is a recipient of a complimentary personal story about their farm, many photos of their farm, and several free webpages on this Unique Maine Farms’ website.

As a certified 7-12 English and social studies teacher I believe that it is very important to provide

secondary school students and adult readers with a resource that fosters an appreciation for the many

developments that are taking place in agriculture and that encourages dialogue about farm careers. In the past year I have donated thousands of hours and driven over 30,000 miles to capture the essence of all types of farming for the book, Unique Maine Farms.

Nine student-centered farms in Maine that are associated with education have already been invited to participate in this project.  Since Unique Maine Farms has finally been published, it is my intention to offer each of these youth-oriented farms a complimentary talk and slide presentation and a traveling photo exhibit that focuses on the work of the book.  The talk and photo exhibit will showcase the diversity of farms in Maine and the many career options that exist due to this diversity.  Those in attendance at these events will be exposed to information about various careers in agriculture and types of farms that they might never have known even exist.

It is also my goal to find a donor who will be willing to help fund the gift of a complimentary copy of the Unique Maine Farms book to every public library in the state of Maine at a cost of approximately $3,500.  It is my intention to actively pursue additional grants to see that this materializes.  Since libraries in Maine often host art exhibits it is my hope that some of the libraries will be receptive to the traveling photo exhibit that will accompany the publication and dedication of the Unique Maine Farms book.

Thanks for your support of this project which integrates literature, website design and Internet

presence, photography, outreach education, visual arts, and community support in the

promotion of all types of sustainable agriculture throughout the state of Maine.

                                                         Donations can be sent to:


                                                            Mary Quinn Doyle

                                                          Unique Maine Farms

                                                            515 Garland Road

                                                     West Newfield, Maine 04095



                                                           Thanks for your support!

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