Marr Pond Farm named PCSWCD’s Outstanding Cooperator of the Year
SANGERVILLE — Each year, the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District recognizes and honors a cooperator (land manager) in Piscataquis County who has implemented exceptional conservation practices on their land. This award offers a chance to both honor producers who invest time and energy into natural resource conservation and showcase their on-farm projects that have improved farm productivity and the overall health of their land. This year, PCSWCD will be honoring Marr Pond Farm as our 2022 Outstanding Cooperator of the Year.
Marr Pond Farm, located in Sangerville, was established in 2016 and is owned and operated by Ryan Clarke and Courtney Williams. They produce MOFGA certified organic mixed vegetables, cut flowers, culinary herbs and forest grown shiitake mushrooms. They manage their land with an emphasis on soil health and sustainable management practices, which include cover cropping, composting and reduced tillage to minimize erosion and impact on the local watershed.
Clarke and Williams manage the land using best management practices and have utilized programs offered through the Natural Resource Conservation Service to address resource concerns. They completed and installed a micro-irrigation system in 2021 that draws from Marr Pond, an 80-acre pond, serving as their water source. Additionally, they have previously constructed three high tunnels with a fourth on the way, which are used to extend the growing season.
Marr Pond has shown a commitment to their community through their involvement with the East Sangerville Grange, local farmers markets, and working with University Maine Cooperative Extension and PCSWCD. Over the last four years, Marr Pond has stayed connected with PCSWCD in a variety of ways. Clarke and Williams have donated over 1,000 flower seedlings for the Law Farm Pollinator Garden, they have participated in soil health initiatives and have volunteered their time and equipment on volunteer work days for PCSWCD’s public lands. Marr Pond Farm has been very dedicated to the continued sustainable agriculture education by working with partners on events and hosting their own workshops and events on the farm. Most recently, Clarke and Williams participated in and offered their farm as a learning site for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Climate Adaptations Practices course.
Please join the PCSWCD to honor Marr Pond Farm for their conservation efforts on Wednesday, Oct. 19th, when Clarke and Williams will be awarded as the PCSWCD 2022 Outstanding Cooperator of the Year. Guest speakers will include Seth Jones, district conservationist from NRCS, and Tom Molloy, research associate from University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Starting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, Clarke and Williams will lead a tour of their organic vegetable farm, highlighting their farming practices and projects. After the tour, special guests from Natural Resource Conservation Services and University of Maine Cooperative Extension will speak about the specific best management practices Marr Pond Farm have implemented and their educational outreach with the farming community. The ceremony will be led by PCSWCD Board of Supervisors and staff and will honor Marr Pond Farm for all the incredible work they are doing in Piscataquis County.
Following the tour and ceremony, PCSWCD is excited to announce that Yum Bus will be vending their famous crepes alongside our friends from Bissell Brothers Three Rivers who will be joining us. As we all dine, network and celebrate at this joyous occasion, we will enjoy music from the Timberdoodle band!
Registration for the tour and award ceremony is open to the public and required for attendance by Friday, Sept. 30 with a $15 registration fee, which supports conservation education. For more information and to register, visit www.piscataquisswcd.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.