Farms & Food #296

Photo by Peter Frank Edwards

How do we support Maine farmers? One way is to buy our food from local producers. We can also do our best to educate ourselves on agricultural issues in our state. Today we speak with Amanda Beal, the president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust, a member-powered statewide organization that protects farmland, supports farmers, and advances the future of farming. We also speak with Heidi Powell, the owner and operator of Dirigo Wholesale, a wholesale distribution company in Portland specializing in local and form-away produce, grocery, and specialty ingredients.

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Exile, Art & New Lives #295

What does it feel like to find a new homeland, when it is no longer possible to live in the place of one’s birth? Today we speak with two individuals who have channeled their experiences into their writing and art. Originally from Baghdad, Iraq, Kifah Abdulla is a former prisoner of war who writes, teaches, and creates art in Portland. Reza Jalali came here from Iran and is now an author and the coordinator of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Southern Maine.

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Building Maine Businesses #294

Business is booming in Maine. Today we speak with two individuals who are leading the way in this field. Melissa Smith is the president and CEO of WEX, which is one of three companies in our state to have revenues of more than a billion dollars. William J. Ryan, Jr., is the principal owner and chairman of the Maine Red Claws, Portland’s NBA development team.

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The Art of Ashley Bryan #292

Artist Ashley Bryan has been creating unique works since his earliest years growing up in the Bronx. Known for his award-winning children’s books like Beautiful Blackbird and Freedom Over Me, Ashley Bryan has connected with audiences of all ages. For this show, we traveled to Little Cranberry Island, off the coast of Mount Desert Island, to interview this 93-year-old artist in his home.

L/A Arts is paying tribute to Ashley Bryan during the months of April and May with its Ashley Bryan Days in LA events. On April 29 the Emerge Film Festival will screen a feature documentary by filmmaker Richard Kane about Bryan’s life and work. For more information go to:

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Maine Adaptive & Special Surfers #289

Maine is home to numerous venues for outdoor enjoyment. Our forests, woods, and waters provide opportunities for not only connecting with nature but also for social, physical, and sometimes competitive pursuits. Today we speak with leaders of two organizations that make these pursuits available to Mainers of all levels of physical capability. Barbara Schneider is the executive director at Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation, and Mark Stevens is a board member. Nanci Boutet is the executive director at Special Surfers in Kennebunk.

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Community Connectors #288

Within our community we are fortunate to have people who are particularly good at making and maintaining connections with others. Today we speak with Mark Curdo, who has hosted a yearly Markathon to benefit the Center for Grieving Children since 2008, musician Isaiah Taylor and David Thete, founder of Kesho Wazo.

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