The Maine Dish
Maine loses a food legend: russell libby’s legacy lives on in maine’s agricultural renaissance
When I was a 22 year-old stay-at-home mother with a new-found yen for farming, I placed a phone call to MOFGA’s headquarters in Unity, ME. A kind man named Russell Libby answered the phone and spent the better part of an hour asking me questions about my interests and dreams and connecting me with two farmers in central Maine with whom I could apprentice. At the time, I didn’t know he was the head of the organic farming group responsible for the agricultural renaissance Maine has enjoyed for almost two decades.
Mr. Libby was supportive, kind, and most importantly, truly interested in helping this young mother follow her dream. So it was with great sadness that I read of his passing this morning. He will be missed by all but his legacy will live on in the good work MOFGA does for Maine’s food and farming communities.
From MOFGA’s Facebook page: With great sadness we announce the death of our beloved leader Russell Libby, who passed away peacefully among his family at his home this morning in Mt. Vernon, Maine. He had been struggling with cancer. He was 56.
Russell lent his extraordinary leadership skills to MOFGA for almost 30 years. He served on the Board of Directors for a decade before becoming its long-serving Executive Director in 1995. He held that position until November 2 of this year, when he assumed the title of Senior Policy Advisor. In that role he continued to guide the organization with his characteristic wisdom, compassion and dedication, even as his health failed. Prudently, he took many steps to ensure that MOFGA’s course would remain steady in the time to come. A search for a new Executive Director is set to begin on January 1, 2013. MOFGA is currently under the guidance of Heather Spalding, who has worked closely with Russell at MOFGA since 1997.