Ted Quaday, executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, said Monday he’ll be retiring from the position in late August. He informed the membership this month at the group’s annual meeting.

Quaday will have led the group for almost five years when he retires. He is only the sixth executive director in the group’s more than 45-year history. MOFGA was incorporated in 1974 but began certifying Maine’s first organic farms in 1972. He replaced Russell Libby, who was executive director from 1995 until shortly before his death from cancer in late 2012.

“I thank Ted for guiding MOFGA through a difficult period of transition and for leaving behind a strong and committed organization,” MOFGA board President David Shipman said in a prepared statement.

Quaday said he started the job hoping that he could finish out his career working for MOFGA and retire at 66. He’ll turn that age less than a week after his retirement date.

“It’s time,” Quaday said. “MOFGA is a great organization with a great mission that I totally agree with. It has been a privilege.”

MOFGA has already hired a search firm to look for his replacement and is seeking input from the community and its 11,000 members on what qualities are important for the next leader.

Quaday arrived at MOFGA a seasoned organic food advocate, having been a program director at Farm Aid and a communications director at the Organic Farming Research Foundation. He said he is particularly proud of the work the group has done to build its endowment from less than $1 million in 2013 to close to $5 million today.

“We are building the financial future of the organization,” Quaday said. “Not only have we brought the dollars in, we have also built the infrastructure.”

That includes creating a five-year strategic plan for MOFGA as well as physical improvements to the group’s headquarters in Unity, now powered almost entirely by a new solar power system.

Quaday said that wherever he is after he retires, he’ll be living a life heavily focused on the outdoors.

“I am looking forward to good years out there having fun,” Quaday said. “I love to ski, skate, hike, camp, and I haven’t been able to get in as many downhill runs as I wanted to.”

Nor has he had time to avail himself of MOFGA’s many educational workshops. He’s not sure if he and his wife will stay in the area, but if they do, he said he has a whole list of MOFGA workshops he’d like to attend and issues he wants to study. At the top? “Chainsaw safety,” he said.

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