Recent MFC Partner Updates

Brunswick Topsham Land Trust: In May, BTLT started growing seedlings with children at Perryman Village in preparation for planting the children's garden with Brunswick Police Department in June. Garden education programming begins at Perryman Village at the end of June in partnership with Curtis Memorial Library, ArtVan, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, and Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program.  

BTLT received a grant in support of Merrymeeting Food Council’s work from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation. This essential grant funding supports all aspects of MFC’s work and MFC is extremely grateful for the support from the Sewall Foundation and for the grant management and support from BTLT!

Growing to Give: Growing to Give is a nonprofit food bank program that operates at Scatter Good Farm in Brunswick, Maine. Our mission is to grow organic vegetables using climate-friendly methods, and donate them to local people struggling with food insecurity. With great help from local gleaning groups, especially the Merrymeeting Gleaners, we deliver to local pantries, soup kitchens, and other distribution sites. Along with believing that all people deserve healthy food, we believe the way we farm matters. We need to nourish the earth that nourishes us, so we are certified organic, use biointensive and permaculture practices, and use mostly electric-powered farm equipment (charged partly by solar panels). In addition, we are a small-scale demonstration site for the use of biochar, a soil amendment that improves crop yields and soil health while sequestering carbon.

For 2019, we have set a conservative production goal of 18,000 pounds, thinking we do not want to grow too quickly and not be able to adequately manage our crops. Then in 2020, we will expand production again and add approximately another 1⁄2 acre under cultivation. In 2019, we will plant a cover crop on the new ground to prepare the soil for the spring of 2020. With two new greenhouses that were funded and erected in the fall of 2018, we will be able to plant earlier this spring as well as grow later into the fall this year.

A second goal is to build an improved wash and boxing station for preparing vegetables for delivery. This is an area that will greatly improve our efficiencies in terms of washing, weighing, sorting, and boxing vegetables. We just received funding for this project from The Davenport Trust Fund.

A third goal for 2019 is to expand our “Growing, Learning, and Giving Project”. We plan to double the number of school and youth groups coming to the farm providing more opportunities for our young visitors to learn about local solutions to hunger, healthy food, and climate-friendly agriculture, while fostering the development of a caring community. More specifically, in 2019 we plan to partner with 20 local school and youth groups, of which at least half will be from public schools. This will bring an estimated 500 children to the farm to volunteer, learn and give back.

Kennebec Estuary Land Trust: KELT is offering FREE children's programs, with the Patten Free Library in June. The three programs will offer garden and nature themed stories and outdoor activities for children 6 years old and younger. Young children and chaperoning adults will have the opportunity to explore the wonders of nature. See our event link or the KELT website for details, the next event is on June 19th at the LOCAL Garden in Bath.

The LOCAL Garden, an educationally focused garden in Bath, administered by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, and growing food to distribute through the Merrymeeting Gleaners’ network of recipients, recently received a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, to purchase and install a new greenhouse to expand the growing season and further enhance instruction in growing food for the students who visit during the academic year from RSU 1 and other groups.

KELT received a grant in support of Merrymeeting Food Council’s Merrymeeting Gleaners program from the Maine Community Foundation. MFC is extremely grateful for the support from Maine Community Foundation and for the grant management and support from KELT!

Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association: MCFA worked with MFC to develop key points for the Maine Network of Community Food Council Summit workshop on Integrating Seafood and Fisheries in Local Food Systems in April.

“The cities of Portland and South Portland are embarking on an 18 month process to develop a joint climate action & adaptation plan called One Climate Future. Through this comprehensive effort, they will actively engage community members in both cities to help confirm priorities, develop goals, and identify and prioritize actions to ensure our communities are even stronger tomorrow than we are today.” Read more about MCFA’s role in this planning process and find a link to the One Climate Future survey…

Slow Money Maine: Slow Money Maine hosted an “On the Road” gathering in Norway, Maine on April 23, 2019 at the First Universalist Church.  Bonnie Rukin, SMM Coordinator, facilitated the introduction and multiple presentations, which included:  Justin Bondessen of the Alan Day Community Garden in Norway, John Newlin of Growing to Give and Scattergood Farm in Brunswick, Gloria Varney of Nezinscot Farm in Turner, Bill Seretta of Fork Food Lab in Portland, and Charlie Melhus of Norway Brewing in Norway.  Each presenter spoke about their business or social enterprise, their history, current status, and plans for growth or sustainability.  Following the longer talks were short updates from Richard Hodges of ReTreeUS and Scott Vlaun of the the Center for an Ecology-based Economy (CEBE), also of Norway.  After a locally catered lunch, the group of about 50 people broke into two groups for more focused discussions.  The morning brought together a diverse group of interested, involved people eager to learn more about investing, mentoring, and supporting food businesses and not-for profits in this region of Maine.  For more details on each talk, please visit Upcoming events, back stories, and an ever-changing blog of new and exciting developments in the Maine food sector can also be found here.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Registration is open for University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H’s annual June Jamboree that begins at 5 p.m. June 14th and ends after lunch June 16th, at Fryeburg Fairgrounds. The event for Maine 4-H FAMILIES is designed to help youth learn about the care, health, and wellness of livestock; fitting and showmanship; zoonotic diseases and animal tagging for the fair. The cost is $20 and $10 for each additional family member and includes tent/camper space and meals. The required registration is online. For more information or to request reasonable accommodation, call 743.6329.

Maine AgrAbility, a program of the UMaine Extension, will be participating in the MOFGA Farm and Homestead Day on June 22nd at the Common Ground Education Center in Unity.  Creating Accessible Gardens and Yoga for Farmers are two of the topics being covered.