Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative:
Catch up on the latest from BCDI in their recent newsletter! Note the work on the Farmland Inventory - a local process that can easily be replicated in other communities to connect farmers and landowners.
Brunswick Topsham Land Trust:
Tom Settlemire Community Garden Programming:BTLT has worked with Mt. Ararat Middle School, Coffin Elementary School, Perryman Village and Big Brothers Big Sisters to get over 200 area children out to the community garden to plant and harvest vegetables, pick and eat their own foods, and explore and play in the garden and surrounding conserved lands.
Perryman Village Education Program: BTLT launched a weekly education program that runs alongside Summer Feed. BTLT partnered with MCHPP, EFNEP, Casco Bay Dental, ArtVan, Brunswick PD and Perryman Village for the program.
Children learned how to cook simple recipes using a solar oven with food from their garden, children have learned how to plant and tend their own gardens, children learning about giving away food to friends and neighbors from their gardens, made bug hotels and so much more!
BTLT Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm: BTLT offers farmers' market tours for SNAP families in order to make it easier for families to take advantage of the SNAP incentive program offered at the market by the Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets. BTLT was then able help the Bath Farmers Market SNAP incentive program develop their own farmers' market tour for Bath Food Pantry clients.
Curtis Memorial Library and food security groups in Brunswick have been discussing the need for a shareable mobile cooking unit to be used for cooking education. BTLT was able to connect a local property management company with Curtis Memorial Library, leading to the donation of an unused mobile kitchen unit. Curtis Memorial Library and partners are looking for a permanent home for the unit where it could be rented out to community groups offering food and cooking education. If you are interested in using or housing the mobile kitchen, please contact the Merrymeeting Food Council.
BTLT Needs Your Input! A building at Brunswick Landing includes space that could be converted into food system resources: commercial kitchen, auction, indoor farmers’ market, food hub, co-op, retail or restaurant…the options are fairly wide open at this point. If you are a food producer or processor looking for some space or shared space, or interested in starting a new enterprise, please contact Merrymeeting Food Council with your interest and ideas.
Good Food for Bath:
Next meeting: 9/30 at KELT’s Office in Bath, 12-1:30, 92 Front Street, 2nd Floor.
Contact: Deborah Goodwin or visit https://www.kennebecestuary.org/good-food-for-bath
Growing to Give:
As of 7/30 we are up to 2400 lbs harvested and delivered. Our food is now being harvested and delivered 3 times a week. Mondays, Androscoggin Gleaners deliver to Lisbon Falls, Lewiston and Auburn. Wednesday and Fridays, Merrymeeting Gleaners deliver our food to 10 locations.
We have had 2 college interns this summer from Bowdoin College and Bennington College, along with 7 woofers so far, for varying lengths of stay. They have been invaluable along side our regular weekly volunteers keeping ahead of the weeds and multiple tasks that need to be done each week.
We hosted a "worksong workshop" with Bennet Konesni and 30 middle schoolers and teachers from Greely Middle school in late May while they planted squash seedlings. We also had 2 high school groups from Maine Coast Waldorf School help prepare beds for planting.
We received funding from the Davenport Fund this spring for a wash station for vegetables, and from the Maine Women's Giving Tree to expand our reach to schools to bring more kids out to the farm to learn about farming practices, volunteering and food insecurity.
We are currently seeking funding for a significant expansion for 2020 and one for developing a collaboration with local school groups that would provide cooking classes using a mobile kitchen. We are seeking funding to develop a pumpkin picking garden for low income families to come have an experience at the farm.
Steve Minich of Channel 8 in Portland recently aired a short piece about Growing to Give on the 6 o'clock news for the "Community Champion" segment.
Kennebec Estuary Land Trust:
KELT received full funding on a grant from the Maine Community Foundation in support of the Merrymeeting Gleaners!
Learn more about what has been happening at KELT through their website: https://www.kennebecestuary.org/news.
Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0:
On August 27th, all three school district nutrition and kitchen staff and directors from MSAD 75, RSU1 and Brunswick, joined forces for a joint training that included a 3 hour workshop from Chef Sam of the Windham Raymond School District. Chef Sam taught the kitchen staff how to incorporate more scratch cooking into their menus, how to make vegetables more fun to eat, and how to partner with and prepare local farm fresh produce.
92% of our 49 sites completed the annual survey for recognition. Of those 68% were recognized by the home office for achieving success in the 5 priority strategies of Let’s Go at Bronze, Silver, or Gold Levels (59% of childcare sites, 100% of Out of School Programs, and 61% of schools).
In the spring spring all staff at Brunswick Junior High School (~70 teachers) received a 1 hour training about incorporating physical activity into the classroom. The new Brunswick Junior High School Principal has asked that the Let’s Go coordinator work closely with her administration to help train staff how to incorporate more physical activity into the school day.
Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association:
Read MCFA’s August newsletter to catch up on their recent work.
See also this commentary by Ben Martens on the Maine Legislature vote on the Land for Maine’s Future Program.
Maine Network of Community Food Councils:
DECD public comment opportunity on 10-year economic development plan.
MNCFC mentioned in this Food Policy Networks report: CHANGING THE FOOD SYSTEM TAKES MORE THAN CHANGE: Stories of Funding Food Policy Councils
LD 1159, Resolve, To End Hunger in Maine by 2030. Cumberland County Food Security Council is working to support the Commissioner of Ag’s office.
MNCFC is made up of representatives from food councils around the state of Maine.
A Lead Team was recently formed which includes: Ken Morse from Community Food Matters, Julia Harper from the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn, Scott Vlaun from the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy and Harriet Van Vleck from the Merrymeeting Food Council.
Beginning this summer a statewide group of “Network Weavers”, including representatives from MNCFC, has formed to create conditions for network practitioners to build stronger network mindsets, empower the development of equitable, dynamic movements through networks of networks, and increase access to funding. Current focus is on food systems policy.
Maine Food Strategy:
Recently released the Maine Farmers’ Needs & Priorities Report based on survey responses from farmers throughout the state.
Learn more about MFS’s efforts to tell the story of Maine’s growing food system and share the most effective approaches to food system change through a piece written for MFC. Read the story and consider submitting your own case study!
Local Classes, Store Tours & Partnerships:
SNAP-Ed, Curtis Memorial Library, and Hannaford have been teaming up to bring 1 hour Store Tours to the Brunswick Hannaford. Tours have been wildly successful and highly attended.
SNAP-Ed has also been doing fairly regular Cooking Matters and Ten Tips classes at Curtis Memorial Library. Also great attendance.
This fall there will be Cooking Matters for Adults classes at each Bath Housing Site (Moorings, Dike’s Landing, Seacliff and Anchorage).
We have a new partnership with The Village Clubhouse in Topsham, Just finished a Ten Tips class and hope to do more programming later. They are also a new distribution site for the Merrymeeting Gleaners!
SNAP-Ed creates flyers for Dike Newell and Fisher Mitchell’s Fresh Fruit and Veggie Grant. These are distributed through classrooms and staff are developing new ways to successfully engage and reach parents/caregivers/children with relevant nutrition messages (e.g. recipes, videos, social media, direct education).
We work with local food pantries to increase interest in different, healthier items that pantries have a hard time getting people to take (Beans, prunes, dry soup mix, whole wheat pasta products). We will create flyers, conduct food demos and tastings.
In partnership with the Mid Coast Hospital system, SNAP-Ed will work as a referral partner for food security screening at Mid Coast, focusing on Maine Care offices.
For more information about local classes, contact: Ally Messier.
Statewide SNAP-Ed updates:
Annual Report and Infographic: The FY2018 Annual Report is complete and can be found on the Maine SNAP-Ed website. The FY2018 Infographic can be found on SNAP-Ed Connection under State Impact Reports.
Maine SNAP-Ed and Gleaning Poster Presentation: The team presented a poster at Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) conference in July – sharing the specific ways the SNAP-Ed supports gleaning initiatives across multiple food systems in Maine.
FINI Postcard Project: Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, Maine SNAP-Ed, Maine Farmland Trust and Maine DHHS OFI are collaborating on a FINI Postcard Project. This is the 3 rd time completing this project. The postcards will be sent to SNAP recipients to advertise farmers’ markets and co-ops that accept EBT. This mailing will be paired with social media efforts this summer.
Environmental Scan: UMaine Cooperative Extension EFNEP, Maine SNAP-Ed, and Let’s Go! with support from Maine CDC and Maine DHHS OFI are completing an Environmental Scan to highlight the focus areas of each organization and to identify overlap or gaps in service. A document is being created to capture a statewide overview with a goal of completing it in August.
Summer Meals Maps: Full Plates Full Potential and Maine SNAP-Ed collaborated on maps to assist food service directors with promoting their summer meal locations. These maps were created by the Maine SNAP-Ed graphic designer, and distributed digitally using social media. There have also been meetings with Lets Go! to discuss other ways to support school food service programs to increase participation in federal food assistance programs.
SNAC Initiatives: Our State Nutrition Action Council – comprised of multi-sector state and regional organizations – are working on building collective impact beyond the capacity of a single organization with these initiatives:
Support implementation of policies (child nutrition; physical activity; food/beverage access and quality) including evaluation of effectiveness.
School meal promotion (reduce stigma, increase quality, CEP, School Breakfast, summer meals).
Detailed outcomes and processes will be refined in the coming months.
MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program:
MCHPP is partnering with Good Shepherd Food Bank and Mid Coast Hospital to distribute emergency food kits to any patient screening positive during the pilot food security screening at the Brunswick walk-in clinic.
MCHPP convenes food pantry leaders regionally through the Food Security Coalition.
MCHPP Food Pantry saw a 16% increase in visits during the first six months of 2019 when compared to the first six months of 2018.
Mobile Pantries expanded from once monthly in Harpswell to once monthly in Lisbon as well. MCHPP is also providing a mobile pantry to support the New Mainers community at Brunswick Landing.
The Backpack Program is currently undergoing a transition to a School Pantry model to provide students with more food and a wider variety of products (including fresh products). This was piloted in spring 2019 and will be rolled out to all 27 sites this fall.
MCHPP providing breakfast, snack, and lunch for ESL classes at Curtis Memorial Library this month. 50 folks showed up on the first day!
NOTE: MCHPP is open for emergency food distribution outside of listed pantry hours - i.e. any time staff are there, emergency food is available.
Slow Money Maine:
For more information, please visit slowmoneymaine.com. 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: