With fall vegetables still being harvested, and preparations well underway for early spring harvest, things are still busy at Growing to Give. But as Thanksgiving Day approaches, we hope you’ll join us in taking a few moments today to reflect on the true spirit of thanksgiving days – a spirit that countless humans have celebrated on special days over the millennia. It’s an overused phrase, but still true, that each of us reading this newsletter has so many things to be thankful for – good food most likely among them. And thanks to the efforts of a large number of volunteers and donors, the total number of pounds of fresh, high-quality organic vegetables grown and donated went from 3,600 pounds in 2017 to over 17,000 pounds in 2018! That’s the equivalent of food for over 14,000 meals for our neighbors in need. We know these recipients have been very thankful for that food, and Kim Gates, Executive DIrector of the Bath Area Food Pantry told us recently:
What an amazing thing you have done for so many! To say my clients are blessed with your generous produce donations is an understatement! I have a few families that ask for JUST produce because it is something they can not afford and the things we are getting from you and Growing to Give are beautiful. I love what we do in Bath for our food insecure families and individuals..and to have your fresh produce makes my job so much more rewarding!
It is simple – all people need good food. In this country, children should not go hungry over the weekend, people should not have to decide between paying rent or buying healthy food, and we should not stand by and let this happen.
We hope you will consider a donation today to help Growing to Give continue to serve the most vulnerable in our community – giving them the chance to be the best they can be. To give, please go to donorbox.org/2018-annual-appeal-3″
Tremendous Gratitude for all our Volunteers at Growing to Give!
Hundreds of volunteers helped us out in the fields this season – digging, planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting, as well as delivering produce to its many destinations. A huge thank you to the following groups: the Merrymeeting Gleaners and the Androscoggin Gleaners, Maine Coast Waldorf High School, Maine Coast
Waldorf 8th grade, Cheverus High School, Harpswell Coastal Academy-6th grade,
Bowdoin College, Saint Mary’s Nutrition Center teen group, Maine Ultimate Frolic Women’s frisbee team, All Saints Parrish’s 2nd grade Sunday School Class, and several Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Class participants. Growing to Give would not succeed without the help we received from these generous groups. There were also many weekly individual volunteers throughout the summer who gave generously of their time and energy, sometimes through extreme heat, rain, and even snow! Thank you all!
2018 Food Recipients
In 2018, with the help from the MerryMeeting Gleaners and the Androscoggin Gleaners, 17,000 pounds of fresh, high-quality organic
vegetables were grown and donated by Growing to Give – up from 3,600 pounds in 2017! That’s the equivalent
of food for over 14,000 meals for our neighbors in need. The following 24 agencies, schools, and
groups received and distributed this food, and we thank them for this service to the community:
Bath: Bath Area Food Pantry, Amistad Peer Learning Community, Bath Housing, Bath Head Start, Bath WIC, Huse School Apartments, Maritime Apartments, Salvation Army, Tedford Housing/ Evergreen Woods, Washington House, Sharing Table – Patten Free Library, Bath Soup Kitchen
Brunswick: Midcoast Hunger Prevention, People Plus/Meals on Wheels, SMCC @ The Landing
Harpwell: Harpswell School
Phippsburg: Phippsburg Elementary School
Lincoln County: Lincoln County Gleaners for special dinner
Woolwich: Woolwich Central School Backpack Program, Healthy Self Shelf
Freeport: Freeport Food Pantry at Freeport Community Services
Lewiston: St Mary’s Nutrition Center – Woodside Campus
Lisbon Falls: Campus Commons-Brunswick Senior Housing, Woodside Apartment-Senior Housing
Georgetown: Georgetown Community School
Our staff and volunteers were not only busy in the fields in 2018, but we also hosted hundreds of people at the farm for several events. In June we offered The Farmyard Jam – a Community Music Festival, and in August we held a wonderful Farm-to-Table Dinner serving 100 people to a sit down 4-course meal. Also in August, we served as a rest stop for the huge Farm to Fork Fondo cycling event, welcoming over 400 cyclists to the farm for a visit and a quick snack. Thanks to so many of you who helped organize and host these events, and to those who attended, sang, cleaned-up, posted flyers, sponsored, and donated!! We are very grateful!!
Growing to Give’s Board of Trustees
We would like to make a special mention and give thanks to several outgoing board members who have given graciously of their time and talents over the last year and a half: Craig Freshley, Steven Klockow,
Valerie Konstantino, Amy Tolk, and Abdul Yousef. Thank you very much for you service helping found this organization and shepherd it through many, many meetings! And we are excited to welcome to the board, starting in November: Suzanne Astolfi, Cathy McDonald, and Christine Sloan. The other current members of the board are: Melissa Doughty, Bobbi Goodwin, Bridget Jeffers, Jessica McCurdy, Will Sandstead, Sarah Sprogell, and Mike Wilson.
Plans for 2019
As with any farm operation, the planning for the next season is always underway. In preparation for the 2019 growing season, and after seeking input from volunteers from both Growing to Give and our main partner, the MerryMeeting Gleaners, we’re working on the following changes for 2019:
- Two new hoop houses that were generously paid for through grants from The Bowdoin Common Good Grant and The Agnes M. Lindsay Trust have recently been constructed and installed. These structures will extend our growing season by at least another 3 – 4 months and enable us to donate food to our recipient agencies earlier in the spring and later into the fall, when pantries are in even greater need of fresh vegetables. A huge thank you to these funders!
- Three new vegetable plots (each with four 50-foot rows) are being added, making a total of 24+ plots.
- A much improved wash station is being created, including a better roof for the east side of the Garden Shed. This will improve the process of weighing, washing, and packing vegetables before they leave the farm.
- A new “fabric” storage shelter, 12’x28’, has recently been constructed near the Garden Shed, more than doubling our processing and storage space.
- The driveway to the weighing and packing area has recently been widened to better accommodate the loading of gleaners’ vehicles.
While most of the focus of Growing to Give is on food insecurity, and rightly so, another part of our mission is to promote climate-friendly agriculture. Of course, those who’ve spent much time on the farm have seen for themselves that we’re not a completely fossil-fuel free farm, but our two most-used pieces of motorized equipment (our hard-driving electric UTV and our hard-working electric irrigation pump, which are partly solar-powered) have just been serviced and are already looking forward to 2019! And for those interested in our use of carbon-sequestering biochar, the positive data continues to accumulate and we continue to be fans. By the way, Growing to Give is re-selling, at cost ($20), 30 oz. CharGrow biochar granules bottles in case any Growing to Give supporters want to try it in their home gardens! (Please note: we have a limited number of bottles.)