November 28, 2017
“I enjoyed harvesting beets and carrots. I learned there is a place that grows and gives produce to people who need it. It means a lot to me to be a part of it.”
So wrote Zoie Wells, a fifth grader at Great Salt Bay (GSB) Community School, in a handwritten note to Twin Villages Foodbank Farm Manager Sara Cawthon. Zoie’s note is affirming of the farm’s intent to work with students to foster a sense of community stewardship as well as a connection to the local growing season.
Twin Villages Foodbank Farm grows vegetables using organic growing practices on two acres of land, located at Coastal River Conservation Trust’s Great Salt Bay Farm. All the produce is donated to food pantries and other low-income food programs in Lincoln County.
Launched in 2016, the farm produced nearly 20,000 pounds of produce for four Lincoln County food pantries in its first season. This year, the farm has grown 30,000 pounds of produce, with deliveries to six area pantries and two youth programs each week. The farm will continue to make fresh food deliveries to area pantries until early December.
As early as last May, GSB’s Agriculture Coordinator, Margaret Coleman, began bringing students from 5th through 8th grade to the farm, where they spread compost, removed rocks, and transplanted seedlings. This fall, GSB returned with 5th and 6th graders to help bring in the harvest, resulting in over 2,000 pounds of carrots, beets, peppers and potatoes for donation.
Lincoln Academy Seniors came out for spring community service day and helped prepare sixteen 100-foot long beds for transplanting many spring crops. And almost every week throughout the summer, Coastal Rivers’ summer campers visited the farm to help with harvesting, planting and weeding. All told, over 450 students and campers volunteered at the farm this season.
Additionally, FARMS Community Kitchen was on hand this fall offering field-cooked taste tests using seasonal recipes. While some students harvested and washed produce, others cooked outside under a tent, offering samples of fresh farm food to the volunteers.
TVFF will continuing to partner with GSB, Lincoln Academy, and FARMS, with plans to host even more students next spring.
TVFF partner Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust, formerly Damariscotta River Association and Pemaquid Watershed Association, is a non-profit, membership supported, and nationally accredited land trust and conservation organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the natural, cultural, and historical heritage of the Damariscotta-Pemaquid region. For more information, visit coastalrivers.org.