Here’s how it all started.
In the spring of 2015, seasoned farmers Megan Taft and Sara Cawthon approached Steven Hufnagel, Executive Director of Damariscotta River Association (DRA), with a dream.
Megan and Sara had visited the Ecumenical Food Pantry and talked with other regional partners about the need for increasing the availability and quality of fresh foods to regional food pantries. It was clear that while effort was made to provide families with fresh produce, additional work was needed to provide an adequate supply of fresh, nutritious foods. Sara and Meg had the passion and the know-how to grow these foods – all they needed was the space to make it happen.
A well-established, nationally accredited land trust, DRA was prepared to donate use of its fertile fields, as well as provide administrative support for the farm. For DRA, cultivating the fields at Great Salt Bay Farm honors the history of the farm by returning some of the land to active farmland, while significantly increasing access to fresh, local produce for families in neighboring communities. In Steven’s words, “The opportunity to reestablish crop production at the farm is a powerful reminder that the health of our lands, water and people are closely linked.”
For the time being, the DRA serves as fiscal sponsor, with a potential goal of fully integrating the farm with the DRA for long-term sustainability.
With enthusiastic support from the community, Sara and Meg’s dream has become a reality. In 2017, we completed our second growing season, producing nearly 30,000 pounds of produce on two acres of land using organic practices. Moreover, we’ve begun building a food storage hub with a walk-in cooler space, established a new school garden, and received a hoophouse grant for the 2018 season.
Meet our world-class farmers
Sara has been growing small-scale vegetables for over ten years, in the Midwest and New England. Sara has a wide range of agricultural experiences that include working for small and large CSA vegetable and livestock farms, growing up around large-scale commodity farming, and working for several non-profit farming programs. She holds a Master of Science degree from Antioch University in Environmental Studies, with a focus on agriculture, and has most recently served as the Organic Garden Manager at Bowdoin College.
Megan is the co-founder of Twin Villages Foodbank Farm. Along with her partner Sara, she has previously owned and operated Seed by Seed Farm and supported the start-up of an immigrant growers cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin. She has an M.Ed in Diversity and Social Justice from the University of Massachusetts, with a focus on food access and security. She is particularly interested in working with communities to build the awareness, knowledge and skills necessary to create lasting change within community food systems. She currently leads the development efforts for Twin Villages Foodbank Farm.
Kaitlyn has been with TVFF for the first two seasons, helping with everything on the farm from leading student group visits to helping to set up new farm infrastructure. She has worked on several small farms for nearly 10 years and was most recently Coordinator of the Teen Ag Program at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, Maine.
And how about our great partners at Damariscotta River Association?
From the left, DRA and farm staff include Steven Hufnagel, Sara Cawthon, Sarah Gladu, Deb Suchar, Jesse Ferreira, Jim Grenier, Darryn Kaymen, Kaitlyn Gardner, and Hannah McGhee. Not pictured: Megan Taft.
We have a close partner in Damariscotta River Association (DRA). Our farm is located in the fields at DRA’s Great Salt Bay Farm. DRA also serves as fiscal sponsor and provides valuable administrative support and storage space for the farm.
Officially, DRA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, membership supported, community based, nationally accredited land trust and conservation organization with more than 1,800 members conserving more than 3,000 acres of the region’s most significant lands for public benefit.
Unofficially, DRA has an awesome board, staff, and supporters who have been amazingly supportive of the farm.
With special thanks to our funders and supporters in the community:
We have received generous funding in our first two seasons from the Quimby Family Foundation, the Horizon Foundation, the Maine Community Foundation, the Harold Dudley Foundation, USDA NRCS, the Sewall Foundation, and Good Shepherd Foodbank’s Mainers Feeding Mainers Program.
What’s more, hundreds of caring people in the community have made gifts in support of the farm.
THANK YOU for all you do to dig in to feed our neighbors. We’re so glad you’re a part of the TVFF farm family!