Published in The Boothbay Register on May 19, 2021

In addition to donating tens of thousands of pounds of organically grown, nutrient-dense food to Lincoln County food pantries and youth programs every year, Twin Villages Foodbank Farm (TVFF) supports pantries by offering convenient storage space and the ability to receive large shipments of food.

TVFF’s food storage hub, located in the undercroft of Darrows Barn at Coastal Rivers’ Round Top Farm, makes it possible for the farm to collect and store food from other sources such as Good Shepherd Foodbank, Hannaford Supermarket, Northeast Transport, and local growers and gleaners.

Since many area food pantries have limited dry or cold storage space, they are not able to take in large shipments. In the past, this sometimes meant that deliveries to those pantries had to be turned away. Now pantries and other non-profits can have pallets of both perishable and refrigerated food shipped to the food storage hub and pick it up what they need when they’re ready to use it.

The hub features a 16 by 20-foot walk-in cooler and ample room for dry food storage. The space was designed with a receiving entrance and ramps so pallets and carts can be maneuvered in and out. Last year, the farm raised money to invest in pallet jacks, carts, and large produce boxes to make it easier to handle and store bulky deliveries.

In 2020, TVFF took in over 35,000 pounds of food from other sources. While Good Shepherd Food Bank is the largest food access supplier, TVFF also collected several thousand pounds of fresh organic food from Wanderwood Farm in Nobleboro and Spear Spring Farm in Warren, as well as food from local groups such as Midcoast Gleaners, the Lincoln County Food Initiative, and Lincoln County Regional Planning’s food boxes.

Rising Tide Community Market’s Loving Local meals program, which donates hundreds of nutritious prepared meals to most area pantries weekly, has also used the hub to store food.

To keep pace with increasing need in the community, TVFF has set an ambitious goal for 2021, with plans to grow, collect, and distribute 85,000 pounds of fresh food. The farm’s long-term goal is to be able to consistently provide 100,000 pounds of produce a year to food pantries and other low-income food programs.

Twin Villages Foodbank Farm’s mission is to grow and distribute healthy food for those who need it most in Lincoln County. The farm serves food pantries in Boothbay, Damariscotta/Newcastle, Jefferson, New Harbor, Waldoboro, Whitefield, and Wiscasset, and youth food programs including FARMS at the Y, the YMCA daycare, Newcastle Head Start, and several weekend school backpack programs.

The Farm operates in close partnership with Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust. In addition to space for the food storage hub at Coastal Rivers’ Round Top Farm, the land trust donates use of three acres of prime farmland at Salt Bay Farm and provides administrative, fundraising and communications support.

Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust is a non-profit, nationally accredited land trust with active programs in land conservation, water quality, trails and public access, and nature education in the Damariscotta-Pemaquid region. For more information, email info@coastalrivers.org or visit www.coastalrivers.org.