Midcoast Garden Projects – Radio Roundtable
WRFR-LP, volunteer-powered community radio for the Camden-Rockland area, has published a podcast of a virtual Midcoast Garden Projects Roundtable led by Rachel Albury, host of Cheech’s Radio Hour, with special guests: Blenda Towers of One Community Many Voices, Amy Files of Renew Rockland, and Aaron Englander and Joelle Albury of Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT).
A new collaboration led by One Community Many Voices’ Midcoast Mentors is spreading the seed for backyard gardening. Sprouts, a free gardening club inspired by the UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Kids Can Grow program, teaches youth and their families in the RSU13 school district how to grow healthy vegetables at home. Renew Rockland and MCHT’s Erickson Fields are two of several community partners providing supplies and assistance. Hawk Ridge Compost Facility and Seasons Downeast Designs donated compost and loam. Using Hemlock locally produced by Blaine Winchester’s Mill in Bucksport, staff and volunteers at The Apprenticeshop, a non-profit boatbuilding and seamanship school for adults and youth, are building 25+ beds. The After-school Alliance is helping distribute those beds to local youth and one bed to The Friends House of Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition in Rockland. Once the beds are installed, Midcoast Mentors will support families with follow up visits, delivering seeds and seedlings, instructions and online activities for youth.
Renew Rockland is a volunteer-powered Maine non-profit focused on improving community health by supporting a strong local economy and empowering individuals to produce their own food, energy and local goods. Projects include the Rockland Community Farm Project, Waste Watchers, and Rockland Rolls. Rockland Community Farm Project aims to grow more food locally by facilitating communication and shared resources among local food growing projects, such as MacDougal Community Garden and South School Community Garden.
Erickson Fields is a farm preserve of Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization. Located at 164 West Street in Rockport, the preserve hosts agricultural programs for ages 7 and up and a community garden. Aaron Englander manages a Teen Ag Crew and their 4-acre garden, which produces an average of 20,000 lbs of veggies annually for the local food system. This year, the farm’s safety protocols have been enhanced in light of COVID-19, so the Teen Ag Crew can continue supplying five area food pantries.