Originally published in Castine Patriot, July 29, 2021 and Island Ad-Vantages, July 29, 2021 and The Weekly Packet, July 29, 2021
Grants to support area food security projects
Maine Farmland Trust announced the award of 20 grants totaling $50,000 to projects improving food sustainability and community health on the Blue Hill Peninsula, according to a press release. Many of the grants will fund projects that support food security efforts, which have become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The awardees include Healthy Acadia, a community health organization, who received funding for its Downeast Gleaning Initiative, and Sedgwick Elementary School, who will use grant funds to revamp the school garden.
Healthy Acadia’s gleaning program reduces food waste and uses that food to combat food insecurity and create stronger communities. The program, which has collected more than 300,000 pounds of food since 2013, will use the grant to increase refrigerated storage capacity. “This increase will greatly enhance our ability to distribute fresh, local food to Peninsula food programs,” said Rachel Emus, food programs manager for Hancock County at Healthy Acadia.
During the pandemic, Sedgwick Elementary School reimagined its school garden program since students were spending more time outside. “The greenhouse has suffered years of inaction and getting it back in shape has been our mission,” said Sarah Doremus, a teacher at the school. The grant helped the school integrate its gardening program into the curriculum through greenhouse updates and planting.
The Blue Hill Peninsula Community Food Grants are available for nonprofit organizations, schools, community groups and individuals. For more information, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org/farm-viability/blue-hill-peninsula-community-food-grant.