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Knox County Food Council Presentation

Presented by Maine Coast Heritage Trust & Knox County Gleaners

The Knox County Food Council invites you to learn about a collaboration between Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Knox County Gleaners to increase Mainers’ access to fresh local food in the Midcoast.

The presentation features MCHT farm manager Aaron Englander and the Teen Ag Crew at MCHT’s Erickson Fields Preserve, and Lorain Francis and Nancy Wood, founders of the Knox County Gleaners (KCG).

In 2022, MCHT’s Teen Ag Crew harvested 19,514 pounds of vegetables in their 4-acre garden at Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport.

Through Mainers Feeding Mainers, a program of Good Shepherd Food Bank, 90% of the produce supplied hunger-relief agencies.

Knox County Gleaners, a volunteer group that gleans produce from farms to distribute to those in need, distributed the produce to seven food pantries, three soup kitchens, two senior homes, and ten nonprofit organizations in the area that make free food accessible to the community.

During their planning sessions, the Knox County Food Council identified the importance of centering the recipient’s voice in their food security efforts.

Aaron Englander and Lorain Francis will share how they have used feedback received through pantries and other distribution sites to improve their outreach.

For example, the Teen Ag Crew will grow more chard and less kale for food pantries because of their clients’ preference.

“We have a lot to learn from people’s lived experience. Personal stories, like someone resorting to hitchhiking to get to the food pantry, shine a light on what the barriers to access are,” says Francis. “We’re trying to meet people wherever they are – at the doctor’s office, library, or school – and make local food available to them, regardless of what they can afford. Someone returning their books at the Rockland Public Library might take home squash and potatoes in the same trip.”

“Our Teen Ag program has been growing produce for food pantries for over a decade,” says Englander. “Since we partnered with the Knox County Gleaners in 2019, we’ve doubled our number of distribution sites to include community hubs where we can reach more people.”

There will be a Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

This event is free and open to the public.

Visit www.aldermere.org/kcfc-registration to get the Zoom link or click the orange Registration button above. You can also email .

About Knox County Food Council

Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Knox County Gleaners, and Good Shepherd Food Bank are founding members of Knox County Food Council, a cohort of Knox County partners advocating for a community-based healthy food system for all.

The Council hosts public Zoom meetings from 5-6 PM on the second Tuesday of each month.