Meeting People Where They Are
In Midcoast Maine, we have plenty of fresh, local, healthy food and plenty of people who need it. How do we bridge that gap? That’s a question our staff at Aldermere Farm and Erickson Fields contemplate often.
Once again, in 2021, we donated tens of thousands of pounds of beef and produce to pantries in the area, which are critical distribution centers. But what about those suffering from hunger or lack of fresh, healthy food who cannot or will not visit a pantry?
For the first time, we’ve put up a “take what you need, pay what you can” farm stand at Aldermere Farm. Working with one of our partners, The Knox County Gleaners, this year Erickson Fields produce made its way to share tables at local churches, libraries, and other community centers, where anyone and everyone is welcome to take home fresh food. We also collaborated with Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport to offer produce in the entryway of the family health and pediatrics unit. So far, they’ve distributed over 3,000 pounds.
“The first day we put out 50 or 60 pounds of food and it was gone within four hours,” says Deidre Dority, who works in the community health and wellness department. “It’s hard to identify yourself as having food insecurity.
We’re finding that we reach food-insecure people more effectively when we offer this fresh, healthy, local food to everyone, with no stigma attached.” Deidre has heard many expressions of gratitude and found left-behind thank you notes in the empty bins.
“One elderly woman who has difficulty getting to a grocery store or maneuvering around a farmers market held up a bag of fresh tomatoes and said, ‘I haven’t had one of these in three years,’” says Deidre. “This is a wonderful project to be a part of.”
More Stories from the Coast
All of us at Maine Coast Heritage Trust mourn the passing of Peter Blanchard, a true champion for the Maine coast.
“This place, and the people who also call this place home, made me who I am and instilled in me a desire to care for this land and the lives and livelihoods it supports. For me, that’s what conservation is all about.”
Aldermere Farm and Erickson Fields require much-needed investment to make them safer, more efficient, and more inclusive community preserves. How do we extend access to the special experiences they offer?
By 2022 MCHT Richard G. Rockefeller Conservation Intern Calvin Lucindo
We have the opportunity to enhance recreational and commercial opportunities in the Machias area and the ecological health of the Middle River by improving fish passage and restoring 300 acres of salt marsh.