BY MIKAYLA PATEL | THE FORECASTER
Plant sale big producer for community garden in Brunswick
The annual fundraiser brought in $12,500 for the Thomas Settlemire Community Garden, which also includes Midcoast Hunger Prevention’s Common Good Garden.
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s annual plant sale earlier this month raised $12,500 for the Thomas Settlemire Community Garden in Brunswick.
The money will support day-to-day operations of the garden, which includes Midcoast Hunger Prevention’s Common Good Garden that supports the group’s food programs.
Interest in the community garden plots has grown steadily since it was started in 2012 as a community-led initiative, said Jamie Pacheco, the land trust’s program manager.
“Folks have seen us building and more people have asked for them every year,” she said. “People like knowing where their food comes from.”
About 80 individual 10-by-16-foot or 10-by-8-foot plots in the garden are rented by community members, and 6,000 square feet is designated for Midcoast Hunger Prevention.
The annual plant sale fundraiser is entirely run by volunteers.
Barbara Murphy, a Brunswick resident, has been volunteering since the community garden got started and has been involved with the plant sale every year.
“This year we had over 1,500 plants that we sold, and we concentrate on both native plants and also plants and flowers that are really good at attracting pollinators,” said Murphy. She said about 100 volunteers work to get plants ready for the day of the sale.
Pacheco said Midcoast Hunger Prevention’s Common Good Garden grows 2,000 to 4,000 pounds of food every year for their food programs. One section of it has been set aside for asylum seekers arriving to Brunswick in an effort to support “the new Mainer community, to help meet their needs and grow culturally appropriate food.” That effort also provides everyone with the opportunity to learn about produce that’s important to cultural foods outside the United States, she said.
At her plot, Murphy grows tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro – ingredients for her homemade salsa.
“It’s really fun to walk around and see what people have done with their plots,” she said.
Murphy said she enjoys the neighborly nature of the garden, and how willing people are to help each other out. “People are super friendly and supportive, and it’s all organic,” she said. “I love that we’re growing food that’s given to the community and gets given out at the food pantry or soup kitchen.”
At the garden, she said, she’s learned a lot about different species of plants, birds and insects.
“It’s a beautiful and peaceful place to be,” Murphy said.