New Mainers Garden a Blooming Success

Since we built ten raised garden beds for our New Mainer neighbors back in June, they have been well utilized and well loved!

Ana, Wewe, & Erica – photo by Kelli Park

ESL educator Kelli Park, who’s been working with the New Mainers for years, remarks: “The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Community Garden is so much more than just a garden. It offers a space for multicultural individuals to embrace their dynamic cultural identities by participating in traditions that were important to them in their lives in their native countries, while working toward building new traditions in their lives in Maine.

This space provides a foundation for New Mainers to construct their new, changing cultural identities in ways that empower them.

It provides the tools to work toward increased independence, while building a sense of community in healthy ways that connect to all aspects of their daily lives with cultivating and cooking.

Ana & Wewe’s children – photo by Kelli Park

“The creation of these kinds of spaces is absolutely essential in the work toward creating more equitable opportunities for individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Maine has the potential to leverage and cultivate multiculturalism within our communities to develop a new kind of dynamic population defined, in part, by the cultural influences that have arrived in our state from the far reaches of the globe. The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Community Garden for New Mainers is just one step in the right direction!”

Here’s what the New Mainers have to say…

Sivi – “I am really delighted because it helps us a lot to have very fresh produce and it’s good for the community. It helps my household in particular and it helps neighbors in the community. The community garden makes us independent in the sense that, if you need anything, you can harvest it directly.” 

Wewe – “I’m very thankful that the community gave us this space for the garden. I’m very happy to have planted vegetables because I like natural food a lot. The garden has made me more independent because, for example, if I need tomatoes, I go directly to my garden to get them. I don’t have to call anyone to help me get them.”

Bella – “There is nothing not to like about the community garden. I like planting. It’s very important to me. We Africans also like to cultivate so it is very important for the community. I can be independent with my own garden because I could grow whatever I want. . .Because I could plant the same things in the garden, like kikaza, [sweet] potato vines, gimboa, keca, and much more, it represents or connects to my life in Africa.”

Wewe & Blaise – photo by Kelli Park