By Lydia Coburn, Communications Coordinator
When we put up the raised garden beds by our Neptune Drive office last spring, the future was unknown. Over the summer, we had the pleasure of watching a variety of vegetables and flowers grow, as well as the creation of an enjoyable outdoor space for our New Mainer neighbors.
But what do you do with an abundance of fresh food and a growing community? You throw a party of course!
Wednesday October 20th, BTLT staff and board members, New Mainers of all ages, and mentors all joined together for a “Heritage Harvest Potluck.” Each guest brought a culinary dish that held a special place in their heart – tables were filled with food from Vietnam, China, Congo, Angola, Mexico, Rwanda, and Maine. We enjoyed freshly shucked oysters, Chinese chicken wings, apple pie, ceviche, fumbwa, chocolate cupcakes, Swedish meatballs, spring rolls, fufu, and so much more – not necessarily in that order!
ESL educator, and co-host of the event, Kelli Park shared her thoughts:
“The Harvest Heritage Dinner was more than just a dinner, it was a symbol of things to come for our increasingly diverse community in Midcoast Maine. The dinner featured recipes from all over the world and showed that being part of a thriving, welcoming community extends far beyond the geographic boundaries of our local towns and into the far reaches of the world. This collaborative community event was an example of the things that individuals can accomplish when they come together with an idea: to find ways to cultivate connections among individuals from all walks of life to promote a thriving multicultural community.
“My goal is to continue to facilitate collaborative programming with active participation from my English language students, whose voices are invaluable to us as we navigate our changing community. My hope is that this is just the beginning. Thank you to everyone who made this event happen! I look forward to many more evenings like this in the future.”
Throughout the evening, I witnessed someone eat their first culinary caterpillar while someone else had their first raw oyster, taught a group of women how to make the perfect s’more, and watched kids make new friends (tag is a universal language).
The other universal language? Food. Here’s to sharing more meals with our new neighbors and community members!