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Community Garden Plot Holder Spotlight: Nancy and Dennis Lemieux, Emily Settlemire, and Alisha Chaney

By Jane Olsen, BTLT summer fellow

My name is Jane Olsen, I’m a junior at Bowdoin College and I worked at the Land Trust for the summer supporting the Tom Settlemire Community Garden. This post is part of my plot holder profiles series, a project where I have been delighted to get to know the over 82 plot holders at the Garden, young and old, with all ranges of gardening experience. This post features more recent members of this Garden community: Nancy and Dennis Lemieux, Alisha Chaney and Emily Settlemire.

Nancy and Dennis Lemieux

Nancy and Dennis

It was a lovely July afternoon when I met Nancy and Dennis in the Garden, tending to their community garden plot only a few strides away from my own. The Lemieux’s moved to Maine 35 years ago from Pennsylvania, where they first met. While this is only their second season in the TSCG, they have already gathered an abundance of knowledge.

The pair expressed that last year they were overzealous, as many new plotholders are, packing a variety of plants into their plot with high hopes. But at the end of the growing season, they discussed what they wanted to change, deciding to simplify their garden and be extra diligent to add compost and nutrients to the soil. They also constructed a wooden border around their plot to keep weeds out, protecting their peppers, tomatoes, and other crops. Their ability to redesign their plot reflects the freedom plotholders have to tailor their space to personal taste.

Every plotholder has a different approach to layout in the Garden, and Nancy and Dennis recognized that variations in the composition of a plot, from configuration to choices in seeds and fertilizer can greatly vary the financial costs of maintaining one’s garden. 

“You get so much fun out of [gardening], it makes you feel good to see things come to life that you grew. You have a say in your food to be organic and natural. It’s your space, it takes you away from everything else you’re focusing on. It really relaxes you, listening to the birds, and feeling the breeze. You don’t have to talk to anybody, but everybody here is really great. People share ideas and what they grow with others. It’s not too overwhelming,” shared Nancy 

Dennis agreed with this sentiment, emphasizing that the knowledge of other gardeners is one of the most beneficial aspects of the Garden:

“My advice for new gardeners would be to start simple, stay within things that you like and don’t give up. There are real, accomplished gardeners here, so take advantage and don’t be afraid to ask questions. There’s a lot more to it than just growing, we meet new people here and for us that’s been great.”

Emily Settlemire

Similarly to the Lemieux’s, this is Emily Settlemire’s second year with a plot at the Garden. As Nancy and Dennis expressed, the intergenerational knowledge within the Garden can be extraordinarily beneficial to new plot holders. Emily has a unique perspective on the Garden as the granddaughter of Tom Settlemire, former BTLT president, current BTLT board member, and a dedicated supporter of the local agricultural community.

Emily’s parents both grew up on farms, surrounded by livestock and agriculture. While neither of her parents pursued careers in the agricultural field themselves, Emily’s family still had a garden throughout her childhood in Warren, Maine. This exposure to gardening, as well as science experiments in school sparked Emily’s interest in the activity early on. 

This season, Emily is growing chard, sugar snap peas, and garlic. While low germination rates have been an occasional challenge for her, Emily expressed that her appreciation for the crops that do succeed is all the more satisfying. 

Many plotholders I’ve talked to prefer to come to the Garden disconnected from technology and enjoy the natural sights and sounds of the space while gardening. While Emily appreciates this time connected to nature, she also enjoys listening to podcasts while tending to her plot as a “pick me up if [she] needs to push through a [gardening] project.” One podcast Emily is currently into is called Let’s Grow Girls, hosted by a couple from the U.K. interested in flower farming.

Though some plotholders have abundant time to tend to their plants, Emily expressed it can be challenging to find time to make it to the Garden as often as she would like. While attending the cardiovascular program at Southern Maine Community College, Emily was able to water everyday on her way home from school but now that she works long shifts at the Maine Medical Center, she expressed it has been difficult to make it to the Garden after work. Nevertheless, when Emily has been able to make it to the Garden after a hectic work day, the ease of being surrounded by plants is a welcome release. Emily has also learned how to configure her plot to her advantage as she navigates her varying amount of time to commit to the Garden:

 “It’s a privilege to be out there. I think it comes down to finding the right things to plant out there, and that is where you’re gonna get success.” 

While many gardeners treasure the planting and harvesting stages of the season, Emily revealed that weeding is one of her favorite things to do: “It’s very therapeutic, so simple and satisfying. You go through and bruise up your plot, but the next day, everything arrives from that work. It’s a chore that I once dreaded but now it’s something I want to get into and clean out.” Emily expressed her excitement in observing the root structures that are revealed in this process, providing her with a deeper understanding as to what is going on in her garden underground. Perhaps this interest is what sparked her commitment to the compost volunteer team at the Garden.

After community members and gardeners drop off their compost in the pile, the members of the team rotate their responsibilities on a weekly basis, ensuring that the decomposition process is running smoothly. This year, the compost team has a sizable group of volunteers, so the responsibilities have not been too overwhelming on any one individual. The compost team greatly contributes to the success of TSCG, providing an outlet for plot holders to fulfill their required annual volunteer hours but also bringing community members together.

Alisha Chaney

This year at TSCG, Alisha is growing delicata squash, zucchini, bell and shishito peppers, leeks, potatoes in a bucket, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, radishes, strawberries, garlic, and more. Before I officially met Alisha Chaney, I knew who she was from her exclamations about the monarchs in her plot and the embroidered gift she donated to the BTLT office for Pride Month. Like the Lemieux’s and Emily, Alisha Chaney has been a part of the Garden for two years now. She shares plot 66 with her best friend, but also takes care of plot 10. Though originally from New Hampshire, she moved to Maine eight years ago.

Growing up, her grandmother always had a small garden made up of cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans, where she fondly recalled summer meals with the fresh produce: 

“One of my favorite core memories as a child is going out and harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes, immediately slicing them, salting them and just sitting with my grandmother and eating them for lunch.”

Though she grew up around gardens, Alisha confessed that her green thumb did not come to her naturally:

“Growing plants is challenging for me but I’m good with plants that grow food because I’m more invested in them. I enjoy it but at times it’s also mildly overwhelming. I find it relaxing and so satisfying to say to neighbors and friends, ‘I grew this, let me feed you’”

Not only does Alisha love sharing a taste of her garden with friends outside of the space, she enjoys getting to know her neighbors in the Garden as well:

“Every time I go, I run into somebody new. And I always go and say hi because usually I am exclaiming like a cartoon character, ‘the squirrel didn’t come to eat my strawberries’ or whatever happened that day.”

As someone with two plots, Alisha was able to see the difference in the effectiveness of her various gardening techniques. In one plot, where she spent less time preparing for the year, she has been battling weeds that pop up all season, but in her second plot where she put in the time it has been smooth sailing. This experience informs her advice for new gardeners, emphasizing that choosing your battles is important: 

“Give up on a plan. Don’t try. But one thing I learned from last year is if you do a really good job at the end of the season, putting your garden to bed, like making sure to be here and get stuff turned over, it sets you up really well for the following season. And taking the time to adequately weed your plot before planting will also help you, and save you from the weeds completely.”

As someone who works full time in Portland, it can be hard to make it to the Garden for the Common Good Garden work days which are hosted on weekday mornings. However, there are many other ways for plotholders to fulfill the six hour per season volunteer commitment. Alisha is able to do so through smaller projects tidying the Garden, such as weeding pathways on her own time, making plot number markers, and redesigning the Garden map.

While everyone has different approaches to gardening, and varying time to commit to their plot, TSCG has something to offer for all community members. Whether you’re looking for a picnic table with a calming view to eat your lunch, or a plot to spend countless hours tending to, the Garden is welcome to everyone in the community to enjoy.

Community Garden Plot Holder Spotlight: John and Arabella Eldredge & Dan Kipp

By Jane Olsen, BTLT summer fellow

My name is Jane Olsen and I am a rising junior at Bowdoin College working at the Land Trust for the summer supporting the Tom Settlemire Community Garden. This post is part of my plot holder profiles series, a project where I have been delighted to get to know the over 82 plot holders at the Garden, young and old, with all ranges of gardening experience. I loved talking with neighboring plotholders, John and Arabella Eldredge and Dan Kipp, because while they share a pathway between their gardens, they each have unique approaches.

Arabella and John Eldredge

John & Arabella by their garden plot

John and Arabella Eldredge moved from Cumberland to Brunswick around seven years ago and immediately secured a plot at the Tom Settlemire Community Garden. While they had their own larger garden for almost 25 years in Cumberland, they believe that “what they gave up in size, they made up for in community.”

Arabella was raised in Annapolis, Maryland, but she grew up visiting the Maine island Vinalhaven in the summer, cultivating a love of Maine from an early age. It was these summers where she began gardening in her parents’ family garden, a plot that Arabella and her siblings still collectively tend to. Not only did Arabella’s parents’ love for gardening foster her own interest, but her mother’s early interest in organic food also shaped her passion for cultivating her own crops.

While Arabella’s mom was ahead of her time in her appreciation of organic food throughout the 60s and 70s, John’s mom leaned into the era of convenience in the 50s and 60s. Throughout his New Hampshire upbringing, John’s family grew up eating packaged and processed foods. 

“You know, if you can throw some fish sticks in the oven, maybe a little bit of iceberg lettuce, you’re good. It’s funny you grow up with a certain set of norms and sometimes you adopt those and carry those for two generations and sometimes you rebel against them and do something very different.”

While John didn’t think twice about processed foods very much at the time, when he got to college he began discovering the benefits of fresh and natural food, eventually pursuing a career in the natural food and products industry. 

Today, John both volunteers at and is on the board of the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program. Working in the receiving area, he watches produce come in from Hannaford and Target, to Six River Farm, making him all the more appreciative for the community connection to the Common Good Garden at TSCG. John and Arabella also expressed their appreciation for the rising farming industry as a whole and the creative ways people are finding to add value to their farms. 

“Any opportunities that can be found to connect younger people to growing food is a great thing. We’re definitely seeing a new generation of young micro-farmers rather than just growing commodities. People are growing things organically or they’re actually doing a little bit of processing and finding ways to add value, so it’s very encouraging to see our farmland start to become productive again.”

In addition to appreciating TSCG’s role within the system of agriculture as a whole, John and Arabella expressed their love for the most basic joys of gardening. 

“You put things in and it’ll give back to you. I like eating fresh vegetables, but also not knowing what’s going to happen from year to year. It’s always different. I just like the surprise factor and the joy of eating.” said Arabella

“I’m the token occasional waterer, I really love the kind of the ceremony, but also just the noticeable freshness of being able to harvest your own vegetables and eat them right away, “said John. “It’s a really well designed space, has plenty of sunshine and attracts a lot of interesting people who have commonalities.” 

Easy access to this garden has allowed many Brunswick residents like the Eldredges to stay connected to their plot throughout the week, and between John and Arabella, they are at the garden four or five days of the week. While John has retired from a career of working in collegiate admissions, Arabella still works at the library in Cumberland. On her way to work she’ll stop by to give water to the seeds in the morning and then off she goes! Like many plot holders, John and Arabella expressed their enthusiasm for the change throughout the seasons of cultivation:

“You’ll have fun experiencing the evolution of the garden throughout the growing season. By the time you get into August it’s like Eden because the bird and butterfly life is awesome. It just keeps changing which is cool.”

Dan Kipp

This year Dan is growing watermelon, squash, mustard greens, beans, dahlias, marigolds, swiss chard and it’s his first year growing a tomato. Like many plot holders, he has found and transplanted some lettuce growing by the weed pit in the garden, and it is now thriving!

John and Arabella’s plot is right beside the plot of Dan Kipp who is originally from Massachusetts, but has been in Maine since 2014. While Dan grew up helping his mom in her garden, the practice has remained idyllic in his mind. Both growing his own food and having a project that’s outdoors are the biggest draws of gardening for him. 

When he first came to Maine he was living in Portland and the local farmers’ markets were one of the first stepping stones in encouraging him to return to gardening himself. When he moved to Brunswick he began researching community gardens and stumbled upon the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, where he first started gardening last year. 

“I remember being really anxious to plan it, wanting to make sure that I got it right. I put everything in by seed except for one lupin, already in bloom and put it right smack dab in the center. And I remember thinking okay, if none of these other seeds come up at least that lupin will” Dan shared. “Within a week the lupin was dead but on the plus side everything else came up so it was kind of funny.”

Whether a first time gardener has beginners luck like Dan, starting a plot from scratch can be nerve racking. Dan explained that although his successes of his first year have eased some of his anxieties, that every year in the garden brings new considerations and challenges:

“Last year everything went so well I almost expected it to be the same this year and this year that has not been the case…Even knowing it’s as simple as just water and weed, I was still worried about everything. Like, am I doing this right? Well this year I don’t feel that at all. So I think it’s really normal to feel it and once you start seeing stuff coming up already.”

Something that helped ease his initial anxiety was volunteering in the Common Good Garden, a portion of the TSCG grown by volunteers and donated to the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program. Before Dan planted anything in his garden he made sure to volunteer at the CGG workdays on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to observe the growing process elsewhere before trying it himself. The Common Good Garden is filled with expert and master gardeners who not only provide tremendous support to the cultivation efforts but have abundant knowledge to share.

When Dan is not at the garden he loves to read, listen to music, exercise, and hang out with his two chihuahuas. However, to protect the plants and to make sure everyone feels comfortable gardening at TSCG, dogs are not allowed inside the Garden. Though the garden is largely a free and open space, there are a few important rules to maintain its beauty and community use. For example, sunflowers are not allowed to be grown in the garden because they can shade neighboring plots and their seeds can attract pests like mice and chipmunks which like to munch on other plants once they are in the garden.

Dan expressed that while these rules in the garden are not ideal for how he would like to grow in the garden, he understands their purpose: “The dog rule is a hard one for me…and the sunflowers but those aren’t complaints, they’re just disappointing. I don’t like it, but it makes sense, I get it.” Working in a community garden is sometimes about compromise and balance.

When I asked Dan about his favorite parts of the garden, he mostly gravitated towards the feeling of the space, from the physical impact of getting in the dirt to the psychological benefits:

 “I do really like that swing by the picnic table because after crouching, I swing to flow and get a release. I really like physical movement generally, so I mostly enjoy the exercise part of [gardening] and encouraging growth. There’s like a giddy feeling that comes from when something’s first blooming yeah. I don’t know what that’s about, but I’ve talked to people who have been gardening their entire lives, they have said that to me as well, and that feeling doesn’t go away.”

From a range of experience to approaches to gardening, talking with Dan and John and Arabella revealed to me the wide range of gardeners we have in this space, with new and exciting stories just around the corner. 

Dan’s Advice for a New Gardener: “The biggest thing I learned last year is how much there is to know. I also wanted this year to be more slowed down, less in a rush and big sweeps and when I come here, not just water, but to slow down for a second, to observe and see the changes between days. Learn from just those observations a little bit more.”

Arabella and John’s Advice for a New Gardener: “My advice for gardening and anything else in life is to simply just start with a few things. Before you expand wildly, just know you really can’t control what nature is pointed to. I think sometimes it is just an experiment, you might discover something that nobody else has. The beauty of the community garden is you can ask anybody for a tip or advice and they’re happy to share it.”

Community Garden Plot Holder Spotlight: Peter Milligan & Marc Brown

By Jane Olsen, BTLT summer fellow

My name is Jane Olsen and I am a rising junior at Bowdoin College working at the Land Trust for the summer supporting the Tom Settlemire Community Garden (TSCG). This post is part of my plot holder profiles series, a project where I have been delighted to get to know the over 82 plot holders at the Garden, young and old, with all ranges of gardening experience. Recently, I spoke with Peter Milligan and Marc Brown, who have both been plot holders at TSCG for around four years. 

Peter Milligan

Peter Milligan

Peter Milligan was one of the first people to show me the meaning of a community garden. In my early days of gardening this summer, I was cluelessly picking brown tail caterpillars off of the apple trees in the orchard when Peter warned me of the risks and offered advice, revealing to me the benefit of collective knowledge. 

A couple weeks later, I got to know Peter over zoom. While he has been in the Brunswick area for over 20 years, Peter first came to the Tom Settlemire Community Garden four years ago, drawn to the space because of the sunlight that was largely absent in his own shady backyard. From the start, when he first assisted his parents in their garden, Peter fell in love with the simple pleasures of cultivation:

“Gardening is one way to take care of things and participate in the natural world that’s around me. I’m a nurturing person so I get a lot of satisfaction out of watching my garden grow, on some basic level,” said Peter.

This year, his time spent at the Garden means growing brassicas, peas, herbs, tomatoes and peppers. While he mostly eats the food that he grows, when the middle of August hits and he is overwhelmed with harvesting, he tends to share his produce and experiment with dehydrating. Simultaneous to experimenting, Peter advises gardeners not to take any failures to heart:

I would not get overly emotionally involved, if something doesn’t work. As soon as your neighbor gets a pest, you’re probably gonna get the same thing because everyone’s so close. But you can’t worry about it, take it in stride.”

As a biology professor at the University of Maine in Augusta Peter has dealt with virtual teaching for a while now and expressed his gratitude for time spent disconnected from a screen in the garden:

 “We’re all online with the headphones for six to seven hours a day, so when I go outside, I tend to leave it all behind. There’s a personal connection, something that you need as a human being, to have that sort of physical interaction with people, like, oh, we’re having a conversation in person. It scratches something about being human that connecting online doesn’t do. I think still, if you ask people what they’re missing is that kind of community and so I appreciate the people that sort of create that in the garden and maintain it.”

Marc Brown

Marc Brown’s garden plot

Similarly to Peter, his neighbor in the Garden, Marc Brown, came to the Garden for sunshine and found a community. As a previous resident of Bath, Marc and his family were accustomed to sunny days and their move to the woods of Brunswick brought with it shade, hindering plant growth. After four years at the Garden, Marc has observed that along with a full dose of sun comes his need to visit the Garden almost every day.

“I’ve learned, over the last few years, I thought like well, it should be fine. And then I come back and the weeds just take over. So even though it’s totally obvious, it’s taken this many years to be like I have to water just about every day. I have to come and check out what the weeds are up to every day.”

Not only is the Garden a community space for the plot holders themselves, but a gathering place for the community as a whole. One of Marc’s favorite things about gardening used to be coming to the Garden to pick snow peas and cherry tomatoes with his kids when they were younger. Nowadays, his youngest son will still accompany him to the Garden, and has even helped with the layout design of his garden plot. Although Marc has had mixed success experimenting with plants, he emphasized that regardless of various setbacks, he always appreciates simple time in the Garden:

“One of the things I do like about it is that it just kind of is, you know what I mean? The birds are chirping or the breezes blow. I like getting dirty and seeing stuff grow. It’s as simple as that.” 

While the Garden has always been a place of unity, the outdoor community space proved especially valuable throughout the many waves of Covid-19. Volunteer days at the Common Good Garden provided a safe place outdoors to connect and meant a lot to plot holders like Marc. 

“When Covid hit it was awesome to be able to do something outside that was consistent and stable. The other thing this year that kind of occurred to me is it’s just, it’s definitely a community garden. It’s got everything going on. There’s nothing exactly perfect or clean about it. But it’s a bunch of very different people coming together with a central focus. The garden has helped me to see that actually communities are pretty messy with lots of different personalities trying to figure it out.”

One of my favorite parts about talking to Peter and Marc separately was listening to their personal understandings of community, prompting me to appreciate how everyone brings their own values and perspectives together within one garden space.

11th Annual Taking Root Plant Sale

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  • June 4, 2022
    9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Get your gardening started with us at the Taking Root Plant Sale! Saturday June 4th from 9:00am – 1:00pm Topsham Fairgrounds – Exhibition Hall Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted. Each year, the Land Trust’s Tom Settlemire Community Garden (TSCG) hosts a plant sale thanks to the effort of dozens of volunteers. The proceeds (more…)

Winter Garden Workshop Series: Spring has Spawned: Getting Your Garden Ready for Mushroom Cultivation

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  • January 23, 2022
    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Speaker: Louis Giller, North Spore Every gardener in America should be growing mushrooms! If upgrading your garden this year sounds fun, join Louis Giller for an informative presentation on how to integrate mushrooms into your garden. He will cover: Steps for a successful season of outdoor mushroom cultivation Growing techniques, tools and materials needed as (more…)

Winter Garden Workshop Series: How to Care for Fruit Trees

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  • February 6, 2022
    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Speaker: Richard Hodges, ReTreeUS Join Richard Hodges of ReTreeUS for a workshop on how to integrate fruit trees into your garden.  You will learn about different fruit trees, their needs and how to prune them. ReTreeUs is a non profit that plants orchards in schools and provides educational programs that empower people to grow their (more…)

Winter Garden Workshop Series: Soil Secrets

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  • March 6, 2022
    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Speaker: Spiro Latchis, Living Soil Network Join Spiro Latchis of the Living Soil Network for a workshop on the many beneficial aspects of soil health. The workshop will cover the fungi and nematodes in soil, soil care, building quality soil and the important connections between soil and climate. Spiro Latchis of (more…)

Winter Garden Workshop Series: Growing and Fermenting Foods with Scratch Farm

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  • February 13, 2022
    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Speaker: Andy McLeod, Scratch Farm Join Andy McLeod of Scratch Farm to learn about making your own fermented sauerkrauts, pickles and hot sauce. Fermenting is an easy way to preserve your harvest and feed yourself through the winter. Andy will touch on what crops he grows to ferment, tips for success in growing those crops, the process (more…)

Heritage Harvest Dinner

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!

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

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