$25,000 Donation Supports UMaine Extension Agricultural and Horticultural Education at Tidewater Farm

May 28th, 2013 10:33 AM

A private $25,000 pledge in support of University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s agricultural and horticultural education programs at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth is funding a new tractor for the public teaching and demonstration gardens, where fresh produce is grown for area food pantries.

Teams of Master Gardener volunteers from Cumberland County are engaged in the horticulture education programs at the farm, where youth and adults learn best practices for growing fruits and vegetables. Purchased locally, the tractor will also be used in Extension’s Farm Tractor Safety classes in which youth and adult drivers gain skills and knowledge for the safe operation of tractors.

The pledge is the lead gift kicking off the 2013 campaign to raise an additional $10,000 to purchase farm tractor implements and gardening supplies for the educational programs in response to the increasing public interest in growing fresh produce and feeding Maine’s hungry. The long-range vision for UMaine Extension at the farm is to offer expanded educational and cultural programs year-round for the public.

Since arriving at Tidewater Farm in 2011, UMaine Extension has worked closely with the Tidewater Conservation Foundation, local neighbors, town officials and organizations, such as Cultivating Community and the Center for African Heritage, to create an agricultural learning center offering popular gardening and horticulture programs throughout the growing season.

With the support of the Master Gardener volunteers, in collaboration with UMaine Extension staff, the gardens generated more than 500 pounds of fresh produce for area food pantries in the last growing season, with plans to increase that number in coming years. According to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, 23 percent of Maine’s children are food insecure, meaning they do not have enough food to eat on a regular basis. Educational programs at Tidewater Farm are part of UMaine Extension’s statewide Harvest for Hunger program that collects and distributes more than 209,000 pounds of fresh produce annually. A portion of that annual harvest is distributed to area food pantries and through the Good Shepherd Food Bank, one of UMaine Extension’s key partners in addressing hunger in Maine.

To become involved as a donor or volunteer at Tidewater Farm, contact the UMaine Cooperative Extension Office in Cumberland County, 207.781.6099. More information is online (extension.umaine.edu/cumberland).

Cooperative Extension Program Cited in Press Herald Column

April 26th, 2013 7:53 AM

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Harvest for Hunger program was mentioned in a recent “Food and Dining Dispatches” column for the Portland Press Herald. The program is seeking gardeners willing to plant an extra row of produce this year to donate to local soup kitchens and food pantries.

Newspaper Garden Feature Cites UMaine Extension Education Classes

October 25th, 2012 8:56 AM

A Lewiston Sun Journal feature article about a Jay middle school community gardening project to benefit a local food bank noted that a seventh-grader leading the project learned about gardening methods through University of Maine Cooperative Extension classes. The students donated more than 100 pounds of cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans and carrots from their school garden.

Maine Harvest for Hunger Conserves Resources – Helping Maine People and the Environment!

October 17th, 2012 11:36 AM

Maine Harvest for Hunger conserves resources - helping Maine people and the environment! Harvest for Hunger volunteers gather surplus produce  that would otherwise be fed to livestock, tilled in or  thrown out. This helps feed hungry Mainers and utilizes the nitrogen and water that was used to grow the food (numbers based on 2011 totals): 1,700 lbs nitrogen fertilizer; 244,000 lbs gleaned and surplus food; 2.3 million gallons H2O.

Extension Experts’ Comments in Charitable Gardening Report

September 24th, 2012 3:44 PM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension educators and garden specialists Barbara Murphy and Diana Hibbard were interviewed for a Portland-area KeepMECurrent news report on community gardens and UMaine Extension’s Harvest for Hunger program, which generated more than 293,000 pounds of produce for soup kitchens, homeless shelters and individuals last year.

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Newspaper Report on UMaine Extension Meeting with USDA Official

August 3rd, 2012 8:08 AM

Foster’s Daily Democrat reported on a meeting with Maine native, current U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon and University of Maine Cooperative Extension educators Barb Murphy and Frank Wertheim and others in the Partners for a Hunger-Free York County collaborative. They met in Alfred, Maine, to discuss efforts to end hunger in York County and how the USDA can help.

Harvest for Hunger Program Featured in Press Herald

May 30th, 2012 6:44 PM

In a story about employee-managed corporate gardens, the Portland Press Herald featured University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Harvest for Hunger program and UMaine Extension educator Barbara Murphy, who helps run the program. Murphy said hunger in Maine is usually represented by poor nutrition resulting from people not having the money to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, which is the niche Harvest for Hunger is trying to fill. The story also included a UMaine-produced video about the IDEXX Laboratories’ gardens.

Extension’s Rebar Op-Ed Extolls Program Benefits

April 3rd, 2012 8:27 AM

An opinion column in the weekend edition of the Bangor Daily News by University of Maine Cooperative Extension Director John Rebar discussed the resurgence of farming in Maine and the role UMaine Extension researchers play in helping farmers and food producers with the latest science-based advice and agricultural methodology, in addition to nutritional food choice options for the public. In the past decade, Rebar writes, Maine has seen the number of farms grow by 1,000 and 1.3 million acres are now in agricultural use.

Report on Teen Role in Harvest for Hunger

February 7th, 2012 9:55 AM

The Lewiston Sun Journal has a story about Trevor Doiron, a 13-year-old from Jay, who is starting a community garden and will eventually report the produce to Maine Harvest for Hunger, a program run by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The story noted that Doiron has met with Lauren St. Germain from UMaine Extension in Farmington, and St. Germain gave him tips on how where to solicit discounted materials and ideas about funding sources.