Grant Award to Expand Local Food Access and Awareness

Awarded annually, the Quimby Family Foundation invests in projects that grow human wholeness by fostering stronger relationships between people and nature. In December, the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) was awarded a Quimby Family Foundation grant for $15,000 to support the expansion of local food access and awareness programs.

Specifically, the grant award will support food collection efforts by the Merrymeeting Gleaners and educational programs at the LOCAL Garden in Bath and the Georgetown Central School in Georgetown.

The support of the Merrymeeting Gleaners, a project of the Merrymeeting Food Council, will provide capacity for a much-needed, paid coordinator position to organize volunteers and communicate with local farmers. Since 2016, the Merrymeeting Gleaners have focused on increasing the amount of nutritious produce available to food insecure individuals by harvesting surplus produce from nearby farms. In 2017, this all-volunteer group harvested over 22,400 lbs. of food for distribution to local organizations committed to fighting hunger and providing fresh food, many of which are located in KELT’s service region. If interested in volunteering with this active group, visit the Merrymeeting Gleaners on Facebook and email merrymeetinggleaners@gmail.com.

The grant award will also help support a wider array of programming at the LOCAL Garden (Leading Our Community in Agricultural Learning) in south Bath and at the school garden at the Georgetown Central School. Managed by KELT, the LOCAL Garden is primarily used as an outdoor classroom and produce grown is donated back to the surrounding community (1,187 lbs. in 2017). With the generous support of the Quimby Family Foundation, KELT’s goal is to make the garden an educational space for all ages in the Bath region. The land trust looks forward to facilitating more family and adult oriented workshops this year.

The Georgetown Central School’s garden also functions as an outdoor classroom in an effort to get students outside and reconnected with their food. The school will use funding to support their Garden Coordinator and make structural improvements to their well-utilized greenhouse.

KELT would like to thank The Quimby Family Foundation for their support of efforts to connect people with the outdoors and to increase fresh local food available in the Bath area. For more information about The Quimby Family Foundation go to http://quimbyfamilyfoundation.org/.