ORONO- It’s a win-win situation at the Orono Community Gardens, where members of the community have spent all summer learning how to organically garden.
But while the volunteers walked away with the gift of knowledge, senior citizens got to enjoy some freshly grown food…
“It started when it started because we wanted to get people involved in sustainable food production, and over time for cooperative extension, food systems and improving interest in local foods, growing our own local foods has become a very important part of what we do…” said John Jemison of the UMaine Cooperative Extension.
So the University of Maine Cooperative Extension has taken this passion and worked to involve as many people as possible…
“It gets people thinking what can we do with these foods, and it makes it more common to do it, which i think will be beneficial in the end,” said Jemison.
This year marks the 11th season that Professor Jemison has put together a group to experience organic gardening- start to finish.
“Going into the dirt, pulling out vegetables, getting things cut and clipped and just prepared and washed, so it’s really just a practical knowledge. It’s the in between from the field to the table,” said Jeremy McAdams, a volunteer.
But after the lesson is over, Jemison says there are thousands of pounds of vegetables- far too many for the group to eat on their own.
So each week during the summer months, they bring bags of produce to senior citizens.
“Oh, it’s so great. I love fresh vegetables. I used to have my own garden but then I got so I couldn’t do it anymore and having this is wonderful. I look forward to it every week,” said Ruth Randall, a vegetable recepient.
Bags of various veggies are brought to three housing developments- feeding nearly 60 people each week. Inside each bag is an envelope with recipes using the bag ingredients.
This week, the final week of the season, was root veggie week- onions, squash, carrots, beets, onions, and more. But aside from the opportunity to enjoy the food, the recipients also enjoy the company.
“I’ve had one, I’ve seen him and talked with him. He says that I get so excited. Oh yes! I do get so excited! I do get excited because it’s nice fresh vegetables,” said Randall.
For more information on how you can get involved, click HERE.