Garden to Table
Certified Kitchen - Greenhouse - Food Center
Alan Day Community Garden believes that everyone should have access to affordable and nutritious food. For over 10 years ADCG has demonstrated a commitment to youth empowerment, building community capacity, growing local food access, and addressing the root causes of hunger. Through years of providing fresh vegetables and cooking classes to our community, we understand that lack of cooking skills at home presents one of the main obstacles to community members accessing nutritious food. Working with a minimal cooking facility during the summer, we have positively impacted the lives of hundreds of people. Our new certified kitchen and greenhouse will allow us to operate year-round to integrate and enhance our current programs towards even greater positive impact and community resilience. This project will increase the amount of food available for families and cooking classes, and offer a safe and hygienic space for everyone to grow, learn, connect, and be nourished. We will grow more seedlings, expand SNAP-Ed family cooking classes, preserve harvests for future distribution, grow youth food entrepreneurs, prepare community meals, and offer more ready-to-eat foods at the Farmers’ Market. Join us in support of LD 1159 – Resolve to End Hunger in Maine by 2030 by helping to build this great community resource.
ADCG is actively committed to the Maine statewide goals as outlined in LD 1159 – Resolve to End Hunger in Maine by 2030: “The 2019 Maine Shared Community Health Needs Assessment State Report identified “Social Determinants of Health” as a priority for the first time in the collaborative’s history. Specifically, the final report describes food insecurity “as a significant concern, especially for youth, low-income families, and older adults.” The community members who raised this issue have witnessed what the research tells us: those with food insecurity are more likely to have hypertension, coronary heart disease, hepatitis, stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.”
Specifically, ADCG addresses the following issues, as outlined in LD 1159 – Resolve to End Hunger in Maine by 2030:
Ensure all people have consistent access to healthful, culturally appropriate food.
ADCG seeks to:
Increase participation in key federal nutrition programs by working to remove barriers, and enhancing outreach for programs such as: WIC, SNAP, School Nutrition, Maine Senior Farm Share Program, and the Child and Adult Food Program.
Encourage adult and child day programs to consider participating in federal nutrition Programs.
Increase farm participation in the Maine Senior FarmShare Program throughout the state to reach more seniors.
Address Emotional and Social Wellbeing
ADCG seeks to:
Bring the food pantry model to centers of opportunity that provide access to food, peer support, and skill development, including advocacy and empowerment, and policy (a community organizing model).
Develop “food resource centers” where people shop, making their own food
selections, and gain information about available resources.
Alan Day Community Garden
Current Food Programs
Prior to the Civil War (1861-1865) the typical meal was rarely eaten outside of the home, and the typical Maine home was a farm. Maine has a history of abundant food production and processing, and the health of communities depended on inherited knowledge to grow, preserve, and prepare food. These previously common skills continue to be lost as processed foods have flooded grocery stores and fast food restaurants have targeted advertising at vulnerable populations. The resulting rise in poor health outcomes is not only about a lack of food, but a loss of access to affordable and nutritious foods, and the knowledge to process and prepare healthy meals. Currently in Oxford County 13 % of households are food insecure 33% of adults are obese, and 61% Children are enrolled in Free or Reduced Lunch. For over 10 years ADCG has developed local food access programs to help improve health outcomes in the Western Foothills. Our Garden to Table program will weave our various programs together:
Youth Leadership Program- For years we have been working, playing, growing, and eating alongside our Youth Leaders, sharing valuable lifelong skills for self-reliance and success. Every day of the program, youth leaders, staff, and volunteers prepare and share a garden-fresh meal together. Learning about cooking and nutrition has dramatically improved the eating habits of many of our youth leaders, who are introduced to new foods for the first time and take recipes home for their families to try. Through experience, we believe that cooking skills should be an essential part of childhood education, to develop resilience, self-reliance, and healthy eating habits, while reducing diet-related illnesses.
Cooking/SNAP- SNAP-Ed, the educational programs of the SNAP benefit program, work to make every food dollar count by teaching shopping, food storage and cooking skills. Our SNAP-Ed Cooking Matters classes teach these essential life skills, create community resiliency, and work toward reducing food insecurity. “SNAP has many advantages over charitable food programs. It does not depend on a separate distribution system, people are able to access food at most any grocery outlet, and they are allowed the dignity to make their own food choices. SNAP has a significant impact on food insecurity, which can be complemented with education on budgeting, food purchasing, and cooking.” (LD 1159 – Resolve to End Hunger in Maine by 2030, pg 10)
Community Plots- We provide land access, gardening tools, education, and ongoing support to anyone who wants to grow food. We also install raised beds at schools, Early Learning Head Start sites, and at personal residences for those who prefer to garden at home.
Garden Share CSA Program- Our CSA program offers free and subsidized weekly shares of fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season, and provides local food access for those with limitations of time and resources. This program introduces participants to new varieties of produce and provides recipe suggestions.
Farmers’ Market- Throughout the summer our Community Farmers’ Market connects consumers with local farmers, while promoting food access to families with low-income. Food is offered on a donation basis, and can be purchased using SNAP and Maine Harvest Bucks incentives. We offer ready-to-eat meals during the Market to demonstrate the use of fresh, local ingredients. At the Market we work to increase participation in key federal nutrition programs by working to remove barriers, and enhancing outreach for programs such as SNAP, Harvest Bucks, School Nutrition,and Maine Senior Farm Share Program. The Market is a great example of bringing the food pantry model to a center of opportunity that provides access to food, peer support, and skill development, including advocacy and empowerment. The Market provides common ground for community members to engage, reducing isolation and disconnection, which are identified as root causes of poor health outcomes in Oxford County.
Community Meals- We believe that teaching valuable lifelong skills as part of an inclusive community project has a greater long-term positive outcome than charity models that now proliferate communities across the U.S. However, there’s nothing like providing a community meal that brings people together to share stories, build community bonds, and find common ground. In 2020, we served hundreds of meals to our community and delivered to the homes of those who were unable to come to the garden. Once the pandemic is over, we look forward to hosting even bigger celebrations of local food and community.
The legacy, in honor of Alan Day, in the Western Foothills has grown over the past 10 years into a valuable community resource that serves hundreds of people each year. Alan Day, a man dedicated to building a more beautiful and equitable world, would be incredibly proud of the achievements at ADCG over the last 10 years. In the face of the unprecedented sorrow and adversity of 2020 Alan Day Community Garden rallied to work harder toward a brighter future of food equity, youth empowerment, ecological justice, and modeling how we as individuals and as a community can take local action to address global issues. In 2021 ADCG is ready to take the next steps in forwarding this vision and increasing the organization's capacity and impact. Building a certified kitchen and greenhouse addition onto the existing barn will allow year-round work, season extension and increased food production, and enhanced cooking programming capacity for SNAP-Ed, our Youth Leadership Program, and our community. Please join us in support of this exciting project that is essential in building community resilience, training our future leaders, and improving health outcomes in Oxford County.
Over the next 8 months we will raise a total of $175,000 to make this dream become a reality. We have already hired an architect to work with the community to complete the site plan, so all money raised will go directly into building costs. Please make a contribution today and become a part of this essential and exciting community project. You are welcome to reach out to me directly at 207-346-0708 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADCG Executive Director
Testimonials from ADCG Program Participants:
“I really enjoyed taking the family cooking class at Alan Day. It was a wonderful way for my husband and I, and 2 daughters to meet other families and learn new recipes and cooking hacks. It was a great family bonding experience as well. I'm so excited to hear their vision to expand their cooking area.”
- Debbie Riley, Cooking Matters Class
“We took a family cooking class at the garden a few summers ago. We had a great time! We were a bit limited with an actual stove and oven, but we would definitely like to do it again!”
- Kelly Margolin, Cooking Matters Class
“The community garden is a refuge in nature. It’s a place where I can connect with people who care about things that are important to me and get away from the stresses of school and Facebook.”
-Avery, age 15, Youth Leader
“I came to the community garden pre-diabetic and was spending much of my time on the couch watching TV and eating chips. Being at the garden I discovered I liked to eat fresh vegetables and exercise and my mind and emotions became clearer. Now I work out, eat healthier and have a job. I am proud of serving the community.”
- Frankie, age 14, Youth Leader
“You get to know people, work and make meals together; It’s like a family.”
- Paul, age 17, Youth Leader
Community Partner Testimonials:
"The 4-H program has been a collaborative partner for a number of years because the Alan Day Community Garden is a health and wellness program at its best. The focus on teaching young people how to grow healthy whole foods is an excellent way to get children and teens to eat healthy and care about where their food comes from. 4-H is all about youth leadership and service-learning, the Alan Day Garden is a true example of a giving back to the community through growing healthy foods with respect to the environment."
- Susan Jennings, Maine 4-H Foundation Director
“Over the past several years we’ve been proud to partner with the Alan Day Community Garden in work to improve the health and wellbeing of local people. This work has included supporting efforts to improve access to fresh, healthy produce at schools and early childhood education sites, youth mentoring and empowerment through the Youth Leadership Program, and developing the garden as an inclusive, welcoming space for all. Community members have told us that isolation and disconnection are getting in the way of health, and the ADCG is actively working against those challenges by emphasizing the community in the Community Garden, and creating a space where both healthy food and healthy relationships are grown.”
-Brendan Schauffler, Oxford County Wellness Collaborative Network Facilitator
“ I teach some of my Snap-Ed cooking classes there, under the pavilion. Jeff is on the Buildings and Grounds team. Together we have had a garden share, a garden plot, helped build the pizza oven, and cooked pizzas at the Community Market. Being a part of ADCG has rooted us in this wonderful community.”
- Holly Stuhr, Healthy Oxford Hills Community Nutrition Educator and ADCG Board Member.
“The Alan Day Community Garden has grown to become such an important community resource since its soils were first tilled back in 2009. Beyond being a place for people to grow nutritional vegetables, fruits and herbs, the garden has become a center for education, leadership development, culture, art and agricultural commerce with a focus on diversity and inclusion. The value that the ADCG and its Board, staff and volunteers bring to this community can simply be measured as “priceless”, which is a reason why it’s worth my time to try to help.”
- Brian Shibles, CFO Norway Savings Bank, ADCG Development Team