USM Community Garden
In 2008 a small group of motivated students transformed an abandoned playground into a garden space for the USM community. The "USM Garden Club" was launched; the students fundraised money to build 28 raised beds. By 2012 many of the original student garden leaders graduated. The garden began to loose momentum.
Tyler Kidder - Assistant Director for Sustainable Programs at USM and Jocylin Egan, a 28 year old sophomore nursing student with experience on organic farms, saw potential for the garden to flourish in serving both USM and the wider southern Maine community. In the spring of 2013 Egan and Kidder proposed that the USM Garden Club transition its status to a position of oversight through the USM Office of Sustainability. The club members voted unanimously in support of the transition. Today Jocylin Egan is the garden’s coordinator (made possible by Federal Work Study).
During the 2013 season we grew vegetables for the Wayside Food Program (see http://www.waysidemaine.org/), a local non-profit that distributes and prepares food for over 40 food pantries and shelters in Cumberland County. Egan organized and hosted spring and autumn sheet mulching workshops putting into practice low-input permaculture methods. For all workshops we routinely use ingredients such as ethically gathered seaweed from local beaches, dried leaves and coffee grounds sourced from USM dining services. In 2014 we will continue to contribute to Portland's sustainable gardening knowledge through hands-on workshops open to all and we will resume growing produce for Wayside Food Programs.
Our project goals this year include the construction of several hoop houses for season extension. We also plan to launch an heirloom seed library seeking to preserve Maine's agricultural biodiversity. We will provide access to seeds to low-income individuals in southern Maine; seed packets will also be available to USM students and community gardeners.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA