On Friday April 22nd, thirty volunteers came together to celebrate Earth Day at the Boyd Street Urban Farm in Portland. This event was a collaboration between the Maine Conservation Corps and Cultivating Community. The mission of Cultivating Community is to create and sustain greater access to healthy local foods. Their hope is to empower people to play a role in restoring the local sustainable food system.
Throughout the day, volunteers completed a variety of projects: creating pathways in the garden, mulching, trimming raspberry bushes, cleaning out the tool shed, painting signs, etc. There was plenty to do and luckily the rain held off! See a before and after picture of the garden below.
Kelley Reardon, an AmeriCorps Environmental Steward with the Maine Conservation Corps, coordinated this event with Cultivating Community. “I wanted to do an event with Cultivating Community because I think nutrition and sustainable food sources is crucial for any community. These gardens are a great way to bring people together. We all have something in common- we all need food. “
Starbucks and IDEXX employees were among the volunteer who attended. Kathi Shibles of Starbucks said “Our CEO, Howard Schulte, is amazing and believes giving back is more important than business. April is community service month, and Starbucks employees are attending thousands of community service events across the country. We enjoy taking care of people who take care of us.” June Hamlin of IDEXX said “IDEXX gives employees two give days. It is a great getting the chance to help, and have the support from your company to give back.” Thank you for choosing to spend your day with us!
Lily Chaleff is a Food Corps member serving with Cultivating Community. She focuses on school gardens and connecting youth with healthy food. She explained that the Boyd St Urban Farms supports the Youth Growers program during the summer. Youth Growers are high school students who help run the garden. They harvest the food and deliver it to the surrounding elderly community. She was excited to see so many volunteers come out to help get the garden ready for the season. “So many people have come ready to work. Everyone was invested mentally and ready to make the garden the best version of itself”
The Corporation for National and Community Service’s monthly theme for April is Environmental Stewardship. To Kelley Reardon, “environmental stewardship means helping to cultivate an appreciation of nature and conservation in your community and within yourself. It is working towards creating a more sustainable environment for the future.” After today’s event, we hope people will be inspired to become environmental stewards in their own community.