My ordinary day changed! August 04 2016, 0 Comments
I was asked by the Portland Co-op to bring our beautiful iced tea to a co-op sponsored event. Ordinary day for me so far. I made iced organic Rosie Tea for the occasion. A nice hibiscus and rosehip (fruity) blend – a sure crowd pleaser.
I put Frith Farm (not a spelling issue – it is Frith!) into my GPS and started the 1.5 hours to Scarborough, Maine. Still an ordinary day. I love to drive with the radio on – and me singing. Still ordinary!
The minute I arrived at Frith Farm in Scarborough, I knew my ordinary day was going to change. At this point, I didn’t know how, but just that it was something with the people and the farm itself. It was simple, beautiful, serene, and earthy - a huge step away from busyness.
Frith Farm’s mission is to build soil, increase biodiversity, and strengthen community through the growing of wholesome food.
Five women were on the agenda to speak on the topic of, “How community connections can bridge gaps in food security and increase access to healthy, local food for all.” Full organizations and missions at the end of blog.
Then a tour of the Farm was on the agenda. I am not an “outdoors / in the garden” type of gal. I am a “in the kitchen after the veggies are all cleaned and time for me to creatively cook them” type of gal. I do not like the heat, sun, or bugs! At all!
But as you will see from the rest of this blog – something changed in me – that very day, in that simple barn – with five women speakers – I went out to the fields and gleamed (harvested) spinach for the food insecure in Maine. Bugs, heat, sun and all!
A person is considered food insecure if they lack access to enough food to ensure adequate nutrition.
According to the Good Shepard Food Bank, many Mainers have been hard hit by the recent recession. The USDA estimates that 15 percent of Maine households, or more than 200,000 Mainers, are food insecure.
This is the statistic that got me: In Maine, CHILD food insecurity rate is 23.9% or nearly 1 in every 4 CHILDREN are food insecure. That is saying, 62,810 CHILDREN in Maine are not getting feed properly or are hungry.
While working at Xerox in Lewiston, I worked closely with the United Way. Our call center held food drives for the food pantry. One Friday afternoon, I mentioned to the United Way Director how excited I was for the needed three day weekend; she smiled but let me know these long weekends were sad for her because some of the children were going home from school on Friday afternoon and would have little to nothing to eat until they returned to school on Tuesday. Ouch that hurt! I was thinking of rest, while children were thinking about how to get food to ward off hunger.
My mother was hungry, during periods of her childhood. She knows first-hand what being without food is like. We were raised to clean our plates. I remember not wanting to eat certain foods or feeding them to the dog when no one was looking. I understand her clean plate theory now.
The speakers were passionate about feeding Maine people that were food insecure healthy options. They are women making a difference in our communities. They spoke from the heart. They were educated and wanted to partner with other organizations to ensure there were no gaps in feeding Maine people. So impressive!
After they spoke, feeling total inspired and empowered, I quickly got my harvesting knife and headed to the spinach rows to cut the spinach for the South Portland Food Cupboard.
Not once did I feel the sun or swat any bugs. I was driven. I wanted to help. I was proud. I imaged the mothers taking home the fresh spinach and deciding how to prepare it for their families. Huge clear bags were filled to the brim with fresh cut spinach! Blessed!
There are so many ways to help in our own communities. Let’s get involved. Let’s show our children that we care. Let us help mothers feed their children!
P.S. We will be working with Frith Farm for our Echinacea and Elderberry for our Hug in a Mug Tea - so excited!
Organizations with speakers:
Frith Farm is a diversified Organic farm on 14 acres in Scarborough, Maine. 2016 will be our sixth season in operation, offering organic vegetables and pasture raised eggs, chicken, lamb, pork, and turkeys.
The Portland Food Co-op brings local producers and consumers together in a member-owned marketplace to grow a healthier community and a more sustainable food system. We model cooperative values, operate with transparency, and foster trusting relationships with our customers, employees, and suppliers.
Maine Farmland Trust – We are a member-powered statewide organization that protects farmland, supports farmers, and advances the future of farming.
Locker Project - The mission of the Locker Project is to connect food-insecure children in Maine with nourishing food to improve their learning capacity, health, and future.
South Portland Food Cupboard - The South Portland Food Cupboard is dedicated to alleviating hunger by providing supplemental food to the needy of South Portland, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, and surrounding communities. We strive to offer nutritious foods, provide a full week’s worth of meals for each family once per month, serve with compassion and caring, treat each client with respect while bringing hope and encouragement to their lives, and educate our clients about other available community resources.
Preble Street - The mission of Preble Street is to provide accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty, and to advocate for solutions to these problems.