A new approach to bringing more food to needy families is expanding, and gaining national exposure. The Catholic Charities farm project is doing just that.
With machete’s in hand, volunteers from the Loring Job Corps Honor Guard turned up to harvest Turnips, at the Catholic Charities Farm.
Program Director Dixie Shaw says, “we’re harvesting our Rutabagas, and I’m excited about that because that’s a big crop and it’s an abundant crop and we’re looking at a very very plentiful harvest today.”
The “Farm for ME” Field only grows organic crops and is run and maintained by Catholic Charities staff along with the help of volunteers.
Shaw, “we’ve been picking things out of this field starting with beet greens, because we planted beets because we knew that we can get two harvests off them, one – the beets themselves, and then also the beet greens.”
Those beets and beet greens were delivered to the 25 food pantries Catholic Charities serves, and the Turnips will follow. The first load was immediately taken away after being filled while harvesting was taking place Monday morning.
Shaw says, “as we are harvesting them, they will taken up to Northern Girl, where they will be graded, and they will be processed, sliced – diced and washed and packaged, and ready for us to distribute throughout the winter months.”
Catholic Charities was of one of the lucky food pantries to receive a grant from the Walmart Foundation to make the project possible.
The land in Presque Isle was donated by Martie and James Pritchard and seeds provided by Johnny’s Select Seeds.
The project has even landed Catholic Charities in a national magazine, “Charities USA.””
Dixie Shaw was actually asked to go to San Francisco to talk about the success of “farm for ME.” The Magazine features Catholic Charities of Maine for their efforts to expand access to healthy and affordable food. Now by growing their own, they plan to expand the farm with more crops to be harvested.