Franklin Countys First News

The Garden Angel Project: Bringing sustainable food options to low-income residents

The Garden Angel Project helps low-income residents and senior citizens access sustainable food and learn how to garden.

FARMINGTON - A program through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is available to low-income households and senior citizens that is not only promoting the habit of gardening, but is putting food on participants' tables.

The Garden Angel project, developed in 2012, aims to help provide sustainable food those who may be in need while at the same time teaching participants how to cultivate, grow and harvest fresh vegetables from their own backyards. The program started with only five recipients, who received growing containers for their deck or porch, and has expanded over the years to include 30 households scattered all throughout Franklin County.

Initially the program focused on helping senior citizens access garden space by raising the containers up to a comfortable height. But since then, it has evolved to include people of all ages and to encourage participants to leave the program for more independent gardening if able.

"The goal is to get people to learn how to garden and then out on their own to do it themselves," Program Organizer Linda Gramlich said.

Gramlich recalled one woman in the program who ended up inspiring her daughter as well as her granddaughter to participate. Now all three of the women plant and grow their own gardens without the help of Garden Angels.

The program is run completely by volunteers who review applications, deliver the containers, soil and seeds, and routinely check in on the gardeners throughout the growing season. At the end of the season, the containers and sometimes even the soil, are collected for storage and redistribution the next year.

Each participant has the freedom to choose what they would like to grow and has access to professional gardeners with the knowledge of the specific plant. The volunteer "garden angels" cover everything from pest control to container layout, all free of cost.

For more information on the Garden Angel Project, contact Linda Gramlich at 778-3156. Interested participants, whether recipients or volunteers, are invited to attend the season's first meeting of the 2018 season at the Cooperative Extension Office in Farmington on Thursday, April 5 at 10:00 a.m.

The Garden Angel Project is made by possible by the UMaine Cooperative Extension, E. L. Vining and Sons, Inc., Whitehill Farm, Robin’s Flower Pot, Farmington Farmers Union True Value Hardware, Hammond Lumber, Valley Brook Sawmill, Reny’s and John Perry.

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3 Responses »

  1. What a positive! Wonderful to see a community come together to help each other. I love Farmington!

  2. Such an important resource for FOOD! Ditto to what Beanie said.

    Many thanks again to all those private and business supporters of this program.

  3. We have much to be proud of around here!