After two full growing seasons, Twin Villages Foodbank Farm (TVFF) in Damariscotta is ready to expand its capacity to grow and deliver fresh food to food pantries and other programs in Lincoln County.
TVFF partners with DRA, using organic growing practices on two acres of land located at DRA’s Great Salt Bay Farm.
Last year, with support from the community and help from hundreds of student volunteers, the farm grew and delivered nutrient-rich vegetables to food pantries in Newcastle, Boothbay, Wiscasset, Jefferson, Waldoboro and Whitefield, as well as Newcastle Head Start and Wiscasset High School.
This year, TVFF plans to grow and distribute over 40,000 pounds of produce to seven Lincoln County food pantries and additional area youth programs, including the Waldoboro Head Start program and the CLC-YMCA summer and after school snack programs. This amounts to an increase of 10,000 pounds over last year’s harvest.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Maine now ranks seventh in the nation and first in New England for food insecurity, and many pantries are seeing an increase in need this winter. To meet demand in Lincoln County, TVFF’s expansion plans include improving farm infrastructure this season.
A centrally located storage hub is currently under construction in the basement of Darrows Barn at DRA’s Round Top Farms, which will provide the necessary space for the farm as well as for food pantries in need of additional storage space. Some pantries do not have the means to store fresh foods, while others operate out of small-scale refrigerators and freezers, with minimal dry storage space. This results in the need to turn away food that cannot be stored.
The hub at Darrows Barn will accommodate two walk-in coolers as well as space to receive, store and distribute fresh produce. The hub will also serve as storage space for donated food from other farms and groups such as the Midcoast Gleaners, a new group of volunteers who work with area farms to harvest food that would otherwise go to waste.
Additionally, TVFF has received a grant from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to build a passive solar hoop house, as well as funding to extend irrigation to all fields at DRA’s Great Salt Bay Farm.
The farm operates through donated Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. This variation on the CSA model allows individuals, families and businesses to purchase a symbolic farm share which will then be donated to Lincoln County pantries and programs.
The TVFF model relies on support from the local community to ensure that all Lincoln County residents have access to high quality food to feed their families. Sponsored farm shares are available for purchase at different levels with additional information online at twinvillagesfarm.org.