A community driven by planting, watering, weeding, bug-patrolling, harvesting, and donating; the Growing to Give farm in Brunswick lies at the junction of people and food. “It’s so inspiring to see how other people respond to what we’re doing,” said the farm’s director, Patty Carton. “There are so many good-hearted people out there that want to participate in whatever way they can.”
Covering just under an acre, Growing to Give was founded in 2017 and currently employs four part-time workers. The farm brings in hundreds of volunteers each season.
On Tuesday morning, with soil buried under their fingernails, it was just another day for some of these volunteers and employees who eagerly spread out across the farm, harvesting fresh cabbage and taking on other tasks necessary to keep the farm going.
The organization’s mission is to address food insecurity by providing healthy, organic produce to elderly housing, food pantries, and other entities across three different counties in the state. Growing to Give also looks to combat climate change by using climate-friendly agricultural practices.
Since being founded, the non-profit has provided over 50,000 pounds of fresh produce — cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, lettuce, spinach and more — to Maine residents. In 2021, the farm is using a new expansion for the first time, which Carton hopes will bring the total produce for this year to between 20,000 and 24,000 pounds.
Others at the farm on Tuesday included two Bowdoin College summer interns, Tucker Ellis and Paul Wang, who divide time on the farm between doing research and work.
“Having the opportunity to participate on this farm has really made me come in touch with how much effort goes into creating sustainable agriculture,” Wang said. “This farm has really helped me see that – see a bigger picture and really value farmers and how important they are to our daily survival.”
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