From the director:
Lots to Gardens works to create change in the Lewiston, Maine, community by growing food where it is needed, with the people that need it. We help people grow their own food, provide alternative access to fresh food, and involve youth and community members as leaders. We believe bringing together people from diverse ages and backgrounds is essential to effective community organizing. Our gardeners range from ages 3 to over 70, and come from many different races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. Through our work, families and youth develop skills and build power for lifelong and community-wide change.
In 2011, Lots to Gardens supported almost 100 community gardeners and more than 30 youth gardeners in growing food for their families. In addition to learning how to grow food for themselves and their community, youth participate in peer-led life-skills and community-change workshops that focus on leadership development, hunger, food systems, the affects of oppression, job preparedness, the effects of tobacco, and healthy cooking and nutrition.
Lots to Gardens is a program of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.
I have been working with Lots to Gardens for the past 15 months. Through the program, I have increased my leadership skills, my awareness of how food injustice can cause me health problems, and my interest in food justice, farming, and making new friends. I’ve learned the qualities of a good leader and how to meet that standard personally.
I’ve also changed my habit of eating unhealthy food – I now eat more healthy food that will keep me active and in shape. I learned how to make my own garden and I know the things I need to consider when starting a new garden. I learned about the elements that can be added to the soil to keep it healthy and productive for the plants. I’ve also learned how to plan and lead workshops, and how to communicate with others in a healthy, clear way, to ensure that they can understand me.
Finally, as a youth intern at Lots to Gardens, I’ve learned how to help my community, many of whom are food insecure, by sharing the knowledge I’ve gained about planting food. Now, many of my neighbors plant food for themselves and their families so that they no longer suffer from hunger.
-Abdikadir Ismail, 16 years old
Lots to Gardens, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center
P.O. Box 7291
Lewiston, ME 04243