March 19, 2023

Bringing Food Home

Calling all Gardeners! By: Jess Breithaupt

This week’s column is for all the gardeners out there, especially those who love to grow for their friends and neighbors. Do you get excited for seedlings and Moose Crossing’s opening day, or spend your time dreaming about bulk seed orders? There is no judgment here; in fact, I want you to join my club, so bear with me while I form my pitch.

At Healthy Lincoln County, we supply food for free share tables across the county, local food pantries, childcares, and other spots. The share tables are located at libraries, hospitals, even outside of a thrift store. Having a wide variety of different vegetables and herbs to offer people is our goal for the upcoming growing season.

Last summer, I got a few calls from folks that had more tomatoes, chard, and kale than they knew what to do with, especially towards the end of the season. It only happened a few times, but my team of volunteers made skillful use of the donations, no matter how big or small. This spring and summer, I’m hoping to harness the power of backyard growers in Lincoln County, so we can offer more food to people in need.

We have a program called Grow-A-Row for Hunger, and we’re launching it over the next few months. The premise is simple; grow an extra row or just an extra plant this gardening season and donate the fruits or vegetables from that row or plant to our programs. We will even supply you with seeds and seedlings, a gardening guide, and advice.

One of my favorite Grow-A-Row donations last year came from a woman whose herb garden had gotten out of control. She brought in a few grocery bags worth of thyme, rosemary, oregano, lavender, and dill. She only donated once that season, but we made sure those herbs went a long way, by separating and packaging them up for all of our share tables.

Donating food to our Grow-A-Row program is simple; you can leave it in a cooler at our Damariscotta location, or you can stop in at the Community Food Hub during certain hours each week and hand it over to a volunteer. If you have a lot of food, we’ll even pick it up from you directly.

Anyone can sign up to be a part of this. You are not expected to donate every week; in fact, we will gladly accept one-time donations. We encourage new growers to sign up and see whether their thumb is green. There is nothing to lose except for a little bit of time in the garden!

To get started, please email our lead volunteer for this project, Debbie, at:, or via phone at 207-380-0526. She will let you know what types of seeds and seedlings we have available and will get your starter kit ready for you.

Back to the blog