Standing in his vegetable garden nearest Route 218 Friday morning, Alna farmer Tom Albee said what he was seeing was outstanding: Juniper Hill School students, staff and parents and other community members giving their time and hands to harvest the last of this year’s vegetables.
Unlike the vegetables that had gone in his roadside stand and elsewhere, these were not for sale, but to give away.
Albee decided to do again what he did several years ago, donate vegetables to area food banks. They will go to ones in Whitefield and Damariscotta-Newcastle, he said. Looking around at the children and adults working together to pull the remaining crop from the earth, he said of the harvesting, “It’s doing the kids good. It’s doing me good. It’s doing everybody good. I have more here than I can use, there are lot of people who can use it, and I am more than willing to share the bounty that I have.”
Each student attending from the non-profit school also got a bag to fill with vegetables to take home. Kindergartner Brady Powell, 5, said he doesn’t like beets but eats them sometimes, and he eats carrots.
“I got new boots,” he said, looking down. Nearby were sister Azalea, 3, a preschooler or “seed” at the school, and their mother Christina Powell, who teaches first grade at Juniper Hill. As a parent and a teacher, she said it was great to see her children and the others involved the community. “And they’re seeing how they can help. It’s a great community project,” she said.
“It’s great,” said Roger Perry of Georgetown, taking part with sons Spencer, 7, a second grader, and Micah, 5, a kindergartner.
The Nov. 3 visit had been planned as a field trip for a school day, to connect with students’ learning that also involves a school garden and the theme of giving Director Anne Stires said is part of the school throughout the year. Then the Oct. 29-30 storm took down trees at the Golden Ridge Road school and on the road, and deforested the property’s northeastern ridge, Stires said. Power and school were out all week; Stires said her family, students’ families and others had been working hard at cleanup. School reopened Monday, Nov. 6, thanks to that effort, Stiles said Monday night.
She said the visit to Albee’s farm accomplished the planned lesson in harvesting and helping the community, but as a result of the storm, it also became a chance for the children to be together as students again.