As temperatures warm, Twin Villages Foodbank Farm (TVFF) in Damariscotta is preparing for its fifth season of growing fresh food for donation to area food pantries and other programs. Demand is expected to be higher than usual during this time of uncertainty and change, when many families in our community are already feeling the impact of lost wages.
TVFF is the largest source of fresh vegetables for Lincoln County’s hunger relief partners, which include food pantries in Wiscasset, Waldoboro, Whitefield, New Harbor, Damariscotta/Newcastle, Boothbay Harbor and Jefferson as well as several youth programs. However, while the farm has depended on hundreds of volunteers each season, current restrictions mean the farm’s workforce is now reduced to just a few people.
In response, farm directors Sara Cawthon and Meg Taft are reorganizing the farm’s growing and distribution systems, putting some mechanization in place to ensure that the small farm crew can meet the community’s increased needs.
Cawthon and Taft have already started over 20,000 seedlings. This represents an increase in production of fresh vegetables including beets, carrots, cabbage, onions, lettuce, sweet peppers and broccoli.
According to Taft, much of the statewide distribution of food is moving towards pre-boxed, shelf stable products. In light of this trend, she believes the fresh produce from TVFF will be even more important this year. To meet the demand in Lincoln County, Taft projects the farm will need to grow over 50,000 pounds of fresh food this season while sourcing another 10,000 pounds of food from local growers at its food storage hub at Coastal Rivers’ Round Top Farm.
TVFF started farming two acres of fallow land owned by Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust five years ago, producing 20,000 pounds of food in 2015. The farm has since increased to three acres of land with 60,000 pounds of food grown and aggregated. Taft attributes the farm’s success to generous financial and volunteer support from the community.
The farm receives fiscal and administrative support from its partner Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust. Formerly Damariscotta River Association and Pemaquid Watershed Association, Coastal Rivers is a non-profit, membership supported, and nationally accredited land trust and conservation organization dedicated to conserving wild places, creating and maintaining trails and public access, promoting water quality, and providing nature education in the Damariscotta-Pemaquid region.