Wow wow wow! This is such an inspiring story! What an amazing collaboration of passionate kids, the Maine Master Gardeners, and Zach’s Farm! From seacoastonline.com:
“Carly Osgood, 12, plants broccoli Sunday at Zach’s Farm participating in the annual Coastal Clovers 4H Club’s garden. This is the third year for the garden project which has produced 7000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables for local food pantries. Amy Root-Donle photo”
YORK, Maine — Dylan Munn and Zoe Bardwell, ages 12 and 10, said their favorite part about planting vegetables and fruits Sunday afternoon was enjoying the sun and helping people in need.
Bardwell and Munn are two of 15 children who are active participants in the Coastal Clovers 4-H Club — a club that has donated blankets to the homeless, sent cookies to soldiers in Iraq, and is now planting an array of fresh produce at Zach’s Farm on Colby Turner Road to supply the Good Shepherd Food-Bank, York County Food Bank and South Berwick Community Food Pantry. The club’s goal is to help eliminate hunger in York and its surrounding areas. The club has been planting for the community for three years.
Russell Osgood, leader of the Coastal Clovers, thinks it will be pretty hard to surpass last year’s harvest of 3,996 pounds, but the club is going to try. Osgood said that the kids’ goal is to produce approximately 2,000 pounds of winter squash.
“Ultimately we want to provide the best quality produce for people who need it,” Osgood said, stressing that quantity isn’t the club’s only aim this year.
Last year the club regretfully lost some tomatoes to blight, according to York County master gardener Pam Carr. Carr said they hope to avoid those sorts of setbacks this year.
Carr, alongside fellow master gardener Maureen Brydon, has played an integral role in educating members of the Coastal Clovers about planting and harvesting fresh produce.
“In the winter, the kids were taught about the different types of food they could plant,” said Osgood. “From there, the kids made decisions about what they wanted to plant and how much.”
The kids chose to plant celery, cucumbers, summer squash, peppers, a row of 400 sweet potatoes and countless other fruits and vegetables. Yet, for the Coastal Clovers kids, this is only beginning of a long journey — a five-month journey to be exact.
Towards the end of June, the Coastal Clovers kids will come to Zach’s Farm each Wednesday to maintain and harvest their crops to ensure their quality.
“There will be a lot of weeding and watering of the plants,” said Osgood.
The whole process will finally end in October when all the produce will be distributed to food banks. Since it began three years ago, the club has produced over 7,000 pounds of food. This year will make for a good addition to that number.