County Ag Report: Farmers’ Market Season & Community Programs
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -
[Deena Albert Parks | Chairperson, Presque Isle Farmers’ Market]
“We have so many regulars that come every single week. It’s always fun to come down and see what’s new and exciting that day, and what do we have to offer.”
Deena Albert Parks, Chairperson for the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market, describes the joy and excitement felt by many, especially with the upcoming opening of Market Days this weekend. Several local Farmers’ Markets, including Presque Isle, will feature once again this year the Maine Harvest Bucks program – which works directly with SNAP and EBT to provide additional nutritious options and foods to market visitors.
“We’re fortunate to still partner with Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets to offer Maine Harvest Bucks to people of low-income families that qualify. They come and spend money off their EBT card. So, maybe they buy meat and bread, spend ten dollars. Then they qualify for 50-percent of the amount they spent back in vouchers that go towards purchasing future fruits and vegetables. So, we’re pretty excited to keep working with this program and see it grow.”
Another program returning this year is The Buckets to Healthy Soil Campaign, which collects food scraps from market visitors and turns it into compost, more largely benefitting local residents, farmers, and the County community.
“In conjunction with the Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District they collect your used kitchen waste – and you bring in your used bucket, and they will give you a fresh, clean, sterilized bucket to use for the next week. They take all that kitchen waste and they compost it. And that composted material, what they’re doing is growing food for Catholic Charities of Maine and the Good Shephard Food Bank. And that all trickles back down to our community. So, it’s a pretty exciting thing. So, if we can keep kitchen food waste out of our landfills, and by composting it, and then reusing it to make healthy soil – I mean it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Lastly, Deena mentions the benefit of stopping by the Farmers’ Market to continually grow and nurture our community, and its deeply-rooted connections between County residents and farmers.
“Yeah, come chat with us. Let’s talk about recipes, how to grow things, you know, seedlings. We have a lot of knowledge we can share with people, and you know, how people share their knowledge with us. But it’s going to be a fun and exciting season. And lots of interesting things going on. So, come out, support us!”
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