Are you interested in growing fresh fruit and vegetables? There are several ways you can access land and resources for a garden in, or near, Portland. Cultivating Community is a food-based, local nonprofit and is currently signing people up for several programs.
If you live in Portland, you can sign up for a piece of land at a City of Portland community garden. A community garden is a large garden divided into smaller areas. Anyone who lives in Portland can rent an area of land about the size of a parking space where you can plant, take care of, and harvest what you choose to grow. There are tools, running water, and free seeds. How much you pay to rent the garden space depends on your income and the size of the garden space.The minimum cost is $15 for one year. There are eleven of these community gardens in all different neighborhoods, so there is probably one close to where you live. If you are interested in growing food on a bigger piece of land, there is a farm in Falmouth called Hurricane Valley Farm, about twenty minutes from downtown Portland, where you can rent a larger piece of land. In addition to space for growing vegetables, there are honey bees, chickens, and fruit trees that gardeners take care of.
At Hurricane Valley Farm you receive training and land to grow and sell vegetables as a business. If you have experience as a farmer, this program offers resources to transition your skills to the particular climate, regulations, benefits and challenges of growing and selling vegetables in Maine.
Taking care of a garden does take time and commitment. Visiting the garden every week from May through October is critical to keep the plants healthy and productive. However, all the time and hard work pays off when you taste a fresh tomato or bean you grew yourself!
For more information or to sign up for one of these programs, please contact Cultivating Community at (207) 761-4769 ext. 855 or stop by their office at 62 Elm Street, Portland Maine.