A Healthy Environment

Students work to assemble a hoop house at the Roberts Farm Preserve in Norway, Maine

 Students work to assemble a hoop house at the Roberts Farm Preserve in Norway. Photo courtesy of MSAD 17

After reading a newspaper article stating that one in five Oxford Hills families faces food insecurity, three groups pooled their resources to address hunger and provide education in food production through a self-sustaining, long-term project. The Roberts Farm Initiative, a student-run farm, is a collaboration between MSAD 17, the Western Foothills Land Trust, and University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Not only did the students get hands-on education, they learned about sustainable agriculture, farm-to-school programs, and local food security issues. In 2011, the farm donated about 25,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to Maine’s Harvest for Hunger. A grant from MaineCF’s Oxford County Fund enabled the group to purchase the materials needed to make their gardens flourish.

Other Ways the Community Foundation is Working For a Healthy Environment

  • In partnership with the Maine Philanthropy Center, the community foundation oversees the innovative Environmental Funders Network. The network’s goal is to help to identify and create ways to improve and sustain Maine’s natural environment. In 2009, the network launched its Quality of Place Initiative, whose goal is to support projects that strengthen the link between the natural and built environments, emphasize public engagement, and help public and private sector organizations build and sustain collaborations that preserve Maine's unique quality of place. Since then, the network has made more than $1 million in grants to organizations throughout the state of Maine.
  • The Maine Community Foundation provides grant support to address environmental issues in Maine using a range of resources including designated, agency, and donor-advised funds. Since 1990, the community foundation's Fund for Maine Land Conservation has been helping land trusts be more effective in their services.

To learn more about how the Maine Community Foundation is working to build a healthy environment and how you can support this work, contact Ellen Pope by e-mail or by phone, toll-free, at 877-700-6800.

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