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Your extra garden veggies can help feed hungry Mainers

Every year, Healthy Acadia’s Downeast Gleaning Initiative partners with dozens of farmers to harvest and give extra produce to food pantries.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — It’s that time of year when your backyard garden may be producing more produce than you know what to do with. But there's a program in Downeast Maine that wants to turn your excess food into meals for those in need.

Since 2013, Healthy Acadia’s Downeast Gleaning Initiative has partnered with local farmers to harvest and provide extra produce to food pantries.

“Across Hancock and Washington counties, we partner with about 50 farms and gardens," Rachel Emus, Healthy Acadia's food programs manager, said.

Emus said in any given week, they distribute food to around 15 different food security organizations in the Downeast region. 

She wants all Mainers to know they don't only partner with local commercial farms. They take food from home gardeners too.

“We try to serve the folks in our community with dignity, and so, when people are interested in donating produce, we just ask that the produce looks in good quality and something they'd want to eat and take home," Emus explained. 

She said the goal of the initiative is to prevent good food from being wasted by stocking Maine's food pantries with fresh, local, and nutritious produce.

If you're interested in donating your extra garden produce to the program, you can send an email to emily.shanahan@healthyacadia.org and someone will collect and redistribute your excess veggies or connect you directly with a food pantry in your area.  

Healthy Acadia’s Downeast Gleaning Initiative has drop-off locations in Ellsworth, Blue Hill, and Machias.

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