Archive for the ‘Lots To Gardens’ Category

9th Annual Chefs Soirée a Success

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

St. Mary’s Health System’s Nutrition Center held the 9th Annual Chefs Soirée, Exploring Our Roots, earlier this month. The event was inspired by the 125th anniversary of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and the 15th anniversary of the Nutrition Center’s Lots to Gardens program. Courses throughout the evening featured root vegetables and other culinary delights from local farms and producers.

Chef Paul Landry of Fish Bones American Grill, Cody LaMontagne, co-founder of Forage Market, Karen Bolduc of South Auburn Organic Farm and Gerry Walsh of Forage Market educated and entertained guests with their collective knowledge and great food.

Paul Drowns, the Nutrition Center's  Community Cooking Educator (left) and Fiston Mubalama Lowitiwiya, a Nutrition Center Fellow (right), share their culinary expertise with guests of the 9th Annual Chefs Soirée at the St. Mary's Nutrition Center.

Paul Drowns, the Nutrition Center’s Community Cooking Educator (left) and Fiston Mubalama Lowitiwiya, a Nutrition Center Fellow (right), share their culinary expertise with guests of the 9th Annual Chefs Soirée at the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.

Sarah Spring of Spring Day Creamery in Durham and Pat O’Brien of Fiore Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars in Freeport offered samples of their product for tasting. A display of recently harvested vegetables and flowers from 4 Season Farm Market in New Auburn gave the Nutrition Center a market atmosphere. The Nutrition Center’s Community Cooking Educator, Paul Drowns, and Fiston Mubalama Lowitiwiya, a Nutrition Center Fellow, set up the Center’s bicycle cart kitchen outside and served Beet Carpaccio with Caramelized Onion Marmalade.

The four course meal featured roasted butternut squash, beet and goat cheese galette with a salad made with South Auburn Organic Farm’s mixed greens and Spring Day Creamery’s award winning blue cheese and warm apple cider dressing. Chicken kebobs with Ricker Hill Farm’s apples, and turnips were served with mushrooms (Maine forged) risotto and Fiore’s Wild Mushroom & Sage Olive Oil. The third course featured North Star Sheep Farm grilled lamb burgers topped with Pineland Farm’s feta cheese and greens drizzled with a mint chimichurri aioli and served with salad nicoise. Gerry Walsh of Forage Market created a Chocolate Torte made simply with eggs, chocolate and cream to finish off the evening.

Susan Hall of The Vault, a specialty wine and craft beer shop in Lewiston pared each course with wine. Baxter Beer of Lewiston donated four varieties of craft beers to the evening’s festivities.

The proceeds will support St. Mary’s Nutrition Center and its programming. The Nutrition Center serves as a hub for healthy food initiatives across Lewiston and Androscoggin County. Key programs include the food pantry, cooking and garden education programs for people of all ages, the Lewiston Farmers’ Market, and Lots to Gardens, which uses downtown gardens to create access to fresh local food, empower youth, and to build community. For more information contact the Nutrition Center at 207-513-3848.

More Than 100 People Attend St. Mary’s Nutrition Center’s Annual Community Dinner

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
The crowd of community members passes through a buffet line of healthy food prepared by Cabot’s Gratitude Grille and the Nutrition Center’s Summer Youth Gardeners.

The crowd of community members passes through a buffet line of healthy food prepared by Cabot’s Gratitude Grille and the Nutrition Center’s Summer Youth Gardeners.

More than 100 community members, staff, youth, volunteers, supporters, and gardeners, attended the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center’s Annual Community Dinner on last week to celebrate all the hard work and community service that has been accomplished this growing season. This annual dinner highlights the Nutrition Center’s Lots to Gardens program; attendees included the Youth Gardeners and their families, some of the 115 families that garden in the community garden plots in downtown Lewiston and at Meadowview and Hillview housing complexes, and others who have participated in or supported the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Lots to Gardens, and the St. Mary’s Food Pantry over the year.

The evening was led by the Summer Youth Gardeners (SYGs). Much of the menu was locally grown and developed and prepared from scratch by the SYGs. It also reflected their diverse culinary backgrounds, including Chinese chicken and rice, Somali chicken and rice, Sahro’s cabbage dish, Fiston’s braised greens, green beans, blueberry banana smoothie, and beet raspberry brownies. True to

Community Gardener, Kirk Jones of Lewiston gets ready to enjoy his dinner.

Community Gardener, Kirk Jones of Lewiston gets ready to enjoy his dinner.

the Nutrition Center’s mission, the door prize, won by Community Gardener Kirk Jones, was a basket of fresh veggies and Lewiston Farmers’ Market gift certificates.

In addition, as a special treat this year, Cabot Cheese joined the fun with their Farmers’ Gratitude Grille, which is a traveling kitchen, conceived by the farm families who own Cabot, to thank volunteers and community-service-based organizations for the extraordinary work they do. They served pimento grilled cheese sandwiches, salad, and oatmeal raisin cookies from their mobile kitchen in the Nutrition Center’s parking lot.

The diverse group of Summer Youth Gardeners also developed and showcased a short presentation about their summer experience in the program. The presentation included skits about teenage experiences and how they are using their voices to speak up about injustices and to treat one another with more kindness. Several youth also told personal stories and gave thanks for all they learned in the program, including Mohamed Abdullahi. “Although I will not be working with Lots to Gardens anymore, the experiences, the laughter, and the learning I will take with me. I am grateful for learning how to cook healthy food, and food from other cultures, and for the gardening skills I will use later in life. I now pay more attention to how I treat people. I’m a better friend, better son, and a better person. I’m happy that Lots to Gardens is part of the community, and that the community is part of Lots to Gardens,” said Abdullahi.

Along with the youth, Kirsten Walter, Nutrition Center Director, explained that the Nutrition Center’s Lots to Gardens youth programs are open to Lewiston/Auburn area youth between the ages of 14-18. Through the program, they get job training and experience, learn about gardening, nutrition, and cooking, and participate in leadership development training. She thanked the individuals, businesses and organizations that provided youth sponsorships this year, including Agren Appliance; Lake Auburn Half Marathon; Luke Robinson and Wolfpack Fitness; Fred and Janet Bishop; Russ Donahue, Elizabeth Keene and employees at St. Mary’s Health System. “Sponsoring one youth position costs $1,200 and is a great way to give back and engage a young person in developing lifelong healthy habits and becoming an agent of change in their community,” said Walter. Interested individuals can contact Walter to learn more.

The St. Mary’s Nutrition Center promotes community health through organizing, advocacy, and education. It is home to the St. Mary’s Food Pantry, Lots to Gardens, Lewiston Farmers’ Market, and garden, cooking, and nutrition education programs for adults, teens, and kids. For more information, please visit or call 207-513-3848.

Sixth Annual Alive in Lewiston

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Friday, October 26
6:30 to 9:00 pm

A delicious home-style meal featuring local farm ingredients, live Americana music from some of Maine’s best musicians, and a space covered with wall to wall community inspired art? What’s NOT to love about this year’s sixth annual Alive in Lewiston!  A celebration of local food, music and art, Alive in Lewiston has been bringing friends, family and neighbors together each year to enjoy an artful and relaxing evening out while helping to support the community gardening, food access and cooking and nutrition projects of Lots to Gardens and the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center. This years Alive in Lewiston will also coincide with Food Day, a nationwide celebration and movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Hosted at this historic Wallace School Building (home of the Nutrition Center) at 208 Bates Street in downtown Lewiston on Friday, October 26, Alive in Lewiston begins at 6:30 pm and runs to 9:00 pm.  For those eager early birds, tickets are an affordable $15 through the week before the event and $20 at the door.  Kids under 12 are $5 in advance or the night of the event.  For more information or to RSVP please contact 207 513 3844

You Got the Beet! Walk, Run, Cycle

Friday, September 14th, 2012

You Got the Beet! Walk, Run, Cycle - September 16 through October 7 - Sponsored by St. Mary's Health System, Healthy Androscoggin, and the Lewiston-Auburn Bicycle Pedestrian Committee

 Like to walk, run, or bicycle? Then join others in the L-A community September 16 through October 7 for

“You Got the Beet! Walk, Run, Cycle.” Sponsored by St. Mary’s Health System, Healthy Androscoggin, and the Lewiston- Auburn Bicycle Pedestrian Committee, “You Got the Beet” is a non-competitive, participant driven, and family-friendly walk, run, or bicycle ride each week at the Lewiston Farmers’ Market. Perhaps you are someone who participated in Healthy Androscoggin’s’ “Get Fit and Win” and are looking for a way to continue to your healthy routine. Perhaps you are planning to participate in the upcoming Dempsey Challenge and are looking to get it in some extra practice. Whatever your reason, “You Got the Beet!” is a great way to get some exercise.

“You Got the Beet!” 

will begin and end at the Lewiston Farmers’ Market located at the municipal parking lot on the corner of Lincoln and Main Streets (Bates Mill 5 complex). Participants are encouraged to meet at the market and be ready to go by 10 am. Start times, however, can be individualized and tailored to the needs of each person. The most important part is to complete the route! Those who do, and return to the market when they are finished, will be entered into a raffle to win $125 credit with the market! Each week a participant completes the route, they earn additional raffle entries increasing their chances of winning!

For more information on “You Got the Beet! Walk, Run, Cycle” please contact us at (207) 513-3848 or visit or at

To see the suggested routes for the walk/run and ride please visit the following sites respectively

Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: “What’s for Dinner? Hungry Kids in America”

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

At least 1 in 7 American families lack consistent access to food.  Click here to see some faces and stories of hunger in our own country and in our own neighborhood.  Meet Cameron from Lewiston, a member of Lots to Gardens, a program located at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center of Maine.

Winter Farmers Market at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in Lewiston is Back!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Alive in Lewiston a Costumed Celebration of Local Food, Music, and Art this Friday at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Friday, October 28, 6:30 pm 
St. Mary’s Nutrition Center
208 Bates Street
Lewiston, Maine

 As local gardens wind down, you’re invited to wind up and celebrate the bountiful growing season in full costume. Whether you come as a zombie, a tomato, some combination of the two, or something totally different, you’re invited to sit back, relax and take in the sounds of local musicians and the taste of a multi-course meal featuring locally grown ingredients. NOTE: there will be a costume contest so don’t forget to dress up! Audience members get to decide who the winner is – winner will take home yummy Lots to Gardens’ treats!  

Tickets for Alive in Lewiston are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, $5 for kids, and $5 for Lots to Gardens’ youth and community gardeners. If these prices don’t work for you but you really want to come, call or e-mail Lots to Gardens. We hope you’ll join us for this fun, family-friendly event. NOTE: space is limited – To be guaranteed a space please register in advance by calling (207) 513-3844. Early registration ends Thursday, October 27th at 10:00 pm.

A group of young local performers and gardeners known as De’ Hillview Groupsing will start off the night sharing “some rock and some roll”. The group has performed at Hillview’s annual Holiday show and Art Show and is known for singing African Folk tunes as well.  Members of the group have different levels of experience, but all are required to attend one singing lesson each week to participate in the group. The only qualification for being in the group is “a great beat”. 

 The Maine Squeeze According Ensemble, known for playing eclectic music from around the world, will also be sharing their tunes.  Whether they’re squeezing out jazz, blues, klezmer, zydeco, or traditional French Canadian they’re sure to make your feet move.  

Wrapping up the evening will be the Juke Joint Devils, “an old time, hard driving, hard swinging blues band that never fails to get the crowd jumping.” Hailing from Portland, the Devils’ music is rooted in the blues of Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans and West Coast Swing. The band features 2011 International Blues Challenge finalist Tom O’Connell on harp and vocals and Gerry Byrne on bass, with Stefan Iris on guitar and Pete Shorey on drums.  

Attendees will also learn about the Youth Food Bill of Rights, a declaration written by 130 youth from around the country at the annual Rooted in Community(RIC) conference in Philadelphia this past July. Four youth from Lewiston participated in the development of the original Youth Food Bill of Rights. After attending RIC they brought the idea back to Lewiston and led their co-workers at Lots to Gardens in developing their own Youth Food Bill of Rights for Lewiston. The 21-item declaration includes demands for less processed food in school lunches, an end to chemical and pesticide use on food, and more land for youth and community gardeners to grow food.

See you there!

Farmers’ Markets: Fresh Healthy Food for Everyone

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

In 2010, participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) redeemed more than $7.4 million in benefits at farmers markets. This represents more than a 70% growth in one year. Along with such growth comes local innovation designed to ensure that farmers markets are making quality food available to all members of a community.

This summer, nationwide participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is at a record high of approximately 45 million Americans. Fortunately, the families relying on this and other programs to put food on the table have a friend in farmers markets, where an increasing number of low-income consumers are purchasing locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Lewiston Farmers Market is one of a growing number of markets across the nation who accept EBT/SNAP cards and WIC coupons. In an effort to make fresh, healthy food even more accessible for all members of the community, we are continuing to offer double value coupons to SNAP and WIC customers. This program was made possible through grants and sponsors, and matches money spent at the market by customers on their EBT/SNAP card or WIC coupons dollar for dollar up to $10 a week. Customers can then use the matching “market dollars” on any healthy food at the market.

We are committed to providing the community with access to fresh, local, healthy food at affordable prices and the vendors at our markets have shown their commitment to this vision as well. Market-goers have noticed that prices at the market are often better than organic produce offered at grocery stores…and the freshness simply can’t be beat. This is true food equity.

The need for food is something that all people share. Fresh, local, healthy food nourishes our bodies, our minds, and our community.

Click here to read more blogs from Lewiston Farmers’ Market.


Hello Youth & Adult Gardeners, Volunteers, and friends of Lots to Gardens at St. Mary’s!

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Please join us for our Community Dinner this Thursday, August 25th at the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center (208 Bates Street, Lewiston, ME) from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Our Youth Gardeners and Youth Interns are hosting an evening of dishes from the various cultures that we all come from. Look forward to a salad bar, squash bread, eggplant parmesan, sambusa, corn chowder, beet brownies, and many many more dishes.

The dinner is free – but the youth gardeners are encouraging everyone that comes to donate money. All money raised will be donated to help with famine relief in Somalia.

Lots to Gardens’ Community Dinner
Thursday, August 25th
7:00-9:00 pm
208 Bates Street, Lewiston, Maine

Please join us,
The Lots to Gardens crew!

P.S.Dinner will be served after sundown so all members of our community can participate.

St. Mary’s Farmers & Artisans Market – Wednesday, July 13

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

1:30 am – 2:00 pm (rain or shine)
Parking Lot – Corner of Lafayette Street & Campus Avenue

This Weeks Vendors

Luscious Live Lobster
Located in Harpswell, ME (visit them at
Offering fresh whole lobster, seafood and fish.

Valley View Farm
A traditional farm located in Auburn (visit them at
Offering seasonal produce, eggs, meat and Sunset Acres cheese.  If you purchased a CSA for pick-up at the market (or have a Senior share) these are the folks you need to see. 

Phoenix Farm
An Organic farm located in Monmouth offering seasonal vegetables, strawberry rhubarb pie, baked goods including fruit muffins and sweet breads or pastries.

Hummingbird Farm
Located in Turner, Hummingbird Farm is a specialty nursery who sells clematis, fancy leaved geraniums, and herb plants.  They also make handcrafted herbal soaps, lotions & body care products.

Duct Tape Wallets
Linda makes a wide variety of duct tape wallets, weighted hola hoops (great exercise) and rice therapy packs and gel neck wraps that keep you nice and cool for hours.

Fresh Start Farms
The New American Sustainable Agriculture Project is a community-based agricultural initiative that supports recent refugees, immigrants, and other new Americans as they establish agricultural businesses, offering seasonal vegetables, fruit, herbs & flowers.

A mobile arts therapy program of VSA Maine brings original works of art; pottery and cards made by youth artist, sharing their gratitude by helping to raise funds for the program through sales of their fabulous art work!  They will also be selling Wilbur’s of Maine & ArtVan chocolate bars.  Come support youth and the arts & learn about the programs.