Posts Tagged ‘Lots To Gardens’

Youth Lead St. Mary’s Nutrition Center’s Annual Community Dinner

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

More than 100 community members, staff, youth, volunteers, supporters, and gardeners, attended the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center’s Annual Community Dinner on Thursday, August 13, 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 120 families that garden in the community garden plots in downtown Lewiston, 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 orchestrated by the Youth Interns and Summer Youth Gardeners (SYGs).  Much of the menu was locally grown and developed and prepared from scratch by the SYGs.  It also reflected diverse culinary tastes, includingsambusa, Indonesian fried rice, Thai beef salad, cucumber salad, Asian slaw, Moroccan carrot salad, sesame green beans, baba ganoush, African greens, and beet brownies. Youth Interns,

Community Gardener, Carolyn Messer, won the veggie basket door prize at the recent Annual Community Dinner held by St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.

Community Gardener, Carolyn Messer, won the veggie basket door prize at the recent Annual Community Dinner held by St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.

Mohamed Abdullahi, Julian Marley, and Hafsa Ahmed guided the group of SYGs in a short presentation about their summer experience in the program.  The presentation included some original poetry and drumming.  True to the Nutrition Center’s mission, the door prize, won by Community Gardener Carolyn Messer, was a basket of fresh veggies from the Nutrition Center’s Community Gardens.

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, youth get job training and experience, learn about gardening, nutrition, and cooking, and participate in leadership development and food justice workshops.  Youth programs are supported by generous donations from area individuals and businesses.  Sponsoring one youth position for $1,200 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.  Interested individuals can contact Nutrition Center staff for more information.

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 see or call 207-513-3848.



Lots to Gardens Honored with Outstanding Community Dedication Award

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Pictured are Kandie Desell of MAIN (left) presenting the November 2013 Outstanding Community Dedication Award to Annie Doran of Lots to Gardens, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.

The Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods (MAIN) recently awarded Lots to Gardens with its Outstanding Community Dedication Award. The award ceremony took place at a MAIN meeting, last month at St. Mary’s B-Street Health Center in Lewiston.

MAIN is an all-volunteer coalition of individuals and organizations created in 1980 as a statewide voice for low to moderate income concerns. “With this award we are hoping that by recognizing people in their own communities it will empower them to know they can make changes at the statehouse and in their own neighborhoods to effect positive change,” said Kandie Desell, a MAIN leader. “The fact that Lots to Gardens engages youth is also very important to us,” added Desell.

Lots to Gardens is a youth and community driven program of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center that uses sustainable urban gardening to provide opportunities for people to grow their own food, create access to affordable fresh food, and to involve youth as leaders in building a healthy community. The program helps families develop skills and build influence for lifelong and community-wide change. Since 1999, Lots to Gardens has built more than a dozen gardens and green spaces in four diverse neighborhoods in Lewiston.

Annie Doran, Youth Programs Coordinator, accepted the award on behalf of the program. “It’s wonderful to be accepting an award from a room full of people who truly understand the power our local youth and community have, and take the time to recognize our work. Lots to Gardens is in its 15th year of programs. There are now thousands of youth and adults who have raised vegetables in garden plots across the city and by doing so, raised their voices to express every person’s right to healthy, affordable food,” said Doran.

For more information about MAIN, see MAIN (Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods) on Facebook, and to learn more about Lots to Gardens, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, see

Good Food, Great Cause! Sign up for Fast & Fresh CSS!

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Become a member of the Fast & Fresh CSS (Community Supported Supper) before November 11, 2013! Real convenient, real good food, great cause! Read more for details!

Area teens are campaigning for increased consumption of healthy food in schools!  Youth working with the Nutrition Center’s Lots to Gardens Program started a Youth Campaign Crew. The goal for the 8 Lewiston area teenagers is to develop and run a year-round campaign to engage their peers, younger children, and school administrators in working toward increasing the consumption of healthy food in their schools. 

How can you help? Become a member of our Fast & Fresh CSS (Community Supported Supper), receive a healthy and delicious meal monthly for 6 months, cooked by youth and staff, and the proceeds will fuel the campaign!   

What is a Community Supported Supper (CSS)?  Our CSS is inspired by the CSA (Community Supported  Agriculture) model. However, instead of buying a “share” of a farm at the beginning of the  season and receiving a portion of the harvest each week, you are supporting this youth programming and your shares come back to you in the form of healthy and delicious dinners! 

How does the Fast & Fresh CSS work? 
Each dinner includes:  A delicious and healthy entrée, your choice of a specialty soup, salad, bread…and maybe more! 
Pick-up is between 5pm & 6pm every 2nd Thursday of the month at The St. Mary’s Nutrition Center: 208 Bates St., Lewiston. 

Sign up & pay before November 11, 2013 and you will receive Fast & Fresh meals every 2nd Thursday of the month for 6 months (November – April)!  Sign up here: or call Annie at 513.3844.

Membership is $150 for 6 months of dinner for 2 (that’s $12.50/meal), or $90 for 6 months of dinner for 1 (that’s $15.00/meal).  

Checks are made payable and sent to: St. Mary’s Nutrition Center (please include a note that it’s for “Fast & Fresh CSS”) PO Box 7291, Lewiston, ME 04243.  

Contact Annie at or 513.3844 for more information.

Once a month— We cook it up. You pick it up. $25 for two or $15 for one. Enjoy a healthy meal, and have some fun!

Hurry, membership is limited!  First come, first served. 

National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Imagine spending the longest night of the year on the streets with no place to call home…

The Lewiston/Auburn Alliance for Services to the Homeless (LAASH) and New Beginnings invite the community to join their annual candlelight vigil to remember homeless people during
the holiday season from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, December 21, in downtown Lewiston.

For more than 10 years, LAASH and New Beginnings have held the vigil as part of a national movement of cities marking National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on or near the winter solstice, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.

Please meet at 4:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the Trinity Jubilee Center at Trinity Episcopal Church. The courtyard entrance is on Spruce Street near the corner with Bates Street. Vigil
participants are invited to bring nonperishable and canned food which will be collected at Trinity.

After a few words and lighting of candles, vigil participants will walk several blocks down Bates Street to Main Street. The procession will turn right on Main Street and continue up Sabattus Street and stop in front of Calvary United Methodist Church in the triangle between Sabattus, College, and Bartlett streets. Vigil participants are encouraged to bring signs to hold as the vigil remains in front of Calvary to raise awareness of homelessness to passersby during the evening commute.

Participants are invited to join the vigil at any point, and groups from businesses and service providers near the route are especially encouraged to join as the vigil passes.

Refreshments donated by Hurricane’s and the Bread Shack will be available indoors at Calvary. Staff from New Beginnings will provide van service back to Jubilee or the Park Street garage as needed.

The route is near local services for low-income and homeless people in downtown Lewiston:

. New Beginnings operates support services and housing for youth, including a drop-in center, 245 Lisbon, and 24-hour emergency shelter at 491 Main St., 795-4077.
. Trinity Jubilee Center, 247 Bates St., provides daily meals and food, a warming center, refugee assistance, and resources to those in need, 782-5700.
. The Nutrition Center, 208 Bates St., includes St. Mary’s Food Pantry, youth and gardening programs, and cooking and nutrition education programs, 513-3848.
. The Center for Wisdom’s Women, 97 Blake St., includes a women’s day drop-in center with activities, workshops, and support groups, 513-3922.
. The City Mission group at Calvary Church, 59 Sabattus St., serves hot supper downstairs 4:30-5:30 pm Wednesdays and breakfast 7:30-8:30 am Sundays, 782-3221.

Each year since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has co-sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness. In an effort
to maximize the impact of the day, organizers have encouraged statewide and local groups such as LAASH to hold events of their own. Last year, more than 152 cities across the nation
sponsored events to recommit to the task of ending homelessness.

LAASH is a collaborative made up of organizations that serve local low-income and homeless
people. LAASH, along with the United Way of Androscoggin County and other local supporters,
has launched a 10-year plan to end homelessness in Lewiston-Auburn. For more than 30
years, New Beginnings has kept youth off the streets through their shelter, housing, and
outreach programs.

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!

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.

Lewiston Rain Barrel Helps Lots to Gardens at St. Mary’s

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
City of Lewiston Press Release
June 22, 2011

L to R: Lewiston Engineering Intern Ben Sullivan, Lots to Gardens Education & Outreach Coordinator Bridgette Bartlett, and Lewiston Engineering Intern Greg LaBonte.


LEWISTON   Thanks to a joint effort between the City of Lewiston Public Works Engineering Division and the Lewiston School Department, the local Lots to Garden initiative now has an additional source of water for its garden located by the Lewiston High School (LHS) ball field dugouts in Franklin Pasture

Lots to Gardens is a youth and community driven organization, sponsored by St. Mary’s Health System, that uses sustainable urban agriculture to create access to fresh food and to nurture both healthy youth and a healthy community.  Individuals are taught how to grow their own food, access affordable fresh food, and youth are involved as leaders. Lots to Gardens also helps families and youth develop skills towards lifelong and community-wide change.  Since 1999, Lots to Gardens has built 15 gardens and green spaces in 4 diverse Lewiston neighborhoods.

To provide participating gardeners with additional water, Engineering Division summer interns, Ben Sullivan and Greg LaBonte, installed gutters and downspouts on the LHS dugout and located a rain barrel under the downspout.  The rain water runoff from the dugout roof fills the barrel providing water for the gardeners. The dugout roof, measuring 36’ by 11,’ provides 250 gallons of runoff in a one-inch rain storm.

Bridgette Bartlett, Education & Outreach Coordinator for Lots to Gardens, states, “The community gardeners will really benefit from all the extra drops of water this rain barrel can collect. St. Mary’s Lots to Gardens is excited about the educational aspect as well as the overall benefits to the community when the City and other agencies can work together to help make a project happen.” 

As a money saver, residents are also encouraged to install a rain barrel at their respective homes to collect water for lawns and gardens. In addition, by utilizing such runoff at homes, local rivers, streams, and lakes will be kept cleaner, as stormwater runoff is the biggest threat to water quality. By collecting the water prior to it becoming street/road runoff sweeping up pollutants and discharging them into water without any treatment, the concern is considerably lessened for that area.

Jan Patterson, Lewiston Project Engineer, further praised the rain barrel at the dugouts, stating, “This project will be a living stormwater education project.”