Penobscot Nation community garden receives funds for food project

Posted July 02, 2013, at 8:52 a.m.

INDIAN ISLAND, Maine — The Peoples’ Garden, a Penobscot Nation intergenerational community garden group located on Indian Island, has been awarded an $8,100 grant from the Broad Reach Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. The funds will be used to increase production and availability of fresh organic food for the Penobscot community while revitalizing community green space.

The Peoples’ Garden started as a collaborative between multiple tribal departments interested in finding ways to ensure food security for future generations. During the summer of 2011, a 30-by-70-foot tunnel hoop house was erected at a site where a crumbling basketball court once was. The court was removed, the site cleaned up and the hoop house provided to the community for a community garden.

“We are grateful that the Broad Reach Fund of the Maine Community Foundation supports our vision for a sustainable and healthy community,” Chief Kirk Francis said.

The community garden effort is coordinated by master gardeners Tami Connolly and Maria Girouard.

Garden volunteer Kathy Paul said the garden makes her feel grounded. “It gives me peace of mind. I feel connected to the earth when I’m here.”

Grant funding will support the creation of an “edible landscape” surrounding the hoop house and consisting of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and herb gardens. The grant also will support additional community education programs.

The name of the garden reflects the ancient Penobscot name for Indian Island, Alenapak Menahan, which translates as The Peoples’ Island.

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