UNITY — The long-standing Community Meals program has been reinvigorated by collaboration between Unity Barn Raisers and Maine Farmland Trust. The first meal in early February served nearly 100 people at the Unity Community Center.
Unity Barn Raisers began community meals in the late-1990s to bring local people together for a meal in support of local farms that feed the community. The program has been revived with the new focus as a fundraiser for Veggies for All, a program of Unity Barn Raisers.
The Veggies for All program grows vegetables for the purpose of providing food assistance. All of the production occurs at local farmland, some of it belonging to Unity College. Last season, Veggies for All produced and donated more than 15,000 pounds of vegetables, mostly through local food pantries.
Maine Farmland Trust is supporting the program as its 2011 underwriter. The trust will cover the cost of conducting the meals and the cost of food purchased from local farms used in the meal. This will allow proceeds collected at the event to go directly to Veggies for All.
Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide nonprofit organization working to keep farming vital. Since its creation in 1999, the trust has supported more than 200 farmers and farmland owners through a variety of projects. The trust has made the Unity area a target of recent programs, giving the opportunities that exist there.
“We’re now working with many farmers in Unity, Albion and surrounding towns,” said Mike Gold, who runs Maine Farmland Trust’s farm viability program. “We see these Unity meals as a way to educate the public about some of the great things happening at local farms.”
The meals will occur on a monthly basis. They are tentatively scheduled to occur the first Saturday of every month. All are welcome to attend for a suggested donation of $15 per person, but no one is turned away.