Mini Grant brings food to the table

5 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — Vital Pathways recently awarded a $500 mini grant to the Maliseet youth program for the tower garden, a special project centered around healthy eating. 

The tower garden is a means of growing fruits and vegetables year round and will be placed within the newly created youth center on the Foxcroft Road. The garden will be a major component of the after school program at the youth center which includes activities in food preparation, food safety, and proper food storage. 

There are many benefits to this form of vegetable growth. One is that it is easily maintained by water, lights, and nutrients. It’s inexpensive to maintain, and financially, easy to sustain the cost for operation and re-growth. 

Another benefit is to grow food year round, “inside” without contending with short growing seasons, weather conditions, and staff to maintain weed control. Alissa Beals, the Tribe’s fitness coordinator will provide hands on teaching to bring science, math, literacy and healthy eating to life with topics such as crop talk, plant life cycles, Tower to Table; where the students will be engaged with the growing process from seed to table. The vegetables gleaned from the tower will be incorporated as healthy snacks and meals during youth activities.

This project was matched 50 percent grant by the Wabanaki Public Health department. Wabanaki Public Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Tribal community members through connection, prevention and collaboration with a special focus on obesity/physical activity, substance misuse prevention, tobacco prevention and youth engagement/youth empowerment.

Vital Pathways is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support community initiatives related to health, wellness, recreation, and growth in the southern Aroostook area. Another round of mini grant requests for proposals will be released in April of 2020. 

Vital Pathways also awarded the town of Monticello a mini grant to improve access to the community center through funds to support steps and ramp building. For more information about how VP could assist  your community organization or municipality, please contact Joe Fagnant, VP chairman, at 521-3100 ext 5.