The Star-Herald

Upcoming garden tour to benefit Presque Isle food pantry

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Folks will have the chance to tour community gardens and contribute to a local food pantry when Grace Interfaith Food Table holds its fifth annual Garden Tour on Saturday, Aug. 8.

The tour will last from noon to 4 p.m. that day and feature six gardens from Presque Isle households on Howard Street, Lombard Street, Niles Road, Coventry Court and Parkhurst Siding Road. The Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library will also showcase its children’s garden.

Tickets will be available for purchase at each garden for $15, with all the proceeds going to support GIFT’s food purchases and other expenses. Last year’s Garden Tour raised nearly $900.

At the end of the tour, guests will receive a ticket that they can use for purchases at Myrtle Tree Farm on Aug. 8 or 10. On those days, Myrtle Tree Farm will contribute 10 percent of tour attendees’ purchases to GIFT.

Charlene Buzza, director of volunteers at GIFT, said that she and event organizers Anne Hemphill and Athena Hallowell expect the outdoor nature of the tour to encourage social distancing among guests, though masks will be required.

With few large events happening this summer, Buzza hopes that many people come and enjoy the various gardens in their community.

“I would encourage people to come because you get to see flowers that might not be in your own backyard. You get to see how other people garden,” Buzza said.

The need to serve individuals and families who are experiencing food insecurity has heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with GIFT seeing 40 new families come to the pantry in April. The number of families, both new and familiar, has decreased in recent months, but Buzza and volunteers still serve around 20 families per month.

Though GIFT always accepts financial and nonperishable food donations, the Garden Tour is one of many ways that GIFT is able to purchase food during the year.

“We’ve gotten a lot of support from people. I think it shows just how thoughtful and caring people are,” Buzza said.
A complete listing of Garden Tour addresses and guidelines can be found on GIFT’s Facebook page.

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