Friday, August 15, 2008

Coastal Clover 4-H Club Fights Hunger


The fight against hunger in our community has a new weapon. The Coastal Clovers 4-H Club, a group of farm and non-farm kids ages 5 to 12, undertook a project called Food for Families. Their goal is to donate one ton (2000 lbs) of fresh produce and fruit to the local food pantries. To date they have harvested over 1000 pounds of vegetables. The harvest is donated weekly to the York Food Pantry, with occasional donations to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, not only benefiting the local community but the entire State of Maine.
Coastal Clovers 4-H Club started their project in April with a donation of over 1000 seedling plugs from Coastal Landscaping. With a grant from the Pine Tree 4-H Foundation they purchased transplanting supplies and tools, and then children planted the seedling plugs into growing trays. The seedlings were raised in a makeshift greenhouse until the temperature regulated. On June 1, Coastal Clovers transplanted the seedlings into a field donated by Zach’s Farm. The one-acre field is lined with two rows of plastic mulch and an irrigation system. The 4-H Club has worked hard at keeping weeds down and tending plants, harvesting nearly 200 pounds of lettuce in July. Since then harvests of cabbage, zucchini, squash, cauliflower, peppers, broccoli and cucumbers, all totaling over 750 pounds, have followed. Coastal Clovers also has tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe and three kinds of winter squash that will soon be ready.
Coastal Clovers 4-H wants to acknowledge the support of local and corporate business and the parents that come to help with the upkeep alongside their children. Without them this wouldn’t have been possible. Generous donations from Coastal Landscaping, Paris Farmers Union, Lebanon Seaboard Corporation – Preen Weed Preventer, Home Depot, Eldredge Lumber & Hardware, and Pine Tree 4-H Foundation have been instrumental in making this project a success. John Zacharias, the owner of Zach’s Farm, has truly been an inspiration to the kids in Coastal Clovers 4-H. He has not only given over an acre of land but has donated his time, equipments and knowledge to help Coastal Clovers 4-H provide local food pantries with fresh, locally raised produce.

Caption: Carly Osgood, Haleigh Osgood and Laura Wilson with their harvest of lettuce, cabbage and zucchini. (Courtesy photo)