← Back to News and Updates

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust Provides Funding for Community and School Gardens

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
March 19, 2019
Gardeners pitch in to dig irrigation trenches a the Harpswell Community Garden at Mitchell Field.

In addition to preserving land, building trails and providing educational programs, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust also supports community and school gardens!

In 2005 an anonymous donor set up a fund to provide grants to Harpswell-based community and school gardens. Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) manages the fund.

In 2019 HHLT awarded five grants.

Harpswell Community School

“Children are participating in the connection between seeds, soil, plants and their growing process. We also work at enhancing the soil each year. Each spring second graders plant seed potatoes, and in the fall the next group digs them up. It’s a treasure hunt!” — Martha Burtt, school garden coordinator and former Harpswell Community School teacher.

Harpswell Coastal Academy

Abby Baker of Harpswell Coastal Academy writes:

“The Harpswell Coastal Academy (HCA) is elated to receive a grant from the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s Community and School Garden Fund for the 2019-20 school year. With the financial support from this grant, students will rebuild our existing hoop house. We will also purchase a small flock of laying hens that will be kept year-round at HCA, creating a unique opportunity for students to take on the role of chicken caretakers. Our students plan to build benches and include art projects among the growing vegetables; two projects they’ve wanted to accomplish for years.

A group of students have long been working on a sustainable irrigation system for our school farm. Students designed a rainwater collection system to keep the plants watered and reduce the use of our school well. With the support of the grant, we will be able to purchase the supplies and pump needed to complete the irrigation system. Student involvement, problem-solving, and leadership are at the heart of all of these projects. We are giving our students the opportunity to learn both valuable life and job skills on our school farm.

Our mission is to facilitate the development of our farm into an accessible learning environment for all of the students at HCA. Along with growing fruits and vegetables to be used in our kitchen, we want our farm to be a place where students can experiment, problem-solve, work hard, and find joy in the simple act of growing their own food.

We are thankful to the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust for this support.”

“Students go to the farm to work together and have fun. Our farm brings students closer together. When you are stressed out you can go out to the farm and work out your frustration.” – Julianna Martin, 8th grade HCA student

Harpswell Community Nursery School

“We are thrilled to have been granted the opportunity to garden with our preschoolers in meaningful ways. With supplies for each child to create a container garden, every child will be able to take ownership of a project which can be shared with their families through the summer and fall!” — Tahnthawan Coffin, Director of Harpswell Community Nursery School

Harpswell Community Garden at Mitchell Field

Keeping crops protected from chilly nights

Coordinator of the Harpswell Community Garden, Judith Stanton, writes:

“HHLT has approved funding to the Harpswell Community Garden (HCG) for continued infrastructure improvements in 2019. Plans include hiring a landscaper to install drainage and do grading work in the lawn and orchard areas that surround the rental plots, which become flooded during heavy rainfall and spring snow melt. The grant will also enable the HCG committee to construct a simple wooden structure to provide a shady refuge from summer sun and a sheltered area for workshops and HHLT Nature Day Camp activities.

Some electric fencing will also be purchased and installed by volunteers in order to keep out some of the hungry wildlife that have become increasingly fond of gardeners’ crops.

Improvements to HCG’s water supply system in 2018 were also made possible due to a generous grant from HHLT. That funding provided for the installation of a solar-powered, pressurized system to transport water from the existing well to two 275-gallon storage tanks. Volunteers built a raised wooden stand to support the cisterns, and a shed for the pressure tank and pump. They also dug trenches to extend underground water pipes to five spigots in convenient locations among the plots.”

If you are interested in starting a community garden in Harpswell, HHLT may be able to help. Click here for details on the Harpswell Community and School Garden Fund.