FoodCorps Maine
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Name:            FoodCorps Maine

Address:         Ellie Libby

                        Extension Educator

                        Host Site Supervisor


                        Cooperative Extension

                        University of Maine

                        377 Manktown Road

                        Waldoboro, Maine 04572

                         207-832-0343 ext. 118


                         Laura Budde

                         FoodCorps Fellow




Fax:                  207-832-0377


Products and Services:

-builds and tends school gardens

-helps to procure local food into public schools

-conducts cooking and gardening programs

with students

-provides educational outreach related to

agriculture, health, and nutrition

Service Sites:

-Cultivating Community (Portland)

-Rippling Waters Organic Farm (Standish)

-St.Mary's Nutrition Center/Lots to Gardens  


-Healthy Communities of the Capital Area 


-Oxford Hills School District in concert with 

     Roberts Farm Preserve (Norway)

-Healthy Acadia/Washington County One 

     Community (Machias)

-University of Maine Cooperative Extension

     Knox-Lincon Counties (Waldoboro)

-Medomak Valley High School in partnership

    with Knox-Lincoln Cooperative Extension

-University of Maine Cooperative Extension

     Penobscot & Piscataquis Counties (Bangor)

-University of Maine Cooperative Extension

     Somerset County/Greater Somerset Public

     Health Collaborative (Skowhegan)

-Regional School Unit 3 (Liberty)

What Makes FoodCorps Maine Unique?

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension agreed to be a host site for the new national FoodCorps program that was being introduced in ten states in 2011. It was probably inconceivable at that time to imagine all the positive projects and the many resulting collaborations that would take place because of their willingness to step forward and become involved. 

FoodCorps Maine has reached out to several areas in Maine, and in its second year,  it has grown from six to ten Service Members, thanks to the support of the Maine Commission for Community Service.  These recent graduates volunteer a year of service to limited-resource communities.  They have formed partnerships with a diverse group of farms, schools, agencies, and businesses.

If you had the chance to attend the Maine School Garden Day on May 4, 2013, at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, you would have had the opportunity to meet all ten FoodCorps Service Members.  They are a vibrant group of young energetic volunteers who are part of the AmeriCorps program.  They radiated enthusiasm throughout the day and they appeared ready to acquire any information that would enable them to become more skilled and knowledgeable about farming practices and nutrition education.

Under the direction of University of Maine Cooperative Extension Educator, Ellie Libby, and Maine FoodCorps Fellow, Laura Budde, these ten Service Members in attendance at the Belfast School Garden Day were able to learn about a variety of topics including composting, soil health, seed saving, greenhouse management, and preparing healthy foods.

The FoodCorps was established to educate students about the importance of agriculture and nutrition and healthy foods.  Reaching out to connect local farmers with schools is another one of the program’s goals.  FoodCorps Maine is a most appropriate fit for the Unique Maine Farms’ project because these ten Service Members all work with students in various communities to construct and maintain school gardens and to promote local farming efforts. Although most of the Service Members are in their twenties, they arrive at the school sites armed with some farming knowledge and a keen interest in healthy foods.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has a long history of being associated with farming and gardening.  They have sponsored a Master Gardener program, an Eat Well Nutrition Education Program, and various projects that encourage youth to explore farming and gardening such as their 4-H clubs and their Kids Can Grow program.

All of the county branches of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension have agreed to collaborate with the FoodCorps Maine program. Other collaborators include the Jane B. Cook Charitable Trust, Cultivating Community, Rippling Waters Organic Farm, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, Maine Agriculture in the Classroom, Farm to School, the Maine School Garden Network, Oxford Public Schools, Roberts Farm Preserve, Healthy Acadia, Regional School #3, Washington County One Community, and the Greater Somerset Public Health Collaborative.

The FoodCorps program aspires to build young leaders who will embrace various types of  agricultural and food system endeavors.  By offering extensive training to the ten Maine FoodCorps Service Members, their mission of supporting farming and the local food movement has become widespread. The FoodCorps Service Members bring their message to hundreds of students, many teachers, and food service workers throughout some of the most impoverished areas in the state where childhood obesity and lack of good nutritional meals are common.  It is hoped that when the children return home, after growing various vegetables and fruits and other local foods consuming foods that they helped prepare, that they will share their newfound knowledge with their parents, friends, neighbors, and family members.  The circle of people benefitting from the farming and gardening instruction offered by FoodCorps Maine has the exciting potential to continue to grow dramatically.

The FoodCorps Maine Service Members offer their instruction in school and after/school programs.  With their knowledge and experience in leading fun-loving and engaging educational games that are related to farming and gardening, these Service Members are welcomed by the students.  They provide situations for the students to experience gardening firsthand.  “Get your hands dirty” is a motto that children seem to really appreciate. There is something therapeutic about gardening. Students of all capabilities and skill levels can participate.  The FoodCorps Maine Service Members teach the students how to grow, harvest, and eventually cook and enjoy healthy food.

In a state with long cold winters, the idea of having a year-round gardening program in the classroom is extremely well-received.  Anyone skilled in public relations work knows the importance of providing food at a community event.  That young students can directly taste and enjoy healthy foods in a school or after-school setting is a very effective tool in garnering the students’ full attention and support!  It would seem that their attendance at one of the harvest lunches or dinners that include foods that they have grown in their school garden will be a lasting memory for many of the students.

How exciting it is to learn about how FoodCorps Maine Service Members are working with local farmers to help facilitate the inclusion of their fresh farm produce in the menus in the school cafeteria.  For some students it is their first exposure to non-processed and non-frozen foods.  The many contributions that FoodCorps Maine Service Members have already made to the Farm to School movement have been greatly appreciated. 

As illustrated on the “Collaborations” webpage found in the “FoodCorps Maine” section of this Unique Maine Farms’ website, their program has formed partnerships with so many different non-profit agencies and groups throughout the state.  FoodCorps Maine has become a source of pride to Maine and a validation of our state’s commitment to farming, gardening, local foods, and healthy eating.  These young FoodCorps Maine Service Members serve as excellent role models for young students in Maine’s schools. It will be interesting to learn down the road if any of the youngsters with whom they worked decided to pursue a career in farming or food systems because of their efforts.

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Food Corps
Food Corps

FoodCorps Service Member Taylor Weiss (on left) speaks to FoodCorps Host Site Supervisor Ellie Libby.

Laura Budde - FoodCorps Maine Fellow.

FoodCorps Maine Service Members gather for a group photo at the Maine School Garden Day on May 4, 2013, at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, Maine.

Food Corps Service Member Lily Joslin