Name:        Packard-Littlefield Farm

                   Fresh Start Farms at

                   Cultivating Community

Location:   76 Littlefield Road

                   Lisbon, Maine  04250

Contact:    Cultivating Community

                   52 Mayo Street

                   P.O. Box 3792

                   Portland, Maine 04104

Phone:        207-761-GROW





What Makes Packard-Littlefield Farm So Unique?

Because of the generosity of Robert Packard

and Ella Mae Littlefield Packard there are actually thirty “farms” located on their property at 76 Littlefield Road in Lisbon.  The Packards own 402 acres of land.  Two-hundred-and-sixty acres are enrolled in managed tree growth.  Over ninety acres are hay fields and there are wetlands and a river.

The Packards lease thirty acres of their land to Cultivating Community for NASAP - the New American Sustainable Agriculture Program.

This sharing arrangement with Cultivating Community has been in place for eight years and Robert and Ella Mae are very pleased with the program.  Ella Mae said that it was gratifying to be able to give a chance to the refugees and immigrants involved in NASAP. Robert and Ella Mae discussed how the farmers work very hard and how they have been very successful at various farmers’ markets and with CSA’s. They have appreciated being invited to the harvest festivals that take place at the farm. They plan to continue welcoming the NASAP program on their land.

Both Robert and Ella Mae are retired teachers. Robert taught French and Spanish in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.  Ella Mae taught in East Lyme, Connecticut, and substituted in Westbrook for many years after her children were grown.

Ella Mae grew up on the Littefield Farm, which is believed to have been established by Patrick Arris around 1790.  The farm has been in Ella Mae’s family since 1853, so amazingly only two families have shared ownership of the farm in the past 222 years!

Fannie Bickford, who was Ella Mae’s great-grandmother, made butter at Littlefield Farm.  This skill was passed on to Ella Mae’s grandmother, who went by the name of “Ella M.”  She actually made her living by churning butter.  Ella Mae’s grandfather, William A. Littlefield,  used to have a butter delivery route once a week in the Lewiston area.  Robert chuckled when he discussed how the butter churner that they used was powered by a 1901 Oldsmobile engine!

Ella Mae’s father, Ralph Littlefield, was a dairy farmer.  He owned a gravel business and was considered exceptionally mechanical.  He built his own tractor.  The Littlefield family was self-sufficient.  They raised cows, horses, hogs, and chickens.  Both Robert and Ella Mae discussed how the Depression did not affect the Littlefields as much as other families because they always had food on their table.

Robert and Ella Mae Littlefield Packard took over the farm in 1989, from Ella Mae’s parents. They have spent twenty-three years on renovations since the farm needed quite a bit of work.  In order to cover taxes they grew vegetables for several years and ran a farm stand and participated in farmers’ markets.  They decided to transition to raising hay.   You can learn all about their haying operation by accessing the separate webpage in this Packard-Littlefield Farm section of this Unique Maine Farms’ website.

In 2004, the Androscoggin Land Trust and the Packard family, with assistance from the Maine Department of Agriculture and the USDA, utilized Land for Maine’s Future and the NRCS Farmland Ranch Protection Program funding for the purchase of the agricultural conservation easement on the first 195-acres.  The subsequent two agricultural conservation easements were generously donated to ALT by the Packards in 2007 and 2010 respectively. These easements assure that the land will always be farmed.

Good forestry practices and open space will be encouraged.

The Packards greatly value preserving farmland.  They have three hundred acres in Lisbon, fifty-five acres in Sabattus, and another fifty-five acres in Lewiston.  It is gratifying to know that the Packards have been recognized by several organizations for their commitment to land preservation.

Robert and Ella’s welcoming of refugees would not come as a surprise to people who know them.  Robert earned a fellowship through Rotary International and had the opportunity to interview one hundred writers

during his time in South America.  He explained that this cultural training led him to an appreciation for opening up to other cultures.

The arrangement that the Packards have established with the refugees and immigrants was covered by Jennifer Rooks of MPBN’s Maine Watch, the only televised statewide public affairs program in Maine. The Packards were also recognized in articles about the Somalis in Maine in the New Yorker and the New York Times and in an Heifer International publication.

Robert Packard received the “Making the World a Better Place” award from his alma mater, Hamline University, in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2011.  While teaching, Packard was the director of the World Citizen Forum Project for schools in Connecticut.  According to a report in an Androscoggin Land Trust newsletter, Packard arranged the first formal contract between the United Nations Ambassadors of Egypt and Israel, and two hundred social studies teachers.  He also was recognized by Rotary International for a Community Outreach award.

It is because of the Packard’s generosity and

willingness to try something new that the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project has been such a success at the Packard-Littelfield Farm.  Individual refugee and immigrant farmers and market gardeners have had the opportunity to produce vegetables on their own plots.  There are incentives for farmers to be given additional land to farm as the size of each grower’s farming plot correlates with the number of years that they have been enrolled in the program.  There are three levels of farmers in this training program.

Robert and Ella Mae may both have retired

from their teaching jobs, but they have still remained teachers at heart. Because of their

willingness to host NASAP on their farm they are educating Mainers and people throughout the country about the success that can be achieved by providing land, guidance, training, and encouragement to refugees and immigrants who are looking to agriculture as a means of supporting and feeding their families.

HOME PAGEUnique_Maine_Farms.html
Hay For SalePackard_-_Hay_for_Sale.html

Mohamed AbukarPackard_-_Mohamed.html
Batula p. 1Packard_-_Batula.html

Seynab p. 1Packard_-_Seynab_Alis.html

Hussein p. 1Packard_-_Hussein.html

Hussein p. 2Packard_-_Hussein_-_p._2.html

Twenty-five volunteers from a Day of Caring helped at Packard-Littlefield Farm on Sept. 7, 2012, to disassemble the irrigation system. Pictured in this photo were Central Maine Community College volunteers from left: Shana Connar, farmer Esperanza Esheverria, and Matt Charette.  Esperanza Echeverria immigrated from Guatemala and has been gardening with NASAP since 2002. She started her farm business in 2006 and now grows a variety of vegetables that she sells at the Lewiston Farmers’ Market. Esperanza serves the local Hispanic community by growing hard-to-find, culturally appropriate vegetables on her own farm.

Ella Mae Littlefield Packard and Robert Packard

Seynab Ali and Batula Ismail

Hawa Ibrahim

Seynab Ali

Mohamed Abukar

Hussein Muktar

Batula p. 2Packard_-_Batula_-_p._2.html
Hawa Ibrahim p.1Packard_-_Hawa.html
Farm ScenesPackard_-_Scenes_Around.html
 Hawa Ibrahim p.2Packard_-_Hawa_2.html
Hawa Ibrahim p.3Packard_-_Hawa_Lewiston.html
Batula p. 3Packard_-_Batula_-_Lewiston.html
Seynab p. 2Packard_-_Seynab_Ali_-_p._2.html