The Boys and Girls Club of Presque Isle has received an $8,400 grant from the Maine Community Foundation's Maine Charity Foundation Fund to expand and support the Club’s community garden.

Boys and Girls Club of Presque Isle

“This grant will help our youth members spend their summers growing their own produce, learning about the benefits of diversified agriculture and bringing home healthy food to their families,” said Ashley Rekem, Healthy Habits Coordinator at the Club, who has been leading the garden project.

With the grant funding, the youth will establish individual raised beds and start a shared fruit orchard around the Aroostook Band of Micmacs' Wellness Center, where the Boys and Girls Club is based. They will also donate some of the produce they grow to seniors in the community.

Boys and Girls Club of Presque Isle

“Through this project, we hope to instill in our youth members a passion for agriculture, science, community service, and the knowledge of food as their best defense against chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes,” Rekem added.

The Club is also benefiting from a seed donation by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for this coming season. Last year the community garden project got off the ground with with generous seed donations from Johnny's Selected Seeds and Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, compost from Pineland Farms Natural Meats, wood from Aroostook Trusses, and soil preparation by Pastor Gardner Smith of Blaine.

The project goals speak to the Club’s mission of empowering youth with the values of leadership, community, and healthy lifestyles. It also matches the Club’s goals of providing educational opportunities and identifying future careers for its members.

The Boys and Girls Club of Presque Isle is housed by the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, and the Tribe has offered the club the space for the garden and has graciously supported its expansion. Boys and girls from all backgrounds participate and are welcome at the Club.

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