New website is coming!

We are finalizing our new website! We plan to have it fully operational in the new year. Please check back in 2015 for loads of updates and a fresh new look.  Happy holidays, everyone!


Twilight Dinner Schedule Posted!

We are excited to announce our new Twilight Dinner schedule is posted HERE. Tickets are now on sale!!


Somali Farmers Find a New Home in Maine

We are thrilled to announce that MODERN FARMER recently featured an article on our New American Sustainable Agriculture Project!

Learn more about Fresh Start Farms growers and their journeys as refugees and farmers:

"Somali Farmers Find a New Home in Maine"

farmers on batula field - small


Here's an exerpt: When farmer Batula Ismail was "in and out of the hospital this summer, her rows of carrots became consumed with weeds. In another town, her plot might have stayed that way. but Ismail farms collectively with more than a dozen recent Somali Bantu immigrants in Lewiston, Maine. And her colleagues put off their own needy fields to crouch down together and hand-weed until Ismail's frilly carrot tops emerged that uncharacteristically wet June. As Ismail convalesced, her eldest daughter, a new mother herself, assumed daily farm tasks while Ismail's eldest son delivered her CSA shares and manned her farmers' market booths." 


THANK YOU to author Laura McCandlish and photographer Amy Temple for contributing to the story!


Reiche School Garden!

Did you know that Cultivating Community teaches gardening and nutrition at Reiche School? Below is an article that our FoodCorps member, Laura Fralich, wrote for the Reiche School Newsletter this month. We hope you enjoy it! And also, remember to look out for a copy of our annual appeal in your home mailbox. We appreciate any support you can give!



You might be wondering why your kids have come home from school with new “garden names”, dirt on their hands and talking about the spiciness of nasturtiums or the sweetness of lemon balm. It is because garden class is in full swing and we have been busy harvesting, digging and exploring the beautiful Reiche School Garden. I am so excited and grateful to be the garden teacher at Reiche School this year through Cultivating Community and FoodCorps. Throughout the whole year I will be teaching science, nutrition and math through gardening and cooking, and what a wonderful start to year it has been.

Though the weather does not seem to think that it’s November, this week we finally put the garden “beds to bed” for the winter. We have had amazing weather, lots of food to harvest and worms to dig for. We have been doing scavenger hunts, learning about plant parts, harvesting potatoes, beets, carrots and nasturtiums, planting winter greens, making mini hoop houses, planting garlic, mulching and making sun tea! The season has given us lots of delicious food to harvest which we have used to put nasturtiums in the salad bar, make a carrot and beet salad, potato leek soup (look for the recipes the students brought home!) and lemon balm tea.

The first, second and third graders this week prepared the garden for the winter by mulching the garden with lots of hay, leaves, cardboard and compost to protect and feed the soil for the winter. Meanwhile, last week, the Kindergarteners, fourth and fifth graders planted garlic to harvest in the springtime. For the whole year we will be learning about how plants grow, the seasonality of vegetables, the history of various foods and healthy eating and cooking, all while gaining an appreciation for fresh, local, healthy food!

Feel free to stop by the garden to check it out, volunteer with a class, ask me a question or give any suggestions. I look forward to continuing to work with all your kids this year in the garden!

Laura Fralich (or Laura Beet)


Autumn 2013

It's official - autumn is here.

Cover crop has been sown, the high tunnel has been raised, and community gardeners learned season extension techniques thanks to a workshop by Clara Coleman of Four Season Farm. We celebrated heartily at our annual harvest festival ("Plenty"), and have bid the season farewell.

So what's next? Our Culinary Crew will be taking over the kitchen at Local Sprouts Cafe! That's right, these teens - students from Portland and Deering High Schools - have been learning how to grow and cook delicious vegetables, and now they'll have their chance to run a real restaurant! Prepare to dine like never before, and enjoy the autumn-inspired fruits of their labor.

     What: Culinary Crew Celebration Dinner

     Where: Local Sprouts Cafe, 649 Congress Street in Portland

     When: Monday, November 11th from 5:30-7:30pm

     Cost: $10-20 for adults and $5 for kids. If you're not able to pay, call us at 761-4769 for a free coupon. Everyone is invited to feast and enjoy!


Autumn is also a time for us to reach out to you, our readers and collaborators, for support. Now that the craziness of the harvest is winding down, it's our time to switch gears and plan for the new year. We have so many exciting and ambitious ideas in the works, but need your investments to bring those dreams to life! Please look out for our Annual Fund Appeal and give generously to join our vision and support our work in 2014. Thank you so much!


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Cultivating Community 52 Mayo Street P.O. Box 3792 Portland, Maine 04104-3792 - T: 207.761.GROW - F: 207.541.GROW - Email Us