Who we are
Lots to Gardens (LtG) is a youth and community driven program of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center that uses sustainable urban gardening to provide access to fresh food, to nurture youth and a to build a healthy community. LtG provides opportunities for people to grow their own food, create access to affordable food, and to involve youth as leaders. LtG helps families develop skills and build influence for lifelong and community-wide change. Since 1999, LtG has built more than a dozen gardens and greenspaces in four diverse neighborhoods in Lewiston, Maine.
What we do
LtG grows food where it is needed, with the people that need it. More than one hundred diverse families and individuals grow food in garden plots around Lewiston; twelve gardens not only produce fresh fruits and vegetables, but provide unique opportunities for community engagement. Gardens act as outdoor classrooms for youth and children and serve as sites for valuable service learning. Gardeners learn to respect and value differences, appreciate one another’s culture and cultivate life long friendships.
LtG supports people in accessing affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate food. Through sustainable production gardens, farmers markets, harvest dinners, weekly veggie shares for elders and youth and farmers’ market incentive programs, LtG creates opportunities that help people stretch their food dollar. LtG’s food access projects support Maine farmers and producers and help build a stronger local food system.
LtG provides children with a safe and fun environment to explore the world of gardening and the wonders of growing food. School based and neighborhood gardens give children the chance to get their hands dirty, work as a team, and try fresh, delicious vegetables right from the ground. LtG programs give children leadership opportunities in a safe environment and allow kids to build their confidence.
LtG employs and trains a diverse crew of teenagers throughout the year; job skills training happens in the field. Youths unique and powerful voices are heard within their community as they learn and explore kitchens, social justice workshops, agricultural lessons, and nation-wide youth networks. Youth learn to grow, harvest and cook healthy food, learn about nutrition, food systems and hunger, and teach others their newfound knowledge.
The St. Mary's Nutrition Center offers garden-centered work experiences for youth and university students. Through the LtG Community Gardener Program local residents can sign up to receive a garden plot at one of the neighborhood gardens and participate in gardening workshops.
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