Cultivating Community manages several pieces of land in Cumberland and Androscoggin Counties, including the City of Portland’s community gardens.
Farmers and youth in our programs also grow food at Oxford Street Garden in Portland, off of Highland Avenue in South Portland and at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth.
- Packard-Littlefield Farm – Lisbon, ME
Here at Cultivating Community, we’re proud to operate Maine’s largest incubator training farming program. While we have farmer trainees scattered among a few satellite locations, our primary site is the Packard-Littlefield Farm in Lisbon outside Lewiston.
Originally 80 acres, this farm, which has belonged to the Littlefield Packard family since 1853, now encompasses 402 acres, 260 in managed tree growth, 90 in hay production, and 30 leased to Cultivating Community and farmed by New Americans. The whole farm is permanently protected by agricultural conservation easements held by the Androscoggin Land Trust.
Our New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP) participants grow vegetables on their own plots. Crops reflect the grower’s individual marketing plans. For example, this past summer, some tried fennel, parsnips, celeriac, sage, and oregano, as well as more traditional crops. Meanwhile, Congolese farmers grew crops not normally seen in America: African types of eggplant that don’t resemble Italian or Asian varieties, as well as leaf amaranth, both big sellers in their communities.
Our farm is a dynamic place. Farming without the use of any synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, the growers supply the vegetables for Cultivating Community’s CSA programs, farm stands and mobile markets, as well as for 18 wholesale accounts. Just as importantly, they grow vegetables to sell through their own retail businesses at 10+ Maine farmers’ markets and elsewhere.
- Boyd Street Urban Farm – Portland, ME
An essential part of Cultivating Community’s work is restoring growing spaces that invite people to tend the soil and become skilled food growers. Over the past ten years, Boyd Street Urban Farm in East Bayside, Portland (you see it off to the right as you drive down the slope of the Franklin Arterial toward I-295) has become a flagship urban agriculture project in which 48 community gardeners, as well as youth in Cultivating Community’s education and leadership programs, learn at, work at, and steward a once-neglected land parcel.
In 2004, the plot at Boyd Street was in very bad shape. To address contamination issues, Cultivating Community phyto-remediated one large growing space, established a large raised bed for another, and planted an urban orchard. We established perennial production (including berries). With the help of many partners, including the City of Portland, which owns the land, we also established water access, rainwater collection, and a compost system, and added two sheds plus a timber-framed pergola that supports vine production and serves as a community gathering space. We established a beehive in 2014 and hope to continue honey production.
Today, annual production at Boyd Street has reached 2,000 pounds of vegetables, berries, and fruit, all of which is donated to elders, youth growers, and low-income families.
In the heart of Maine’s most diverse census tract, BSUF encapsulates the potential impact of agriculture in a culturally rich, economically challenged urban area. The idea of turning city spaces in very poor health into vibrant farms that support youth programs as well as individuals/families who want to work in the soil is essential to the vision of a local, sustainable food system.