BELFAST — In Waldo County, it is estimated that almost 20 percent of residents, one in five, don’t have enough to eat. Learn more about how Waldo County Bounty, a hunger-relief organization, is addressing food needs in a Belfast Garden Club program Tuesday, Feb. 20.
The one-hour public program, free to all, by Waldo County Bounty cofounder Mattie J. Bamman will be presented at noon in the Abbott Room at the Belfast Free Library, 106 High Street. Those who wish to join from home may attend via Zoom. For more information and to register, visit belfastgardenclub.org.
Launched in 2020 in response to the pandemic, Waldo County Bounty has responded to local food insecurity through the power of gardening. In its work, it has employed a countywide network of volunteers, including gardeners, farmers, educators, and service providers.
The organization supports hunger-relief programs by purchasing food from farmers and by harvesting ripe crops to redirect surplus food. It also supports home gardeners with a variety of resources.
In 2023, Waldo County Bounty distributed more than 20,000 pounds of freshly picked produce to 14 food pantries and soup kitchens.
Bamman, raised by back-to-the-landers in Maine, spent 15 years as a culinary travel writer after graduating from Bard College. In 2018, he returned to Midcoast Maine with his wife and established a homestead in Northport. He carried his passion for growing food into the mission of Waldo County Bounty.
“We grow 99 percent of our own produce year-round, cut our own firewood, and steward the health of the land and its creatures,” says Bamman, who documented his technique of “lasagna gardening” (no-till gardening) in a YouTube program called “Ravenous Farmer”.
Founded in 1928, the Belfast Garden Club promotes the knowledge and love of gardening, the protection of native flora and fauna, and the importance of civic beautification.