Belfast Garden Club members showed support for the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center’s Garden Program by donating instructive books to the Reentry Center’s library on growing vegetables and preparing nutritious meals after harvesting the bountiful food. Club members gave books from their personal collections and purchased new books for the project. The books will be available to residents at the Reentry Center’s library in Belfast to assist them in learning gardening techniques for northern climate gardens, general good gardening principles, and using the produce in the kitchen to make healthy meals.
A description of the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center’s Garden Program, designed to provide training and skills to clients at the Center who are returning to their home communities from the Maine correctional system, was presented to those attending a recent meeting of the Belfast Garden Club, prompting the book donation. Now in its third year, the Garden Program benefits all the food cupboards and soup kitchens in Waldo County. During the past two summers it has produced thousands of pounds of vegetables and shared produce with over three dozen programs that provide food to those in need. Reentry Center residents do much of the work in the 3 acre vegetable garden and that work allows them to provide food for meals prepared at the Center as well as give back to the community in a significant manner.
Partners in the gardening program who benefit from the food harvested weekly by the clients at the Reentry Center are over twenty soup kitchens and food pantries including Belfast Soup Kitchen, Senior Spectrum/Meals on Wheels, and University of Maine Extension/Maine Harvest for Hunger.
The Belfast Garden Club has promoted civic beautification and presented speakers to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening since 1929, and holds public monthly meetings in fall, winter and spring that are free and open to the public. The Club is responsible for maintaining over 12 public gardens in the City of Belfast, including the recently renovated garden at Grove Cemetery. The Garden Club hosts Open Garden Days all summer, and supports education through donations to the Belfast Free Library, Troy Howard Middle School Garden Project, and an annual Education Scholarship. The Club welcomes new members and volunteers year round.