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Sunday August 25, 2019
Posted: May 20, 2015

Giving Mainers food security, healthy options

College Connection

Sometimes, things just feel right, even if that thing is a drastic life change.

At the beginning of this year, Tina Bonsant made a drastic change. She left her job of 20 years with the state government to embark on a journey of growth. Food growth, that is.

Tina saw a need that she wanted to meet in her community. As she says, “Food is a right, not a privilege.” After seeing people in her community put buying food as a last priority — after heating, medicine, and rent — she knew that she needed to do something. Though she had been sharing eggs with members of her community during the winter, she knew she wanted to help in a bigger way.

So, Tina started a nonprofit organization called The Giving Garden of Kennebec County with her knowledge of commercial food growth. Now, she grows and harvests produce to be donated to local food banks in order to help increase food security for people in the town of Windsor while simultaneously earning a degree in public administration at the University of Maine at Augusta.

With more than 9,000 Mainers turning to their local food banks after being removed from the state’s food stamps program, as this story from the Associated Press states, the food banks can use the produce that The Giving Garden grows. With donated land and the help of volunteers, Tina provides healthy, sustainable food like potatoes and beans to Mainers in need.

But the mission of The Giving Garden isn’t just to grow produce to donate. Not only does Tina hope to build garden and hoop houses to lengthen their growing season, but she also is passionate about education. She hopes that The Giving Garden would give not only food, but the knowledge people need to create their own sustainable gardens. She hopes to have children from local schools learn how to grow food as part of an educational and fun program, in order to spread the message of food sustainability and healthy eating.

For now, The Giving Garden is working steadily to help Mainers have food security and healthy options. With the help of people like Ed Hubbard and Jeff Stewart, who donated land and time, The Giving Garden will continue to grow. When asked how people could help out, Tina’s answer was simple: “Volunteer at a garden. Donate garden supplies.”

For more information on The Giving Garden and the way to help create sustainable gardens for everyone, you can call 441-9025.




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