Roger Doiron dreams of a day when lush vegetable gardens become more popular than manicured lawns. Why? Everyone should experience the joy of growing food, savoring the fresh first bite into local produce, and never wondering where their next meal will be.
As Founding Director of Kitchen Gardeners International (KGI) in Scarborough, Maine, Doiron and a team of 30,000 people from 100 countries work toward this goal.
A 220-Ton Partnership
Doiron and KGI have followed Tom’s of Maine’s community outreach and environmental awareness for several years. In 2013, they contacted the fellow Maine-based company to explain their kitchen garden ideas and mission.
Much like Tom’s of Maine, KGI strives to educate the public on the importance of environmental sustainability and human wellness through nutrition. The nonprofit organization also supports community garden development for everyone from individual families to larger organizations.
“Tom’s of Maine is helping us reach our mission by supporting our Sow It Forward program, which provides grants of cash, seeds, supplies, and technical support to small, community-based nonprofit causes interested in starting or sustaining a food garden project,” Doiron said of the kitchen garden movement.
Over the past two years, the program has been able to grow five-fold with the assistance of a grant from Tom’s of Maine. In total, the program has awarded 440 grants that reached 132,000 people—and in turn produced 220 tons of food.
Expanding This Movement
“KGI’s mission is to help people and communities feed themselves food that is good for them as well as good for the planet,” Doiron elaborated. “And there’s no better food than garden-grown food in terms of taste, freshness, and its positive community and environmental impacts.”
Because both KGI and Tom’s of Maine are based in Maine, it’s no surprise they’re heavily involved in projects in their home state.
This is especially important, because the people of Maine rank last in food security in the New England states. One in seven Mainers has used the services of local hunger relief organizations for food assistance.
“One of the projects we’re supporting in Scarborough with Tom’s [of Maine’s] help is a new church garden that’s growing food for our local food pantry. It’s been amazing to see how the project has evolved from an unused patch of lawn into a productive plot generating generous harvests of organic produce for people in need,” Doiron noted of their partnership with St. Nicholas Episcopal Church. “What’s equally inspiring is that the garden isn’t just growing vegetables, but a new sense of community with new people getting involved in different ways according to their time and abilities.”
Doiron is convinced their project will inspire several new projects just like this one in the years to come, and is fully committed to making that happen.
The partnership between Tom’s of Maine and KGI is making the kitchen garden movement more accessible to people around the globe. Have you thought about starting a garden? Talk with your local food bank or hunger relief organization about donating fresh produce to give people in your community access to more healthy, natural foods.
Image sources: Kitchen Gardeners International
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.