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FarmShare hits Bangor, Brewer, & Biddeford… and the World of Wellness

April 26, 2016

Have you ever noticed that there are a ton of place names in Maine that start with ‘b’? It may just be that there are almost 500 towns, cities, and plantations in this vast and varied state, so a bunch of them are bound to begin with ‘b’. Well, whatever the reason for this pattern, we’re proud to announce that our Lakeside Family FarmShare will now be available in three more fantastic Maine cities/towns, all starting with ‘b’: Bangor, Brewer, and Biddeford. We are thrilled to make our farm-fresh food more accessible to even more Mainers and we’re so grateful to our partners in these towns and cities for helping us do so. To our growing list of drop-off spots we are adding:

  • Mondays, 4:30-5:30 pm, Marden’s, 564 Wilson Street, Brewer (the Burger King entrance), down the road from Eastern Maine Health Systems (EMHS)
  • Tuesdays, 5-6 pm, Cascade Park, State Street, Bangor, down the street from Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC)
  • Tuesdays, 6:15-7:15 pm, Retro Swagger Vintage Shop, 10 Harlow St., Downtown Bangor
  • Wednesdays, 4-6 pm, Southern Maine Medical Center (SMMC), Biddeford, with more southern Maine locations possible…

As always these spots are open to anyone and we have SNAP shares available at half price. Please click on the Workplace FarmShare tab above to sign up for these locations or any others, or to download posters and brochures to help us get your friends and neighbors signed up as well.

Lakeside’s foray into workplace-based community supported agriculture has opened up a whole new world to us: the world of wellness. When we were initiating this idea, in order to further our goal of “more Maine food for more Maine people,” we decided to find the “more Maine people” at some of our state’s largest employers, the healthcare networks. We quickly discovered that the most logical partners there, and the folks who are often most excited about our program, are the employee wellness teams, like MaineHealth’s Works on Wellness (WOW!) Council. We are also working with wellness and nutrition teams at EMHS/EMMC. It turns out that many other employers around the state are also making an effort to prioritize their employees’ well-being through incentive programs and in-house opportunities to change habits and behaviors. We have come to realize that the program we are offering – fresh, local food delivered right to the workplace – fits perfectly within, and expands, the wellness frameworks these employers have already articulated, and does so in a convenient, affordable way.

When we realized that wellness teams would be our newest champions, we started investigating their world a little more and discovered the Wellness Council of Maine (WCME), and the larger umbrella organization, the National Wellness Institute (NWI). After a stimulating meeting with the motivated and knowledgeable Roxane Dubay, WCME’s Executive Director, we decided to become members and officially declare our commitment to the wellness of Maine’s workers and communities. The alliance is a no-brainer and we’re excited about its potential.

So what is this wellness? The World Health Organization (WHO) explains wellness as:

“the optimal state of health of individuals and groups. There are two focal concerns: the realization of the fullest potential of an individual physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually and economically, and the fulfillment of one’s role expectations in the family, community, place of worship, workplace and other settings.”

In an effort to understand wellness in a comprehensive, nuanced way, many organizations frame it as having eight dimensions: emotional, occupational, physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, financial, and environmental.

Just as soil health cannot be determined by looking at just one factor – pH, nutrient levels, presence of organic matter – individual and community wellness are dynamic, complex processes. All dimensions impact one another. In thinking about this web, it doesn’t seem like too bold a statement to say that the availability of fresh, local, affordable food touches on almost every dimension of wellness. And for some of us the first strawberry or tomato of the season is a downright spiritual experience, so I dare say that the FarmShare has the potential to touch on ALL the dimensions! So thank you to our partners in the Maine wellness world. We are happy to be part of an expansive vision of thriving people and communities in Maine.

-Erika Arthur, FarmShare Coordinator

PS – The peas have been planted! It’s really happening!

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