We are taking this opportunity to share with you the success of the Reentry Center Garden Project for 2018. First, we want to mention the updates that occurred in 2018. We had an opportunity to purchase a completely remodeled 94 horsepower John Deere Tractor for $15,000. We constructed a cold storage building for both squash and potatoes, which can extend the shipping timeframe into December. This will allow increased potato production starting next year. We farmed about 15 acres this year and produced mainly potatoes and various squash including zucchini, butternut, buttercup and Blue Hubbard; along with beans, corn, carrots, onions, and beets.
Early in the year, many farmers in Waldo County had problems starting squash and cucumbers. We were no exception. We successfully replanted and brought our production back to our expectations.
The Commissioners wish to express their appreciation to the Residents at the Reentry Center, as they come to work with an excellent attitude and a desire to help others in need. Besides learning to grow, store, and prepare vegetables for themselves, they also have the opportunity to feel good about doing something for others. We also greatly appreciate our Corrections staff who zealously work in the garden alongside the Residents and who transport produce countywide. We generally operate the garden with a 12-man crew once it comes into full production.
Special thanks goes to Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton, who is a very strong advocate of the Garden Project. Without his enthusiastic support and dedication, this project would not have grown to the size that it is today. It is not unusual for the Sheriff to drive in and ask, “How are things going?” and “What can I do to be of assistance?”
To date, the Garden has produced 131,000 lbs. We extend our thanks to the food cupboards, soup kitchens, and the Belfast YMCA for their support and cooperation in helping distribute this produce. Waldo County should be very proud of the Reentry Center for these accomplishments and for all that the Center does for various towns, special organization events, and food cupboards.
The Garden Project is funded entirely from Community Corrections funds Waldo County receives from the State of Maine. We want our citizens to know that the Garden does not impact the County budget. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to call one of the County Commissioners and we would be more than too happy to explain the funding process to you. We also welcome visitors to the garden between the hours of 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the growing season.
It is very important that we support the re-election of Jeff Trafton for Sheriff because he is a major factor in the success of this Garden Project.
The Board of Waldo County Commissioners:
Betty Johnson, District 1 William Shorey, District 2 Amy Fowler, District 3