About
  • Share the Harvest acts as a liaison between low-income residents, summer workers, and local food, ensuring access to the space, knowledge, and resources that it takes to sustain an equitable food system.
  • Working closely with island food pantries and other organizations dedicated to eradicating food insecurity, this program distributes farmstand vouchers, subsidized farm shares, and Harvest Deliveries to community members in need.
  • This program works to fill critical gaps in food access on MDI and to generate conversations and actions to address the root causes of food insecurity.

 
Our Services: 
  • Farmstand vouchers: These vouchers can be used at the farm stand to purchase any produce,
    and are to be used during regular hours throughout the season - which begins in June and ends in October.
  • Farm Shares: Larger families are able to participate in the farm share program that offers a box of vegetables to the family every week, for 10 weeks.
  • Harvest Delivery: This is an option for individuals or families who are unable to make the trip to the farmstand due to a lack of transportation or disability. These are valued at the price of a voucher and can be delivered in two sets, with each bag valued at $25, or all at once valued at the full $50.

Share the Harvest hosts an annual fundraising dinner to keep the program sustainably funded, while also hosting smaller fundraisers throughout the year in the forms of farmstand donations, grants, community events, and Share the Harvest merchandise.

Share the Harvest Participant Testimonials
Brenda, an artist, has been painting for 47 years. She has recently began to go blind in her left eye. <br/>“It wasn't my idea to end up with the illnesses that I've had, I thought I would still be working when I was 67. I see it in this building, there are some people that are younger than I am that are disabled. It gives me hope to know that there are programs like this, and younger people that care if others are hungry or not. There are a lot of hungry people.”Brenda, an artist, has been painting for 47 years. She has recently began to go blind in her left eye.
“It wasn't my idea to end up with the illnesses that I've had, I thought I would still be working when I was 67. I see it in this building, there are some people that are younger than I am that are disabled. It gives me hope to know that there are programs like this, and younger people that care if others are hungry or not. There are a lot of hungry people.”

 

Kathleen, 87, “We really truly appreciate this. We've been signing up for two or three years now. When I was up and able I used to have gardens of my own, but I can't do anything like that anymore… I used to grow cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, squash, love the squash, that's my favorite.”Kathleen, 87, “We really truly appreciate this. We've been signing up for two or three years now. When I was up and able I used to have gardens of my own, but I can't do anything like that anymore… I used to grow cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, squash, love the squash, that's my favorite.”

 

Sylvester was born in Southwest Harbor, and has always lived in Maine. He is a retired from the military, now spending his time in a small apartment in Bass Harbor. He smiles when we make the delivery, and lets us sit in his living room to listen to his stories. His cat Oreo keeps us company; he's had her since she was a kitten. We talk about the winter, and his time in the military, and the hand-pinned family photographs on the wall.Sylvester was born in Southwest Harbor, and has always lived in Maine. He is a retired from the military, now spending his time in a small apartment in Bass Harbor. He smiles when we make the delivery, and lets us sit in his living room to listen to his stories. His cat Oreo keeps us company; he's had her since she was a kitten. We talk about the winter, and his time in the military, and the hand-pinned family photographs on the wall.

Food Assistance on MDI: A Place for Share the Harvest

In 2013, Maine’s Food Supplement Program had the highest participation in the nation, with 1 in 6 households receiving aid.

Approximately half of Hancock County residents do not earn a living wage and Hancock is just below the state average of food insecurity (15.8%) at 15.6%, making it the second highest food insecure county in Maine. 

Although the numbers of food insecure households have been declining over the past few years, the state still ranks #1 in food insecurity in New England. Food insecurity exists not because there is a lack of food, but rather because there is a lack of access to food. While federal assistance programs help many MDI residents address food insecurity, they often do not satisfy the need for healthy, fresh, and nutritious foods.

Local food pantries and initiatives such as the Bar Harbor Food Pantry and the Common Good Soup Kitchen in Southwest Harbor offer healthy non-perishable items, but are not always able to consistently meet the  need for farm fresh vegetables.

Share the Harvest is the only farm-based food access program on Mount Desert Island and works in conjunction with existing programs to complement their efforts and meet specific needs that are not being served.

History of Share the Harvest

Initial fundraising for the program began in the summer of 2007, and in 2008 a $1000 start-up grant from Healthy Acadia and donations from Beech Hill Farm’s farm stand customers facilitated the program’s launch. In the summer of 2008, $50 farm stand vouchers were distributed to 20 families on the island.

The pilot project was so popular that a lottery was necessary to allocate these limited vouchers. Unfortunately, customer donations were insufficient to fund the program’s continuation in 2009. In the winter of 2009, students working in the Launching a New Venture course at College of the Atlantic examined the Share the Harvest business model and came up with a comprehensive plan for its financial sustainability.

In the spring of 2010, two students from that group brought the program into the sustainable business incubator (The Hatchery) and continued to work with on the program, implementing many of the suggestions from the term before and writing an operations manual for the program.

The program has now eliminated the lottery system due to an increase in funds. The program is able to provide support to more than 70 families and individuals on the island.