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Ora Aselton painting the Incredible Edible Milbridge logo on the IEM cart.

Incredible Edible Garden Enthusiasts met once again to report on developments over the last two weeks, and to divvy up tasks for the coming weeks. The exciting news of the day is the that the Incredible Edible Garden Cart will be ready for the Milbridge Days parade this Saturday, thanks to the truly collaborative effort of many community members.

Over the last several weeks, something like 15 people have stepped up in various ways to transform a dilapidated old garden cart into a snazzy and colorful IEG “mascot”, chock full of vibrant vegetable plants that is “parade ready”, to show the community what we’re up to and to invite conversation, education and involvement. In fact, artist and WHRL board member, Ora Aselton, didn’t make it to our meeting because she was in the process of putting the finishing touches on our IEG logo (designed by Cathy Gearhart), which she painted on three sides of the cart. Someone had the clever idea of making little seed packets with our name and the WHRL website on each packet, and throwing them off the tractor that pulls the cart during the parade. Kim Beal has agreed to film the garden cart in the parade and Joanne Halpin has agreed to get some photos.

Janis told us that David Ashenden of Harrington has generously donated a 90 gallon capacity barrel composter. Kim Beal spoke to Lewis Pinkham who agreed to let us locate the composter behind the MIlbridge town office in the recycle area.

Janis brought a book called Easy Compost: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Guides for a Green Planet. It is a book that is geared toward community compost, an easy read with lots of pictures. Janis keeps reminding us that we have to make our own compost, an essential part of healthy and productive gardens. Chris Kuhni volunteered to write a letter to the publisher to request a couple dozen books for IEG to share with community members.

We talked about our three in-town raised beds— at Mano En Mano, Luna Midwifery and the Congregational Church. We have had trouble finding a carpenter who has the time to take on the job of building them at this time of year. Bill Arnold and Michael Kuhni hope they will be able to build them this week so that the beds are ready for Milbridge Days, but if not, no worry. Surprising things are happening all the time with Incredible Edible Gardens.

Chris Kuhni talked to Leola at Bayside about turning the vacant lot next to the store into an orchard. Leola has a twenty year lease on the land, which is owned by Tim Ring, and both Tim and Leola would love to see the lot transformed from an “eyesore” into an orchard. It was also suggested that it might be good to have raised beds there too. We have homework to do, to estimate the cost of developing an orchard and gardens there, to meet with any interested community members to talk about exactly what we would like to do with the lot, and to write a grant for our plan. Stay tuned this fall as we get started on our homework.

We had a discussion about the need to help business owners and community members who have IE gardens learn how to take care of them. Our goal is to help people take ownership of their gardens, buy their own supplies, take pride in tending them and learn how to harvest and use the vegetables they grow. This led us into envisioning winter gardening classes at WHRL to get ready for the 2014 growing season. It was suggested that we ask the cooperative extension service for help with that. Very exciting!

Donna Picard reported that the Seacoast Mission is investigating the possibility of helping to start raised beds at some of the apartments in the area, like Say Brook and Narraguagus Estates.

Next meeting in three weeks: Monday August 12 at 6:30 pm at WHRL

Come One! Come All!