Jay seventh-grader works on plan to raise food for needy people

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JAY – Thirteen-year-old Trevor Doiron noticed that it costs a lot more money to eat healthy than it does to eat processed, fast and junk food.

He came up with an idea to help the community and to try to prevent child obesity.

“At the beginning of the school year, I knew I wanted to do some type of project and a garden was a good idea,” the seventh-grader from Jay said Friday.

He has drawn up a chart and spacing-plan to make four, wood-framed raised-bed gardens at Spruce Mountain Middle School. He wants to call it Jay Community Gardens.

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His intent is to involve students and other volunteers to help plant vegetables and fruit seeds or seedlings and donate the harvested bounty to Tri-Town Ministerial Food Cupboard in Livermore Falls. He will report the produce to Maine Harvest for Hunger, which is put on by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Doiron said.

The emergency food cupboard serves Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls.

Doiron will go before the RSU 73 board at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Cedar Street Complex in Livermore Falls to present his plans. He has received approval from the district’s maintenance and grounds, and has notified Principal Scott Albert about his intent.

He became interested in the garden project after seeing how many fruits and vegetables are imported from foreign countries and how more expensive they are getting than microwaveable and processed food, Doiron said.

“My target is towards preventing childhood obesity,” he said.

He started in October 2011 thinking about what could be planted and where the proceeds should go.

His plan is to plant three of the flower beds with two different vegetables or fruits in each one. The first bed he has scaled to fit carrots and tomatoes. In the second, he intends to have cucumbers and summer squash, and in the third, peas and string beans.

Doiron wants to possibly plant okra and sunflowers that could be sold in the fourth bed to make sure there is seed money to repeat the venture the following year.

“I have applied for three grants,” Doiron said, to help fund the project. If they’re approved, they would bring $2,700 for the project, he said.

He has also met with Lauren St. Germain from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Farmington.

“She gave me a few tips on where we can get some other possible funding and suggestions where I could possibly get discounted material from our local businesses,” Doiron said.

He has also met with teachers Annette Caldwell and Gretchen Kimball from Buckfield Junior-Senior High School who operate a much larger garden in Buckfield, he said.

“They have about 100 students that volunteer their time to help tend the garden,” he said.

Doiron is in the process of getting quotes, developing a budget and how much he estimates will be spent in the first year.

Dixie Bonnevie, a liaison from Maine’s Gear Up Program, is also involved and has set some funds aside for the project, Doiron said.

To prepare for his planting adventure, he is also taking an adult education class on planting seedlings.

Doiron is hoping to start planting in the spring.

He has put hours into research and has talked to several local teachers about his project.

“I’m very excited. It’s a lot of work but I’m excited,” he said.

One of his seventh-grade teachers, Denise Acritelli, said, “Trevor is a very determined young man who has an idea he wants to carry out through hard work.”

“He will learn a lot,” she said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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