RUMFORD — While most Adopt-A-Spots
around town are ablaze with a variety of brightly colored flowers,
the brick planter on River Street is a bit different.

Yes, there are flowers there, but they
are all edible, such as yellow and orange marigold blossoms and
tender green nasturtium leaves. The rest of the greenery is a collection
of fresh, summer vegetables: yellow summer squash, green zucchini,
about-to-turn-red hot peppers, green peppers, cucumbers, Brussels
sprouts and celery. Lettuce leaves poke up beside a variety of
herbs, such as basil, parsley and thyme. Anyone taking a stroll past the planter
is welcome to pick something to eat.

The unique flowering planter is the
idea of Carol Emery, grant manager for the Healthy Maine Partnership,
which operates under the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition. She and Sandy Palmer, administrative
assistant for the coalition, attended a conference in
Vermont where they learned about community gardens and small areas planted with vegetables. While the 20-foot-long planter isn’t a
community garden, it is producing far more than anyone could expect.

“We want to promote nutrition and
experiment with fresh food,” Emery said.

Palmer has been the chief caretaker of
the vegetables and has fertilized, watered and weeded them. “People are welcome to help
themselves,” she said. She plans to replant lettuce in a
couple of days so there will be a fall crop.

Seedlings were provided by Simply a
Greenhouse in Dixfield and Fryewood Farm in Mexico.

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