LEWISTON — The Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods recently awarded Lots to Gardens with its Outstanding Community Dedication Award. The award ceremony took place at a MAIN meeting last month at St. Mary’s B-Street Health Center.

MAIN is an all-volunteer coalition of individuals and organizations created in 1980 as a statewide voice for low to moderate income concerns. “With this award we are hoping that by recognizing people in their own communities it will empower them to know they can make changes at the statehouse and in their own neighborhoods to effect positive change,” said Kandie Desell, a MAIN leader. “The fact that Lots to Gardens engages youth is also very important to us.”

Lots to Gardens is a youth and community driven program of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center that uses sustainable urban gardening to provide opportunities for people to grow their own food, create access to affordable fresh food and to involve youth as leaders in building a healthy community. The program helps families develop skills and build influence for lifelong and community-wide change. Since 1999, Lots to Gardens has built more than a dozen gardens and green spaces in four diverse neighborhoods in Lewiston.

Annie Doran, Youth Programs Coordinator, accepted the award on behalf of the program. “It’s wonderful to be accepting an award from a room full of people who truly understand the power our local youth and community have, and take the time to recognize our work. Lots to Gardens is in its 15th year of programs. There are now thousands of youth and adults who have raised vegetables in garden plots across the city and by doing so, raised their voices to express every person’s right to healthy, affordable food,” said Doran.

For more information about MAIN, see MAIN (Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods) on Facebook, and to learn more about Lots to Gardens, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, see www.stmarysnutritioncenter.org.

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