JAY— Volunteers gathered at Spruce Mountain Middle School recently to plant seeds and seedlings for the Tri-Town Community Garden.

Project director Trevor Doiron said he was excited to see the project under way for the third year. “Planting the seeds is always the most exciting part of the season. Before we know it, the seedlings will be bearing vegetables and it will be harvest season,” he added.

Those turning out for the event were middle school English teacher and longtime community garden volunteer Denise Acritelli, her eighth-grade daughter, Allison, and two high school freshmen, Nate Steele and Lucas Alley, who have both been volunteers for the project since its founding in 2012.

Doiron wrote grants and proposals to local business in the winter of 2012 to get the project started. He raised $600 to build four raised beds. The produce is donated to the Tri-Town Ministerial Food Pantry in Livermore Falls. The project has donated over 200 pounds of produce to the pantry in the past two years.

Helping other people is why volunteer Lucas Alley got involved. “I love knowing this project helps people in the community. I hope we can donate a lot of vegetables this year,” he added.

This year the project added two more raised beds to the development. “Adding more raised beds was something my volunteers and I had been talking about for a while. Some volunteers wanted to expand last year, but I didn’t allow that because I wanted to focus on building our volunteer count before we added more raised beds,” said Doiron.

Volunteer Nate Steele said he was excited to see the addition. “It’s exciting to see us keeping growing. We’ll be able to donate a lot of vegetables for sure.”

In the project’s first year Doiron said they dealt with a lack of volunteers. However, last year he recruited more volunteers.

The project has over 20 volunteers who help in many ways. This year some of the students enrolled in the Crossroads Program helped. They cleaned up the garden site, turned the soil and helped with the watering. Volunteers planted tomatoes, lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers and summer squash.

The food pantry to which they donate helps needy families in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls.

Doiron said the project is always in need of donations and help. If  interested in volunteering or making a donation, contact him at [email protected] or 578-8376 or visit www.tritowncommunitygarden.org.

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