Farmer Habiba Salat packs produce grown at Liberation Farms in Wales for recipients of the Somali Bantu Elder Share Program. Courtesy of Somali Bantu Community Association

BRUNSWICK — In the first of two micro-grant cycles, the Maine Council on Aging has awarded nearly $376,000 through Hannaford Supermarkets’ Connection, Health and Equity Through Food (CHEF) program across five states.

Thirty-two organizations in Maine, from Berwick to Eagle Lake and Porter to Stonington, received grants in this cycle to improve the health and well-being of older adults statewide. The final micro-grant cycle is now open, and applications are being accepted until June 30 at

Executive Director Jess Maurer estimates that nearly 236,000 people will benefit from the grants awarded in this cycle.

Grant recipients are supporting the nutritional and social needs of older adults in a myriad of ways, including the following awardees.

Alan Day Community Garden in Norway works in partnership with the MaineHealth Food Pantry, Oxford County Wellness Collaborative, The Progress Center, Senior Farmshare Program, and Somali Bantu Community Association to provide opportunities for community members to build relationships, learn, and grow food together. ADCG is using the grant funds to implement a Community Meals pilot program, specifically designed to create a social network for older adults living in rural communities around food, cooking, learning, and sharing meals together.

Somali Bantu Community Association in Lewiston provides vital transitional services, advocacy, and resources for food production that empower members of the refugee community to uphold cultural identity and economic well-being to thrive in their new life in Maine. Funds from CHEF will support the purchase of essential infrastructure and growing supplies at SBCA’s Liberation Farms for the Elder Farm Share program. Somali Bantu farmers participating in the program provide culturally relevant produce to Somali Bantu Elders, many of whom are homebound, helping to increase their access to traditional staple crops, connecting them to their greater community, and elevating their overall health.

Read the complete list of CHEF grant recipients at


Check out upcoming area events!

Comments are not available on this story.