Welcome to the UMA Community Gardens!

UMA Community Gardens LogoUMA’s Community Gardens are seedbeds for social connection and civic engagement.

Over the last few years, the University of Maine at Augusta Community Gardens have been reborn as educational centers that integrate coursework, research, student clubs, campus events, and outreach to surrounding communities.

In the gardens, growing community and growing food take place side by side. The vegetables we grow are donated to on-campus food closets and off-campus food banks as part of our commitment to address food insecurity in the state of Maine. In this way, the UMA Community Gardens are not just projects for engagement but also for service and justice.

To learn more about our work, click the tabs below, or read our annual reports (2017 report | 2018 report | 2019 Augusta report).

This garden invites everyone, no matter where you come from, what language you speak, what ideas you hold, or what hopes you nurture. You are welcome here.

– James Cook, Associate Professor of Sociology

The Augusta Campus Community Garden

Spring 2020 update: Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the University of Maine at Augusta Community Garden project on our Augusta campus is currently on hold. However, we are keeping our garden space tended and ready to go should the crisis abate and our campus re-open. Please stay tuned as events further unfold.

We had a wonderful 2019 season at the 9000 square-foot UMA Augusta-campus Community Garden. We harvested 695 pounds of vegetables during the year, with every pound going to food-insecure families through deliveries to the Augusta Food Bank. 212 different people participated in 221 hours of gardening and 30 hours of social and educational events — that’s a lot of people! Ten different Augusta campus groups adopted and tended their own garden beds. The idea of a garden labyrinth that began here with an unsuccessful corn maze in 2017 has now had two successful iterations with a sunflower maze in 2018 and a varied vegetable-and-clover labyrinth in 2019. All in all, during our 2019 season the UMA Augusta Community Garden had the most documented people involved of any civic engagement project at UMA.

Acts of Participation in the UMA Augusta Community Garden, from March to November 2019, measured in hours of gardening events, pounds of food, and acts of participation in gardening

Acts of Participation in non-gardening events sponsored by the UMA Augusta Community Garden in 2019

Although the coronavirus pandemic has brought a necessary halt to our collective social work on the garden in the Spring of 2020, we hope that this halt is temporary, and we will be keeping the garden ready for planting should the pandemic pass. Please keep an eye on this space. Just like a seed wintering over beneath the soil, when given the right conditions and a little bit of sunshine, we will grow again.

The University of Maine at Augusta Augusta-Campus Garden Labyrinth, July 5 2018

Aerial photograph of the augusta community garden 2018Augusta Community Garden Student Presentation Day, May 2 2018Augusta Community Garden Community Day brought children out to paint birdhouses and decorate the garden fence.The first permanent labyrinth at the University of Maine at Augusta was built in Spring 2018 in the UMA Augusta Campus Community Garden.  A path of white clover will be perennial, with annual vegetables and flowers growing in the labyrinth walls.Augusta Community GardenAugusta Community GardenAugusta Community GardenAugusta Community GardenThe University of Maine at Augusta Community Garden Labyrinth grew in well during the Summer of 2018. By fall, a wall of sunflowers reached as much as 11 feet high.CabbageTomatoesSunflowerRed salad bowl lettuceDelicata squashCarrot topCony HS Volunteers in the gardenCony HS Volunteers in the Community Garden

Visit the UMA Augusta Garden on Facebook or call 207-621-3190 to find out more!

The Bangor Campus Community Garden

The UMA Bangor Community Garden is a space for anyone to explore the world of gardening. Don’t hesitate to get involved! Can you dig it?

We have been approved to move forward with the garden this year! We’ve developed safety protocols, and they are posted below. Looking forward to seeing everyone out there! (But no more than 10 at a time, and with at least 6 feet social distancing…)

Daffodils in the UMA Bangor GardenTulips in the UMA Bangor GardenStudents in the bangor community garden practicing social distancingStudents in the bangor community garden practicing social distancingStudents in the bangor community garden practicing social distancingAs of May 5, 2019, the hugels are constructed and ready for topsoil!As of May 5, 2019, the hugels are constructed and ready for topsoil!As of May 5, 2019, the hugels are constructed and ready for topsoil!30 yards of topsoil delivered for our labyrinth in May, 2019.30 yards of topsoil delivered for our labyrinth in May, 2019.30 yards of topsoil delivered for our labyrinth in May, 2019.Bangor Community GardenBangor Community GardenBangor Community GardenBangor Community GardenBangor Community GardenUMA Bangor community gardenUMA Bangor community garden harvest

Bangor Garden Covid-19 Safety Plan

Adopted April 5, 2020

This plan outlines the steps we intend to take to ensure the safety of our produce and our volunteers in the wake of COVID-19. We will comply with all CDC social distancing and hygiene regulations, and minimize the handling of produce as much as possible.

We believe that our garden program is absolutely essential in the time of COVID-19, as we supply food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and food security programs. All of our recipient organizations are begging for food supplies in the wake of the mass layoffs and furloughs that have occurred, and we would argue that our UMA Bangor Community Garden (both the Shire and Labyrinth gardens) are more needed now than they have ever been in recent history.

We plan to deliver to all of our recipients that we did last year. Additionally, our partner organization Peace and Justice Center has opened a temporary food pantry in their space to help supply food to people in need as a result of this crisis.

Goals

  1. To maintain our program so that we may continue to supply fresh produce to seven food security programs in the area, which are experiencing a drastically increased need due to COVID-19.
  2. To protect our volunteers and recipients from any possible exposure to COVID-19 as much as we can by enacting all CDC protocols to ensure minimal contact, both in produce processing and in produce delivery.

COVID-19 Protocol Plan

We intend to enact the following steps to ensure the safety of our volunteers and recipients. These safety guidelines will be updated accordingly to stay in line with any future updates to the CDC recommendations, federal and state guidelines, or UMA or UMS policies.

  • At no time will the number of volunteers working in the garden exceed 10 people, as per the federal guideline.
  • Volunteers will wear garden gloves at all times to minimize contact and garden gloves will be regularly washed in a bleach dilution (after each work session).
  • Volunteers will maintain a 6 ft social distancing buffer as per the CDC recommendation.
  • Volunteers will wear cloth masks as per the recent CDC recommendation.
  • Volunteers who are ill (of any sort, not just COVID) will be asked to remain home.
  • All produce will be washed and packaged onsite. If necessary, we are amicable to the idea of seeking an organic, food-safe dilution to wash them if that will help to eliminate any viral threat.
  • All deliveries will be dropped curbside (with prior appointment) to our recipient pantries in unopened packages, to be delivered within 48 hours of harvesting.
  • If not possible to deliver the produce to recipients on the day of harvest, the produce will be stored either onsite at UMA or, if no space is available, at the Peace and Justice Center’s food pantry (reserved for other recipients) which is known to the coordinators to be practicing all CDC safety protocols.
  • Volunteers delivering produce will wear cloth masks and gloves during all delivery, and immediately wash hands following completion of delivery.

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Contact Us

Please use this contact form to find out more about the UMA Community Gardens.

Cultivating Community: The Garden Seminar

Spring of 2016 marked the first offering of SSC 334, Cultivating Community: The Garden Seminar. This course applies theory and research in sociology and psychology to the practice of growing a community garden, but also to the challenge of growing a successful student organization that supports and sustains the garden. In the process of increasing food security and building a better community, students gain skills in academic analysis, organizing, mobilizing, framing and (yes!) gardening.

If you’d like to know more about a future section of the Augusta class, contact Dr. Cook (e-mail james.m.cook@maine.edu).  If you’d like to know more about a future section of the Bangor class, contact Dr. Corlew (e-mail kate.corlew@maine.edu). We look forward to hearing from you.