Catholic Charities Maine is launching a new program to provide locally-grown produce to food pantries in Aroostook County.  The pilot project was made possible through a 77 thousand dollar grant from the Walmart Foundation.

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The funds will be used to work with Martie and James Pritchard to grow fresh vegetables on three acres of their land in Presque Isle with the option to add acreage in the future. Catholic Charities is also partnering with Northern Girl in Limestone to flash-freeze vegetables for use in food pantries year round.

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Stephen P. Letourneau, Catholic Charities Maine CEO said, “Our two food banks serve 25 pantries in the County, feeding more than 25,000 people and this grant will enable us to increase the amount and quality of the food we are able to provide to folks, and hopefully encourage healthier eating habits overall.”

Bonnie Bagley, the Associate Director of Catholic Charities Maine told Big Country 96-9, “If the pilot project works really well, our hope is that in subsequent years…we can plant more than 3 acres and increase the amount of food that we’re able to grow locally and make available to our food pantries.”

Catholic Charities Maine is one of ten Catholic Charities USA agencies selected to receive funds from the Walmart Foundation grant.