Healthy Acadia is asking Maine gardeners to plant a little extra this year, and donate the excess to local food pantries.

A stack of seed packets are sitting on top of a bookcase in my living room, some of which have already been planted by my husband and have started to sprout. It's the time of year when all backyard gardeners are getting ready to till the soil, plant the seeds, and look forward to fresh vegetables.

Each year, Healthy Acadia asks farmers and backyard gardeners, alike, to plant a little extra, so they can donate the surplus to local food pantries. But this year, WABI-TV reports the message is a little more urgent. Food pantries are seeing more people than ever, thanks to the economic hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthy Acadia's Downeast Gleaning Initiative connects local farms with food security organizations in Hancock and Washington County. Folks in other counties can contact their local food pantry about how to donate their extra produce or call 211 for information about resources in their area.

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