Please contact us prior to delivery. The Magic Food Bus is open to all, it offers fresh local produce, books, and information about food-security resources at weekly stops in nine towns. Volunteers put the wheels on the metaphorical bus, driving their cars to distribute fresh produce and books in Blue Hill, Brooksville, Brooklin, Castine, Penobscot, Sedgwick, Surry, Deer Isle, and Stonington. The distribution points have become lively community events, with residents and visitors stopping by to pick up fresh lettuce, kale, carrots, beets, fennel, radishes, zucchini, and more. Everyone is invited, no registration or income details required.
The Magic Food Bus regularly serves over 100 individuals each week, totaling over 10,000 meals’ worth of vegetables each season. In 2022, the program distributed 6725 lbs of produce in all, 58% of which was harvested and donated by farm gleaning and home gardeners. This year the Magic Food Bus will be visiting Nichols Day Camp, in Sedgwick, with free fresh veggies and popping up at Peninsula child-care centers to help introduce kids to new and healthful foods in a fun way.
Healthy Peninsula works in collaboration with a host of community partners that support the Magic Food Bus, including Healthy Island Project, the Gleaning Initiative, Brooklin Food Corps, community and school gardens, many local farms including King Hill Farm, Blue Zee Farm, Four Season Farm, and many home gardeners and volunteers. Food costs have risen dramatically in the past year, causing both an increase in repeat visitors as well as a stretch of the program budget, which remains dedicated to supporting local farmers through its Peninsula-focused purchasing.
The popular project was started in 2011 as a collaboration between Sedgwick School librarian Margaret Bixby and Healthy Peninsula’s Good Food Project. Together they worked to create a program that would ensure summers full of good food and good reading opportunities for all. Thirteen summers later, the program is a robust force for food security and sustainability on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle. Find out more information and the full schedule at www.healthypeninsula.org.
ProducePedia is a free resource that covers the types of fresh produce that can be delivered to food pantries. Each entry includes information on color, taste, and possible uses. People unfamiliar with the vegetable or fruit will learn how to use it, and those who are familiar with it still might learn a fun fact or two!
The Cooperative Extension sites have a wealth of information for any backyard gardener. Once you go to the site (each one if very different from the others) look for a link for “homes and gardens”, “landscape”, “consumer horticulture”, etc. to find information on improving your backyard garden. Neighboring state sites may offer information your own state’s site lacks.