BATH — Kennebec Estuary Land Trust has been awarded a $15,000 grant to support the nonprofit’s food access and awareness programs.

The grant, from the Quimby Family Foundation, is awarded annually. The foundation invests in projects that foster stronger relationships between people and nature.

Specifically, the award will support food collection efforts by  Merrymeeting Gleaners, and educational programs at the L.O.C.A.L. Garden in Bath and at Georgetown Central School.

Merrymeeting Gleaners, a project of the Merrymeeting Food Council, will be able to hire a paid coordinator to organize volunteers and communicate with local farmers. Since 2016, the Merrymeeting Gleaners have focused on increasing the amount of nutritious produce available to food insecure individuals by harvesting surplus produce from nearby farms.

In 2017, this all-volunteer group harvested over 22,400 pounds of food for distribution to local organizations committed to fighting hunger and providing fresh food, many of which are located in KELT’s service region. If interested in volunteering with this active group, visit the Merrymeeting Gleaners on Facebook or email [email protected].

The grant award will also help support a wider array of programming at the LOCAL Garden (Leading Our Community in Agricultural Learning), and at the school garden at Georgetown Central.

Managed by KELT, the LOCAL Garden is primarily used as an outdoor classroom and produce grown is donated back to the surrounding community (1,187 pounds in 2017). With the support of the foundation, KELT’s goal is to make the garden an educational space for all ages in the Bath region.

The land trust anticipates facilitating more family and adult-oriented workshops this year.

Georgetown Central School’s garden also functions as an outdoor classroom in an effort to get students outside and reconnected with their food. The school will use funding to support their Garden Coordinator and make structural improvements to their well-utilized greenhouse.

For more information about Quimby Family Foundation, visit quimbyfamilyfoundation.org.