The Cape Farm Alliance helps to increase the visibility of and access to local healthy food. We feel it’s vitally important to strengthen our local food system for a variety of reasons such as reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, encouraging a strong local economy and for reasons of health and well-being.
We support two large community gardens in town, that provide over ninety growing plots to gardeners, and are proud to assist Judy’s Pantry, a year-round food pantry, helping residents with limited income, to access healthy foods. Nancy Miles created and runs the pantry; contact her for more information or to donate food or other assistance.
Judy’s Pantry – A Community Feeding Itself
Judy’s Pantry is the collaboration of several Cape farmers, gardeners, and a local church who all wish to share the bounty of fresh, local produce grown here in Cape Elizabeth as well as offering other non-perishable food items. The pantry was started in 2010 in memory of Judy Simonds, a long-time Cape resident and one of the founders of the first Cape Community Garden. She oversaw the plots at the garden set aside to raise food for food pantries. Originally, this was just a ‘produce pantry’ open once a week only during the summer and fall growing season. Recognizing the year-round needs of the families coming to the pantry, Judy’s Pantry began its current year-round operation. Judy’s Pantry’s mission is “to help Cape residents with limited resources who are struggling to feed themselves and their families with healthy food.”
Judy’s Pantry is held at the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church, 280 Ocean House Rd, on Tuesdays from 3-5 p.m.. From January through June, the pantry is open on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month, offering mostly non-perishables in the winter and spring months, with some produce. From July through Thanksgiving, the pantry is open every Tuesday from 3 – 5 p.m. offering an abundant supply of fresh, local produce during the growing season. December schedule includes two open days. The produce comes from Cape’s generous farmers, the two Community Gardens, and several local residents who donate extra produce from their backyard gardens. Produce totals have averaged 5,000 – 6,000 pounds each season.
The non-perishables are supplied through the Wayside Food Program, various food drives, and individual donations of canned and boxed goods left in the Lions Club box in IGA’s foyer. The pantry has received generous financial support from the Cape Lions Club, the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club, other Cape businesses and fund drives as well as many individual gifts from church members and other Cape residents. These funds purchase needed food when donated supplies run low.
Judy’s Pantry currently serves 25-30 households each week, and the number of family members served is over 100. The participants include those who have lost jobs, some with very high medical expenses, families with young children and others with special needs as well as seniors and the disabled living on fixed incomes. Others have low wage jobs that don’t allow them to adequately feed their families. There is no specific income level or other criteria required to make use of the pantry.
Other ways to access fresh local food
- Community Gardens
- Grow-Your-Own (MOFGA, Cooperative Extension and Portland Maine Permaculture are good local resources).
- The Winter Cache Project runs a program in which you join in as a volunteer for farm work parties in exchange for receiving a distribution of the produce (root cellared, preserved, fresh, etc.) throughout the winter. No cash changes hands.
- Maine Senior Farm Shares.
- You can also find out about food assistance programs here.
Fresh produce from the William H. Jordan Farm is available at The Food Cupboard in South Portland, Preble Street Resource Center, Good Shepherd Food Bank, The Root Cellar, White Memorial and various other food pantries.