USDA Under Secretary Kevin W. Concannon Visits with Boyd Street Urban Gardeners; Yesterday

Gardners at the Boyd Street Urban Garden

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 553)

Yesterday afternoon Under Secretary Kevin W. Concannon cut a ribbon at the Boyd Street Urban Farm at Kennedy Park.  His appearance here in Portland which began with a press conference at the city hall in the morning, was part of a visit to farmers’ markets all over Maine.  “We are encouraging farmers’ markets all over to use a Double Voucher,” he said holding up a blue plastic card – like a credit card.

These cards are used by SNAP (formerly food stamp) clients at farmers’ markets and  are intended to increase consumption of locallly grown fruits and vegetables.  Under Secretary Concannon addressed the crowd, had his photograph taken with the attendees and then mingled with them before moving off to another garden in Portland.  The Secretary is a Portland native having grown up at 74 Grant Street and attended Chevrus High School.

Rebecca Ochan, 16, who is paid through a federal grant to work in the garden said:  “I harvest, weed and water the garden.  There is a lot of watering to do this year.  She is from the Sudan and has lived in the US for four years.  Franciska Donato, 18, another paid gardner, said:  “I don’t like the snow in the winter here!”  She’s  from Egypt and has been here for ten years.   On Thursdays, some of the gardners deliver fresh produce to elderly people; some are in nearby Franklin Towers. The young ladies work Tuesday – Friday between 8 am – 3 pm.

The fresh produce that is grown in the Boyd Street Urban Garden is sold to the public every Wednesday from noon to 3 pm.  A wide variety of produce is for sale including tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, etc. at reasonable prices.  The public is encouraged to visit.