China group organizing gardeners to support local food pantry

Marie Michaud’s two loves in one picture: her garden and her grandchildren. (contributed photo)

by Eric W. Austin

Marie Michaud doesn’t have any experience addressing local food shortages, but that hasn’t stopped her.

“I just feel something in my heart and I do it,” she says to explain the current project encouraging local gardeners to plant a few extra rows to support China Community Food Pantry.

Well known in China for her work on the LakeSmart initiative, Michaud researched and developed the idea of a new gardening committee to address potential food insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and presented her plan to the Greater Neck Road Neighborhood Association (GNRNA), the local group sponsoring the effort.

“We are seeking volunteer gardeners to increase their garden plots and provide fresh vegetable donations,” she says. “The pandemic has caused problems in the food distribution system, so we are organizing gardeners to ensure that we can deliver harvested carrots, corn, cucumbers, potatoes, green beans/wax beans, summer squash, Swiss chard, zucchini and tomatoes to the China Food Pantry later in the summer when they are likely to need it the most.”

She also brought her idea to the China for a Lifetime committee, a town committee dedicated to supporting community activism. The plan was embraced with enthusiasm. “We support Marie’s effort one hundred percent!” says committee chairman Christopher Hahn.

Those without gardens are not being left out. “We are also looking for people willing to help tend the extra rows,” says Michaud. “We’ll need people to help harvest the veggies, and transport the items to the food pantry. We happily invite all ages to join us in this worthwhile activity. Help us spread the word by sharing this information with your family and friends!”

Those interested in participating, either by planting extra rows or by helping those that do, can contact Marie Michaud, garden chairman, at 242-0240 or by email at

“Please join the Greater Neck Road Neighborhood Association in our effort to plant more in our gardens,” says Michaud, “and donate fresh produce to supplement the food supplies of the China Food Pantry. As the only food pantry in our town, this worthy charitable organization has dedicated 27 years to helping address food insecurity for residents of China.”

Eric W. Austin writes about issues important to central Maine and can be reached by email at


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