Healthy Food for All

Healthy Acadia's Healthy Food for All projects address food insecurity and improve nutrition across Hancock and Washington Counties. We are committed to ensuring that all people have access to nutritious, affordable food, making the healthy choice the easy choice.  

Maine SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Initiative
Downeast Gleaning Initiative
Summer Meals Program
Senior Farm Share
Hancock County Food Drive
Farmers Markets for All
Hancock County and Washington County Food Security Networks

Maine SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Initiative

Through our Nutrition Education Initiative, Healthy Acadia offers free classes in nutrition, healthy cooking, and healthy grocery shopping on a limited budget to reach households experiencing low income in Hancock and Washington counties. Our team provides educational sessions in schools, child care and Head Start facilities, community centers, food pantries, farmers' markets, and more.

The initiative is funded through the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) grant, which is held by the State of Maine and administered statewide by the University of New England (UNE). UNE has contracted with Healthy Acadia to implement the nutrition education objectives across Hancock and Washington counties in community-specific efforts through our comprehensive, on-the-ground network.

For more information and access to interactive tools to support you and your family in eating healthfully on a budget, click here.

To learn about Healthy Acadia's nutrition education programs that are tailored for specific interests and age groups, click here.

We are now offering online nutrition education classes and healthy recipe demos via Zoom and YouTube!

To learn more about nutrition education classes and events, or to share ideas for locations to offer nutrition and cooking classes to low-income community members please contact:

In Hancock County:

Jada Wensman at (207) 667-7171 or

Nicole Gurreri: (207) 667-7171 or

In Washington County:

Allie Cook:  (207) 255-3741 or

Marie Spencer: (207) 255-3741 or

Downeast Gleaning Initiative

Maine’s Downeast region is characterized by significant levels of poverty and food insecurity. In Washington County, 1 in 4 children are food insecure, and in Hancock County, 1 in 5 children are food insecure or lacking access to enough healthy, nutritious food to support an active, healthy life. (Feeding America.)

To help increase access to healthy and nutritious food, Healthy Acadia, in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, coordinates farm-based gleaning opportunities throughout Hancock and Washington counties through the Downeast Gleaning Initiative. 

We connect volunteers with farms, orchards, farmers’ markets, and community gardens to harvest or collect surplus fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. We then manage the distribution of this fresh produce to food pantries, community meal sites, rehabilitation programs, school backpack programs, and other community organizations. 

Since 2013, the Downeast Gleaning Initiative has collected and redistributed 262,000 pounds of food to more than 30 food security programs and organizations across Hancock and Washington counties. We have developed strong partnerships with more than 40 farms and have engaged hundreds of community volunteers and students in the program.

By supplying food pantries with fresh, local produce, we help to ensure that community members and their children who are most in need have the opportunity to maintain a healthy diet, reduce diet-related disease, and achieve higher educational outcomes. We are committed to ensuring that all people have access to nutritious, affordable food, making the healthy choice the easy choice.

The success of the Downeast Gleaning Initiative has led to the adoption of similar programs in communities across Maine and beyond. 

Funding for the Gleaning Initiative is provided by the Anew Foundation, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, John T. Gorman Foundation, Maine Community Foundation, Quimby Family Foundation, United Way of Eastern Maine, and the Wireless Zone Foundation for Giving. 

Join our Glean Team

The Gleaning Initiative offers a rich learning experience for students of all ages by providing interactions with professional farmers, markets, and community gardens, as well as an introduction to creative food waste prevention and food security. It's a great option for schools, colleges, and other groups seeking volunteer opportunities as part of community service or service-learning programs. We welcome your participation on a regular or one-time basis, any time of the year. 

Gleaning activities may include:

  • Harvesting or collecting surplus food on farms

  • Delivering fresh produce to food pantries and community meal sites

  • Providing administrative support at our Hancock or Washington county office

Through gleaning, we hope volunteers will develop new skills, increase their personal satisfaction, and broaden their community relationships.

To sign up, please complete our Volunteer Form.


Contact Us


Rachel Emus - Food Programs Coordinator, Hancock County or 667-7171

Regina Grabrovac - Food Programs Manager, Washington County or 255-3741

Katie Freedman, Food Programs Director or 667-7171


Stay Connected


  • Subscribe to our email list for gleaning updates and volunteer opportunities

  • Follow us on Instagram @downeastgleaning

  • The Downeast Gleaning Initiative is a participating member of the Maine Gleaning Network. Follow the Maine Gleaning Network on Instagram and Facebook

In the News - Downeast Magazine

Summer Meals Program

The Summer Meals Program is a USDA nutrition program that ensures children are well fed during the summer months. As an extension of the National School Lunch (which provides free and reduced school meals to students who qualify), the Summer Meals Program provides nutritionally-balanced meals to children 18 years or under, free of charge.

Healthy Acadia partners with a number of schools, community organizations, recreation centers, and other community partners to implement Summer Meals programs and help get healthy and nutritious meals to the kids who need it most. In addition to providing food, Summer Meal sites provide an opportunity to teach nutrition education, and provide physical activity, games, and tasting contests, all in a safe and fun supervised environment.

Click here to find Summer Meals in your community.

For more information about the Summer Meals program, to volunteer, or if your school or community organization is interested in hosting a Summer Meal site this summer, please contact:

Hancock County: Katie Freedman at 667-7171 or
Washington County: Regina Grabrovac at 255-3741or

Senior Farm Share

Senior Farm Share is a federally funded program administered by the Maine Department of Agriculture that provides low-income seniors with free, locally grown produce. Farmers are subsidized to provide deliveries of produce directly to the seniors. Healthy Acadia plays a coordinating role in the Senior Farm Share Program by encouraging local farmers to participate in the program and recruiting seniors to sign up.




Click here for 2019 Participating Farms.

This list includes the participating Senior FarmShare farmers who are offering shares and the approximate number of shares available. The listing is updated throughout the harvest season, and farmers whose shares are "sold out" for 2019 will be removed. Farms are listed by county, then town.

For more information, contact:
Hancock County: Rachel Emus at

Washington County: Regina Grabrovac at

Hancock County Food Drive

The 9th Annual Hancock County Food Drive begins March 1, 2020. This year’s project is aiming to raise ,000 and collect thousands of food donations for 17 food pantries, free meal sites, and school programs in our community. 

To support the Food Drive, please bring your food donations to one of these collection sites, make an online donation here, or attend one of our fun events:

March 5, 2020: Film screening of Six Primrose at the Blue Hill Public Library, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

March 7, 2020: 9th Annual Food Drive Kick-off Event at multiple locations across Hancock County, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

March 7, 2020: Spring Fling to Fight Hunger fundraiser at The Farmhouse Inn in Blue Hill, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.

March 13, 2020: Lip Sync Night at Fogtown Brewing Company, 6 p.m.

March 14, 2020: Destroy Them My Robots Benefit Concert at the Thirsty Whale Tavern in Bar Harbor, 9:30 p.m.

March 21, 2020: Mr. Magic Man Show at the Moore Center in Ellsworth, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Learn more by visiting the project’s Facebook page (@hcfooddrive), or by contacting Rachel Emus, Healthy Acadia’s Food Programs Coordinator, at or 667-7171.


About the Hancock County Food Drive

Healthy Acadia partners with UMaine Cooperative Extension, United Way of Eastern Maine, Maine Community Foundation, Star 97.7FM, Maine Coast Mall, and food security organizations across Hancock County to implement the Hancock County Food Drive each year during the month of March.

The Food Drive collaborative effort to collect food and funds benefits a number of Hancock County food pantries, community meals, and school backpack programs:

  • Bar Harbor Food Pantry
  • Bib & Tucker Food Pantry
  • Bread of Life Food Pantry
  • Common Good Soup Kitchen
  • Emmaus Homeless Shelter
  • Everybody Eats! Community Meal
  • Hancock Grammar School Backpack
  • H.O.M.E. Co-op
  • Lifeline Food Pantry
  • Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry
  • The Magic Food Bus of Healthy Peninsula
  • MDI BackPack Program
  • Open Table MDI
  • RSU 25 Food Pantry
  • Simmering Pot Community Meal
  • Weekends with EE! BackPack Program
  • The Welcome Table

The 2019 Hancock County Food Drive surpassed its goal of $ 25,000 by raising approximately $ 26,833 and collecting 7,250 food items, resulting in 113,374 meals for community members in need. 

If your business or organization is interested in collecting food or becoming a sponsor of the 2020 Hancock County Food Drive, contact Rachel Emus at 667-7171 or


Food security organizations need your support throughout the year.

Financial donations go further to feed our hungry neighbors. According to GoodShepherd Food Bank, a donation can provide 4 meals to families in need, since pantries can often buy food items at wholesale cost.

To support to the Hancock County Food Drive at any point throughout the year, please send your check or money order donation to:

Attn: Hancock County Food Drive
United Way of Eastern Maine
700 Main Street, Suite 1
Bangor, ME 04401

Please make your check payable to United Way of Eastern Maine, and write "Hancock County Food Drive" in the memo line.


Other ways you can help

Food pantries need nutritious, non-perishable foods such as:

  • whole-grain pasta
  • whole grain rice
  • healthy soups
  • canned vegetables
  • canned tuna and meats
  • peanut butter
  • low-sugar, whole-grain cereal
  • low-sugar canned fruit

Please be sure to check expiration dates on any items you plan to donate.



Contact a food security organization serving your community to find out how you can help. 

Farmers' Markets for All

Healthy Acadia works across Hancock and Washington counties to support and grow farmers' markets. We also strive to increase awareness of and access to these markets, particularly among people experiencing low income.

We can help your local farmers' market become equipped to accept SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) and to enable them to provide "Double Your Benefits" for SNAP customers -so shoppers who purchase their fresh garden produce, meat, eggs, and dairy using their SNAP benefits can receive a reduced rate.

Are you looking for farmers' markets in your community? Download and or print one of the flyers below with farmers' market listed flyers by county and region. We've updated these for the 2020 season with information about market locations and times, identified which markets accept SNAP payments, vendors that accept WIC payments, and more: 

For more information, contact:

Hancock County: Katie Freedman, 667-7171, or

Washington County: Regina Grabrovac, 255-3741, or


MDI FarmDrop is an online farmers market that connects community members directly to local farms. Customers enjoy the convenience of shopping from home, ordering from what local farmers and food artisans have available each week. Farmers are benefited by minimal time spent off the farm and the security of a harvest-to-order operation. 

What sets MDI FarmDrop apart from other farmers’ markets is its embedded 10% handling fee that supports Healthy Acadia’s Downeast Gleaning Initiative – a farm-based food collection and donation project that makes nutritious, local produce accessible to all people in our community. At minimal cost to the customer, this model brings more local food into the homes of individuals and families with limited food budgets.

UPDATED APRIL 27, 2020: Our online farmers’ market is open and is a great way to continue to support our local farmers and producers. Shop online between 10 a.m. on Saturday and 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Order pick up is on Thursday at Floret in Somesville in our outdoor tent. Please note: we are now scheduling order pick-ups at 15-minute intervals between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. only. We have implemented this procedure in order to reduce congestion, maintain physical distancing, and ensure that your order is bagged and ready when you arrive.  Once all orders for the week are placed, you will receive an email to select your pick up time.

All orders are pre-bagged safely with the use of gloves and frequent sanitizing, and you can pick your order up right outside under the tent. Reduce your need to shop indoors and adhere to the current guidelines for physical distancing as we all work together to reduce the impact on our emergency health resources while supporting our local farmers and producers.

Why Shop FarmDrop?

• Buy local produce from a farmers market with a simple click

• Save time by shopping from home

• Allow farmers to harvest only what they know is already sold

• Support local food security projects with no additional effort!

Our Partners

Blue Hill FarmDrop was developed in 2011 by George and Mary Alice Hurvitt of The Blue Hill Wineshop and made possible by the generous support of the Community Health Alliance, now administered through Maine Farmland Trust.

MDI FarmDrop was launched in January 2018 in partnership with A Climate to Thrive (ACTT), a non-profit organization seeking to achieve energy independence for Mount Desert Island by 2030, and Floret of Somesville. 

In summer 2018 we partnered with Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) – a state-wide conservation organization protecting lands and islands and connecting people to the coast. FarmDrop operations took place at MCHT’s Stewardship Barn in Somesville during the months of May-September in 2018. Since the early 1990s, MCHT has worked with MDI landowners to protect 18 farmland properties, several of which participate in FarmDrop MDI.

MDI FarmDrop is a member of the statewide FarmDrop network, which also has sites operating in Blue Hill, Unity, and Portland.

Learn more:

Visit the MDI FarmDrop Facebook page

For more information about MDI FarmDrop, email:

Hancock County and Washington County Food Security Networks

Healthy Acadia co-convenes the Hancock County Food Security Network, in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and the Washington County Food Council. The Networks share resources, creatively solve problems, and organize advocacy efforts among the food pantries and community meal sites across the county. Healthy Acadia’s Katie Freedman leads these efforts in Hancock County; Regina Grobrovac, in Washington County.


UPDATED July 8, 2020: Food Security Organizations in Hancock and Washington counties

For more information, contact:
Katie Freedman at

Marjorie Peronto, Umaine Extension Educator at 667-8212 or

Regina Grabrovac at

We build on our tradition of sustainable agriculture and fisheries to assure healthy local foods are an easy, affordable and popular choice in Hancock and Washington Counties.

Click here to learn more about Nutrition programs that are funded by Maine SNAP-Ed.


Children enjoy a healthy snack during a "Eat Well, Play Hard" class at the Mountain View Early Care and Education Center.


Our nutrition education programs help participants learn how to make delicious healthy meals on a tight budget.


Volunteers help distribute gleaned foods to local food security organizations.


Our annual Hancock County Food Drive provides thousands of meals for community members in need.


In 2018, the annual Turkey-a-Thon raised over ,000 for food security organizations in Washington County.

The Hancock County Food Drive provided over 92,000 meals for families in need in our communities in 2018.

The Senior Farm Share program provides subsidies for farmers who provide deliveries of fresh produce directly to seniors.


The Franklin Farmers' Market


The Washington County Food Council coordinated the biennial Washington County Food Summit. This full-day event provides a unique opportunity for people from our region and beyond who are interested in healthy, vibrant food systems to come together in order to network, address infrastructure gaps and share successes and challenges.


Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs support local farmers and increase community access to fresh, local foods.


School groups and other community organizations help support food pantries by hosting community suppers and other fundraising events.