May 12, 2023
It’s week one of my internship with Maine Foodscapes and though I’ve been doing some planning with key stakeholders for a few months now, it feels good to be done with school for the summer and really be able to dive in. I’ve been working in food production since 2007 when I graduated from culinary school so this is the first time in 16 years that I haven’t been mentally prepping for a busy production season in a hot kitchen, expecting the usual business of the tourist season in Maine to dictate my hours and amount of work.
I’ve always had a passion for food, cooking and baking and that fulfilled my creative desires for a long time. But during covid the struggle for so many Mainers to access any food, let alone whole and nutritious foods was so prevalent. I would see Facebook posts on my town’s community page asking if anyone could bake or drop off food for a neighbor they knew was struggling. I knew parents were in a panic trying to figure out where their kid’s lunches would come from with school shut down. As much as I had come to love the customers I served at my job baking sweets and breads, it felt like there was more important work to be done in securing food supply chains and equal access to groceries and basic needs. Homelessness has risen to crisis levels in Maine and this population needs food everyday, too.
I made the decision to slowly transition out of my job and return to school focusing on food security work through the University of Maine’s Food Studies program. As I started my spring semester, an internship appeared on the weekly job board with Maine Foodscapes. It detailed work helping Mainers access better food and be self sufficient through receiving their own garden beds to raise vegetables at home. I immediately knew this was the right place to start in taking a different path with food. It feels a little funny to be interning at the age of 39, I know before people meet me they expect to see a 19 year old greeting them. But in returning to school to explore a different career, this was the kind of opportunity I was hoping to find; building resilient food systems in our state through meaningful action. I’m so glad to be on my way and to be partnering with Maine Foodscapes. Here’s to a productive and purposeful 2023 build season!
We may not be getting as much sunshine as we would like, but summer is here! A classic summer treat that never disappoints is homemade ice cream--but the equipment and the custard-making process can make it challenging for some to tackle.
Fear not, if you've foraged or farmed strawberries (like Board President Katie Yates) or raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or the alike--this quick, silky no-churn ice cream is the perfect summertime hack.
Even if you're strong enough to avoid eating all your harvest right off the vine, in many cases, backyard gardens may not have a high enough yield of berries to make jams or other recipes that require a high volume of the star ingredient.
This no-churn recipe addresses that, requires NO fancy skills or equipment, and can be adapted to any taste.
From Katie, "I was surprised by how creamy and smooth this ice cream turned out. I'm used to making it the the traditional way, but wanted something fast, easy, and effective--this definitely was a winner--especially with only a handful of strawberries to use up!"
1 Cup Heavy cream or coconut cream
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk (or dulce de leche, lemon curd, Nutella...)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
As many of your berries as you want (chopped into even small pieces)!
We are continuing our series where we introduce the new Maine Foodscapes Board of Directors. Our Board is highly involved in every aspect of Maine Foodscapes. Board members are critical for executing the various aspects of our organization. Our Board consists of enthusiastic gardeners dedicated to building community around growing food, and we'd love for you to get to know them. If you attend an event, participate in a Garden Project build, or volunteer, you're likely to meet one or many members of our Board, but we're going to dedicate some space to digging deeper with each of them here on our new blog!
For Part 4 of this series, you'll be hearing from Board member Christian Breau!
Christian! What are your hobbies and interests?
I work in tech and have always loved technology...so...I'll admit it, I'm a gamer. I also love fishing in the summer with my wife and boys. I love cooking - Thai Fried Rice, various soups, and I'm loving my new charcoal grill. I even have a wireless thermometer to ensure everything comes out perfectly! It has paid for itself in spades.
Why did you want to join the Board of Directors?
I've been working with nonprofit organizations for over a decade, helping with their IT support and strategy. Being consistently inspired by the life-changing work that nonprofits do, I wanted to try to give back in some way. While IT/Technology don't necessarily sync up with gardening, as the organization grows, I believe my IT & Cybersecurity skills will be valuable in helping Maine Foodscapes achieve its mission safely and securely.
What makes you most excited for the grow season?
Helping families who struggle with food insecurity. (See above - nonprofit organizations change lives!)
How did you get first introduced to Maine Foodscapes?
I listed myself on the Maine Association of Nonprofits Board Finder and the organization reached out to me. This is the first time I've been on a board, so I have a bit to learn!
What do you enjoy most about gardening?
While I'm one of the most novice gardeners out there, I love the smell of the soil (geosmin). We have done some work with hosta around the house (it's a great plant for protecting the perimeter near lakes) and...most importantly...they are very hardy. Even in my hands, they flourish!
What kind of impact are you hoping to make on the organization and/or your community this year?
Through my regular technology work with nonprofits and working with Maine Foodscapes in a board member capacity, the impact I make will likely never be "visible". By providing recommendations on effective use of limited funds for technology and best practices for Cybersecurity, the absence of an "event" is actually the goal.