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Great Summer (in the) Field Trip for MANP Staff

by Jessica Lantos

You’ve never seen a group of people more excited to get out of the office than our staff! A full day with no phones or computers, spent with great people, playing in the dirt. It was a Wish You Were Here postcard kind of day. We had perfect weather, lots of laughs, a delicious lunch, and a thoughtful, well-planned day, all thanks to Sara Trunzo, Director of Veggies for All (VFA), a project of Maine Farmland Trust.

Done Weeding

So proud of our thinned carrots!

VFA is a food bank farm located in Unity, Maine that works to relieve hunger by growing vegetables for those in need, while collaborating with partners to distribute and increase access to quality and nutritious food.   Their work is necessary, collaborative, and inspiring. Over their 8 year history, they’ve grown and distributed over 108,000 pounds of pesticide-free vegetables which they make available to 9 food pantries and over 1,500 people in central Maine.  This past year alone, VFA grew and distributed over 33,000 pounds of veggies, and engaged volunteers in 580 hours of service.

Weeding weeding weeding

Weeding weeding weeding!

If you’ve never been to Unity, it’s worth a trip. This town is a hub for all things sustainable, with Maine Farmland Trust, Unity College, Unity Barn Raisers and MOFGA all within just a few miles of one another.  I’d never been to Unity except to attend the Common Ground Fair, so it was great to spend a day NOT in a long line of cars with the masses.  Instead we filled our water bottles, applied sunscreen, toured the VFA fields and Unity College, saw Maine Farmland Trust’s new beautiful building, and then got to work thinning carrots under the watchful eye of Tim Libby, VFA’s Farm Manager.

Weeding carrots

Is this a weed? Oops, it was a carrot.


We were rewarded with a nap-inducing overabundance of lunch, prepared for us by Monica Murphy, owner of Crosstrax restaurant. Delicious pizza, salads and roasted VFA summer squash, and a blueberry tiramisu for dessert.  Ready for a nap!

No nap, back to the fields.  Most of us were groaning as we bent over the tiny plants, our muscles tightening, trying our best to pull only the weeds. Then a drive back to Portland the back roads way with all the beauty of Maine waving as we passed.

Today we are all a bit sore after our time with the carrots and rutabaga. (Or rutabagas. Not sure if there’s a plural. Not sure I’d like to eat one, either.) The only one not complaining is Ethan, our resident yoga instructor AND gardener.  The rest of us are passing the Ibuprofen, and wishing we could have about 30 more out-of-office days before summer ends.

4 thoughts on “Great Summer (in the) Field Trip for MANP Staff

Brenda Peluso says:

Sorry I wasn’t with you this year! Looks like another great member service day.

Great post, Jessica!

Jessica Lantos says:

Brenda, we missed you!

What a great post! So thrilled you all spent your day with us!

I, too, was sorry not to be with you this year (though I’d pass on the rutabaga, too). What a great project – worthy of those fabulous MANP volunteers! Thanks for all you guys do for Maine NPs.

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