Growing Connections and Social Health: A Thank You to the Maine Coast Waldorf School Community

Written by Christine Sloan

Friday evening, while viewing a virtual event, I had the privilege of watching years of building relationships come together to create an event that touched hearts and inspired action that echoed from Brunswick to Boston, from Maine to California, from the United States to Australia. 

Growing to Give, a non-profit, organic farm that grows vegetables to feed our most food insecure neighbors, was established four years ago by MCWS Alum parents, John Newlin and Patty Carton, and master gardener and chef, Theda Lyden. To date, nearly 50,000 lbs of certified organic produce have been harvested and distributed to food banks, shelters, and other access sites in three counties. This organization is run almost entirely through volunteer support, which is where the thank you to the Maine Coast Waldorf community comes in! 

Since G2G’s founding, our school’s parents, teachers and students have supported this work through serving on the Board, volunteering in the garden, and hosting celebrations and fundraising events. Prior to the pandemic, High School and Eighth Grade community service groups regularly helped with farm work in the spring and fall. All of this changed dramatically in March. 

Large work groups, which had included other schools, churches and family groups with young children, could no longer safely gather to plant and harvest. Social events on the farm to raise awareness and funds were all cancelled. And then our event planning team took the huge risk of transforming a farm-themed art auction and evening “soiree” into a virtual event! It was a very difficult task for most of us to imagine, having little or no interest in social media. With the help of a dynamic leader who took up the technology challenge, and the committed artists, including three members of one MCWS family, the Bossis, we were on our way! 

As we developed an outline for the welcome video, it became clear that we needed a videographer. Maxime Rumiel, a 2017 graduate of MCWS, was contracted to shoot and edit the video. His professionalism, calm demeanor and confident attitude that all of the “parts” would work together into a seamless “whole” proved correct. Nancy Roderick offered to provide fiddle music for the video, to help link the various “parts” and then contacted a few families who might be willing to bring their young musicians to the farm to create a Pied Piper motif. Students from fourth grade to twelfth fiddled across the farm with Nancy leading, stitching together vignettes describing the art work, the mission, and the volunteer and recipient stories. 

From Johanna Flath’s loan of easels, to Lynne Espy’s advice on best auction sites to use, our friends at MCWS cheered on our efforts to sustain Growing to Give’s mission through this virtual event. We are deeply grateful for all of the support. And though we are amazed at the scope of outreach that this event has allowed, we all look forward to the days when the fields can be filled with the laughter of students harvesting beets, music at our annual farm festival, and harvest dinners with friends and supporters! Until then, check out the MCWS fiddlers in our fields!