What does dirt have to do with paint?? What do farms have to do with art?? Everything!!
Not everyone who tills the soil can swing an artist’s paint brush, not everyone who creates detailed drawings can grow arugula. Maine Farmland Trust brings them together.
Anna Abaldo, gallery curator at the Maine Farmland Trust gallery on Main St. in Belfast, believes the gallery draws people to the trust in a way that no other venue can. Only after visiting the gallery did I appreciate the important work of the organization. I may not have ever discovered its value otherwise.
The gallery is an outreach tool, bringing people in and getting them involved without actually having to lift a shovel. Maine Farmland Trust is an expansive organization, no doubt largely responsible for the fact that Maine is now known for its successful farming community. The key role of the trust is to secure agricultural easements on farmland to permanently protect it, essentially remaining farmland forever. (See Forever Farms) This action prevents land from becoming prohibitively expensive for farming.
In addition, Maine Farmland Trust helps people interested in farming to acquire land, supporting their efforts in farming with education and information. MFT draws on a network of agricultural experts and resources to help existing farmers initiate new operations, reach new markets, and take steps to ensure future success. For more information about the trust, please visit the MFT website or their offices in Belfast. I strongly recommend learning of their excellent programs in person at the gallery. They are a non-profit organization. Membership begins at the $20 level.
MFT has a new partner, Veggies For All, a food bank farm that works to relieve hunger by growing vegetables for those in need. Learn about this exciting program at veggiesforall.org.
While visiting the gallery I had the intense pleasure of seeing the current show, the ‘Summer Stable Show’. Included in the show are works from artists that ‘live’ with (have a long-term relationship with) Maine Farmland Trust.
The show is diverse yet cohesive. I thoroughly enjoyed collage by Abbie Read and Margret Rizzio, pastels by Jude Valentine, and acrylics by Sarah Wilde. Exquisite detailed drawings by Julie Crane definitely caught my attention.
Each artist has his own unique connection with the land. Their work reminds us that farmers grow the food that sustains us and feeds our creative spirit. The artists way of showing appreciation for the land and those that cultivate it, is it to ‘tell the story’ of that connection.
You still have time to see the ‘Summer Stable Show’. I am sure you will find something you just can’t live without, artworks start at $50. The show runs until August 18th, see mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org for hours.
Maine Farmland Trust encourages you to:
Support your local farmers: shop at roadside stands, farmers’ markets and pick-your-own operations
Ask your grocer to stock locally produced food
Use local produce for community events and meals
Encourage the purchase of local food supplies for school lunch programs
Become an active member of Maine Farmland Trust