MOUNT DESERT — College of the Atlantic’s annual Share the Harvest Farm Dinner—a benefit supporting access to healthy food for all—will be held at the school’s beautiful Beech Hill Farm on Thursday, Sept. 7. Havana restaurant caters the elegant, four-course meal for the third year in a row.
Share the Harvest is a COA student-led food security program providing scores of families with organic produce, via vouchers to be used at the Beech Hill Farmstand, subsidized farm shares, and fresh deliveries for those who can’t make it to the farm.
“Access to fresh, local food builds dignity and fosters empowerment,” said Share the Harvest student organizer Jenna Farineau ’18. “Expanding access and engaging community are both incredibly important to fostering a just and equitable food system.”
Cocktails and farm tours begin at 5 p.m., with dinner served promptly at 6 p.m. The cost per person is $125, and this amount supports purchase of vegetables at the farmstand all summer for a family. Tickets are available at coa.edu/sharetheharvest. All proceeds go to the group.
Share the Harvest has been serving the Mount Desert Island area for the past 7 years. They began by serving 20 people in Bar Harbor, and now support more than 200 individuals from all towns across the island.
“This night is very special to us as coordinators because we get the chance to connect to the wider community and share our gratitude in working with members of our community that are so often underserved,” Farineau said.
In Maine, one out of every six people experiences food insecurity at one time or another, Farineau said. Food access programs are an important part of the social safety net in every community, she said. Share the Harvest works with the local food pantries, housing authorities, and others to reach participants.
"Havana is proud to be an advocate for social justice around food issues, the sustainability of farming, the local food movement, and nutrition for our children," Havana restaurant owner Michael Boland said. "We are looking forward to a magical evening with great food and friends, all to benefit an important cause on Mount Desert Island." Boland is a 1994 graduate of COA and now sits on the board of trustees.
Beech Hill Farm is a sustainable organic farm that provides fresh produce for the COA campus and local customers through wholesale accounts and the retail farm stand. COA students, staff, faculty, and farm managers work collaboratively to meet the farm’s threefold goal of local and sustainable food production, education, and good land stewardship.
The dinner will be held rain or shine at Beech Hill Farm, located at 171 Beech Hill Rd. Student coordinators of Share the Harvest will provide tours of the farm during the cocktail hour.