Rippling Waters Organic Farm
Promoting Community Food Security through Education, Action, & Service
Take a look around this website and you’ll get a feeling and a glimpse about Rippling Waters Organic Farm. A non-profit dedicated to promoting food security through education, action, and service.
It is a time of transition for Rippling Waters Organic Farm. Although The Farm stopped production at the end of 2013, the school and community programs that have been developed through the nonprofit continue to grow and evolve.
Many from the area and elsewhere were connected to the 12 acres on the Saco River in Standish, ME by Richard Rudolph in 1991. His organic farm to provided fresh, organic produce and organic seedlings to CSA and Senior Farmshare Customers, SNAP recipients, customers at area Farmers Markets and wholesale clients. The farm utilized permaculture practices in an effort to minimize waste, human labor, and energy input by utilizing crop rotations, mulching and compost to build healthy, productive soil.
The farm evolved into an educational resource for the community and beyond. Long before nonprofit status was granted in 2006, Farm and off-site programs had begun to build extensive connections through the common denominator of organic farming, working to develop local resourcefulness and promote food security. RWOF’s farm-based activities, school gardening initiatives and community programs strived to build community health, develop nutritional awareness and forge a connection to the natural world.
Richard has now opted to direct his considerable energies away from the Farm. As a Board Member, he will continue to provide guidance and support for RWOF programs. As RWOF’s new Executive Director, I will oversee existing school and community programs and work with the Board and area residents to strengthen these programs and develop new initiatives. I bring expertise in nonprofit fundraising as well as experience participating in grass roots initiatives to combat food insecurity.
In 2013, RWOF’s farm to school program included five school garden classrooms at Standish, Buxton, Steep Falls and Hollis elementary schools, where elementary school children benefited from experiential, hands-on learning opportunities and nutritional education. The BEMS solar greenhouse, used primarily by students at Bonny Eagle Middle School in Standish to study nutrition, learn how to cook healthy meals, and of course, grow vegetables, is an underutilized asset. In 2014. funding will be sought for technical and design upgrades for the greenhouse to make the space more efficient, increase the amount of food that can be produced in the space and re-configure the interior to make it more suitable for a broader range of programs.
Last year, RWOF’s school gardening programs benefited from the expertise and enthusiasm of Liz Willey, a MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) apprentice, who finished her year-long term in September. We are fortunate to have FoodCorps Service Member Molly Sauvain through this transition. She continues her two-year term as Education Coordinator through July 2014. This winter, she is providing training for teachers that incorporates nutrition, agriculture and environmental issues. This training is designed to give school educators the skills they need to support the school gardening curriculum in the classroom.
In an effort to continue all RWOF programs formerly held on the Farm, new locations will be found for The Food Connection Corps (FCC) program for High School Students, summer camp programs, as well as RWOF’s mentoring sessions for developmentally challenged adults. These programs are essential to the mission of RWOF and every effort will be made to continue them off-site.
In 2014, there will be a focus on strengthening and enhancing existing school programs and community initiatives. Plans are still underway to establish new school gardens at other area schools. The gardening programs at three Avesta Housing sites in Buxton, Cornish and Standish will be continued and hopefully expanded to ensure that our seniors continue to have a local source for organic produce.
In addition to the need to increase fundraising efforts for existing and proposed programs, there is also a need to improve communication efforts with the school community and the community at large, to raise the profile of RWOF and make its work known. For more than two decades, RWOF has been enriching the life of the region: feeding the community, providing an example of ecological food production and agricultural education for youth, and promoting food security. Many thanks to Richard for his work and vision as we look forward to continuing and expanding his efforts. We can’t say enough about the dedication and hard work of Farm Manager Julee Applegarth. Thanks, too, to all who worked on the farm over the years and those in the community who have participated in RWOF events and activities in the past years.
We look forward to your continued involvement and support.