Craig Lapine

Craig Lapine | Executive Director and Founder of Cultivating Community

The goal of Cultivating Community, which Craig Lapine founded in 2001, is to democratize the ability to produce or consume healthy, local food. Its programs include community gardens, farmer training, teen programs, and partnerships that help schools create gardens and garden-based curriculum. As executive director of the Portland-based organization, Lapine says he’s most proud of Cultivating Community’s efforts to raise issues of equity, inclusion, and fairness within the local food conversation. He and his team have worked with the city of Portland to ensure that access to community gardens mirrors the diversity of the city, and have enabled teenagers, especially young people of color, to join conversations about social, environmental, and racial justice. “And I’m very proud that we have supported the launch of dozens of farm businesses owned and operated by new Americans who are reshaping in wonderful and unexpected ways Maine’s farming landscape,” Lapine says. The organization’s refugee and immigrant farmer training program, based mostly at the Packard-Littlefield Farm in Lisbon, provides instruction on growing food in Maine’s climate, understanding customer preferences, and business skills. Last year four graduates of the program launched New Roots Cooperative Farm, a 30- acre farm in Lewiston. “That’s a huge win for us,” Lapine says. “If people can get out of the incubator farm and continue to have profitable businesses, that’s really exciting.”

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