Help Support Sweetser's Mission in Maine

Stories of Excellence

Act Clients Trade Farm Labor For Vegetables

Five ACT Program clients in Brunswick trade their labor on a Wiscasset organic farm for shares of the vegetables they grow. One client, Jason S., shows up to garden every Friday afternoon, rain or shine. The others come when their lives and their mental illness allow them to participate, said Alan McKelvy, a Sweetser vocational specialist.

A few years ago, McKelvy bought the first 'share' of garden produce from his neighbor, Craig Collins, who owns a Maine Community-Supported Agricultural (CSA) Farm. A former social worker, Collins got to know McKelvy and his work at Sweetser, and decided to combine gardening with public service. "It's the best way to affect change with clients," he said of vegetable farming.

To help Sweetser clients learn marketable skills, Collins plowed a 160' x 30' garden plot at his "Two Sisters Farm" in Woolwich and taught Sweetser clients how to plant, tend and harvest.

According to clinical supervisor Rita LaBarbera, gardening teaches skills such as timelines, trust, commitment, following instructions, initiating ideas and follow through. The new gardeners plan to sell extra vegetables to Sweetser employees.

« previous | All Stories of Excellence | next »

What Our Clients Are Saying

I am enclosing a donation in thanks for all your staff did to help my mentally ill daughter, at the time she was in Brunswick (2004-2005). She has multiple problems and resists help. My daughter is now with the Community Correctional Alternatives in Farmington, where she is doing better. She has...

Full Story | More Stories of Excellence

MySweetser Client Portal - Log In
| FAQs

Executive Address: 2 Pendleton Drive Saco, Maine          Mailing Address: 50 Moody Street Saco, Maine 04072-0892          Phone: 1-800-434-3000                           Copyright © 2019  Sweetser