MDI Food Access Project
April 24, 2023
Open Table MDI has paused one of its three signature programs for feeding food-insecure residents of MDI, Trenton, and surrounding islands for a period of no less than six months.
The MDI Food Access Program (F.A.P.), which has grown significantly since its inception in 2020, will go on hiatus beginning May 1, 2023. Open Table MDI’s two other programs, the Tuesday Community Supper and Open Garden MDI, will continue to provide fresh healthy food to MDI residents.
The MDI Food Access Project is a free island and Outer Islands mobile food distribution system. This project increases the diversity of healthy food options available, decreases the duplication of island services, reduces food access barriers, and addresses unmet food insecurity in MDI’s more remote communities.
“We are heartbroken about this,” said Mahandeva Singh, Executive Director of Open Table MDI. “This program is working, helping people without enough to eat, but inflation has made it untenable for us to keep up with demand. We hope we can raise enough money through donors and partners to relaunch the program in late Fall 2023.”
MDI Food Access Program Stats
– The program began in 2020 backed by a consortium of partners, including Healthy Acadia, College of the Atlantic’s Beech Hill Farm, and the Bar Harbor Food Pantry, as well as Open Table MDI
– Island Connections joined the F.A.P. as a partner shortly after its inception, and were instrumental in providing transportation of food boxes as demand increased
– Sign-ups to receive the Good Food Box increased by 50% from 2021-2022
– Sign-ups to receive the Good Food Box have increased 25% thus far from 2022-2023
– The cost of food has doubled between 2021-2023
– The average cost to operate the F.A.P. for a week has tripled between 2021-2023
“Getting to know the people and families around our community who receive support from our program has been a really rewarding experience for us at Open Table MDI,” said Claire Bailey, Coordinator of the Food Access Program. “There’s so much need. I’m hopeful we can find a way to keep it going in the Fall.”
Sign ups for the MDI Food Access Project are on hold until November 2023. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you new to the MDI Food Access Project? Explore some Frequently Asked Questions – and we hope to see you soon!
Why Do People Participate in the MDI Food Access Project?
People participate in the MDI Food Access Project for a wide variety of reasons:
To receive a delicious and healthy meal
To receive organic produce from the Healthy Acadia Gleaning Program and Beech Hill Farm
To receive non-perishable food from the Bar Harbor Food Pantry
To learn more about other resources available in the community
To allow their weekly food budget to go a little bit further
Where Does the MDI Food Access Project Van Stop?
During sessions, the MDI Food Access Project van makes regular stops every Saturday to the Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor and the Community Health Center in Southwest Harbor.
What Can I Expect in a Typical Food Box?
Here’s what you can expect in your weekly box:
Prepared vegetarian meals from Open Table MDI (lasagna, chili, etc. with vegan and gluten-free options available)
Pantry items from Bar Harbor Food Pantry (rice, dried beans, pasta sauce, etc.)
Fresh produce from Beech Hill Farm and the Healthy Acadia Gleaning Initiative (carrots, onions, cabbage, etc.)
Contents will be 100% vegetarian and vary based on seasonal availability.
Are There Delivery Options?
All food boxes for program participants are delivered to designated pick-up locations each week. However, if program participants experience transportation challenges getting to these pick-up locations, we can sometimes offer delivery of boxes directly to individual homes. Please contact our MDI Food Access Project Coordinator for more information.
How Do People Learn About the MDI Food Access Project?
There are many different ways people learn about the MDI Food Access Project:
word of mouth and referrals from others
friends and family
school administration and teachers
health care professionals
Our Facebook and Instagram page
Local Facebook groups