Art + Conversation: SEED-O-MATIC

Spring is the perfect time to start a garden. The SEED-O-MATIC, the world’s slowest vending machine, can help—even in the age of social distancing. Developed by the Center for Genomic Gastronomy and stocked with help from our partners at Fedco Seeds, this machine makes locally-produced seeds available as part of its mission to promote agricultural biodiversity and seed sovereignty. With our relationship to food supplies affected by the spread of COVID-19, and local, state, and national organizers reimagining food distribution systems, how does something like the SEED-O-MATIC take on new resonance? Olivia Fountain, the Museum’s Anne Lunder Leland Curatorial Fellow, talks about the SEED-O-MATIC and answers questions.

For interviews with our Fedco partners, click here. To read a copy of Food Phreaking, the journal produced by the Center for Genomic Gastronomy, click here

There are dozens of organizations that are helping Mainers get access to food or rethinking distribution systems during the COVID-19 pandemic (and year-round). A handful of those are listed below. If you know of an organization doing similar work in Waterville and Central Maine, email Olivia Fountain at ocfounta@colby.edu. For information about volunteer opportunities, email Matt Skehan at mskehan@waterville-me.gov.

The Alfond Youth & Community Center is providing up to 1000 mobile snacks and dinners every weekday for youth under 18 at four locations. Weekend backpacks are available on Thursdays and Fridays. The AYCC has also compiled this list of area food programs.

Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine is the largest hunger-relief organization in the state, with over 450 community partners.

The Healthy Waterville Food Resource Guide, available on the City of Waterville website and compiled by community volunteers in 2019, gives a good overview of resources pre-COVID-19.

KVCAP has compiled a list of food resources in Kennebec County.

MaineGeneral Health is running a food security hotline and is keeping a list of food banks, pantries, and soup kitchens in Kennebec County, available here.

United Way of Mid-Maine is focused on “supporting non-profit organizations and programs that are meeting the needs of the community fur to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The University of Maine has compiled a directory of “farmers, fishermen, and other producers across Maine” offering “alternative ways for customers to obtain food and other products to accommodate for social distancing in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The Waterville Farmer’s Market is open for business at Head of Falls every Thursday from 2–6. Please call ahead to place your order. For a list of participating farmers and payment, click here. You can learn more about each vendor here

The Waterville Food Bank is keeping its regular hours: Monday–Thursday from 9 AM–11 AM, and every Monday evening from 5:30–7 PM.

#WeAreMaineStrong, an organization started by Portland Radio Group “to support local businesses today so they can keep their doors open tomorrow,” has a growing list of businesses and restaurants offering gift cards and curbside pickup. Many Waterville institutions are offering takeout services so be sure to call ahead and support your favorite local restaurants!