KINGFIELD — Green Drinks made its debut at the Maine Beer Shed last week, the monthly gathering will bring folks to enjoy drinks, discuss local environmental issues and concerns, and fundraise for local organizations who are working to support the environment.
At the first event, the Beer Shed hosted the Greater Franklin Food Council. One of the council’s project is working with local elementary schools to create or expand a school garden program. Currently they have programs at Stratton School, Phillips Elementary School, Kingfield Elementary School, and Cascade Brook School. Strong Elementary School and Mallet School will be joining the program soon.
Community gardens and local farms can help address food insecurity by investing in and strengthening the local food system, and encouraging students to garden has many personal benefits as they spend time outside and learn responsibility and hands-on skills.
Green Drinks are a monthly event, on the second or third Thursday in the middle of the month. Additional information can be found at the Beer Shed.
The Maine Beer Shed is proving to be an up-and-coming community hub. In addition to locally crafted beer, the Beer Shed functions as a farm market, with local fresh fruits and veggies, meat, and dairy.
“I strongly believe that small diversified farms are the answer to a lot of today’s problems,” owner Kate Ray said.
The Beer Shed provides a retail location in the center of town; when buying local can mean stops at a half-dozen farm stands scattered throughout the county, the convenience of a single stop for the same items is appealing for many consumers and makes buying local more accessible.
Kate and her husband Brian opened the Beer Shed in 2019 and have expanded the facility to include a beer garden, a greenhouse with seating for inclement weather, and a micro kitchen that services the beer garden. Raised community garden beds create a border between the parking lot and the beer garden. Food trucks are often found at the Beer Shed on the weekends, allowing dinner and drinks in one stop. In addition, they raise veggies, pork, and eggs at their farm in New Portland, and own and operate Dogsled Maine, running teams of rescue dogs in the winter months.
The focus at the Beer Shed is “hyper-local” and almost every single product is sourced within the State of Maine. Fresh produce is sourced even closer to home.
“We don’t want to just sell beer or just farm; we are really looking to change food systems and make a positive environmental impact in the community,” Ray said. “I am a traveler and for me to stay in one place I have to feel like I’m doing something really impactful.”
The Maine Beer Shed is located at 394 Main Street in Kingfield.