MACHIAS — Regional partners are breaking ground this month for Downeast Restorative Harvest, a jail-community garden project in Machias. The Washington County Jail, Maine Department of Corrections, UMaine Cooperative Extension, and Healthy Acadia are working together to launch the collaborative garden project with several main goals: to advance healthy food in the jails and prisons in our region; to increase the amount of healthy local food going to people experiencing hunger throughout the region; to provide jail residents with meaningful, healthful work that can reduce their jail sentences and/or provide income; to provide jail residents with education and skill building to support future employment, health, and well-being; and to provide similar opportunities to community members. 

The Washington County Commissioners have generously provided several acres of land in Machias which will serve as the home for the garden. The Washington County Jail and the Maine Department of Corrections are providing key in-kind support to launch the project. At the groundbreaking, Mark McBrine of the Department of Corrections will use the agency’s equipment to mow and then till a section of the land dedicated to the project. A cover crop will be planted this fall with additional fieldwork continuing in the spring of 2023. Washington County Sheriff Barry Curtis will make the first dig, officially launching this exciting project. 

Downeast Restorative Harvest is made possible by the generous support of numerous sponsors and grantors, including Machias Savings Bank, Witham Family Hotels Charitable Fund, and many individual supporters. Gifts in support of Downeast Restorative Harvest are gratefully accepted at or via check (with memo “Downeast Restorative Harvest” included) by mail to Healthy Acadia, PO Box 1710, Ellsworth, ME 04605. 

For more information about this project or how you can be involved, please contact Regina Grabrovac at Healthy Acadia’s Washington County office at 207-255-3741 or by email at

Healthy Acadia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that engages in a broad range of initiatives to build healthier communities and make it easier for people to lead healthy lives across Washington and Hancock counties, Maine. Learn more at