An Introduction…

Greetings All! I wanted to write to introduce myself. My name is Kim, I am the new Office Manager for GrowSmart Maine and I live in Maine.

Now granted, I am not a Mainer. But it's really not my fault. My parents are from away and we moved here when I was three. Sadly, we don't have much say in who our parents are or where we live when we are three. If it were my choice, I would have voted to be born into a family boasting of many generations in this great state. I do consider Maine my Home. The fact that there is such strict ownership of the right to be called a Mainer says quite a bit about how beloved this state is to its people.

I have lived here most of my life. I grew up on the shores of Lake St. George in Liberty, just a quarter mile from the cottage where my mother spent her summers as a child. I spent my childhood making mudpies, raising monarch butterflies from the egg and helping my mother in our organic vegetable garden. We would watch the fireworks over Penobscot Bay from the Belfast City Park, or listen to them echo off the Capitol dome in Augusta. I learned to hike along the trails of Acadia National Park and picnicked under the pines at Moose Point State Park. And I built snow caves in the backyard after the Blizzard of '78. Growing up in Maine, you often can't appreciate what you have. The mall is an hour and a half away. It takes 45 minutes just to drive to the grocery store or the movies. Your best friend from school lives all the way across the county. Life is hard when you're a kid from Maine (said with a sarcastic tone). So at 18, I ran off to college in Florida. After a couple years, I came home. I wandered out to live in Seattle. A year later, I came home. I went to go live in Boston. After a couple months, I came home. You always come home. I often say you need to leave to truly appreciate what Maine is. The waters, the woods, the people. The quality of place.

I have since finished my schooling at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. I have lived up and down the coastline of Maine, now to settle in a beautiful old farmhouse in Gorham. I can spend my free time in my own organic garden, walk to the local coffee shop and chat with my neighbors along the sidewalk. Life is good.

It took a vacation to the Mid-Atlantic states this past week to remind me again of how much Maine has to offer. Your blood-pressure drops as you cross the bridge into Maine. The air has a clean, fresh, crisp quality to it. You can smell the pines in the air. Drivers wave as you travel down country roads. Even the signs along the turnpike welcome you home, rather than trying to sell you something. "Maine – the way life should be."

So I tell you this about me to give you some insight into how deeply I feel for this state. Why I care so much about its future. I'm sure each and every one of you has your own story to tell about why you live here, or why you visit here, or simply how Maine has carved out a spot in your heart. My story has led me here to GrowSmart Maine because I care about where we're headed as a state. We need economic development and job creation desperately and we also need to guarantee the conservation of our land and waters for the next generation. We need to revitalize our walkable downtown centers and limit sprawling growth. We need to preserve Maine's Quality of Place in order to keep our kids coming Home .

GrowSmart Maine has the ability to engage our legislative, environmental and business leaders and bring them to the table to start dialogues allowing the state to move forward in a direction benefiting everyone. Our projects such as The Maine Model Town and The Brookings Report Charting Maine's Future as well as the creation of our upcoming Green-Brown Coalition are where the rubber meets the road. We are putting dialogues into practice and seeing results from our conversations.

But we need your help to continue. If you are a Mainer, or consider Maine your home or just simply warm at the thought of what Maine provides, won't you consider a donation to keep Maine…Maine? We have a variety of membership levels and/or one-time donations. I could tell you about the bumper stickers, or the newsletters or the discounts to events. But that's not really why you give. You give because you care and because you know you are helping to sustain the place you love. Please go to our website at growsmartmaine.org and click on the "join or donate" button and give whatever you can afford. And please feel free to contact us with any questions or ideas you may have. We hope to be communicating more frequently with folks here on our blog as well as through facebook and twitter and we would love to hear from you. I am truly thrilled to be a part of GrowSmart Maine and I hope you are too.

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