New health and wellness initiative being integrated into Maine’s downtowns

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Maine Downtown Center’s Healthy Maine Streets Program is a two-year program working in 20 communities around the state with small employers (under 20 employees) to develop worksite wellness. The communities are also working on integrating health and wellness into their downtowns through their existing events and festivals and as a strategy as part of their overall downtown development efforts. 

lo-wellness-dcX-po-29Photo courtesy of Maine Development Foundation

HEALTHIEST WHOOPIE PIE — From left, Patrick Myers, Don Grant and his daughter Kari Grant-Gagnon and Sweetie Pie. Grant’s Bakery, a family-owned bakery in Lewiston since 1956, won the Healthy Whoopie Pie Contest, sponsored by Dover-Foxcroft Healthy Maine Streets, at the annual Whoopie Pie Festival in Dover-Foxcroft in June. This past week Myers and Sweetie Pie presented the winning check and plaque on behalf of the Whoopie Pie Festival.

    “Wellness is becoming part of the health and vibrancy of our downtowns. If a downtown has a healthy work force, more people will want to live there, work there and visit there.  Our downtowns are creating new partnerships within the wellness community and the public health field that will enable this project to sustain itself.” stated Roxanne Eflin, director of the Maine Development Foundation’s Maine Downtown Center.
    The downtowns are thinking about how to integrate health and wellness into all of their ongoing work and events. There are many creative ideas that Healthy Maine Street Communities are developing. Some are as simple as offering healthy food at meetings while others, like Machias and Sanford, are encouraging employees to walk to work by holding “Walking Wednesdays” and offering healthy smoothies by a bicycle powered blender at the Farmer’s Market.
    Recently Maine’s official state treat received a healthy makeover. The annual Whoopie Pie Festival, held in Dover-Foxcroft and attended by over 6,000 people, had a contest for the healthiest whoopie pie with a prize sponsored by Dover-Foxcroft’s Healthy Maine Streets program.
    The winner of the inaugural contest was Grant’s Bakery of Lewiston, a family-owned bakery since the 1950s, who made a traditional gluten-free whoopie pie. Winning bakery owner Don Grant and his daughter Kari Grant-Gagnon were presented the award plaque and prize by Patrick Myers, director of the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival and mascot Sweetie Pie.
    The contest is now an innovative healthy feature of the festival along with a road race. Next year’s festival (the fifth anniversary) will be held on June 28.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.