UNITY — A trellis-based vertical garden is now part of a display by Maine AgrAbility at the Common Ground fairgrounds to demonstrate accessible structures for gardeners with limited mobility.

The vertical garden was built June 17 in a workshop presented by Maine AgrAbility during Farm and Homestead Day at MOFGA. The annual free event offers hands-on workshops focused on sustainable living skills.

The vertical garden joins two raised bed gardens built by Maine AgrAbility in 2015-16 to demonstrate accessible options.

In this year’s Maine AgrAbility workshop, participants learned how to construct a sturdy garden trellis in three sections. They also had an opportunity to try out ergonomic gardening tools, receive handouts about services, and harvest lettuce from a raised bed.

Vertical gardens are designed to provide a big yield in a small space and allow harvesting from a standing position, which is easier for people with arthritis and other physical limitations. The trellis-based vertical garden, now at the fairgrounds, was made with naturally rot-resistant cedar posts and cross pieces harvested in Maine, with sections of cattle panels available at farm supply stores. Materials for construction cost approximately $150.

Maine AgrAbility works with Maine farmers who struggle to continue their work because of injury, illness or disability. The USDA-funded program is a partnership between University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Alpha One, and Goodwill of Northern New England. Each partner brings its expertise and institutional insights to the challenges at the intersection of farming, health and employment.

For more information, contact Maine AgrAbility at 944-1533, [email protected]. More information also is online at extension.umaine.edu/agrability.

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