Barn Raisers in the News

Community Egg Hunt

Empty Bowls: A Benefit for the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry

Harvest Community Meal

Solar Group Purchase Info Session

Annual Neighbor Warming Neighbor Window Insert Workshop

Drug Take Back Event, October 30th, 10am-2pm Unity Community Center

Drug Takeback Poster

Annual Day of Service Deploys Volunteers in and Around Unity

Unity Barn Raisers (UBR) held their annual Day of Service event on Saturday, October 3rd from 1:00-4:00pm. The Day of Service is a celebration of community spirit and volunteerism. This year, nearly 150 volunteers completed 19 service projects in and around Unity, culminating in a Pig Roast Community Meal to thank the volunteers and sponsors of this great event. The meal consisted of local ingredients sourced by Unity Food Hub and prepared by Crosstrax Deli.

Projects included trail work with Waldo County Trails Coalition on the Hills to Sea trail, gardening at Triplet Park, trail work along the CommUnity trail system, digging potatoes with Veggies For All, tidying of local cemeteries, fall cleanup with the Unity Historical Society, post-fair cleanup at MOFGA, cleaning out the Unity Firehouse, stacking wood at Avian Haven Bird Sanctuary, downtown trash pick-up, painting and cleaning the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry, trimming and landscaping at the Field of Dreams park, and more!

This annual event is a fundraiser for UBR, ensuring their ability to serve Unity and the surrounding communities of Troy, Knox, Freedom, Thorndike, Montville and Burnham. More importantly, it provides an opportunity to complete important community enhancement projects that ensure local vitality and development while coming together as a community.

Generous sponsors of this event include Unity Foundation, Unity College, Bangor Savings Bank, Downeast Credit Union, Centerpoint Publishing, Unitel, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Crosstrax Neighborhood Deli, Ingraham Equipment, Unity Food Hub, Unity Shop n Save, Varney Insurance Agency, New England Organics, Larry Ward Farm, Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm, Emily Newell, and many others.

Anyone interested in volunteering in the community please contact Mary at 948 9005 or

UBR Awarded MCF Grant


Unity Barn Raisers Get Grant From the Maine Community Foundation

Unity Barn Raisers has received a $6,062.00 grant from the Waldo County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to create a volunteer management system for internal programs and external partners, such as local organizations.

Unity Barn Raisers (UBR) is a convener and coordinator of community activity and vitality in the greater Unity area. The organization is in a unique position to identify needs in the community and has grown a volunteer base to support programs that seek to address these needs, demonstrated by events such as their annual Day of Service which engaged a diverse group of volunteers in over 300 hours of service last Fall. This Waldo County Fund award allows the organization to expand these types of efforts and to offer volunteer coordination services to other organizations and community causes.

“We are thankful to Maine Community Foundation and excited about the impact this work will have in our community,” said Programs Director, Mary Leaming. “Volunteers are the most important resource we have as an organization - so we are eager to more efficiently and effectively engage them, while also offering this service to our great local partners.”

The grant will specifically support further collaboration with MOFGA, Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, Veggies For All, Volunteer Regional Food Pantry, and more.

The Waldo County Fund was launched 25 years ago, when Waldo County was the poorest county in New England, and has since awarded more than 140 grants. The Fund provides permanent support to nonprofits in the region and is overseen by an advisory committee of local community leaders who partner with the foundation to build charitable resources. The Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit

UBR Adds Four New Board Members


UBR adds new board members (marked with *) and re-elects others.

* Janis Bragan Balda (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University)
Since August, 2013, Janis has been Associate Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at Unity College in Unity, Maine. She teaches sustainable enterprise, management and leadership and is involved in an innovative and transdisciplinary program introducing management across the curriculum. Before that she served as a principal of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership for five years. Formerly she taught at St. George's University, Grenada, West Indies, and George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon. As an attorney, she has practiced law for many years and served as a consultant to The Peter F. Drucker Archives and Manuscript Project. Among other groups, she has served on the boards of Medical Assistance Program International, and Mt. San Antonio Gardens, a life-care senior community, and is currently a board member and Chair of the Finance Committee of the International Leadership Association

Melissa Bastien
Melissa moved back to Maine in 1997 where she opened a B & B on Main Street in Unity and joined Unity Barn Raisers. She no longer owns the Copper Heron, but she still volunteers for UBR and is very involved with Triplet Park, gardening and StoryWalks. Community meals at the Unity Community Center are a favorite time for getting together with friends and neighbors and gathering new ideas and volunteers for the park.

Gail Chase
Gail Chase came to Maine in 1968 to attend college, and never left. She’s lived in Unity since 1997, and resides in a 120-year old house with her husband, dog and cats. The ducks stay outside. Gail currently works at Kennebec Valley Council of Governments. Previously, she served as a Maine State Legislator and State Auditor; as a result, she’s picky about budget and policy issues. She is a co-founder of Railroad Square Cinema and Shadow Distribution in Waterville, and when she has free time she’s likely to be washing, spinning or knitting sheep’s fleece while listening to an audio book. She’s been on the UBR Board since 2005. She is inspired by UBR’s dedication to a community that can shape its own future. Her favorite UBR project is Day of Service.

John McIntire
In 1990, I purchased a piece of property on what was then the Dump Rd near the Thorndike line. I had no real idea what Unity was like, knowing only that there was a College with a good library, a cooperative market, and a hardware store in town. After years of moving about the country, I was determined to stay put in Unity and set about learning to accept the community as I found it and to make improvements where I saw openings. The Unity Barn Raisers provided just such an opening and I'm pleased to have been on the UBR Board for more than 10 years now. I have served on the Board in various capacities and am currently serving at the Recording Secretary. I would be pleased to accept another three year term.

* Sarah Oliver
After a childhood of frequent relocations, and a post-college series of jobs ranging from database manager to boat-building apprentice to [small] farmer, I finally found in Unity the home and community that I had been looking for. I work in a technical role in the Organic Growers Supply division of Fedco Seeds in Clinton, drawing on my experiences in farming and engineering. I moved here permanently in January 2014 after a few winters of renting in the Unity area, and now spend a lot of time working in the garden and trying to figure out how to be a responsible homeowner. I am happy to be in a stable enough work and living situation to be able to commit to volunteer opportunities and offer something back to the community that I have found so welcoming.

* Christie Saunders
I am a retired elementary teacher who has lived in Unity for 9 years. I have been involved in the community in several ways—through serving on a Barn Raiser committee shortly after arriving here, and later, on the regional recycling center committee. I am an active member of Unity Union Methodist Church where I am chairperson of the Pastor/Parish Relations Committee and have served on several other committees. I have enjoyed living here in Unity, where people are involved in making this an inviting, thriving community.

Charlie Schaefer
Charlie has been a very active board member of UBR since its creation, serving on trail building teams, community meals, membership development, and fund raising. His dedication to the health and well being of the Unity community is evidenced by his service and contributions to the Boy Scouts, Faith Community Church, Friends of Lake Winnecook, Unity College, Unity Utilities District, and the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry.

Sara Trunzo
Sara is the Director of Veggies For All and a member of Maine Farmland Trust's Farm Viability staff. Veggies For All is a food bank farm that that works to relieve hunger by growing vegetables for those in need, while collaborating with partners to distribute and increase access to quality and nutritious food. Sara has experience in sustainable agriculture, education, and community organizing. She has provided leadership to numerous groups working on food system and hunger relief issues. Sara is currently vice-chair of the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry, president of the Waldo County Cooperative Extension executive committee, advisor to the Maine Community Foundation's Waldo County Fund, member of the Maine Food Strategy steering committee, and a volunteer with the Town of Unity’s comprehensive planning effort. She has previously served on the board of Unity Barn Raisers and WERU Community Radio. She is a graduate of Unity College and is an Environmental Leadership Program senior fellow. Sara is a New Jersey native who has lived in Unity for the past 10 years.

* Jon Wadick
Jon Wadick, owner and Graphic Designer for Eclipsed By Design, has lived in Unity with his wife and son for 13 years. Jon serves as Scout Master for Unity Boy Scout Troop 233, and he is active in the Unity Business Exchange. He has served on the board for KM Trails, and he has been an active member in Business Networking International. Jon earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kansas State University in 1997, and opened his own design business in 1999. Jon enjoys hiking, camping, carpentry, and interior design, and he is an advocate for local growth and living eco-friendly and sustainably.

Energy Upgrade For Community Center

Grant proposal for energy upgrade to the Community Center

A grant proposal will be submitted to the Maine Development Foundation in early June to significantly lower the cost of operating the Community Center. At Present, it costs the Unity Barn Raisers almost $11,000 per year for heat, hot water, electricity, and propane for the kitchen. The energy upgrade is estimated to decrease operating costs by 60% using upgrades to the kitchen appliances, to interior lighting, and to insulation. In addition, the proposal will add three high efficiency, cold climate air source heat pumps that will lower the use of propane for heat by at least 80%. A hybrid electric hot water heater (using heat pump technology) will replace fossil fuel fired electric heating at an estimated savings of 65%. Under separate funding, Unity Barn Raisers are exploring adding solar PV in partnership with other non-profits in Unity to generate electricity from the sun to substantially further offset the cost of running the Community Center.

Community Solar in Unity

Unity Barn Raisers will host an informational meeting on January 28 to talk about Community Solar in Unity.

The information session will introduce plans in our community for group-purchasing of solar electric power that could reduce your electric bill by 20%, 50%, even 100% for the next 40 years! Let's make Unity the center for low priced energy, making this the lowest cost location to live and do business in the State of Maine.

The workshop presenter will be UBR board member Steve Kahl who has written grants for projects that include a retrofit of a commercial building to be net zero energy, a solar power array to offset 25% of the electric use at a municipal water treatment plant, and a 2015 energy retrofit of a building in downtown Unity. He has conducted research that shows that Maine could generate as much as 56% of its power using rooftop solar. Come with your questions and be prepared for a lively discussion.

New Year's Eve Celebration December 31

UBR will sponsor a special family-friendly, chem-free pot luck New Year's Eve Celebration December 31 from 6 to 10 pm at the Unity Community Center.

UBR will provide turkey pot pie, hot cocoa and coffee. Please bring a dish or dessert to share. Bring an instrument, a game, or just yourself.

We'll have a campfire and roast marshmellows, and UBR will provide sparklers for sparkling in the new year.

For questions about this event email Mary at or call 948-9005.

UBR and Unity College will sponsor a Window Inserts Workshop on Saturday December 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, 42 Depot Street in Unity. Learn how to build low cost interior "storm windows" that are reusable year after year. This is a do-it-yourself, hands-on workshop. Plenty of help will be available. The cost of material is $1.25 per square foot. Tools and materials will be provided.

The Storm Window Units you will build are easy to install from inside the house, save energy and heating costs, and reduce outside noise.

What to bring: Measure INSIDE dimensions at the trim next to the window sash, height and width. Sponsored by Unity Barn Raisers and Unity College

For questions or to sign up for this workshop call or email Mary at or call 948-9005.



Unity Barn Raisers' annual Harvest Meal will be held on Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 5 pm at the Unity Community Center, 32 School Street in Unity. The menu includes roasted turkey, lamb and all the fixings. Ingredients are sourced locally.

Suggested donations $7-$15 / person, $5 for children 6-12 years old and under 6 years old free. Interested in volunteering for meal prep? Contact Mary at 948-9005 or or

Fall Story Walk on Sunday October 26

UBR's Fall Story Walk will happen on Sunday October 26 at 11:30 am (rain or shine) at Triplet Park in Unity across from the Unity Community Center on Wood Lane. Dress for the weather. The book is Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw.

Come join Lola in this celebration of books and the people who love them. At the end of the walk, we will introduce you to our newest literacy adventure in Triplet Park: the Free Little Library. You will be able to take a book or leave a book any time and any day of the week. There is a children's shelf and an adults shelf for you to select from or add to any time you visit.

StoryWalks combine literacy with an outdoor family adventure. Come join in the fun and celebrate a visit to the library. This StoryWalk is supported by Unity Barn Raisers, RSU 3, Children's Book Cellar and Inland Hospital. For more information contact Unity Barn Raisers at 948-9005.

Day of Service 2014 Was a Winner

UBR's Annual Day of Service on October 4, 2014 was one of the best ever. Over a hundred volunteers cleared trails, built bog bridging, picked potatoes, spruced up the Community Center and Triplet Park, stacked firewood, assisted at Avian Haven, cleaned up cemeteries and schools, and installed Unity's first Little Free Library. Thanks to Amy Calder at the Waterville Sentinel for a great story about it. The work day ended with a pig roast at the community center. See more photos from the event.

Mary Leaming Hired as Programs Director

Unity Barn Raisers Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mary Leaming has been hired to serve as UBR's Programs Director. This interim role began on September 17, 2014. Please join us in welcoming Mary.

Her responsibilities will include overseeing the use of our Community Center facilities, coordination of programming efforts such as Community Meals and the Day of Service, and supporting the overall operations and communications needs of the organization.

Mary has previously served Unity Barn Raisers as a board member, as chair of the Community Meals committee, and in a variety of other volunteer roles. A lifelong resident of Waldo County, Mary is an energetic individual with deep community connections.

We are excited that she has graciously agreed to provide staffing at this time, as she will assist the Board in navigating opportunities through an organizational transition. We will keep membership informed of any changes as we approach fiscal year 2015.

Stay tuned to learn more about UBR's ongoing programs including community meals, gym and fitness programs, and our upcoming Fall community events. Visit our website, check out our newsletter, give us call, send an email, or "like" us on Facebook to stay in the loop!

Mary can be reached at

Waldo County Trails Coalition to Lead Fall Foliage Hikes

The Waldo County Trails Coalition (WCTC) will lead three foliage hikes this fall, all on Saturdays: September 27, October 11 and October 18. The hikes will begin at Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, 93 Main St. in Unity Village, will traverse part of the WCTC Hills to Sea Trails, and will run from 10 a.m. to about noon.

The September 27 hike is part of Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, a series of events led by outdoor-oriented organizations and companies to celebrate the how, where and what of being active outside in Maine.

All are welcome to join any or all of the three hikes, which will occur rain or shine. For more information, call 207-877-5880.

Also, on October 4, WCTC will participate in Unity Barn Raisers' Unity Day of Service. This event draws volunteers from throughout the area to do various projects that help the community, organizations and neighbors.

On the Day of Service, the WCTC, led by experienced trail builders from the Unity College Trail Crew, will finesse areas of the Hills to Sea Trails. Interested volunteers are welcome to meet at the Unity Barn Raisers' Community Building, 32 School St. in Unity, at 12:30 p.m. to register for the event. Work on projects occurs from 1 to 4 p.m. and is followed by a free meal served to volunteers at the Community Building. To volunteer or for more information about the Day of Service, contact Mary at 207-249-7820 or

Community Center To Get a New Roof

The Unity Community Center will soon be getting a much needed new roof thanks to a grant awarded by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to the Town of Unity in 2011. This is the same grant that is funding the renovation of the former Unity Grammar School and the replacement of the old cape at 38 School Street. Unity Barn Raisers is administering the grant on behalf of the town of Unity.

As a result of the $305,000 grant, School Street is suddenly a hive of construction activity. A new, long-lasting metal roof for the Community Center will be the third part of of the activity.

The grant was awarded as part of the state's Communities for Maine's Future Program, which targets downtown revitalization projects. Eleven grants totaling $3.5 million were awarded statewide. The Town of Unity voted to accept the funds at a public hearing and special town meeting in November, 2011.