News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 26, 2014
Margaret Bixby awarded the 2014 Halcyon Grange Community Service Award

Margaret Bixby receives grange award

Halcyon Grange Master John Gandy, of Blue Hill, Maine, presents Margaret Bixby of Sedgwick with the 2014 Community Service Award on June 22 at the grange hall. The award is presented annually to honor service to the community.

Photo courtesy of Halcyon Grange

On Sunday, June 22, community members and friends gathered at the Halcyon Grange as Margaret Bixby, of Sedgwick, was awarded the Community Service Award.

Each year, the grange honors a member of the community in recognition of service given. Bixby received the award for her many contributions, including helping start the Magic Food Bus, which travels around the Peninsula and Island each summer distributing fresh farm produce and library books.

Bixby moved to Sedgwick in 1971 and started her first garden around stumps, roots and rocks in the woods where she lived, according to a grange press release.

She learned to garden from books, magazines, seed catalogs, and neighbors—they gradually cleared the land and had a nice vegetable and herb garden, with flowers to the side.

Over the years, they added animals to their repertoire: goats, chickens, homing pigeons, and a horse. Together with a group of friends, she started a large and bountiful community garden where they grew all their winter storage crops and some summer vegetables.

During this time, she was involved with starting up the Blue Hill Co-op and MOFGA, and she baked for the Blue Hill Farmers’ Market when it first began. For work, she raked blueberries, dug clams, worked in antique shops, and made Christmas wreaths which turned into a mail order business that she ran for a number of years. She also had a small gardening business. In addition, she has worked as a home healthcare provider for many years.

She has three children, born over 15 years. Much of her life has been devoted to raising them; once her oldest child entered school, she began volunteering in his classroom, and she’s been very involved with schools ever since. She has served on the Sedgwick School Committee when they built their new school. A couple of years later, she began working as the librarian there. That was 20 years ago.

Her love of children, books, and gardening has led her to new ventures: she’s offered a number of after-school and summer garden programs for Sedgwick’s students; she wrote a grant to purchase materials to build a large unheated greenhouse (hoop house) at the school, which was built by community volunteers and with help from Healthy Peninsula. Staff members wrote up a garden plan to help incorporate the school gardens and the greenhouse into the curriculum. Working with Amy Vaughn, the director of Healthy Peninsula at the time, the idea for the Magic Food Bus grew into a reality. In its fourth year now, they are planning for this summer’s runs in Sedgwick, Deer Isle, and Blue Hill. Traveling around Sedgwick with fresh, local produce and library books has been a dream come true for Bixby.