The National Wildlife Federation has named Meeting House Herb Farm a Certified Wildlife Habitat through its Garden for Wildlife Movement. Courtesy photo of Emily Springer

SCARBOROUGH — Meeting House Herb Farm, a Scarborough business, received a National Wildlife Habitat certification on Aug. 20, having cultivated a clean environment for various species since opening in 2017.

The certification comes from the National Wildlife Federation, the largest conservation group in the United States, said an announcement from Meeting House Herb Farm and the organization. The National Wildlife Federation has certified 227,000 habitats in the past 45 years through the Garden for Wildlife Movement.

Since opening in 2017, Meeting House Herb Farm has been a no-till farm located in the center of Scarborough, in a suburban area, that values creating a sanctuary for local wildlife, like birds, butterflies, frogs, and bees, Emily Springer, co-founder and managing partner, said.

The farm represents six different herbal growers in Maine, cultivating over 80 different herbal species, she said.

The team was excited to receive certification, Springer said.

“We were all thrilled and it’s a really nice validation of the work we’re doing,” she said.


Anyone can restore wildlife habitats in their own yards or communities, David Mizejewski, National Wildlife Federation naturalist, said.

“Whether you garden in a suburban yard, an urban area or a rural plot of land, you can make a difference for local wildlife,” he said. “Creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat garden is fun, easy and makes a real difference for neighborhood wildlife. It’s the perfect grassroots way to think globally and act locally and help birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife.”

This is a lesson that Meeting House Herb Farm also wants to teach the public, Springer said.

“I would love for people to understand that no plot of land is too small to create a wildlife habitat,” she said. “You can actually see the change. It’s visible and very rewarding.”

Meeting House Herb Farm, located in Scarborough is a no-till farm that grows over 80 medicinal species of plants. Co-Owner Emily Springer said that the team is mindful of how plants are grown on the farm and has always had the goal of being a wildlife habitat. Courtesy photo of Emily Springer

Because of the suburban location, Meeting House Herb Farm found it difficult to maintain a habitat with neighbors who chose to spray pesticides, which killed wildlife, Springer said.

“What we did to counteract that was to erect a fence where we knew there was a lot of pesticides sprayed,” she said. “We also created at least a 20-foot buffer zone all the way around our property. It creates this buffer so everything within the 20-foot line is very clean and pure.”


The farm is mindful of where and how plants are grown, she said. Instead of tilling soil, Meeting House Herb Farm uses an alternative method of laying cardboard over soil, layering that with six inches of compost, and topping that off with woodchips or straw.

The no-till method helps preserve micro fungi that live in the soil, Springer explained.

“Every time you till the soil, it brings up soil from below and breaks up the soil structure,” she said. “It softens the soil, which makes it easier for planting, but it exposes the micro fungi, which are incredibly important fungi that help the plant to gain the appropriate nutrients to the soil. It exposes those to the air, where they really shouldn’t be, and destroys them. It also disrupts earthworm habitats.

“By not tilling, we’re able to maintain the soil structure as it is,” she added. “We’re able to maintain earthworm habitats, which are important for plant growth. And the most important part is we’re able to maintain the existing micro fungi.”

In 2021, Springer said that she hopes the farm will be able to teach classes again. Meeting House Herb Farm also offers a consignment agreement with the public.

“We’re making herbs accessible to anybody who’s willing to work two hours a week,” Springer said. “It’s a beautiful job every day to go out and work with plants.”

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