Parisian Living

From Paris to Maine: Talking to HiP Paris & Veggies to Table Founder Erica Berman

by Rachel Naismith

As the Veggies to Table French sweepstakes draws to a close we sat down with our founder Erica to hear about her life and work between Paris and Maine. There is still time to enter and win a week in Erica’s Paris apartment, a weekend in Montreal, and so many more French prizes. And, you will be helping her to feed the hungry in her community. – the HiP Paris team

Veggies to Table founder Erica Berman holds a chicken in her arms while smiling and looking at her husband Alain on their farm in rural Maine.
Erica and her husband Alain in Maine

After 20 years in Paris, Erica moved to Maine with her French husband Alain and founded Veggies to Table, a non-profit farm committed to helping end local hunger. Veggies to Table grows organic produce for those experiencing hunger and flowers to create joy—1 in 5 children go hungry daily in Maine. We discussed the ongoing Sweepstakes, the work of Veggies to Table, and how Erica and Alain bring a bit of France to Maine. The sweepstakes runs until September 17th. Good luck!

PS: If you enter the Sweepstakes, and donate, a huge thank you! Please note: the bonus entries they request at check out go to the platform that hosts the Sweepstakes to allow them to do the necessary work they do, and not to Veggies to Table.

The kitchen of Erica Berman's Parisian apartment, with white cabinets, blue walls, wooden table, and a black kettle artwork.
The Kitchen of Erica’s Paris apartment: Loove Collective

How long did you live in Paris? What made you move to Maine? Do you miss Paris?

I lived in Paris for twenty years: fifteen full-time and five split between Maine, Paris, and Italy. In 2012, my French husband Alain and I decided to move to Maine for a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle. I do miss Paris but visit regularly. 

How long after moving to Maine did you set up Veggies To Table? 

I created Veggies to Table in 2019. I previously volunteered for food insecurity groups, but I never dreamed of starting a non-profit organisation myself! That said, once the idea was born, things fell into place quickly.

A woman is holding a bouquet of orange, pink, and red flowers from the Veggies to Table farm.
Erica making flower bouquets

Hunger is a big problem in Maine (and in many other areas of the world). How does Veggies to Table support those who are struggling?

In our community alone, one-in-five children and one-in-seven adults experience hunger daily. Veggies to Table’s mission is to grow and donate top-quality organic produce for the people who can’t afford to purchase healthy food regularly. We bring dignity to those who have lost one of life’s basic functions—the ability to feed themselves. We also donate flowers to create joy— food for the soul.

How has setting up Veggie to Table impacted your life?

I’m doing something meaningful for my community. We’ve given away over 36,000 pounds of farm-fresh produce and 40,000 flower stems! The people I’ve met through this project have enriched my life in countless ways.

Produce and flowers from the Veggies to Table farm, including 2 wooden baskets of tomatoes, a square basket of cucumbers, and a bouquet of pink flowers sit on a wooden porch.
Produce and flowers from Veggies to Table

What would you say is the best way for people to help combat the issue of food insecurity?

They can get involved in their local food pantries, after school program or summer lunch programs, donate extra garden produce to pantries as well as give money, time, and tools to these organizations. And just to realize that you never know when someone around you is suffering, or why. Keep an open mind.

Why a Sweepstakes with a Giveaway of a week in your Paris apartment?

The Sweepstakes seemed a great way to spread our love of France and the word about hunger in our community, while offering some incredible French prizes along the way. It also marries the two sides of our lives: French lifestyle and travel, and our charitable work. 

A cat with green eyes and gray and white fur with baskets full of orange tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes and one of Erica’s kitties

How do you bring a bit of France into your lives in Maine?

Surprisingly, we know quite a few French people in Maine with whom we share meals and chat in French. Alain and I speak French together and we also do a lot of French cooking at home. Whether it is something sweet such as macarons, tarte au citron meringée,  tarte tatin, or créme anglaise or savory such as quiche, pot au feu, poireaux viniagrette, or hachis parmentier, we often have a bit of France on the table.

Left: A hand holds out two pieces of tomatoes, one orange and one yellow. Right: A house with gray roof and bricked walls beside a farm full of tall trees.
Tomatoes / Erica’s home in Maine: Tali Pieper

What do you miss most about Paris when you are in Maine? 

My apartment, and my friends. I am glad that one lucky sweepstakes winner will get to spend a week in my lovely flat.

Good luck everyone!

The living room of Erica Berman's Paris apartment, full of colorful books, brown couch, wooden coffee tables, and wooden floorings.
The Salon of Erica’s apartment – Loove collective

Related Links

The bedroom in Erica Berman's apartment with white and brown sheets, a wooden commode, a bouquet of pink tulips, and 2 white wall lamps.
The bedroom in Erica’s apartment – Loove Collective

Written by Rachel Naismith for HiP Paris. All photos by Kelsey Kobik except where mentioned. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.

A wooden basket full of green beans in different colors of green, yellow, and purple.
Beans from Veggies to Table to be donated
Written By

Rachel Naismith

Originally from London, Rachel is a food writer and content creator currently living in Paris. She is deeply passionate about all things food and drink. Her favourite pastimes include discussing anything to do with butter, experimenting with raku ceramics, and watching her Italian partner make her pasta View Rachel Naismith's Website

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