Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gardeners Help the Hungry

Gardeners can help fight hunger in their community by planting more and donating extra produce to a local hunger relief organization. The Garden Writers Association Foundation promotes the Plant A Row for the Hungry campaign. “Gardeners can make a difference” by growing extra produce and donating it to a local food bank, food shelf or soup kitchen.

The Plant A Row website outlines a step by step program for conducting a local campaign to encourage the gardening community to organize and donate fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers to food shelves, food banks and soup kitchens.

Fresh produce is highly valued by food shelves and by those who rely on food shelves to help meet their basic food needs. Many food shelf recipients are home bound or live in apartments or other situations where growing their own produce is impossible. Produce is expensive to purchase, so those living with scarce food resources may not be able to afford this healthy and nutritious food. Donated produce is very welcome in these households.

If you don’t want to organize a local Plant A Row campaign, donating your own garden excess is just fine. Many gardeners, like me, love to grow things and we may not be able to use all the vegetables and fruit we produce. I have a tendency to overdo it at planting time, thinking, of course I will be able to use all those prolific pole beans and summer squash, beautiful multi-colored bell peppers and eggplant. In August, my bushel basket runneth over with more food than my small family can eat. Instead of stressing over how to use or preserve all the bounty, I bring it in to the food shelf for people who may not have the space or physical ability to garden for themselves. It is so satisfying for me to grow food for people.

So go ahead, gardeners, grow everything you want to! Grow extra on purpose and donate it to your local hunger relief organization. Check out the Get Help tab on our Second Harvest website for locations and contact information for our member food shelves and soup kitchens in this region. Give them a call to find out how much they can accept and to arrange a time to drop off your bounty.

It’s finally spring – get out there and garden! It is good for you, for the environment and for your neighbors in need.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea of encouraging locals to donate fresh produce. There are many people with plenty of land and time to make a real difference. thank you