Monday, May 4, 2009

Plant A Row for the Hungry - Hampton Roads

Plant A Row for the Hungry is a people-helping-people program to help feed the hungry in local neighborhoods and communities. Launched in 1995 by the Garden Writers Association (GWA), Plant A Row encourages gardeners to grow a little extra and donate the produce to local soup kitchens and food pantries serving the homeless and hungry.

Drop-off sites are being set up across the region so that as our gardens come into full production, there will be places you can easily donate produce from your garden to help your local Food Bank. This year, with the financial crisis and resulting job layoffs, Food Banks are supplying more hungry Hampton Roads residents than ever.

You already know that nothing beats the taste and nutrition of freshpicked vegetables and fruits. Growing and eating from your own garden can improve your health, save you money, increase your sustainability, and decrease your carbon footprint. And now, just as important, your garden can help a lot of people in need. By donating produce directly to the food agencies, gardeners help organizations stretch their meager resources. Fresh produce is often lacking from the diets of economically challenged families because canned or processed foods are easier for humanitarian organizations to obtain and store. During the summer, at least, we can change that, making sure that area children have access to the same wonderful vegetables and fruits that we harvest from our gardens.

There is a new page on the website to assist the local PAR campaigns. As drop-off sites are finalized, the information will be posted on our Plant A Row for the Hungry webpage. This year, you don't have to wonder what to do with all those extra tomatoes, squash, beans, figs or other garden bounty -- donate them so that less fortunate folks in our communities will have some delicious, fresh vegetables on their tables.

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The sharing of ideas, experience and helpful information between one gardener and another has always been the very best of gardening traditions.