Plant a Row for the Hungry
In this land of abundance it's hard to imagine not having access to good quality food at a reasonable price. However, for millions of Americans, finding a healthy meal is not always easy. It's estimated almost 33 million people, including 13 million children, resort to emergency food because they cannot afford to purchase the food they need.
You can help those in need by growing extra vegetables in your garden this summer. Plant a Row for the Hungry is a national campaign, sponsored by the Garden Writers Association, to help feed hungry families. The concept is simple. Plant extra produce in your garden and donate it to a local food shelf, shelter, or soup kitchen. It's a great way to help your community, and if you include your kids or grandkids, a valuable life lesson.
Plant a Row Yourself
- Before you get started, contact your local food shelf or agency to determine the best type of produce to grow and when they most need it. Adjust your planting schedule accordingly. For example, perhaps the food shelf has plenty of winter squash in September, but needs fresh greens then.
- Determine where in your garden you'll grow the produce. Devote a row to the hungry or grow a whole separate garden of just one crop, such as potatoes, watermelons or sweet corn.
- Get your kids, neighbors, and friends involved to help cultivate your Plant a Row garden.
Plant a Row With Others
- Organize others in your community to Plant a Row for the Hungry in their garden. Contact Plant A Row for tips on getting organized.
- Create a community garden for the hungry. Rent a community garden plot, get one donated, or get permission to start a garden at a church or public area. Organize volunteers to help prepare, plant, and maintain the garden.
- If you can't garden but still want to help, visit farmer's markets, farm stands, and orchards and arrange to collect leftover produce for donation to the food shelf.
Publicize What You Do
- Early in the season, contact the local newspaper, radio, and television stations to announce what you're doing. Encourage them to track your success or even adopt your program!
- Take pictures and gather testimonials to be used at presentations for future Plant a Row gardens.
- Hold a harvest celebration to acknowledge all you've done. Make it a fun event and the Plant a Row gardens will grow faster than you imagined.
Back to Ways to Celebrate in Your Community
When You Garden, You Grow!
Every April communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide celebrate gardening during National Garden Month. Gardeners know, and research confirms, that nurturing plants is good for us: attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school, and community spirit grows. Join the celebration and help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place!
About National Garden Month
Gardeners are the most joyously generous people I've ever met. I never leave a garden empty-handed; whether with seeds, plants, or a portion of the harvest (double in zucchini season). I always go away with more enthusiasm, courage, and wisdom than when I arrived. That's because real gardeners want other gardeners to succeed. The best gardeners grow other gardeners."-- Therese Ciesinski, In the Dirt newsletter editor, GardenSMART.com
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