When I go to the Farmer’s Market I see all the abundance that our rocky New England soil can produce. What is not so obvious to the public is all the abundance of our home gardens. Some of us like to concentrate on a small plot with everything we like to put in our salads, a mix of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes. Some of us are lucky enough to have the space, not to mention energy and time to grow a major part of the produce we’ll eat over the course of the year.
Unfortunately, it is also not obvious to the public that there are many people in our communities who do not share in this abundance. We can see it if we visit local food pantries and soup kitchens. I’ve talked to our local Salvation Army program, the Center for Self Reliance and the Survival Center. All of them report that many new families are signing up for the food pantry, people who never imagined their life would reach this point. The Salvation Army says they have very limited budget for fresh produce, yet they routinely have more than 100 people show up for lunch, often working people who get their lunch there so they will have more money to feed their children supper. And they have to hurry and eat to get back to work at a low paying job.
I am a member of the Garden Writers of America. A number of years ago this organization started the Plant a Row for the Hungry project. Recognizing the importance of food banks and food pantries, and also recognizing the large number of gardeners in our country, they encouraged people to plant and dedicate a row of garden produce to the hungry. The latest statistics on the GWA website show that over 27,000 volunteers have donated 10 million TONS of produce to hunger organizations.
Whether or not we hook up with a Plant a Row group, all of us could dedicate a row of our garden to a local food organization. No donation is too small. I have been assured that no head of broccoli or single squash will be turned away. There is no reason to let our excess harvest go to waste when there are hungry people in our community.
The harvest is pretty well done for the year in our area, but we can plan for next year. In the meantime, maybe we can drop off a bag of potatoes or local apples that we have purchased.
To find out what other bloggers have to say about Poverty and what we might be able to do, go to Blog Action Day.org.