Plant a Row for the Hungry
This national service project, started by the Garden Writers Association Foundation in 1995, encourages gardeners to grow a little extra and donate it to a food pantry or soup kitchen in their neighborhoods.
When I started Denver’s local Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign in 2010, I had a dream that someday the program would become a major community-wide effort. It looks like that dream has come true.
In 2014 gardeners in community, school and home gardens donated more than 40,000 pounds of garden-grown produce to over 30 different Colorado hunger relief organizations. That’s over 20 tons of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs!
This impressive total was the result of Plant a Row joining together with 13 other like-minded groups to create a collaboration called Produce for Pantries.
Instead of many individual groups encouraging a growing-and-giving effort on their own, the Produce for Pantries collaboration reaffirms the idea of strength in numbers. It also underscores the P4P tagline: We Plant. We Grow. We Share.
When gardeners sign up to become P4P gardeners, they become part of a large community of gardeners and can easily connect with food pantries in their neighborhoods.
In addition to Plant a Row, the P4P group includes Grow Local Colorado, Slow Food Denver, Denver Urban Gardens, Denver Food Rescue, The Table, Sunshine Food Project, Metro CareRing, Cooking Matters/No Kid Hungry, Hunger Free Colorado, Livewell Colorado, Brighton Shares the Harvest, Beanstalk Foundation and St. John’s Episcopal Church.
How to Participate
Just one gardener donating home-grown garden produce to a community food agency makes a big difference. All you have to do is plant and grow, donate and get counted.
Plant and Grow
The campaign is called Plant A Row, but that doesn’t mean you have to plant an entire row. If you can plant only a few extra tomato, pepper or cucumber plants, or a container of lettuce, it means more fresh produce to help feed hungry households.
What to Plant
- Select vegetables and herbs that have multiple uses in the kitchen (like tomatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini and potatoes).
- Choose hardy, disease-resistant plant varieties that are known to grow well in our area.
- Plant vegetables and herbs that mature early and will produce throughout the season, like basil or cherry and grape tomatoes.
- Plant from seed to save money; the easiest veggies to grow from seed include beans, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, pumpkin, radish, and squash.
Whenever you have fresh produce to donate, contact a food pantry in your neighborhood for drop-off days and times.
To find a food pantry in Colorado, call the Hunger Free Hotline at 855-855-4626 or email ProduceForPantries@gmail.com.
Another option is to check the Ample Harvest website and click on the “find a pantry” button.
After you drop off your produce, please send an email with the approximate number of pounds to Jodi Torpey or post on our Plant a Row Colorado Facebook page so your donation can be included in the national total.
About The Need
The need for fresh fruits and vegetables never goes away. Millions of Americans depend on community nonprofit organizations, churches and food service agencies to help feed hungry families on a daily basis.
According to Food Bank of the Rockies, nearly half the people receiving local donations of food are children…Over half the people have at least one adult in the household working full time…Many must choose between paying for housing, transportation, utilities, medical care or purchasing food.
Plant a Row for the Hungry follows the time-honored tradition of gardeners sharing their harvest with others. For more information, contact Jodi.
Thank you for growing with us!
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