I extend a challenge to vegetable gardeners. As you dig your garden this spring, turning in compost, raking it smooth and planting seeds; plan ahead to share your bounty with those less fortunate. Plant an extra row or two to donate to Friends in Service Helping (FISH), the Ron Wood Family Resource Center (RWFRC), the Senior Center, elderly neighbors or families in need. Many churches will take produce to their needy parishioners. Schools know who at their school is having a rough time getting by. Maybe your vegetables or fruit donation can provide food for a family on the edge. Did you know that FISH served 169,552 meals in 2009 with 4,166 going to children? Or that there are 120,000 people in Carson City and surrounding areas who had trouble affording food last year? Or that RWFRC provided 24,165 people – half of them children – with two to three days of food in 2009. The current RWFRC numbers indicate that 31,000 people will require food help in 2010. The Center receives eight to ten pallets of food each week and this food is distributed in only three days. One in ten households in the U.S. lives with hunger or is at risk of hunger.
There is an international movement to “Grow a Row.” “America Grow a Row” is a nonprofit organization that brings food to the hungry. They go to farmers and help with gleaning – gathering up the left over vegetables after the farmer has harvested. They adopt gardens to help people who can’t keep up with their plots and give the produce back. They pick up extra or unsellable produce at local grocery stores to deliver to food pantries.
Other Grow a Row groups simply plant more than they need and share it. If you would like to grow a row too, but don’t feel you have enough room to garden, join me May 1, 10:00, at the Virginia City (VC) Senior Center to find out about postage stamp and container gardening. This mini-workshop is sponsored by the Comstock Gardeners of Storey County. These dedicated gardeners are working to help residents of VC produce their own fresh vegetables in order to have a more sustainable food source. They also sponsor a farmers market each week beginning in June with the help of the Healthy Communities Coalition. Since breakfast will be provided, call me if you plan to attend, 887-2252.