Support your local community garden to grow food for you and the hungry.
While the intention of this Edible Landscaping newsletter is to help people grow more food for themselves around their homes, I’d be remiss in not mentioning that it’s important to think of our neighbors as well. It’s estimated that 1 in 8 people in the United States are at risk for hunger. Also, 33 million people, including 13 million children, have to seek emergency food aid each year. By growing more vegetables, fruits, and herbs around your yard you’ll be able to not only produce an abundance of food for your family, but have extra for those that need it.
The first step is to ask your food shelf or shelter if there are any special vegetables, fruits, or herbs they would like to have or are easiest to manage. Chances are crops they can store, such as potatoes and winter squash, would be easiest to handle. That being said, they probably will still take all the bush beans, blueberries, basil, summer squash, and tomatoes you can give. You can plan on dedicating all the produce from a fruit tree, section of the garden, or a berry row to the hungry. Get your kids involved in the growing and delivering of the food. It’s a great way for them to understand the often unseen problems of hunger in America.
You can also support projects and programs, such as local community gardens, that are encouraging everyone to grow more of their own food. National organizations are getting behind the community garden movement.
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has teamed with national non-profits to create the Give Back to Gro Program. In 8 cities nationwide, Scotts is donating money and supplies to either start a new community garden or enhance an existing one.
The National Gardening Association, Garden Writers Association and Plant a Row for the Hungry, Keep America Beautiful, and Franklin Park Conservatory are partnering with Scotts, adding resources, expertise, and materials to help make these community gardens a success. Gardens and kick off events* are planned in Houston, Texas (March 10th); Los Angeles, California (March 20); West Palm Beach, Florida (April 14); Bentonville, Arkansas (April 28); Atlanta, Georgia, (May 4); Bronx, New York, (May 12); Marysville, Ohio (May 21); and Charlotte, North Carolina, (May 26).
If you live in or near any of these cities, consider attending the events to learn more about community gardening in your area and support others trying to grow some of their own food. Whether it be growing more food at home, or supporting organizations that are building community gardens, we all can contribute to reduce hunger in America.
*dates are tentative. Contact NGA for more information.