The local nurseries have to be enjoying Mother Nature’s little reminder that she is still in charge after the frost earlier this month. Some folks are replacing their tomatoes for the third time. Sadly some of the folks who are buying new plants are folks who really can’t afford it. They were growing gardens to help save what little money they have in this economy.
It’s time for the rest of us with a few more resources to step up and help our neighbors grow healthy food for our less fortunate neighbors. If you are planting a garden this year, plant some extra and then donate it to your local food bank through the Plant a Row for the Hungry program.
Rick Thompson knows how important it is to give back to the community. A former contractor, he lost everything but the shirt off his back in the downturn. For the first time in his life he was seeking the community’s help. He’s back on his feet again and giving back by planting a small vegetable garden on the grounds of his new Blue Ox Coffee shop at the bottom of the Sunset Hill. Thompson’s garden is small but it illustrates that it doesn’t take a lot of room to grow vegetables for the food bank.
A strip along a driveway could grow tomatoes or peppers. Instead of buying annuals, buy herbs and plant them in your borders. Large containers on a deck can grow some of the new small scale versions of old favorites. Think vertical too. Cucumbers, beans, tomatoes and peas either climb on their own or can be trained up a fence or wall on a wire trellis.
Produce can be taken to your local food bank or to Second Harvest’s main warehouse at 1234 E. Front St. To help you connect with your local food bank you can access a list of food banks at the Second Harvest website, www.2-harvest.org/2-harvest under the Get Help section.
All vegetables or fruit are welcomed but sturdy vegetables and fruits that are commonly available in the grocery store are best. Fragile greens and herbs need to be delivered close to the day the neighborhood food bank is serving clients. Even a pound is welcome. Ask for a donation receipt. You can take $1.50 a pound as a federal tax donation while the Plant a Row committee gets to tally up the total poundage at the end of the season and brag about how great this community is when the chips are down.