For Don and LaVerle McCandless, growing vegetables is an important part of life.
Every year they coax tomatoes, zucchini, beans, cabbage, carrots and a dozen other vegetables out of their garden just off Highway 904 near Four Lakes to can for themselves and sell at the weekly Cheney Farmers’ Market. And to give back to the community through the Cheney Food Bank and Plant a Row for the Hungry.
Maybe it was their farm upbringing – she in northern Minnesota and he in central Kansas – that compels them. Some would call it old fashioned but the McCandlesses disagree when they pull one of the 600 home-canned jars of vegetables and fruit out of the pantry to enjoy in the dead of winter.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the Inland Northwest is as fortunate. Far too many in the community find that when you only have $200 a month for food for a family, fresh produce and fruit at a dollar or more a pound isn’t going to be on the grocery list.
Over the past six years, Inland Northwest gardeners have donated nearly 300,000 pounds of produce to local food banks, but the problem isn’t going to go away any time soon says Rod Wieber, director of donor and community relations for Second Harvest Inland Northwest. Even with the economy in the Inland Northwest improving, the number of people using local food banks isn’t decreasing.
That’s why Don and LaVerle McCandless donate much of their excess produce to the Cheney Food Bank each year.
“Giving back to the community is very important to us,” says Don.
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