Plant a Row for the Hungry

With a great idea, and a little initiative, one or two people can start a cascade of local volunteerism and make a real difference in a community. Recently, Master Gardener Kelly Masini, a parent at Noddin Elementary School in San Jose (which my children attend), joined forces with Tamiko House, chair of the school’s beautification committee, to motivate teachers, students, and parents to plant a slew of vegetables in 11 raised beds on the school’s grounds. Their inspiration? Plant A Row for the Hungry, an initiative of the Virginia-based nonprofit Garden Writers Association.

According to the Association’s website, gardeners have donated over 14 million pounds of fruits and vegetables towards hunger relief programs since Plant A Row’s inception in 1995.

The idea is simple: garden writers, and other Association members, ask their colleagues and readers to plant an extra row of produce in their gardens and to earmark the harvest for the hungry. The produce is then delivered to soup kitchens, food banks, or other charitable organizations that provide food for the needy.

Of course, plants and seeds cost money, so in our school’s case, Masini contacted SummerWinds, a local nursery, and they agreed to donate hundreds of plants to the cause.

If you like to garden, take a page from Masini’s playbook. Consider planting a row for the hungry at your own home or school garden, and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.

For more information, click here, or download a Plant a Row for the Hungry brochure.

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Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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