Friday, December 12, 2008

Gifts of the Garden - A Different Variety

This time of year the focus is often on gifts to give and receive. Gardeners know all about giving and receiving - giving the soil all you've got to receive a bounty of tomatoes and eggplant to can and then give away; gratefully giving up evenings, early mornings, and clean hands for a bouquet of zinnias or a hearty row of basil to make pesto to share with friends at the next potluck - and most likely don't think about it. It is simply part of the process.

Project Grow gardeners are no different, of course. Over the course of this past summer the gardeners gave and grew as usual, but something other than pesto and bouquets emerged. Project Grow gardeners grew and donated nearly 300 pounds of organic, locally grown produce to Food Gatherers during the 2008 growing season. And that's not including a tally of the food raised and given away by organizations like the Packard Community Clinic and the Beth Israel congregation whose patches are cultivated with the sole purpose of sharing the bounty.

Such news offers a note of relief and joy in these tough economic times where concerns over food security and local economies run high. Donations of fresh food allow local food banks to offer those seeking their services a more nutritious alternative to many canned foods traditionally found on their shelves. And the influx of donations during the summer - often a slow time for food banks - is also welcome.

Project Grow gardeners at all ten sites shared a portion of their harvests with others in the community that are in need. Everything from tomatoes to zucchinis to winter squash landed at Food Gatherers warehouse for immediate distribution to the community. "Good food is meant to be shared, and our gardeners bring that to our community's table," says Melissa Kesterson, Executive Director of Project Grow.

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