Sedgwick County Extension agent urges gardeners to 'Plant a Row for the Hungry'
More than 179,000 pounds of produce donated over nine years
The K-State Research and Extension Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners is teaming up with the Kansas Food Bank to help provide fresh produce to those in need. The annual Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign kicks off its 10th season during the month of April.
"When gardeners plan their gardens this year, I hope they will join the thousands of gardeners who Plant a Row for the Hungry," said Rebecca McMahon, horticulture agent with the K-State Research and Extension Sedgwick County office.
"An estimated 30 million Americans, including elderly people and children, go to bed hungry each night or not knowing when their next meal will be," McMahon said. "There are 21,000 hungry children in Kansas. This is a people-helping-people program for home gardeners to help the hungry in our community. When preparing your garden this year just till another row, plant a few more seeds and watch them grow."
The cooperative effort between the Kansas Food Bank and the Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners, a K-State Research and Extension program, is making it possible for the individual home gardener to make a tremendous impact on the widespread hunger problem in Kansas, she said. During the growing season, the Kansas Food Bank will pick up participants' produce from local garden centers, which have volunteered to serve as drop-off sites. The produce is then distributed to local soup kitchens and church pantries.
In the last nine years, McMahon said, gardeners from Sedgwick County and the surrounding area have donated 179,776 pounds of produce to the Kansas Food Bank.
"Most gardeners grow more than they can consume," she said. "Instead of sneaking a sack of zucchini squash into your neighbor's unlocked car, take it to one of the following drop off-sites closest to you."
Those sites include:
--Kansas Food Bank, 1919 E. Douglas
--Augusta Ace Home Center, 316 W 7th Ave., Augusta
--Brady Nursery, 11200 W. Kellogg
--Hillside Nursery, 2200 South Hillside
--Hillside Feed and Seed, 1805 S. Hillside
--Johnson's Garden Centers, 802 North Ridge Road; 21st & Woodlawn; 2707 West 13th
--Valley Feed & Seed, 1903 South Meridian
Those who live in other areas of the state likely have a local food bank to which they can donate, McMahon said.
Plant a Row was originally launched in 1995 as a public service of the Garden Writers Association and the GWA Foundation.
"Plant a Row for the Hungry is rooted in the tradition of sharing a bountiful garden harvest with others," she added. "This incredible program offers a way for those who love to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and even flowers to have an instant effect on the persistent problem of hunger in Kansas--one pound at a time--one row at a time. Together, we make a difference."
More information is available by contacting McMahon at 316-660-0100 Ext. 0142.