Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Plant a Row for the Hungry

I've been tossing a similar idea around for a while. Any gardener knows that he's bound to have a ridiculous surplus of some vegetable, be it green beans or zucchini, or (in our case last year) lots and lots of cucumbers and tomatoes.

Think a true grassroots movement of regular people that step up to take care of the less fortunate in our individual communities. While international organizations have their place I'm sure, I'm tired of hearing about helping the hungry in every other country but our own. What about the hungry families right down the road from you? Is the problem so great that we tune it out and focus on a less hands-on type of charity that requires little more than giving a credit card number? Meanwhile we walk by people every day that are wondering what they're going to feed their kids for dinner, and we gracefully avert our eyes as we thoughtfully contemplate all the wonderful things we are doing with our lives.

Plant a Row for the Hungry was started by the Garden Writer's Association in 1995. Its basic premise is for anyone with a yard or garden should plant an extra row and donate the food to local food banks or community organizations. Since it's beginning, more than 14 million pounds of food have been donated by ordinary people. That's a lot. Their website has program details and brochures that can be printed for starting a local campaign.

I would like to see it tailored to individual families instead of soup kitchens because I know there are a lot of people in need that never utilize the services of community organizations. I've been thinking about trying to do that this season.

The hope behind this is that anyone with access to a scrap of land can make a difference, and I think that we all need that whether our fridges are full or not. We need to know that we matter, that what we do matters.

It's fascinating to me to think about all the possibilities that land has. One goal in my life is to help more people realize that and cherish their land.

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