Plant A Row For the Hungry “PAR”

Plant A Row For the Hungry is a program we like to mention this time of year. When those delicious fresh vegetables start producing faster than your household can use then think about donating to your local food bank or soup kitchen. The economic downturn has caused hardship for many. Gardeners everywhere are helping provide a little extra food for the groups and agencies that help the food needy. And as my good friend and former Victory Garden host, Jim Wilson says, “if you don’t have surplus vegetables think about dropping off a few fresh flowers at a nearby soup kitchen. The folks who dine there probably don’t often see flowers on the table and flowers feed the spirit.” This morning Jim told me he dropped off a few heads of cabbage that were at the “ready to pick or they’ll bolt” stage.

PAR began at Bean’s Soup Kitchen in Anchorage, AK. Garden columnist, Jeff Lowenfels, thought, what if surplus food from home gardens could be donated to soup kitchens and food banks. Get those fresh fruits and vegetables into the food chain instead of the compost.

In May, Keane and I were in Anchorage, AK where I spoke at a Master Gardener conference. Jeff kindly took us by the soup kitchen where it began in 1995. To date this program of The Garden Writers Association has provided over 50 million meals to help feed the hungry.

jeff rose marie at bean's cafe

There is more information on the Garden Writers Association website. Jeff and I are in front of Bean’s. We were careful to not photograph anyone waiting for a meal because of privacy concerns.