Poor feeding the poor - food pantry donations
My family dedicates two thirds of a large vegetable garden to our home and one third for the
Freeport Food Pantry.
Despite low family income, we share garden spaces, time, and physical energy. Seeds are purchased on sale, and/or Friends donate leftover seeds, coupons to purchase seeds and deliver extra plants (that six pack of peppers is always one or two too many).
The garden provides plants every year as well. We can count on many tomato seedlings, parsley, Russian kale, and an abundance of sunflowers. Parsley and kale usually come up in the same place, but the tomato and sunflowers are all over the garden. If the seedlings are gently lifted in the cup of your hand, they can be resituated.
We try to use only organic seeds and the gardens are nourished with local ingredients, including our yard leaves, grass clippings and semiannual layers of Casco Bay seaweed hauled from up the street. All year round we toss kitchen vegetable scraps over the garden. Somehow this magical mix produces an overabundance of organic vegetables.
Our first donation is usually RHUBARB, we always have extra, delivering a banana box a week throughout early Spring. Harvest takes less than 15 minutes – slice stems, wipe off any dirt, pack in boxes. Sturdy boxes can be picked up at the food pantry and reused throughout the season.
The next harvest starts in early July. MIXED GREENS, ROMAINE, RED LEAF LETTUCE, BEET GREENS usually make regular appearances. These greens, along with our first KALE and SWISS CHARD, are delivered every week throughout July and August. Trimming beets and chard produces more crop, so why not share with the bounty! Harvest is simple. We dedicate a quarter hour every Wednesday morning to trimming greens and packing in banana boxes. Produce is delivered on way to errands and/or work.
The food pantry welcomes local fresh fruits and vegetables. Could you sow an extra row or two of carrots, make room for a half dozen more green bean plants, add a line of zinnia and cosmos behind the herbs, plant a few more basil and parsley seedlings? It is easy to slightly increase your garden and harvest fresh food for your neighbors.