Greetings Fellow Gardeners:
Lack of access to fresh produce has been a long-standing problem for many residents in the Delaware Valley. Unfortunately this issue was made more acute by the pandemic which has disproportionately impacted people living in or near to the poverty line. Philadelphia already suffered from the highest rate of poverty of any major American city and food pantries have been inundated with requests for help like never before.
While the situation is dire for many in our area, it is heartening to see how many others have responded with help. Financial contributions to Philabundance and other area food banks increased last year, though donations of food dropped significantly as many restaurants that traditionally donated extra produce were forced to shuttered and grocery stores had far less leftover produce to donate. Last spring about two dozen local gardeners, over half of whom participate in the Morris Arboretum Community Garden, banded together to donate extra produce from their gardens. Through this effort we were able to donate 895 lbs of fresh produce. Donations went to the WhoSoEver Gospel Mission, a shelter in Germantown for homeless men https://www.whosoevergospel.org/wp/, and to the Great Commission Church food pantry in West Oak Lane.
For 2021 we are hoping to be able to significantly expand the assistance we can provide to those in need. There are three ways in which each of us can help.
Donate our extra produce. Most of us find that at various times we have more produce than we can effectively use. When that happens please consider sharing some of your extra produce with those who desperately need fresh food. We will have designated times when you can drop off your extra produce at the Morris Arboretum Community Garden or at my house in East Mt. Airy. Even if you may not have a large amount to donate, please consider participating as every bit helps – especially when our efforts are combined.
Help tend to two new plots set aside at the Morris Arboretum. This year the Garden Committee has designated two plots to be used for growing produce that will be donated. (These plots are not otherwise used because they are located in an area that is particularly susceptible to flooding.) The produce from these two plots will be combined with donated produce from individual gardeners and delivered to area food pantries and/or shelters. We are hoping to have enough helpers so that no one or two people end up doing most all of the work. Whether you can assist for a few hours twice a month, an hour every week, or even just once or twice during the summer we will be grateful for whatever time you can give to this effort. Once we know how many people are interested we will work on a schedule.
Spread the word. We would love to have more gardeners from outside our group participate by sharing their extra produce. You can share information through social media and conversations with friends, family and neighbors who garden on their own. Please send me the name and email address for anyone who is interested in participating and I will reach out to let them know where and when they can donate their produce.
If you are interested in helping out by donating some of your own produce and/or helping with the two plots dedicated to growing produce-to-be-donated please drop me an email or send a text message to 215-317-5912 so that we can include you in future communications on these efforts.
Thanks very much for your consideration and feel free to contact with me any questions.
E. Graham Robb (he/him)
Cell: (215) 317-5912