Join the ‘Plant a Row’ Campaign and Help People in Need

Just because it’s October doesn’t mean you can’t help feed the
hungry by joining the Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign. In fact,
with the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina in the South, it’s now
more important than ever to do your part.
Just because it’s October doesn’t mean you can’t help feed the hungry by joining the Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign. In fact, with the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina in the South, it’s now more important than ever to do your part.

Jeff Lowenfels, a garden writer in Anchorage, Alaska (yes, they grow gardens in Alaska), related this story to me recently. A friend of Jeff’s had his temporary telephone pole removed by Federal Emergency Management Agency workers. FEMA is taking the power pole down to New Orleans to help restore power. You can be assured that if the federal government is going to Anchorage, Alaska to retrieve temporary power poles, they’re moving poles near us, too.

The fact of the matter is that feeding the hungry in a time like this has a definite snowball effect. If we can do our part and feed the hungry in our area, it will leave that much more food for the hungry in the hurricane-stricken South.

Plant a Row for the Hungry is the brainchild of the Garden Writers Association of America and has been going on for more than a decade. The concept is so simple, it’s almost silly no one has thought of it before. With close to 40 million Americans still going to bed hungry every night, the Plant a Row concept asks home gardeners to plant an extra row in their garden for the hungry.

This time of year you can harvest excess fruits, vegetables and citrus. You can still plant fall/winter vegetables, particularly row crops like lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, peas and more. Whether it’s a bag of excess lemons and oranges or a couple heads of lettuce, fresh vegetables are always needed. And it’s a shame not to plant an extra row or two if you’re going ahead and planting a winter vegetable garden anyway. You’ll find it’s not much more work to plant an extra row. Most times, especially if you’re planting with seeds, it won’t cost you anymore, either, because how often do you ever plant all the seeds in a seed packet?

Lettuce is an especially easy crop to grow this time of year. Check out the assortment of lettuce seeds from such companies as Renee’s Garden. Based out of Felton, Renee Shepherd has packaged a dozen different lettuce combinations, including Farmers Market Lettuce Blend. It includes sweet greens and reds that are favorites at local farmer’s markets.

Every community has organizations that feed the hungry. In Gilroy, St. Joseph’s Family Center at 7950A Church St., not only has a hot meal program at St. Mary’s Catholic Church but also runs a “Save Our Seniors” program. In Morgan Hill, the Reach Out Program at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church does much the same. In Hollister, it’s the Community Pantry at 30 Airport Blvd., which will even come out and pick your trees for you if you call (831) 637-0340. All the programs are always in need of fresh vegetables.

The sponsoring Garden Writers Association of America has a toll-free number that offers advice, free row markers and more. Call (877) 492-2727 (877-GWAA-PAR). Lend a helping hand, especially during this crucial time – please Plant a Row for the hungry.

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