The cold and snowy weather is the perfect time to think about next year’s veggie garden. What do you like to eat? How much will your family eat? How much can you grow in your garden? These are the questions we think about when planning our gardens. I encourage all of you growers to also think about how you can dedicate an extra row, bed, or section of your veggie garden for food donations.
One of the Master Gardener program priorities is local food production and access in Oregon. A large component of that is food security for all Oregonians. There are lots of ways a more food secure Jackson County can be achieved. One way we, the Jackson County Master Gardeners, help out is through produce donations to ACCESS Food Bank. Last year we donated 1,108.5 pounds of produce! Much of that donation came from our Plant a Row Campaign.
The Plant a Row Campaign encourages people to grow an additional row of veggies for the purpose of donation. This past summer we collected and weighed produce donated at SOREC on Wednesdays. Our contact with ACCESS picked up our donations with their food van. That food gets distributed throughout the county at various ACCESS sites. We are hopeful that more people will participate in this campaign next year to increase our positive impact within Jackson County. You do not have to be a Master Gardener to donate produce through our Plant a Row Campaign, so tell your neighbors!
While the Master Gardeners partner with ACCESS Food Bank, there are many other groups that offer food pantry services in the county. If you cannot make it to SOREC to drop off produce for our collection day, consider dropping off produce to your local pantry. Here is a list of food pantries in the county https://accesshelps.org/food-pantries/. Reach out to see if they will accept your homegrown produce.