Friday, March 19, 2010

Plant a Row for the Hungry: Details Emerge!

Have you heard about our Plant a Row Campaign?

Well, if you're growing a garden (backyard, container, windowsill, whatever!) and you live in the Charlottesville-area, then you should sign up (and spread the word)!  We've already got more than 20 local gardeners on board, but we want more.  Read on for lots more details!

The idea is really quite simple: when you’re planting your garden this year, add an extra row (or even just a plant!) to your garden and donate the fruits of your labor to those who are in need.

Then, drop the food off at the Local Food Hub warehouse as you harvest: we'll do the collection, coordination and distribution.  We already make a weekly delivery to food banks in our area -- so by combining the donations, we hope to streamline and simplify the process for everyone.  Of course, you’re free to take the food to any of the local food banks yourself, too! We only ask that you let us know how much you donate so we can keep track.

Just to clarify: this is all strictly donationyou donate the food to us, and we donate and deliver it all to area food banks -- and keep tabs on how much the PAR campaign brings in.

If you're interested in joining the campaign, please email me at  We'd love to have you on board!

Donation hours are Monday – Thursday, 8:00am – 1:00pm. Please do your best to stick with them but if they absolutely do not work, let me know and we can try to work something out. Our warehouse is located at 556 Dettor Road (the back, left-hand side of the building) in Ivy, Virginia.

Please pack your food carefully, in cardboard boxes or other containers that you do not need to have returned.

Upon drop off, we will provide you with a “donation receipt” similar to what you get when you donate to the Salvation Army. Please save this in-kind receipt for your tax purposes.

I want to know how things are going throughout the season! I would love to see pictures, email updates, “journal entries,” etc. The more personal of a connection we can make to our food, the better! I’d love to know what you’re thinking while you’re working in the garden, how your kids are participating, what you’re learning, and I’d love to see photos!! If anyone is interested in doing some guest blog posts, too, (or you post about it on your own blog), let me know!
There are no strict guidelines as to what you should or should not grow, so this should be your chance to plant and tend what you enjoy! However, we do ask that you refrain from donating leafy vegetables if possible: lettuces, spinach, kale and the like tend to wilt quickly and may not last long enough to make it to the food banks and into the hands of those who need it. The best vegetables are things that can keep for at least a week: potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and squash, cucumbers, etc. It also helps if you can pick your vegetables JUST before peak ripeness. This helps them last just a little bit longer, and they still taste just as great!

If you need more guidance setting up your garden and getting things started, I can recommend three groups here in Charlottesville:

Blue Ridge Backyard Harvest
Cville Foodscapes

All are run by fantastic, dedicated people who want to help you get your garden growing, so please contact them if you need their services!

And that’s the word, for now. Again, please feel free to email or call with any thoughts, questions or suggestions, and happy growing!

image credit: Vicki Moore/Creative Commons


  1. I think it's a good idea. Anything by volunteer work really brings in the people who want to do it. Plant and Garden Blog

  2. Another option if you are growing more food than you need is to visit - a site that helps diminish hunger by enabling gardeners to share their garden produce/herbs with neighborhood food pantries.

    The site is free both for the food pantries and the gardeners using it.

    Backed by and the USDA, more than 1,700 food pantries nationwide are already on it and more are signing up daily.

    It includes preferred delivery times, driving instructions to the pantry as well as (in many cases) information about store bought items also needed by the pantry (for after the growing season). A free Ample Harvest iPhone app is also available.

    If your community has a food pantry, make sure they are registered at