Gardening is a life-affirming activity. Working with family and friends brings joy and promises of good things to be found soon. January is the gardening season in this part of Florida. No veggie garden? Plant now and be generous. Now that the holidays are over, get out, plant something, and garden to celebrate the new year.
Resolve this year to grow a veggie garden. Nationwide, according to a National Gardening Association 2018 survey growing your own food in the United States is happening; about 35% or a little more than one in three households report growing some of their own food. You can do the same since the vegetable gardening season is at its peak; plant something. Be creative; places to grow veggies include traditional in-ground beds, containers, and bags of soil on the deck, patio, or balcony, and plant more than you can use. No veggie garden? Plant now and be generous.
According to the USDA, 10.2 %, or 13.5 million U.S. households, were food insecure in 2021. The same agency defines food insecurity as “… limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” There are ways you can help neighbors in need of food.
Ampleharvest.org. a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), was created to provide food pantries and gardeners with extra produce to find each other. It reports, “One out of seven Americans needs food assistance but can’t get fresh produce from the local food pantry.” AmpleHarvest.org allows food pantries to be listed in a central directory so that gardeners can share their fresh produce and, garden-by-garden, help diminish hunger in America.
Locally, when you plant, plant extra, and share when it comes time to harvest. Pick fruit from citrus, papaya, strawberries, or anything in the home orchard, or snip the herbs from a border and give them to a neighbor who lost a job, a friend who can’t garden anymore, or a favorite feeding organization. Fresh produce is always welcome.
Another way to share is to work with a local food pantry or feeding organization. The website FoodPantires.org has a list of such organizations by state. Also, check out Feeding America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and local faith-based organizations that may operate kitchens or pantries.
Give and garden generously; this year, we can ensure no one in our neighborhood, locally or globally, goes hungry.
This column first appeared in the Treasure Coast Newspapers.