A new initiative is encouraging local gardeners to set aside one row of their gardens this year to grow food to donate to the hungry in the Lehigh Valley area.
Plant a Row Lehigh Valley is being launched by Hellertown resident Joseph Marlin, who was profiled in a Morning Call story last month, along with PSU master gardeners Susan Kowalchuk, Anthony Moyer and Robert Yoder (program advisor).
The basic idea is to prevent hunger–and homegrown vegetables from going to waste–at the same time.
“There’s no fee and no requirements,” the website for Plant a Row Lehigh Valley explains. “This program is run by local gardeners to benefit our neighbors in the Lehigh Valley who might be hungry.”
“We also of course accept any extra produce gardeners have,” Marlin explained. “Conveniently located donation points will be announced so participants can easily drop off their produce, and then we (will) coordinate the delivery of the food to local food pantries and meal centers.”
Through the Plant a Row program–which has existed nationwide since 1995–more than 20 million pounds of produce providing over 80 million meals has been donated by American gardeners, according to the website.
“All of this has been achieved without government subsidy or bureaucratic red tape–just people helping people,” it explains.
Marlin told the Morning Call that the preferred vegetables for donation are things like broccoli, cucumbers and peppers.
More delicate produce like tomatoes can be a challenge to transport without damaging it.
For answers to other questions, check out the FAQ on the Plant a Row website.