Plant a Row Lehigh Valley (PARLV) launched its 7th season Sunday, which means that food-insecure families in the area can look forward to another year of bountiful produce.
Launched in 2016 as a local chapter of the national Plant a Row for the Hungry program, PARLV is a grassroots organization of local gardeners who dedicate a row in their gardens and/or their surplus produce to donate to their neighbors in need.
PARLV provides convenient drop-off locations across Lehigh and Northampton counties where participating gardeners can donate their extra produce. Volunteers then pick up and transport the donations to area food pantries, meal centers, soup kitchens and shelters.
Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still contribute to the effort by purchasing extra produce at the grocery store or a farmer’s market and bringing it to a drop-off location.
As of earlier this month, the PARLV program included 326 registered gardens, 21 drop-off locations and 25 recipient organizations, all working together to help supply fresh produce to food-insecure families and individuals.
What is food insecurity?
Feeding America defines food insecurity as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation for a household or can last a long time. Food insecurity is one way we can measure how many people cannot afford food.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 38 million people–including 12 million children–experience food insecurity in the United States, and the Lehigh Valley is no stranger to food-insecure families and individuals.
On April 12, 2022, Stacker.com published an article on “Counties with the highest rate of food insecure children in Pennsylvania.” Although there are 67 counties in
Pennsylvania, Stacker.com ranked only the top 50 for food insecurity.
Lehigh County came in at #47 on the list, with 11,690 children and an additional 24,990 adults considered to be food-insecure, for an overall food-insecurity rate of 10 percent.
In Northampton County, there were 7,380 children and 28,260 adults considered to
be food-insecure, for an overall food-insecurity rate of 8.6 percent, which was less than the rate of the 50th most food-insecure county.
To help make food insecurity a thing of the past in the Lehigh Valley, visit the Plant a Row Lehigh Valley website to register your garden, find the nearest donation drop-off location and/or learn about additional ways you can help. If you have an hour or two a week, every other week, or on an as needed basis, PARLV has a need for volunteer drivers.
If you know of a good place for a drop-off location, email in**@pl*********.org.