Growing Extra Helps Fight Hunger

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The Oregon Food Bank has a great idea: They are encouraging gardeners around our state to plant a little extra (a few plants or even a row) to help the hungry. OFB’s “Plant a Row” campaign is a simple but important way to make a difference. “Simply plant a little extra in your garden,” says Rebeca Siplak, OFB Learning Gardens program coordinator. “At harvest time, donate the extra produce to a local food agency.”

Since refrigerated space can be limited, agencies appreciate produce that keeps and transports well, such as tomatoes (slightly under-ripe), green beans, garlic, onions, hot peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, collard greens, beets and squash.

During the 2009 harvest season, gardeners donated more than 81,000 pounds — equivalent to two semi-truck-loads of produce — to food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies in the Portland metro area.

For more information, such as planting calendars, gardening resources or to maps to help you find a partner agency near you that can use your produce, visit www.oregonfoodbank.org/plantarow.

About Oregon Food Bank: Oregon Food Bank distributes food throughout a statewide network of more than 935 nonprofit, partner agencies serving Oregon and Clark County, Wash., and works to  eliminate the root causes of hunger through advocacy and public education.

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