Gardening to fight hungerThe Douglas County Hunger Coalition is hoping local gardeners can think a little bigger to help those in need. by planting an extra row in their gardens and donating the produce to benefit food pantries in Douglas County.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
As people begin planning their gardens and buying their seeds, the Douglas County Hunger Coalition is hoping local gardeners can think a little bigger to help those in need.
The coalition is seeking help to put fresh produce in the hands of people who might otherwise go without. The goal is to get gardeners to plant an extra row in the garden and donate the produce to benefit food pantries in Douglas County.
The idea was born during last year’s hunger summit, said Millie Rounsville, director of Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency.
The summit held last June focused on the “four legs of hunger”: family economic security, access to affordable and healthy food, federal nutrition programs and emergency food assistance. If all the legs are strong, hunger recedes in the face of food security. While numerous opportunities to end hunger were discussed, Rounsville said this was something they could get going on immediately.
“We started working on events that we could do this year,” she said.
The program is similar to Share the Bounty, a program in Barron and St. Croix counties, said Karen Arthur of SHARE.
“The plan is to get information out to as many people as possible,” said Grace Gee, nutrition educator for the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Douglas County.
Program participants need not be gardeners to lend a hand, Arthur said. People can help prepare gardens for planting and/or plant a row for the food shelves, she said.
And the organization needs gardeners with a variety of skill levels.
For example, broccoli is well received at the mission kitchen, but it takes someone with experience to grow it because it goes to seed quickly, Rounsville said. And there are some things that simply just don’t go over well, like eggplant. Basics (carrots, beans and other common vegetables) are generally well received because food preparation techniques are basic.
Participants can also help by donating supplies for the community garden that supports Solid Rock Mission and low-income families. Seeds, starter plants and food preservation supplies are needed.
In addition to the gardening, the University of Wisconsin-Extension will be offering opportunities to learn the skills to safely preserve the produce grown, and Lake Superior Master Gardeners Association will provide gardening classes.
To volunteer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate supplies contact Stacey Johnson at (715) 392-5127 or e-mail email@example.com.