Sunday, August 30, 2015

It's the end

of August, and the July rains are a distant memory. Lawns are drying up, and gardens aching for water. After a month of picking and gathering, blanching and freezing and canning, it is tempting to let the abundance of produce slowly wilt and dry up as well.

You've had several months of squash and cucumbers, beans and eggplant.It's been a great year for those vegetables here in southwest Virginia. And tomatoes. Everyone has tomatoes: slicers and cherries and Romas, hybrid and heirloom. It seems all things, even zombies, have risen  from the dirt easily this year.

Ok, I admit that was a trick to see if you were reading or just skimming.Tell you what, if you are really reading, leave a comment with that word in it and I will pick a couple of people at random and send you autographed books.  That should weed out my loyal readers.

But I digress. Crazy, huh? I was speaking of gardens, and abundance. Probably everyone you know either has a garden or a group of friends who leave bags of vegetables on porches or hanging from knobs. Friends who ring doorbells and run.

Ok, maybe that's only for zucchini and tomatoes. But you catch my drift.There's a lot of produce around.

Maybe in your world. Most places. But there's a huge segment of the population without  easy access to  fresh fruit and vegetables. Those people who are either hungry, or at the very least, food insecure.
Most places, that is. Not so much where I live, here in Rockbridge county, VA.

That's due to the confluence of several factors. First, a wonderful food pantry board and directors who are willing to think outside the box, and do everything in their not inconsiderable powers to try and get people what they need. Second, the volunteers who never say, "that's not my job," but gladly pick up the extra work of weighing and sorting and distributing.  Third, and mainly-

The producers. Those gardeners who took the "grow a row" program to heart and put in not just an extra row, but in some cases a whole extra garden to help supply the food pantry. And the farmers, who bring their extra produce to the pantry after the farmers market has closed rather than toting it home and composting it, or feeding it to their animals. It takes time, and it costs them money.And it is so very appreciated.

Yep, gettin' out the old soapbox here.

And one of the best things? It's not USDA, Not bought with government or food bank money. Not bought at all, in fact. So we can give it to anyone who needs it, regardless of whether they meet poverty guidelines.You don't have to show us anything. Except your need. Take what you can use. Enjoy the fruits of summer.

It wasn't always this way here. More than likely it is not this way in your town or city.

Next summer, why don't you grow an extra row? Mention it in your book club, your organization, your church. Organize a committee to convince your local pantry it can be done. Check us out-

To find out more about the "grow a row" concept, check out-

And thanks.