Plant a Row
There are many home gardeners in the greater Moses Lake area and asking them to help feed their neighbors was easier after receiving seed donations. A few letters to seed companies yielded 220 pounds of garden seeds from across the nation. Two-thirds of these seeds were distributed to food bank clients. A seed sorting party kicked off the growing season, which provided an opportunity to engage home growers, while also collecting volunteer contact information, and the chance to speak about the overall goals of Harvest Against Hunger.
The biggest hurdle in our varied rural communities was record keeping. There are a lot of personal gardeners that have donated in the past and it was difficult to distinguishing these past donors from the new donors prompted by Plant A Row. All donations are weighed as they come into a food bank and CSML was the test site for a separate weight sheet designated for Plant A Row donations only. The numbers from 2013 reflected a significant increase in donated produce, although the Plant A Row program appeared rather unsuccessful. This test illustrated that it may be easiest to compare numbers to previous seasons rather than trying to differentiate past donors, from new Plant A Row donations.
In 2015, CSML collected over 157 lbs of seeds for the Plant a Row Program. Besides distributing these seeds directly to interested people, the VISTA and volunteers created folders with assorted seeds to distribute to 16 of CSML’s partnering food banks in Central Washington. Each folder contained an assortment of seeds for the food banks to redistribute to the families they serve. This allowed the program to reach out to other central Washington communities and promote the growth of local foods. By sharing seed resources, CSML demonstrated appreciation to these food banks for their commitment to CSML as the central distribution center for the Central Washington food banks. Anyone who had a home garden as well as some extra produce would donate it directly to the food bank.