Plant a Row for the Hungry - Master Gardeners, Louisa County, Virginia
According to the Louisa County Resource Council, there are approximately 500 food insecure families in the area, andover 1000 individuals. The Community Cupboard distributes over 10,000 pounds of food each month to Louisa Countyresidents, with the demand for emergency food continually on the rise. Of the food that is available to these families,much of it is highly processed, from a box or can, with very limited fresh produce available.To help met this demand, and to further the goal of providing high-quality, nutritious food for our community members,the Central Virginia Master Gardeners, in partnership with the Louisa County Resource Council, the CooperativeExtension Office, the Department of Human Resources, and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, have launched a Plant aRow chapter in Louisa.Plant a Row (PAR) is a program that encourages gardeners to plant an extra row of produce to provide fresh produce fortheir local food bank. There are over 200 chapters of Plant a Row nationally, and since its start in 1995, over 18 millionpounds of vegetables have been donated. All of this has been achieved without government subsidy or bureaucratic redtape – just people helping people. Plant a Row is rooted in the heartfelt tradition of gardeners sharing a bountifulharvest with others. Sharing can happen on many levels: Hope gardeners, schools, church groups, youth andcommunity organizations, and businesses can all help to make a difference.Locally, Plant a Row has expanded its mission to empower individuals with the knowledge, resources, and skills togarden. We also provide education about the health and economic benefits of gardening and eating more freshvegetables. By continuing our mission and involving greater participation from community members, we hope tocollectively strengthen our local food network, with more people producing healthy for themselves and their neighbors.To aid in this mission, we installed the Teaching PAR Garden next to the Resource Council. There, we planted andtended a wide variety of vegetables, with the Master Gardeners offering free bi-monthly workshops on gardening andSouthern Exposure leading a work day every Tuesday. We also offer samples of delicious food prepared from in-seasonvegetables, along with recipes and tours of the Teaching PAR Garden.This year, Plant a Row had over a dozen participants take the pledge to plant an extra row in their gardens. Half-waythrough the growing season has already brought in hundreds of pounds of garden-fresh vegetables. We’re currentlyoffering guidance on fall gardening, and will provide support to those who sign up for the pledge today with a free startup kit including a Fall Gardening Guide, seeds, and a PAR row marker.If you would like to participate in PAR, or if you have questions about the program, please call the Resource Center at(540) 967-1510 or email email@example.com.