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Sow a Row…

March 25th, 2011 - By Therese Madden

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…and help weed out hunger! Philabundance asks home gardeners to plant a little extra to provide fresh fruits and vegetables on the tables of people in need.


Photo by Flicker user celesteh / CC BY-NC 2.0

“We’re going to have lots of herbs. We’re going to have basil and Thai basil and cilantro and oregano and thyme.”

“I’m planning on growing peppers and eggplant in contains this summer.”

Yes, it’s that time! Gardeners are dreaming of their summer bounty. One Philadelphia organization is hoping gardeners will also be thinking about other people when planning this year’s garden, “we are encouraging people to plant a row for hunger, as part of the Share the Harvest Program.”

Okra on the inside

Marlo DelSordo works for Philabundance, a hunger relief organization serving the Delaware Valley. She says they always welcome fresh produce, “fruits and veggies are the things people stop buying when times get tough and money gets tight. Right now produce prices are up about 4½% across the board.”

Last year, home gardeners donated 7,600 pounds of produce through this program. According to Philabundance each pound is considered one serving. DelSordo is hoping for 10,000 pounds this year, “the face of hunger is truly changing. Right now, more people that have never needed food assistance are turning to food assistance, for a couple of reasons. The recession obviously, unemployment, and then underemployment, where people are just having their hours cut back.”

Planting another row of vegetables wouldn’t cost much, especially if you start with seeds, but there’s also the labor to consider. “Another row is not too much work, I mean you are already out there weeding, you are already out there watering.”

Share the Harvest Program seed card

Ryan Kuck runs a non-profit called Preston’s Paradise in West Philadelphia, and he’s helped create a network of backyard gardens. Here’s his tip for people who are thinking about planting more, “a lot of people in small spaces put too much in, and if you put too many plants in there you actually have less harvest because they don’t have enough room to grow. So, they don’t actually reach full maturity or full size. So make sure you’re giving plants enough spacing.”

Ok, let’s say there’s the space and the time. What to grow in the extra row? “Okra is great to grow, its kind of polarizing, but in my neighborhood everyone can’t get enough okra. Kale is very easy to grow, it’s sort of like a collard green and little bit more tender. It will grow all summer and won’t flower or go to seed so you can keep harvesting throughout the year.” More harvesting means more nutritious food for both the gardeners and those in need.

Photo by Flicker user sleepyneko / CC BY-NC 2.0
Photo by Flicker user KNmoore / CC BY-NC 2.0

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Move Over, Kale Chips! Kale Buds Are Here

By Lari Robling - April 18th, 2012

High Tunnel farming caught my eye because its extended growing season adds to the amount of local produce we get. While farm manager Aviva Asher was tidying up the winter crop to make way for spring, I discovered another benefit of local growing: use what you’ve got.

December 2014
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Your body needs help when it's time to quit. SmokeFree Philly is a program of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health that offers support and tools to help smokers quit. The goal of SmokeFree Philly is to: help people to quit smoking, stop people from starting to use tobacco, and reduce heart disease, cancer and other illnesses caused by smoking.

Philly Food Bucks!
Philly Food Bucks are coupons that help ACCESS/food stamp customers save money on fruits and vegetables. Philly Food Bucks can be redeemed for $2 worth of fruits and vegetables for every $5 spent in ACCESS/food stamps at a participating farmers' market. Learn more about Philly Food Bucks at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's recently expanded web site Food Fit Now also accepted at the West Oak Lane Weaver's Way Food Coop.