Ask Eartha: Summit County gardeners share excess produce with families in need
Every summer, I plant a vegetable garden in my backyard, and I generally end up with more vegetables than I can eat. Is there a way to share the excess produce so that it doesn’t go to waste?
— Elaine, Frisco
What a generous question, Elaine, and your timing is perfect. You are one of many local gardeners whose vegetable bounty exceeds the size of their stomachs. These are good problems to have. Fortunately, Summit County has a fantastic program called Grow to Share that enables all of us to share our surplus with people who really can use the nutritional boost. First, let’s talk about the program, and then I’ll give you details on how you can share your veggies.
About the Grow to Share partnership
Grow to Share is a partnership between the High Country Conservation Center, the Family and Intercultural Resource Center and Summit County Women, Infants and Children. I would probably bore you to tears if I listed all the additional partners who contribute to this program, but they range from individual donors to national organizations. The goal of the program is to provide locally grown produce and nutrition education to qualified Summit County residents. Donated produce is given out in the WIC office and during educational workshops in the garden. As an added benefit, the WIC staff provides recipe cards, tips and nutrition information to each family receiving the donated produce.
Where the produce is grown
In 2018, nearly 1,500 portions of produce were donated through Grow to Share. If you’re wondering where it all comes from, here’s a breakdown:
• Dillon Valley Elementary Garden, which donates 100 percent of its produce
• Summit County community gardens, including Nancy’s Garden in Frisco, Leslie’s Garden in Dillon, Silvana’s Garden in Silverthorne and the Breckenridge Community Garden, which has several plots specifically for Grow to Share. Many plot-holders in the community gardens choose to donate their excess produce, as well.
• Home gardeners, who are encouraged to join in the giving
The plan for the produce
This summer, coolers will be dropped off at Nancy’s Garden and the Breckenridge Community Garden on Monday mornings starting at the end of June. The coolers will be available all day for plot-holders and home gardeners to fill with their excess produce. The coolers will be picked up Tuesday mornings to be donated to WIC families.
For those who are inspired by this program and need a place to grow veggies, there are still community garden plots available in Nancy’s Garden in Frisco and the Breckenridge Community Garden. Call 970-668-5703 by Monday, June 17, to get signed up.
Many Summit County gardeners have an abundance of vegetables this summer, both to nourish themselves and their communities. I encourage gardeners to plant a few extra seeds for their neighbors this summer.
Ask Eartha is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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