Planting Seeds of Hope and Community
One of the deepest humiliations inflicted on anyone struggling to put food on the table is† facing the hostile or kindly attitudes of those who are not. Thatís one of the things that sets The Dinner Garden apart. You donít have to prove to founder Holly Hirshberg that youíre destitute before you can request enough seeds to feed a family of four.
The Dinner Garden was just named one of the CNN Heroes: Everyday People Changing the World. Tough times compelled Hirshberg to launch the project in 2008, the year the U.S. economy nosedived and took her husbandís job with it. That summer, Hirshberg planted more than seeds. She planted hope, and now she and husband Sean work full time for the non-profit they created.
The non-profit grew out of Hollyís enthusiastic and giving nature. In the summer of 2008, her garden yielded bounty. She collected seeds and shared them. From that she launched a non-profit corporation that has gone from a Texas initiative to a national seed distributor that has reached 65,000 individuals, families and community gardeners. Thanks to The Dinner Garden, the cost of seeds is no longer a barrier for individuals and families counting every penny.
Holly says, ďThe Dinner Garden isnít just about the seeds. Itís about giving people hope. It is about showing people another way to live. The Dinner Garden is creating communities where families spend time together in a productive way and children learn that they can create something beautiful and useful to their family.Ē
In her talk for TEDx SanAntonio, Holly demonstrated the can-do attitude that has made The Dinner Garden so successful that she and husband Sean work on it full time. The project is about improving peopleís food security, but it is also about connecting people to their communities. Dinner Gardeners are asked to share any extra produce and to save seeds to give back to the project and to share with others.
Holly cites three helpful resources in her talk: World Food Garden, Ample Harvest and Life on the Balcony. If you are already a gardener, consider donating seeds to The Dinner Garden, and if you are sure your thumb is anything but green, prepare to let this project convince you otherwise.
Photo from The Dinner Garden