April is National Garden Month. Not surprisingly, it coincides with the busy days of spring planting and summer garden planning.
As you are getting your garden ready and deciding which fruits and veggies to plant, you might want to consider planting some extra for those who are in need.
Feeding America, which is a network of food banks across the United States, recently released a study on hunger that was conducted across the nation. Called Map the Meal Gap, the study profiled food insecurity in the nation. Being “food insecure” means that these people do not have consistent access to food.
For this LA Farm Girl, I am especially disheartened that Feeding America’s new statistics show that Los Angeles County leads the nation in food insecurity with over 1.7 million LA County residents having gone hungry and being consistently food insecure.
Across the country, the statistics are not much better. Feeding America uses USDA statistics that estimate that 50 million Americans, including almost 17 million children are food insecure.
As I have written about before here on Care2, you can plant an extra row in your own garden to help the food insecure via the “Plant a Row For the Hungry” campaign of the National Garden Writers Association.
If you want to donate excess produce you can do so through Ample Harvest. This is a campaign that is working to get home gardeners to donate their excess harvest to local food pantries. As the organization states on its web site, “One out of six Americans (including a quarter of all kids under six ) does not have access to healthy fresh food at their food pantry. The AmpleHarvest.org Campaign is a national effort utilizing the Internet that enables 40+ million Americans who grow food in home gardens to easily donate their excess harvest to one of 3,485 registered local food pantries spread across all 50 states.”
You can find these registered food pantries in your area simply by typing in your zip code. There is even a special page for gardeners with tips on what kinds of produce are best to give to those in need and when to pick them in order to donate them.