Grow Food, Give Food

If you’re a gardener, you already know that nothing beats the taste and nutrition of fresh-picked vegetables. Growing your own garden can improve your health, save you money, increase the sustainability of your lifestyle, decrease your carbon footprint, and—perhaps most importantly—help a lot of people in need.

That idea is what inspired Jeff Lowenfels, a garden writer from Anchorage, Alaska, to begin the Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) program in 1994. He asked local gardeners to grow food for an Anchorage soup kitchen by planting an extra row of beans in their gardens, and they responded enthusiastically. From there, the idea grew and spread.

Launched nationally in 1995 by the Garden Writers Association, PAR encourages gardeners across the country to grow a little extra and donate the produce to local soup kitchens and food pantries—often the only hope some people have to put food on the table for themselves and their children. By donating produce directly to the food agencies, gardeners help organizations and their patrons stretch their meager resources.

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