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June 9, 2013

Gardeners urged to grow more to share

PLATTSBURGH — Plant a Row for the Hungry encourages the community to help grow and distribute fruits, vegetables and herbs to food shelves and soup kitchens around Clinton County.

The national campaign, which provides a system for community members to share food they have grown, comes to the local area through the efforts of Beth Dixon, a SUNY Plattsburgh philosophy professor, Margaret Tallman and Marsha Lawrence.

“Last summer, I had a lot of things I wanted to get rid of,” Dixon said of produce from her garden.  

She brought her excess food to a senior center in Plattsburgh once a week. 

‘A SOCIAL GOOD’

There are a variety of reasons why a person might not have access to fresh produce, Dixon said, and Plant a Row for the Hungry creates an easy way for gardeners with backyard gardens or community plots to donate extra fruits, vegetables or herbs to community members who would benefit from them.

“We are interested in people who don’t have access to nutritious food,” Dixon said. “They might not have access because they don’t have mobility, or they don’t have time to grow a garden.”

Other reasons include lack of money or transportation.

Although Dixon thinks some gardeners have already been donating surplus produce each year, she wanted to create a way to make it easier to do so, while also inspiring farmers and gardeners to plant an extra row to donate.

“There should be a way of systematically distributing the food ... to get it to people who need it most,” Dixon said. 

“Nutritious fresh food is a little bit like clean water,” Dixon said. “It’s a social good. Everyone should have access to it.”

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The local Plant a Row is designating drop-off locations around Clinton County, including the Interfaith Food Shelf at the Plattsburgh Methodist Church on Beekman Street, JCEO on Margaret Street, the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen and St. Peter’s Community Meal.

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