Plant a Row for the Hungry
Since 1995, over 20 million pounds of produce providing over 80 million meals have been donated by American gardeners. All of this has been achieved without government subsidy or bureaucratic
red tape - just people helping people.
Support Plant a Row and help make a difference in your community.
Launched in 1995, Plant a Row for the Hungry is a public service program of GardenComm, formerly the Garden Writers Association (GWA). Garden writers are asked to encourage their readers/listeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their surplus to local food banks, soup kitchens and service organizations to help feed America’s hungry.
There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.
What PAR Does
PAR provides focus, direction and support to volunteer committees that promote herb, vegetable and community gardening at the local level. Then we provide training and direction to enable the committee to reach out into the community. Finally, we assist in coordinating the local food collection systems and monitor the volume of donations being conveyed to food agencies.
A Brief History
PAR began in Anchorage, AK, in the garden column of Jeff Lowenfels, former GardenComm president. He asked his readers to Plant A Row of vegetables for Bean’s Cafe, an Anchorage soup kitchen. The program was so successful, he introduced it to GWA as a national program.
It took five years to reach the first million pounds of donated produce. The next million was reached in only 2 years, and in the next 10 years, more than a million pounds of food has been donated each year. Since 2011, nearly 2 million pounds of food has been donated each year. This is a significant contribution considering that each pound of produce supplements 4 meals.
Since 1995, over 20 million pounds of produce providing over 80 million meals have been donated by American gardeners. All this has been achieved without government subsidy or bureaucratic red tape — just people helping people.
In 2002, GWA established a supporting 501(c)(3) charity, GWA Foundation, to administer and expand the PAR program which managed the program until GWA and GWA Foundation merged in 2019 to create GardenComm. GardenComm now manages all PAR activities.
Hunger In America
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 in 8 households in the United States experiences hunger or the risk of hunger. Many frequently skip meals or eat too little, sometimes going without food for an entire day. Approximately 33 million people, including 13 million children, have substandard diets or must resort to seeking emergency food because they cannot always afford the food they need. The demand for hunger assistance has increased by 70% in recent years, and research shows that hundreds of hungry children and adults are turned away from food banks each year because of lack of resources.
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