The Victory Garden Project Brings Fresh Produce to Needy Neighbors
With AFAC temporarily unable to accept produce from volunteer gardeners during the pandemic, the Plot Against Hunger program has joined with Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture and Virginia Cooperative Extension to establish alternative ways to collect, package, and distribute fresh produce to our needy neighbors. The Victory Garden Project has assembled a list of food pantries to which gardeners may donate directly.
With the support of Rock Spring United Church of Christ, they have also set up a weekly bagging and distribution program adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols. Gardeners arrive with freshly harvested produce, volunteers bag it into family-sized portions, and drivers convey it to sites like the Arlington YMCA and Our Lady Queen of Peace and St. Charles Catholic churches for distribution. Greens, lettuce, and onions have been plentiful, with green beans, zucchini, and peppers just starting to show up. The project may add an additional bagging and distribution day once the mid-summer harvest starts to come in.
Donations have been averaging 200 pounds per week since early June. Rock Spring coordinator Becky Halbe reports that “the response to this effort has been truly amazing. I never thought we would bag and deliver 1,025 lbs. of garden grown goodness in just one month!”
Becky sends out particular thanks to Senior Pastor Kathy Dwyer and Rock Spring Property board members Peter Geiger, Sarah Steel, and Brian Davis for making the church hall and kitchen available. She is also grateful to volunteer baggers from the Plot Against Hunger committee, Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, and the Master Food Volunteers, and of course, to all the gardeners who are generously sharing their harvests with the Victory Garden Project.