Friday, August 17, 2012

Corporate Partnerships Can Help Raise Garden Produce for Food Pantries

I am about to embark on my annual journey to my hometown to celebrate my Grandfather's 97th birthday.  Because everyone else is contributing high-carb foods to the potluck, I'll be bringing my Tuscan Kale Caesar Slaw to add some color to the table.

Although it's in a rural area of the state, my hometown shares the problems of urban centers in supplying sufficient fresh and other produce for its food pantries (necessitated by high unemployment in my home county).  Therefore, a group of churches banded together to grow their own fresh produce for 20 area pantries.  Some churches had their own land and others grew produce (like potatoes, corn and tomatoes) on the land of their members.  However, in a different twist, one of the five acre pantry plots is on land owned by a manufacturing plant, Weastec.

Weastec is permitting the Hope Christian Alliance to grow beans on the five acres behind the local plant to raise food for area food pantries.  The biggest problem now -- as reported by the local newspaper -- is that they cannot find enough volunteers to harvest their very substantial crop.  I can certainly relate to that.  (My home county has been blessed with sufficient rainfall this year -- unlike the near East Side of Columbus).

Weastec's Senior Vice President said that the plant wasn't using the acreage for anything and had to mow it.  So, it hasn't been any problem for them to let the Alliance plow and plant it.  They considered putting an orchard back there, but they are concerned about deer and the delay in having a harvestable crop.  The company hasn't had any problems with litter, trespassing, etc.   It's just disappointing that not enough people or pantry clients have volunteered to help pick all of the beans being grown back there.

I think it's nice that a local employer has a creative way to give back to the community where it is located.   It's one of my favorite corporate-garden partnerships:  one that doesn't cost the company anything, but is a big help the community gardening movement.  (Just like the SACG's partnership with BTBO to let us harvest rain water off its roof).  

No comments:

Post a Comment