Randolph County EPIC
1521 E Washington Street
Winchester, IN 47394
THE ďBESTĒ WAY TO FIGHT HUNGER
IN RANDOLPH COUNTY
For two years Randolph County YMCA has allowed space for a Community Garden on its land. The first year ten gardeners participated and in 2010, thirteen gardeners were involved. There is space for the garden to grow and with each passing year, more and more people see and hear about the garden and express interest in participating. There are reasons behind the Community Garden: one is the hope that making garden space available for those who need the services of the local food pantry will help in some ways to improve food security; even if that doesnít happen, it is important for those in our community who can and are able to garden, provide an example for what could be done with a bit of land and a few seeds; and encouraging local production of fresh vegetables lessens the dependency on the need for fresh food from hundreds of miles away.
Gardening is an adventure. Last year my only disappointment was some gardeners were not as good with harvesting was they were with planting. Harvest is hard work and requires consistency and perseverance. I recently read a statistic that 40-50% of food harvested in the US never gets eaten. In a world where many are hungry, any waste is wrong. This year harvesting was a bit better, but there was also some theft from the garden which is discouraging to gardeners who do work hard to provide fresh produce for themselves and fresh produce to share with others. This year was also more difficult with very little rain in August and September ending production of produce early than last year.
To encourage timely harvest and to create a need for fresh produce beyond home kitchens, the community garden tied participation in the garden to the local food pantry. Gardenerís did not pay a fee for their plot, but were encouraged to give a small percentage of what they grew to the food pantry. The food pantry was not set up to store fresh produce, but gardeners were encouraged to take fresh produce into the pantry when it was open. Community Gardeners also participated by volunteering at a table at the local Farmerís Market were produce from the Community Garden and local donations from home gardeners, recipes and sometimes samples of recipes were available for a donation to the Food Pantry. Donations of hundreds of pounds of fresh produce directly to the pantry and almost $1000 in donations in the past two years have helped raise awareness of the food pantry and met some needs in our community.
Pam Ferguson, Garden Coordinator
110 South East Street
Winchester, IN 47394
*In memory of Ed Best, former grocery store owner and vegetable seed source in Winchester. Ed died in 1968 leaving yearly financial contributions to Winchester Friends Church, Randolph Central School system, and St. Vincent-Randolph Hospital. The grant for the garden came from Winchester Friends Best Trust.
Below: Community Garden table at the local Farmerís Market.
* Randolph County EPIC * 1521 E Washington Street * Winchester, IN 47394 *
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