Row for the Hungry

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Written by Lily Hayward

My name is Lily Hayward, I’m a student at Guilford College and during the spring 2016 semester I was a garden intern at The Edible Schoolyard. I am a sociology/anthropology student with an environmental studies minor. I started a Row for the Hungry here at The Edible Schoolyard. This concept has sprung up across the country and is focused on encouraging small farms and community gardens to harvest a row of crops to donate to local food banks. This specific project allowed me to develop meaningful connections between my academic studies and my personal interests of food and community building. Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly interested in food insecurity and what some potential solutions are for approaching this nationwide issue.

I believe that Row for the Hungry is an extremely significant way to intentionally build a stronger community. By focusing our energy on not just the needs of one’s self but on the immediate and long term needs of all families in the area, solutions can be formed for those who lack access to affordable and healthy produce. The process is obvious to me: plant and grow sustainable food and share what we harvest to build a stronger community in which we all get to feed ourselves. When we begin with the fundamental element of sharing resources, we can collectively make a positive difference in our communities.

Starting a Row for the Hungry begins with understanding why and how people in our own neighborhoods face food insecurity. According to the 2015 study sponsored by the Washington-based Food Research & Action Center, the Greensboro-High Point metro area ranks as No. 1 nationwide in food hardship.  Curious about why this is happening? Take a look at some of these great resources:

The next step is to take action. Row for the Hungry is something that everyone can be a part of.  Whether you have a garden in your backyard or you are interested in using a community garden bed, all you have to do is donate a portion of the produce you harvest. Any size donation will be contributing to the solution. For those of you in Guilford County, once produce is harvested, the next step is to drop off your portion at The Children’s Museum. Our CEO, Marian King, connects us to Share the Harvest (http://sharetheharvestguilfordcounty.org/) who then helps distribute the produce to those in need. Planting, growing and harvesting are the first steps to Row for the Hungry; we need to recognize the needs in our larger community to understand how this form of involvement can make a lasting impact. Every effort matters!

School Garden Network

In the late summer and early spring, we field numerous calls and email inquiries here at the Greensboro Children’s Museum about getting school garden projects started.  Now, in addition to naming a few schools in the county with successful models to follow,  suggesting that the would be gardeners come visit the garden here and meet with Edible Schoolyard staff, and reminding people to check with the Guilford County Agricultural Extension office, there is a new resource available to these schools. The Guilford County School Garden Network began about a year ago as a loosely affiliated group of people from various local schools organized by the Extension service. Any and all people involved in school gardening-from “almost started” gardens to well established ones-have an opportunity to gather and discuss challenges and to plan for future success at these network meetings.  Thanks to grant funding, the program has a part-time staff of one dedicated, experienced school garden coordinator. Hired over the summer, the first school garden network coordinator, Cynthia Nielsen, has taken on the work of organizing this growing network.  A former middle school teacher with 16 years of science teaching experience in Guilford County, Cynthia taught an elective garden class for the last seven years.  The first meeting for this school year will be held on September 20 at 6 pm at the Cooperative Extension building at 3309 Burlington Rd, Greensboro, NC.

“We believe in the power of the potluck, so bring something simple (to share) if you like,” wrote Nielsen in her recent email.

Parents, PTA members, teachers, folks from the Ag. extension office and the Greensboro Children’s Museum, and other interested parties will continue to build on the plans laid last year by founding members of the network.  We are fortunate to have many people with interest, enthusiasm, experience, and expertise to help expand them number of schools with successful garden based learning from a handful to hopefully several dozen in the coming year.  Oh, the things we will grow!

Mural Party

Come celebrate the completion of our Healthy Greensboro Mural!

There will be free roasted corn, peaches and watermelon!

Also a moon bounce!

And there may even be a drum corps providing rhythm and jams.

Check it out, First Friday of August! All ages! Rain or Shine! Located downtown on Lindsay St. across from the mural, next to the Children’s Museum and the Downtown Library!