The Share the Harvest program coordinator (job description here) supports interested community gardens in developing plots in a community garden designated for a local food bank/shelter also known as “Giving Gardens”. While many counties may not be able to support a new position, the Share the Harvest Program has developed great resources that can be adapted to suit your program needs. Community Gardeners are an excellent group to connect with - they are already interested in growing food and being a part of the larger community. The following topics will help get you started.
In addition to creating a good training guide, there are other materials that will add to a community gardens success
Bins and Bags: Community Gardeners were provided with a large labeled Tupperware crate to store their Giving Garden Materials in. This is great advertising for the rest of the garden and a necessity for the rainy Pacific Northwest! Reusable bags also made donating easier so gardeners need not scramble to find something to hold their food bank harvest.
Encourage gardeners to establish a connection with the community they donate their produce to. Take time to know the names of the staff and volunteer at a local food bank. Bring copies of some favorite recipes featuring the produce you just harvested. :
To help community members connect from different Giving Gardens, consider ways to bring different gardeners together such as the following
The Pierce County Gleaning Project focuses on a fruit tree harvest in Tacoma, gleaning from local farms as well as farmers markets, and a Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign for county gardeners.