Giving gardens provide a space for the community to come together and begin to get their hands dirty, either as a hobby, or maybe even a new learning experience. Moses Lake was home to two Giving Gardens before Harvest Against Hunger arrived, one of which was closed after the 2012 season, and the second that fell victim to vandalism. Both of these gardens were established with the partnership of Habitat for Humanity and WSU Extension Master Gardeners. In 2013, CSML joined this partnership and helped to start two new gardens in Moses Lake and three in surrounding communities. In 2014 the community gathered around the garden that had been vandalized and a new approach was taken- everything in the garden was there for the community to use as needed. This garden is predominately maintained by a local church and 2014 saw a decrease in volunteer participation with most of the work falling on the shoulders of a few individuals at each garden.
WSU Extension Master Gardeners were available at all of the large garden events to provide guidance and answer volunteer questions. Financial donations under $200 made both of the gardens possible, transforming two empty lots into 2000 square feet of planting space. Lumber, compost and fill dirt, irrigation lines, and seeds were all donated, while water costs for the gardens were the largest expense. The yield from the two new gardens for the two year of production was well over 3,000 pounds each year. Everyone involved is looking forward to a new garden site being planned for a parcel of land that was donated to Community Services of Moses Lake for a new distribution center.
Community Services of Moses Lake (CSML) strives to empower the community so that “Friends help friends feed the hungry.” CSML houses the Moses Lake Food Bank and is the distribution hub for 33 partner food banks in 5 counties in Central Washington. These counties include the 3 largest agricultural producers in Washington; Yakima, Benton and Grant counties. In 2012 CSML distributed approximately 120,000 pounds of fresh produce. With the presence of the Harvest Against Hunger VISTA in 2013, that number increased to well over 300,000 lbs. of produce. In 2014, only 68,750 pounds of produce were donated, but in 2015, over 99,675 pounds of produce was collected and distributed. Overall, CSML has collected approximately 757,155 pounds of fresh produce from farmers in the area.