Establishing a relationship with local garden centers provides an excellent platform for promoting Plant a Row where gardeners are purchasing goods in preparation for and maintenance of their gardens. Some ways garden centers have promoted the program have been displaying posters and brochures near seeds and vegetable starts and checkouts, and in some instances even stapling PAR information to customer’s receipts. Other local businesses have donated vegetable starts as a way of bringing in more business and increasing PAR visibility in the community.
PAR was started by the Garden Writer’s Association, making contact with this group is a logical place to start. Contact the Garden Writer in your area by looking for their column in your local newspaper or online. Taking your message to local radio and television stations can also be a great way to reach a broad audience. Typically, radio, TV and print media will have a single email address for receiving community news stories. Always alert the media when something positive is taking place in your program’s development. This can be meetings to discuss community involvement, a group starting a garden, a business donating plants or materials, kids getting involved, or any other concept your community may embrace. Media outlets love positive stories and will be happy to provide coverage if you alert them.
Gardening clubs and groups such as Master Gardeners through your county extension office will be your best source for reaching potential PAR donors. Other community clubs such as Rotary and Kiwanis can be very helpful in donating resources and expanding your network. Again, it is simply a matter of being prepared with a clear mission and concise ways individuals can get involved. Everyone loves a good idea, but the more direction and tools you can provide, the more likely people will follow through on that idea.
Another excellent pool of individuals sympathetic to your mission, who may be your best allies, in not only spreading the PAR idea, but also following through with a garden or produce recovery effort.
The Plant a Row program was introduced in the Tri-Cities in 2010 as part of the Harvest Against Hunger produce recovery effort. The program has been embraced by the community in many ways. Some of which have broadened the reach from its original conception.