More than a dozen participants have signed up so far to participate in a Grow a Row Shelby County campaign, hosted by Indiana Farmers Union and Healthy Shelby County and with help in organizing from Purdue Extension. Healthy Shelby County and Indiana Farmers Union are partnering to encourage local food growers to plant extra produce to help feed their communities. Farmers Union and Healthy Shelby County organizers have been promoting the campaign with the #growarowshelby hashtag and will distribute a Purdue Extension planting calendar and local pantry location information to potential and participating growers. Organizers also can assist with delivery of harvested produce to local charities, if necessary.
“The Grow A Row campaign encourages farmers and food growers to put out an extra row of plants out specifically to be harvested and donated to local pantries,” says Sherri Dugger, media and outreach director for Indiana Farmers Union. “It’s a win-win situation. County residents feel good about giving back to their communities, and our local pantries, which continue to be in need of fresh, locally grown foods, benefit from the added donations.”
If successful, “this is a campaign that we hope to see grow not only throughout Shelby County, but also throughout the state,” Dugger says. “Ultimately, this idea of gleaning food and giving it to local pantries helps both farmers and those in need. If we can grow the program to contribute seeds and plants in coming years to potential growers, and also help with the distribution of the harvested goods, we’re doing something that supports both Indiana Farmers Union members and the communities in which they live.”