For years now, the WSU Master Gardeners on San Juan Island have been providing produce grown at their Demonstration Garden to the Friday Harbor Food Bank. This year we have organized an effort to increase that amount by soliciting people to donate a portion of the food grown at their respective personal gardens. We currently have 30+ growers from Master Gardeners, the Grange’s Grower’s Circle, and the San Juan Island Garden Club that are participating. This is a fantastic beginning!
For the four weeks of July we provided 98 lbs. of food, and lots of herbs, all above and beyond that grown by the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden. In August, our volunteers donated another 225 lbs. of food. Thanks to the generous donations of those involved, we have had a steady stream of extra food to give to the Food Bank and it is growing! In addition, our volunteers have provided over 350 plant starts to other volunteers, to the Demo Garden, and directly to the Food Bank clients.
Recently, we learned that the Food Bank has hit a snag in their state funding. Rachelle Randonski, the Food Bank Manager, wrote:
“I am hoping that you might be able to help us figure out a way to procure more produce for the months of August and September. We have unfortunately lost our produce grant due to circumstances that are beyond our control, so I’m reaching out to the community for help.”
This is a great opportunity to help our community in need. While we cannot magically grow extra rows of food and have it ready overnight, we can thoughtfully consider upping our ante on how many “rows” we might share. We recently spoke with Rachelle and she feels that our previous targeted produce of tomatoes, strawberries, crunchy lettuce, tomatillos and spinach can be broadened considerably. She is focusing her remaining available budget on bulk potatoes, onions and carrots, and is looking to supplement those with more conventional produce typically found in most grocery stores and that would be easy to prepare from traditional recipes.
It would be great to broaden this effort to the wider San Juan Island community. Please help where you can and bring your extra produce to the Food Bank on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Have them weigh the veggies and give you a weigh slip which we ask you to leave in the Share Box at the Master Gardener’s Demo Garden, so we can keep a tally to measure this effort’s effectiveness. For those who would like to help our food bank but do not regularly exercise their green thumb, we are sure that monetary donations directly to the Food Bank would be more than welcomed as well. For that option, contact Rachelle at (360) 378-9880, or go to www.fridayharborfoodbank.weebly.com to make a PayPal donation.
For those who are willing and interested in participating in the Share Our Bounty effort on a longer-term basis, please contact the WSU Master Gardeners at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are providing guidance on when to plant different varieties and monthly updates on our progress.
[Note: The same problem is also affecting food banks on Orcas and Lopez. Those interested in helping food banks there should contact them directly.]
The Master Gardener “Share Our Bounty” Organizers