By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
This year I have decided to add to my donation list.
I always donate my time at a local food bank during our local Scouting for Food event.
But this year, I have decided to try something different and that is to offer not only food baskets but also seeds that can, in turn, be planted back into the basket.
I know that just placing a few packs of Bibb lettuce seed in between the sweet potatoes, canned cranberries, and packaged dressing will not be enough.
I will need to provide soil and guidance if the project is going to work.
So I closed my eyes, and stuck my hand in a hat full of needy families. I had decided to only try this with four families. If it worked, I would expand upon it next year.
As we filled the bushel baskets with holiday food, I placed two large bags of potting soil, a small watering can, plant labels, waterproof marker and an assortment of vegetable seeds in each of the selected containers. While each packet of seeds had their own directions, I felt it necessary to add my own. I drew out a bushel basket garden plan for each basket along with planting directions, which included the month that each seed variety needed to be planted.
The first family that arrived to receive their basket seemed to be a little puzzled when they saw the soil. I explained the reason for the gardening supplies and offered my number. As they walked out the door, I assumed that this was going to be a lost cause. The next experience was a little more encouraging but again I questioned whether the seeds and soil would be used.
The next day, a few individuals delivered baskets and came back with some uplifting news. One of those receiving the “special’ baskets asked what the soil was for; in response the driver said a vegetable garden. Oh a vegetable garden, the recipient responded, what a wonderful idea. I can now have something fresh.
The next set of questions poured out and my name and number were given as a contact. To my surprise, I recently have heard from this person and we have set up a date to start planting her family’s bushel basket garden.
Only time will tell whether this program will be a success or not. But success is not only measured in numbers, it can also be measured by the feeling one gets from doing the right thing.
So until we blog again, never doubt the change a simple garden can make. Let me know how you plan on sharing your gardening wealth and skill this year.