Ana heard about this project from a young man whose family owned the first CNY farm she ever visited. People helping people via agrarianism…..
By MATT POWERS
Dispatch Staff Writer
ONEIDA – Local volunteers are preparing for the biggest growing season yet for the third year of the community garden behind St. Paul’s Methodist Church on Sayles Street in Oneida.
The fresh vegetables and herbs grown in the garden will be donated to local food banks. Through a combination of what the garden produced and community donations the group was able to provide 3,032 pounds of food to people in need in 2010.
Last year’s four garden beds have been combined into one for this year’s growing season.
“It’s all one big block now so we got rid of the patches of grass between the beds,” said Candy Crayton, Oneida Area Plant-A-Row Committee chair. “We’ve actually increased our garden by around 15 feet by doing that.”
Plant-A-Row for the Hungry is a national public service program of the Garden Writers Association and the GWA Foundation launched in 1995. The program encourages gardeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their surplus to local food banks.
The community garden follows the spirit of the program on a larger scale while also encouraging donations from local gardeners.
“If you’re putting a garden in, put a couple extra plants in and donate the food to a food bank of your choice,” said Crayton.
Volunteers at the community garden have been busy planting peas, onions and beans. Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, radishes, turnips, tomatoes, beets, corn, cucumbers, peppers, squashes of all varieties, pumpkins, eggplant, wax beans, lettuce, melons and herbs will be planted over the coming months.
“We like to put a variety in there,” said Crayton
She has been speaking to local organizations throughout the area to encourage the members to participate.
“This is a project for everyone,” she said. “If you’re looking for a mission project to do in your own backyard, we have one in our backyard. Everybody is welcome, we have the tools here.”
“This isn’t a church project,” she added. “Members from this church started it but it is a project that is meant for the community.”
The next work day will be held on Saturday, May 28 starting at 9 a.m. Beginning in June, the work night this year is Tuesday at 6 p.m. instead of Thursday like last year.
There are a number of changes to the project this year. The group is not handling delivery and will instead hold a pick up day for the food banks on Wednesday.
“I also talked to the Director of the Red Cross Susan (Tonra) about putting us on the list for families after house fires to send them over here for fresh vegetables,” said Crayton.
The mission and purpose of the project remains the same during these tough economic times, she said.
“It used to be that the people that used our food banks were people that were on government assistance,” she added. “They were struggling. It’s not just them anymore. It’s our elderly and our middle class families.”
She quoted US Department of Agriculture statistics that show 33 million people including 13 million children live in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger which represents one in ten households in the United States.
Crayton said more volunteers are needed to tend the community garden in order to meet the goals of project.
For more information on the community garden call Crayton at (315) 813-3052.
For more information on the Plant-A-Row for the Hungry program visit: