Grow Another Row brings excess crops to benefit food banks
WHAT: Humanists Doing Good and Grow Another Row apple harvest pick
WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 29, 8-10 a.m.
WHERE: East Orchard Mesa
Colorado’s Grand Valley boasts dozens of orchards, farms, backyard gardens and growers of veggies and fruits. At times, the bounty can be overwhelming and the crop is left untouched, or unable to sell. Thanks to the nonprofit Grow Another Row, no harvest is left on the tree, or vine, to go to waste. Grow Another Row makes it easy to donate excess crops to local food banks. The excess fruit and veggies are picked up by Amanda McQuade, Grow Another Row’s founder, or other volunteers, and donated to area food banks.
“I’m the middle man that goes around and picks up produce and takes it to food banks,” she added. “People are naturally giving but life gets in the way so I make it easier for people to donate.”
Commercial farmers are not the only donators, as backyard gardeners can also donate. McQuade explained there are neighborhood drop-offs throughout town. If a drop off point isn’t close by she encourages folks to contact her to set up a pick up spot.
While using Grow Another Row isn’t necessary, McQuade explained, she feels she can be a good point of contact to get the right produce to the right food banks.
“The places we give I feel get just a little extra treat,” she said. “We aren’t life or death so food banks don’t rely on us, but I think what we do is give that extra treat they otherwise wouldn’t receive.”
Instead of just receiving the staples from food banks, folks may receive bonus fruits and vegetables in their food bank baskets.
McQuade used a concept she heard about from a similar model from Idaho. Being a stay-at-home mom, she was itching to do something to get out of the house. In 2009, she decided to start the volunteer-run program.
Since then, more than 41,000 of pounds of produce has been donated. In 2014, 4,800 pounds of produce was donated. Three drop off points are currently available at the Tri-River Area CSU Extension Office (2775 Highway 50), the north area of Grand Junction and downtown Grand Junction.
Humanists Doing Good, a volunteer program, often ventures to local orchards to help pick produce. There is an event set for Saturday, Aug. 29, to pick apples to be donated to community food banks.
McQuade added that she is always looking for volunteers to pick up and deliver produce to the seven food banks and emergency food programs. The programs which benefit include Catholic Outreach, Community Food Bank, Homeward Bound Homeless Shelter, Salvation Army, The House, and Western Slope Food Bank of the Rockies.
“They consistently support the Community Food Bank and have provided us with fresh produce that we make available to our clients daily,” said Biff Mesinger, board president of Community Food Bank. “The CFB, and especially our clients, greatly appreciate their generous donations.”
To learn more, visit http://www.growanotherrow.org.
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