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10 Ways Gardeners Can Help Their Communities

May 19, 2020

From supporting companies that give back to sharing produce with others, gardeners can perform a valuable role in helping heal the world.

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Photo: shutterstock/Encierro

Gardening With a Purpose

According to Bonnie Plants, there are 16 million new gardeners in the US so far this year. With so many new gardens being planted, there's plenty that gardeners can offer to help build strong, local communities. During challenging times, people often turn to gardening — an impulse that is not new. In fact, it's deeply rooted in our society. During World War I and II, many Americans turned to victory gardens to help supplement food for their homes. It was also a way to connect a community and presented an opportunity to help others in need. Gardening can allow you to manage anxiety and create a local food source in your own backyard. Whether you're growing a large garden crop or just a few containers of tomatoes, there's plenty you can do to ease some food shortage stress and even help to bring your community together.

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Plant an Extra Row

Plant A Row for the Hungry is part of a national movement that began in 1995 by Garden Communicators International (formerly the Garden Writers Association) to encourage individual gardeners, companies and community gardens to donate fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers to help feed those in need. Getting started is easy— just plant an extra row or container of edibles with the intention of donating. Your produce can be dropped off at your local food pantry and/or soup kitchen.

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Donate Extra Produce

Even if you do not have room to plant extra edibles, you will most likely have more produce than you and your family can eat. By donating just one percent of your harvest or a grocery bag full of fresh produce, you can make a difference for your community. Most home gardeners are not aware they can donate garden produce to food pantries. has been connecting gardeners and food pantries since 2009. To find out where you can donate extra produce, search for the nearest food pantry on's website. You can also check with your neighbors or even a local church or senior center to see what they might need. Chances are, they won't pass up a bag of vine ripe tomatoes.

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Share Plants With New Gardeners

Gardeners naturally love to share. New gardeners in particular would welcome extra plants as they get started. Although gardening generally isn't an expensive hobby, supplies and plants do add up. For newbies who aren't savvy with seed starting, an extra seedling or two will help boost their gardening confidence and will give them the means to produce extra food.

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