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Minnesota Gardeners Asked to Think About the Needy During Harvest

August 8, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Home gardeners across Minnesota are being asked to remember the hungry as they're harvesting their bounty in the days and weeks ahead. Minnesota FoodShare Director Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer says food shelves normally are stocked with items that are in cans, boxes and jars, so fresh, healthy produce is a real treat.

"This time of year, people who don't have access to fresh-grown food because they aren't able to grow it themselves are just as excited about fresh produce as the rest of us. This offers them a chance to have some wonderful Minnesota produce."

Nelson-Pallmeyer says donating home-grown food to help the needy is an idea that is gaining support, and people don't have to be master gardeners to help.

"Sometimes, people will come into a food shelf with a whole box of tomatoes, and sometimes they'll just come in with three tomatoes, but food shelf staff are thrilled with all the produce received, because it'll go right out the door."

Nelson-Pallmeyer says not only are people donating extra produce or a certain percentage of what they grow, but some actually have their donations planned when they start out in the spring.

"We actually encourage people as they're planting their gardens to think about their local food shelf and what could be donated that maybe they won't even eat, but they want to try growing. It's a chance to serve others, and it's a chance to try something new for oneself, as well."

Information about food shelf locations that take donations of home-grown cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and other produce is available at www.hungersolutions.org. In 2010, there were more than 3 million visits to food shelves in Minnesota.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN