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Tons of Help: Home Garden Harvest to MN Food Shelves

Tons of fresh, locally grown produce are finding their way to food shelves statewide as part of the Harvest Campaign from Minnesota FoodShare. Credit: Minnesota FoodShare.
Tons of fresh, locally grown produce are finding their way to food shelves statewide as part of the Harvest Campaign from Minnesota FoodShare. Credit: Minnesota FoodShare.
September 8, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. – After months of labor, the harvest is bountiful in many home gardens across the state and a growing amount of that fresh produce is going to families in need.

The Harvest Campaign from Minnesota FoodShare seeks to get locally grown produce and other healthy offerings to food shelves across the state.

Program Coordinator Courtney Zaato notes that food isn't just a quick fix for a growling belly, but also a building block for a healthy future.

"People who are visiting food shelves are disproportionately affected by diet-related illnesses, like high blood pressure, diabetes, even dental problems,” she points out. “So, we really want to get the word out that the food that's coming into food shelves really needs to be high quality – the kind of foods that you would want to feed your family."

The Harvest Campaign runs through the end of September and includes nearly 70 participating food shelves.

In addition to home gardeners, there also are businesses taking part in the Harvest Campaign along with dozens of churches across Minnesota.
One is the First Congregational Church in Dodge Center, where Sara Osborn says the church already has donated more than a ton of fresh produce from its half-acre garden.

"There's a lot of people that don't have enough food, and this is just our way of giving back to our community,” she states. “It's good fellowship for the church too. We have a good time out there, even though we're working hard. It is a lot of fun."

Later this month, congregations statewide will be encouraged to bring local produce and healthy food or monetary donations to their places of worship to go toward families struggling with hunger. The Pack the Pews event is set for Sept. 18-20.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN