It is finally close to the frost-free date here in Chicago – the date that gardeners have been waiting for to get their hands dirty!  But what does that have to do with world hunger?  “World hunger” sometimes seems too big (and too complicated) of an issue.  But how about planting a few extra plants and helping others learn how to grow food?  This summer, I challenge you to grow food for your family AND donate some of your produce to your local food pantry.  Wouldn’t it be great to get your church involved too?

Planting extra to share is not a new idea, but one that seems to have become increasingly popular with the economic downturn.  More people seem to be gardening this year, and many in my community have been reminded of just how important food safety nets are.  Here are just a few examples of how churches are helping to get fresh produce into the hands of those who might not otherwise have access:

Cincinnati, OH:  Lutheran Church of the Resurrection’s “Garden of Eatin’” community garden donated approximately 700 lbs. of food to a local pantry in 2009.

Milwaukee, WI:  All People’s Church converted a vacant lot to a community garden that provides healthy produce to their food pantry, and more . . .

Does your church have property that could be used for a community garden?  A high percentage of renters who are unable to grow their own food where they live?   An existing relationship with a local food pantry? 

Before dropping off your fresh produce, call ahead to your local food pantry to make sure they are equipped to accept it.  Join ELCA World Hunger’s social networking site – The Table – to share your plans for community gardening and sharing!

Erin Cummisford