It is harvest time for home gardeners. Several of my Facebook friends have been posting pictures of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more that they have picked from their gardens. Not everyone has the ability to garden in their yards or have easy access to fresh produce. Today’s organization is helping those living in one urban area get more fresh fruits and vegetables.
In 2008, Robin Emmons decided to plant a few extra rows in her garden for her brother and others living in his mental health facility. She had seen her brother’s health decline while he was being treated for his mental disorder and she felt it was due to his consumption of canned and sugary foods. This was all the facility could provide since they were unable to afford fresh produce on their non-profit budget. After Robin’s donations of fresh fruits and vegetables, her brother’s physical health improved dramatically as did the health of others at the facility. Robin knew this probably happened in other places and she decided to do something about it. This was the birth of her Charlotte, North Carolina based non-profit named Sow Much Good.
Sow Much Good believes that everyone has the right to clean and nutritionally dense food. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help reduce health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. The organization’s mission is to provide produce in underserved communities while teaching its residents how to grow and prepare their own fruits and vegetables. They do this with hands on labor of their volunteers. Even their executive director can be found working with other volunteers planting, weeding, and watering their three garden sites. They then sell the fresh produce they harvest at farm stands at a low cost to people living in urban food deserts (areas without a full service grocery store).
Sow Much Good partners with landscapers, gardeners, farmers and community groups, and others to further their mission. Through these partnerships, workshops have been held to show others how to grow gardens. These workshops include information from nutritionists, growers, master gardeners and others. A small 100 square foot garden can provide a family up to $700 worth of fresh produce per year and even a small garden can make a difference to those unable to purchase fresh produce nearby.
How can you help?
- If you live in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, you can volunteer at one of their three gardening sites or at their farm stands. You can find a list of local volunteer opportunities on their website.
- They also seek monetary and in-kind donations to further their mission. You can learn more about these opportunities on their website.