Open letter to Master Gardeners
To all Franklin County Master Gardeners and Penn State University Extension,
Master Gardeners are such a valuable resource in our community!
For the second year in a row, The Gleaning Project collaborated with Franklin County Master Gardeners and other community partners to organize a container gardening project for lower-income members of our community struggling with access to fresh fruits and vegetables. We could not have done this work without their support.
“Bucket Build 2017” included a build night at the Master Gardener greenhouse on Franklin Farm Lane, where volunteers and Master Gardeners built 150 container gardens from salvaged buckets, companion-planted each of those buckets with a vegetable and herb combo, and tagged each bucket with contact info for the ‘Ask a Master Gardener’ hotline and email, as well as an invite to our Facebook new gardener support group - Community Container Gardens.
We were so happy to see several beginning gardeners from our first year come back, bring their containers for reuse, and take even more plants home to expand their gardens this year.
All buckets were distributed through the SCCAP Produce Stand and Chambersburg WIC office over the next three days. We also gleaned leftover transplants from the annual MG plant sale and redistributed 784 vegetable plants to food insecure individuals and families living in our community.
Over 1000 plants, 150 container gardens, and to date, 30 new members to our Community Container Gardens Facebook group. That is powerful.
While drafting this thank you, I received a Facebook notification from Melissa, one of our first-time gardeners from last year. First-time gardener. Melissa didn't even like vegetables last year... But she came to Bucket Build 2016 anyway and had some success growing her own food. She just posted several pictures of the garden she and her family built this year. You can see those pictures here. It’s beautiful. And productive. There are beets, beans, peas, peppers and tomatoes, lettuce and herbs. Melissa comments on the pictures, “And it all started with 1 bucket last year. Container gardening is not near as intimidating.”
I invite all of you to go check out those photos and give Melissa some kudos. She’s doing it! And that’s because of you. I also encourage you to join that group and use your comments to participate and support others just like Melissa who are using these buckets to learn how to grow themselves.
Thank you, so much, for all your support and kindness and generosity. You make our community stronger and more able to grow and enjoy good food, regardless of income.
Franklin County Gleaning Coordinator