Gardeners encouraged to share a row with those in need

Gardeners unsure of what to do with their surplus bounty can participate in the Share A Row program, a community-wide effort to grow fresh produce for those in need.

Sandy Rosenberger, Master Gardener Coordinator for Linn County Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, said the program’s goal is to increase the amount of fresh produce donated to local food pantries.

“We’re partnering with HACAP Food Reservoir and hoping that local gardeners will plant an extra row in their gardens so that they can donate the extra produce,” she said.

The goal this year is to have 40,000 pounds of produce donated.

To sign up, gardeners can go to:

They can also find the list of participating food pantries and the recommended top 13 vegetables to donate to food pantries on the website.

Gardeners are encouraged to grow extra plants or an extra row and donate the produce.

Other extension offices, including Tama County, have similar programs.

Gardeners who register receive a grower number to use when they donate at a participating food pantry.

Donated produce should be fresh and free of soil, pests or disease.

“With the growing number of people who are food insecure, we’re hoping to really impact our community in a positive way,” Ms. Rosenberger said.

Don’t grow your own veggies? Find fresh, locally grown produce at an Eastern Iowa farmers market.