Volunteers needed to harvest produce through Food Bank garden program
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Volunteers harvested more than 12,500 pounds of locally grown produce so far this year through Ozarks Food Harvest’s Full Circle Gardens program, putting it on track for a record season.
The fruits and vegetables were grown at Second Baptist Church’s Victory Garden as well as the Ozarks Food Harvest Garden, which was established three years ago thanks to the use of land at Ozarks Natural Foods located in Rogersville.
To make this a record season, more volunteers are needed to join the Glean Team.
“Getting a jump on our growing season this winter has given us a big head start over last season,” said Christy Claybaker, community engagement coordinator for Ozarks Food Harvest. “The demand for volunteers grows in the summer and fall months. We are hopeful that this growing season will be the most successful one yet, but we need volunteer and farm partners to make that happen.”
Harvesting produce from area gardens is key to Ozarks Food Harvest’s strategic initiative to provide more fresh produce to people in need across the Ozarks. In The Food Bank’s last fiscal year, fruits and vegetables accounted for more than 20 percent of pounds distributed.
The Ozarks Food Harvest Garden is currently growing potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, a variety of peppers, beets, green beans, squash, zucchini, onions, celery and carrots. Most of the produce harvested is distributed to Northview and South Side senior centers, as well as Harmony House. Any extra produce is available to Ozarks Food Harvest’s network of 270 food pantries and programs.
Those interested in becoming a Glean Team garden volunteer should visit ozarksfoodharvest.org/gardens to learn more.
The Full Circle Gardens program also encourages people with home gardens to donate their excess produce to Ozarks Food Harvest. Donations can be made Mondays-Thursdays from 8 a.m.-4:30 pm. and Fridays from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
In addition to seeking garden volunteers, Ozarks Food Harvest also needs volunteers to sort food and pack Senior Food boxes and Weekend Backpacks on Aug. 12 and Aug. 26, and every Saturday through the spring starting Sept. 9. Sign-up at ozarksfoodharvest.org/volunteer.
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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, providing food to 270 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties serving 261,000 unduplicated individuals. The Food Bank provides 16.4 million meals annually.