Ozarks Food Harvest’s garden program helps distribute 72,000 pounds of fresh produce in past year
The Full Circle Gardens program distributes fresh, local produce throughout the Springfield Community
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Ozarks Food Harvest’s Full Circle Gardens program has distributed more than 72,000 pounds of fresh, local produce since April 2020 to help families facing hunger in the Springfield area.
The Full Circle Gardens program distributes large amounts of food by rescuing fresh produce, growing their own produce, harvesting donors’ fields and providing education to local hunger-relief organizations. Last fiscal year, the program helped make fruits and vegetables account for more than 20 percent of pounds distributed by The Food Bank.
“At Ozarks Food Harvest, we believe everyone has the right to access quality food,” said Alexa Poindexter, Full CircleGardens Manager at Ozarks Food Harvest. “The Full Circle Gardens program makes a huge impact by bringing local, fresh fruits and vegetables to our community and getting more people engaged with their local food system.”
Thanks to a generous donor, Ozarks Food Harvest is able to use farming space to glean a significant amount of produce from its own large garden. The Ozarks Food Harvest Home Garden has 76 raised beds, two high tunnels and an in-ground field patch that allows them to grow produce year-round to help families facing hunger. With the help of volunteers, The Food Bank is able to raise and harvest 11,000 pounds a year from this single garden.
Ozarks Food Harvest launched the Full Circle Gardens program in 1999 with just a few community gardens as part of their strategic initiative to increase fresh produce distribution. Today, The Food Bank collaborates with dozens of local partners, 39 produce donors and distributes more than 25,000 seed packets to the community every year.
The Food Bank has many opportunities to get involved this season to help families in the community have more access to fresh produce. For those who have their own garden, you can plant an extra row and bring the harvest for donation to Ozarks Food Harvest. If you have a large garden, farm or orchard, you can contact The Food Bank’s Glean Team to harvest and collect your donation.
If you are interested in joining the Glean Team or volunteering at Ozarks Food Harvest, you can 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, serving 270 hunger-relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 22 million meals annually to more than 261,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.