Community harvests huge hope through Plant It Forward program

The Northern Colorado community stepped up in a big way this growing season, delivering to date over 26,555 pounds of fresh produce through the Plant it Forward program to benefit the Food Bank for Larimer County.

This total collection result was a 243 percent increase over Plant it Forward collections in 2013, and was a 177 percent increase over the expanded target goal of 15,000 pounds set in the spring of 2014. In 2013, the program yielded 10,927 pounds of fresh produce during the growing season.

Notable too this year, the weather contributed to unforeseen cultivation challenges. The 2014 growing season was the shortest it has been since 1983 with 123 days compared to an average of 150 days. In addition, the first frost on September 13 was the earliest occurrence since 1974.

“As we’ve seen such a tremendous increase in local produce donations through Plant it Forward this year, the response from Food Bank clients has been overwhelmingly positive as well. We offer nutritional information, recipes and Tasting Tables twice a week using local produce to make sure that there are always fresh ideas on hand for how to use the abundance of seasonal produce now accessible through our Food Share pantry. Our community really understands how to step up and help one another, and we thrilled to be able to share the bounty of our local gardeners with our neighbors in need. We are truly grateful for this partnership with the Gardens on Spring Creek and for all of our Plant it Forward donors,” said Susan Kelly, Food Resource Manager, Food Bank for Larimer County.

Support for the program in 2014 originated from all corners of the community. From neighborhood champions strategically collecting fresh produce throughout Larimer County to champions at corporate sites, area churches, CSA farms, and the Garden of Eatin’ at the Gardens on Spring Creek, the total collection reflects the tremendous effort put forward by area gardeners.

“The mission of Plant it Forward is to reach those in need through the gardening efforts of our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. We couldn’t be more proud or more amazed at the results of this year’s donations. Thank you to all who contributed and our doors will continue to be open for your donations through the growing season,” said Michelle Provaznik, Director, Gardens on Spring Creek.

Plant It Forward, a joint partnership between the Gardens on Spring Creek and the Food Bank for Larimer County, asks gardeners to plant, grow, and share some of their fresh produce with community members in need. The program began in 2011. Today, one in ten Larimer County residents receives food from the Food Bank’s fresh food pantry, with the majority of those being seniors, families with young children and single parent households.

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