If you love gardening and growing then you probably have a tendency to want to share that love with others – you cook up a storm with your produce, post beautiful photos online, and share vegetables with your colleagues at work - maybe even the occasional zucchini ditch at a neighbor’s front door.
This year, why not take that generosity up a notch by sharing the love with those who could really use it? Here are five ways you can share the love from your garden with neighbors in need, support the environment, or raise funds for organizations that that are working to improve our world – all while focusing on the gardening activities that you love to do.
Share a row: many community food pantries will accept fresh garden produce, and these days you’re seeing lots of encouragement to plant an extra row in your garden just for that purpose. Gardener’s Supply’s Garden to Give Program encourages you to do just that, and they even offer garden planning tools and a Giving Garden Seeds Packet from High Mowing Seeds. Plus, when you pledge to join the program you’re entered to win a $100 gift card! Contact your local food shelf to learn about donating produce so you can plan ahead. (Photo courtesy of Gardener's Supply)
Fundraise with seeds: need to plan a fundraiser for your organization or your child’s school? How about a win-win proposition – selling seeds. Flower Power Fundraising started as a partnership between Gardener’s Supply and Dutch Gardens, and is now owned by Vesey’s Seeds. They partner with schools, libraries, churches, and clubs and offer 50% of the profits to the organization. You’ll not only raise money for your group, but you’ll be promoting gardening and selling a product that is an earth friendly alternative to other fundraising choices.
Give the gift of gardening: if you’re hosting a party, thinking about wedding favors, or putting together a housewarming gift, why not give the environmentally-friendly gift of seeds instead of trinkets that might not get used? American Meadows has a wide selection of seeds for good – everything from plantable party favors to bee-friendly seed packets and make-your-own seed bombs. They’re beautiful, functional, and good for the earth.
Create community: doing good doesn’t always have to entail a formal program or purchase. In my opinion it is just as important to build community with those who are your friends, neighbors and colleagues. Creating a community online is great (obviously we support that) but creating physical community – where you shake someone’s hand and get to know them is even more important in an age when we don’t always know our neighbors. Breaking bread is an excellent way to do that. Invite your neighbors to a harvest lunch, bring them a bouquet of flowers, or ask them if they could use your extra zucchini (rather than just dropping it and running).
Volunteer: the number of community-based gardening opportunities has been growing in
leaps and bounds over the last decade. Whether you are planting seeds at your child’s school, gleaning for a food shelf, or weeding at a community-based garden program you can do what you love while also helping others. For Example, in our home state, the Vermont Community Garden Network engages more than 250 people a year on community-based projects. Find an organization in your state and community and check out how you can dedicate a few hours! (Photo courtesy of VCGN)
Even these simple acts of neighborliness are part of how we do good. What are some other ways you do good with your love for gardening?
Thank you to the Vermont Community Garden Network, Gardener's Supply (and their Garden to Give Program), and American Meadows for allowing us to highlight their programs in this article. The Happy Hive was not compensated to share this information; we simply want to spread the good word about gardening for good! American Meadows generously donated seed packets for the Giveaway included with this article.