Gardeners plant a row for pantries

MELVILLE, N.Y. — "Plant a Row" is an idea that's springing up in neighborhoods across the United States.

The notion is that you make room in your garden for an extra row or two of vegetables and harvest them for food pantries. It's a way to help others, one row at a time.

So far on Long Island, three fledgling "rows" have been planted for Island Harvest, said Migdalia Otero, vice president of programs and operations for the organization. Two rows of lettuce and watermelon are at farms near Riverhead, and extra tomatoes and eggplant are being grown by a Huntington gardener.

Katherine Fritz, president of Hamlet Organic Garden in Brookhaven Hamlet, said that in late June, the garden gave produce to Jefferson Temple, which has a food pantry. Vegetables included zucchini, lettuce, scallions, cucumbers and kale. Donations will continue during the growing season.

"We love the farm so much we want to share it with everybody," Fritz said.

When such gifts go to needy families for use in their own kitchens, "they're shocked," Otero said. "They never thought they could go into a soup kitchen or emergency food program and receive fresh produce. They thought they would get a can or a microwaveable meal."

— Newsday

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