As the days turn longer and we begin to see a bit more sunshine, it’s exciting to think about gardening again! Last year was a tough growing season. Spring came with record-breaking rains, followed almost immediately by scorching heat. Despite these weather challenges, Neighbors Nourishing Communities gardeners donated about 3,000 pounds of beautiful, nutritious homegrown produce for those in our community dealing with food insecurity. Our gardeners donated anywhere from two pounds up to 1,700 pounds by long-time supporter Hilltop Community Gardens, at Tualatin’s Hilltop Community Church.
Neighbors Nourishing Communities (NNC) is a local Tualatin non-profit that encourages gardening as a fun activity that can be enjoyed by all ages while promoting nutritious eating habits and supporting those in need. NNC provides free plants, seeds, and education to gardeners that commit to donating 20% of what they grow to help local families experiencing food insecurity. The other 80%, along with the rewards of a healthy garden and a healthier you – are all yours. Growing your own organic garden provides easy and inexpensive access to produce that is nutritionally at its peak. Even picky eaters can’t resist fresh tomatoes, beans, lettuce, or other veggies that are grown lovingly and picked fresh from the garden!
This year marks the tenth growing season for Neighbors Nourishing Communities, and our goal is to make this our largest year for donations ever – to match the increasing need. It’s no secret that inflation is higher than it has been in nearly 50 years – affecting everything from housing to food prices. Many of our Tualatin families are struggling to keep food on their table and the need is greater than ever. Fresh produce is more nutritious, yet also more costly than boxed or canned foods, and can be inaccessible for many. NNC founder Chad Darby saw this need when volunteering at the local food pantry. As an avid gardener, he also saw that he could help by sharing his own harvest. Many gardeners traditionally share with friends, family, and co-workers – so opting to share with families experiencing food insecurity in our own community is a fulfilling extension of this practice.
How does it work? You don’t need a large garden space or special skills. Whether you are a long-time passionate gardener or just getting started, we provide free plants and seeds at our annual handout. Produce may be donated throughout the growing season at your local food pantry, or by leaving it at one of our convenient drop-off points in Tualatin. We only ask that if you donate directly to a food pantry, you let us know so that we can keep track of donations. Simply register as a gardener by visiting our website at www.neighborsnc.org. As a registered gardener, we’ll provide the location and time for our free plant and seed handout on Saturday, May 13th, and continue communicating important information throughout the growing season.
For questions or more information, please contact Peggy Fisher at (503) 807-9090, or Chad Darby at (503) 523-7142, or e-mail email@example.com.
Families struggling to make ends meet can also contact Neighbors Nourishing Communities for gardening assistance.