Plant a Row for the Hungry is sowing the seeds of its new season this week as the group starts planting at its two gardens, anticipating a 25% growth in the yield of the harvest this year.
Plant A Row is a local organization that plants, grows, harvests and delivers produce to local families and community members in need. The organization was founded to address local issues of hunger through gardening. Since its foundation, they have donated over 57,000 pounds of locally grown and fresh produce.
The organization donates their food to Our Lady of Fatima in Port Washington, which then distributes the food to community members who are food insecure.
Organization board member David Cohen is involved in the planting and maintenance of the gardens located at the Adult Community Center in Manorhaven and the Helen Keller National Center.
Plant a Row maintains 18 4-by-8 feet raised beds at the Adult Community Center, while the Helen Keller National Center contains about 1,000 square feet of garden space. In conjunction with the organization’s gardens, they also encourage home gardeners to donate the food they grow as well.
The planting season started in April when Plant a Row members and individuals from the Nicholas Center planted seeds in trays at the greenhouse located at the center. The seeds will then be planted in the gardens once ready.
The organization also expanded its garden space at the Helen Keller National Center by about 50% in April. This includes an additional area at the center dug out, fenced in and ready for plantings.
Due to these expansions, Cohen said the organization anticipates a 25% increase in their yield of produce to be donated to community members in need.
“That’s exciting,” Cohen said. “It’s always exciting to be able to provide more services.”
Plant a Row utilizes community volunteers to assist in the gardening process. Cohen said last year they had about 10 volunteers, but the number is expected to expand to 20 volunteers this season, helping to maintain the increased garden space.
“It’s nice to see all these people want to help as well,” Cohen said.
He said the expansion was implemented as the organization is always looking for ways to increase the amount of produce they grow to match greater needs.
“The needs of the community never go down, they only go up,” Cohen said. “So we were more than happy to increase our farm area.”
Cohen said as the planting season progresses, he is looking forward to continuing their efforts to help people in need, being successful in growing a variety of plants that cater to a diverse array of cultures and engaging in an activity he enjoys.