Licking County MGVs donated 2,181 pounds of produce grown on their one-acre garden to the local Salvation Army Food Bank and Kitchen. The fresh produce will help supply over 25,000 meals.
Since the Food Pantry project was founded five years ago, the MGVs have donated over 12,648 pounds of produce. After meals are prepared, any remaining produce goes into the food pantry for recipients to take home.
The one-acre garden is located behind the extension office and was originally created as a children's garden project then later revamped into the food pantry vegetable garden. Most of the garden is dedicated to the MGVs for demonstration and food pantry garden plots. A portion was offered to a Dining for Diabetes group to grow items like tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and stevia (a natural sweetener) to use as a demonstration for the group.
The project is headed up by Paula McDonald, Master Gardener volunteer since 2000, along with about six volunteers who help work in the garden. They have recently built a new building they hope to utilize next year for educational programs offered to the public. The pantry garden received the state award for Outstanding Project, Medium Category in 2013.