Community Garden and Food Bank team up to feed the hungry

Editor’s Note: With spring-like weather this past week, the North Coast News asked

By Karen Young

Garden by the Sea’s Karen Young to give readers some tips about how they can get involved during growing season.

Garden by the Sea, our local community garden, and the Ocean Shores Food Bank are working together to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for hungry citizens coming to the food bank for distributions each month.

The organizations are a great match in that both of their missions look to address the hunger issue we have in the North Beach area.

Ocean Shores Food Bank’s volunteers work tirelessly day in and day out to provide and distribute healthy food choices to their guests.

Garden by the Sea, promoting organic gardening and a healthy lifestyle, dedicates a large portion of its raised plots to the food bank for their use to harvest fresh produce the morning of each distribution during the growing season.

You can’t get much fresher than that!

Both groups are asked frequently how their relationship works and how individuals in the community can get involved. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.

How does the food bank determine what to plant?

It is a combination of what grows well in our cool ocean climate along with what the food bank knows their guests prefer. Some of the more popular crops are peas, lettuce, carrots, beets, swiss chard, kale, strawberries, squash, beans, garlic, herbs, onions and cucumbers.

Often, the food bank volunteers provide preparation suggestions and recipes for crops that are new or unfamiliar.

Why use the community garden?

Garden by the Sea provides the food bank with 8 of its largest garden beds that are well protected by a deer proof fence (very important to have in Ocean Shores!). The garden is also made up of a “community” of gardeners with which to share ideas on solving issues with pests, soil, and various plant diseases that may arise during the year. And these gardeners are able to share their surplus crops with the food bank on harvest days, too.

I would love to volunteer to help with the food bank garden beds! What kind of help is needed?

There are many ways to help for individuals with all sorts of skill levels and physical abilities! Some of the more common ways are in the areas of watering, weeding, planting and harvesting. To become part of the gardening crew, please contact Terri Wilson at (425) 765-7824 or taw51@q.com for more information.

I am in and out of town a lot…can I drop by the garden and work on my own schedule?

Once you are part of the crew, the team leader will work with each person’s schedule to find what works best. All help is welcome, and communication is key in making sure the seedlings as well as the mature plants are getting the care they need.

Can I donate veggie starts and seeds?

Yes! The food bank tries to use everything that is donated if at all possible. If there is no room in the beds at the time of donation, veggie starts may be given to another gardener, or to food bank clients directly to grow in their own gardens. To make a donation, please contact Karen Young at 425-255-4025 or Terri Wilson at 425-765-7824 or taw51@q.com.

How do I get involved in Garden by the Sea?

The garden invites both new and returning gardeners in the community to rent a plot, volunteer in its many workshops and activities, or just come to walk around and enjoy all that is growing there. It is open to the public, but always remember to close the gate behind you to keep those pesky deer out! For more information on Garden by the Sea, come to the official opening celebration of the season on March 24th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., or call Karen Young at (425) 255-4025.