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Tips & Advice

Fighting Hunger One Garden at a Time

I have always wanted to plant a vegetable garden.  My parents were not as eager or supportive to allow me to dive in the dirt to plant a garden. They assumed that a garden would be too much work to start up and that the upkeep and maintenance would be challenging. It is always fun to prove your parents wrong.

With my upcoming Bat Mitzvah, I started to research a variety of Mitzvah project ideas. A Mitzvah project is a service project chosen by the Bat Mitzvah student providing an opportunity to "give back" to the community and help someone else. I decided that my mitzvah project would be the perfect opportunity to plant a garden and donate the crops to a local food
bank.  I had read about Katie’s Krops (http://www.katieskrops.org) a non-profit organization led by a South Carolina girl to encourage youth to grow gardens to feed the hungry in People Magazine’s December issue http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20647258,00.html.

Katie’s Krops offers grants to youth that want to plant a vegetable garden and donate the produce to a local food bank. I applied for the grant and was excited to have been selected.  First, I assessed what parts of my backyard received the most sun. I knew I wanted to be within the hose’s reach of the garden.  I decided to plant a raised garden bed. I chose a
raised garden bed simple wood kit and put the pieces together.  I purchased both carrot and tomato seeds along with green pepper, cucumber, eggplant, hot peppers, watermelon, basil, cilantro and parsley plant seedlings to plant in a small raised garden in my backyard. All of these produce and herbs are accepted at The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Bank. The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry is dedicated to alleviating hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the Greater St. Louis area. The pantry provides enough food to supplement a household for 7 to 10 days. They currently serve 1,200 families each month.

Planting a garden has taught me some valuable lessons about patience as I wait for the vegetables to grow. I have learned to be responsible from the daily watering of the garden, a true appreciation for rain that helps ease my responsibility of watering the garden, and how to deal with frustration when rabbits, birds and squirrels nibble in my garden. Fortunately, I quickly learned to problem-solve by purchasing netting and a small fence to surround and cover the vegetable garden.  The best part of my gardening experience is that I get to give back to the community while hooking my family into gardening. We all like to go out and watch the green peppers grow, the tomatoes multiply and turn red and watch the bees pollinate over the garden.