Promised Land July 28

Two weeks into our harvest, there’s a lot growing on with the      Promised Land gardens. 

So far we’ve picked and donated 363 pounds of fresh beans, peppers and zucchini.   Pretty sure that’s  way more than a bushel and a peck.  As of July 23, we’ve made 56 donations to 9 different agencies.

It’s quite a process:

For our volunteer gardeners, the real work has begun. Thanks to a cool, wet spring, the gardens didn’t need much attention in May or June other than to pluck a few weeds and admire how big everything was getting. 

But now, with higher temperatures and maturing crops, the beds need to be checked on several times a week.  Many of our beds are shared by multiple families.  I love hearing the kids’ excitement when they come check their crops.

When produce is ready for picking, the gardeners wash it, then weigh it  before packaging it for distribution to the end user.  In some cases, the produce is packed in bulk for the food pantry to   distribute or for the shelter to serve.  Other times, the gardeners pack the produce in individual or family sized portions.

The gardeners then decide where to take the donation based upon their schedule, who’s open and other factors.   When possible, they take the donation to Mass for a blessing.

We have a donation log in the shed, where the gardeners record what they took to whom.  We also asked them to share a bit about their experiences.  A few of the comments:

“They were so very appreciative!!!”

“Dropped off, got tour and saw their needs—which was a lot.”

“The ladies were so very thankful for the veggies.  They could not have been nicer.”

“They were very grateful and said please come again.”

“We harvested enough beans for a large crowd.  We supplied butter, olive oil, garlic and shallots too.  We delivered to    Daybreak and it was a great    experience.  In return, they shared a case of plums and two bags of potatoes.  We paid it forward and took that to St. Pat’s food pantry, and they were very grateful.”

“We witnessed veterans taking the produce.  It was heartwarming!”

At the very beginning of this project, one of the few “rules” that Fr. Bill wanted was that the donations be made by the gardeners.  He very much wanted this to be a source for human-to-human contact.  “We grew this for you; please enjoy it.”

I think it’s fair to guess there was a bit of apprehension about this part of the process, but that’s faded away.  As one gardener just told me, “That’s the best part!”

We’ll keep you up on our progress each week.  We fully expect our numbers to skyrocket when the tomatoes ripen.  We have a MASSIVE amount of tomatoes on the vine.

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez
Director of Development
straysdevelopement@yahoo.com, 815-722-6653, ext. 217

 

 

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