This growing season, the Green Bay Packers and Brown County Community Gardens are partnering for the fifth year of the Planting for a Purpose Program to encourage community members to plant a garden plot and donate fresh produce to local food pantries.
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue, local food pantries report there is great need for more fresh produce donations to meet clients' needs. By signing up and pledging to donate a portion of their harvest, local gardeners can help ensure all community members have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
In 2020, pantries received more than 28,000 pounds of donated produce, a new record, and Planting for a Purpose hopes to increase this number again in 2021. To sign up and pledge to donate a portion of their harvest, gardeners can visit tinyurl.com/plantingforapurpose2021. Those who sign up can receive a free dry erase planting schedule magnet, while supplies last. Program participants are asked to remember to report their donations online at tinyurl.com/producedonation2021.
Gardening can provide much more than just access to fresh produce, with significant benefits for gardeners' physical and mental health. Over 70 percent of local community gardeners say they experience less stress in their daily lives because they garden. Many gardeners who joined the program within the last year said that gardening was beneficial to them during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing an opportunity to spend time outdoors and enjoy light physical activity.
Additionally, Planting for a Purpose can create a unique opportunity for local organizations, nonprofits and groups to enjoy the benefits of gardening while also helping those in need. In recent years, organizations such as ASPIRO, Heritage Hill State Park and the Green Bay Botanical Garden have been a part of Planting for a Purpose, sharing the positive impacts of gardening, harvesting and donating not just with their clients but with the entire community.
"At ASPIRO, we are always looking for meaningful community opportunities for our clients," said Joe Stocks, community exploration manager at ASPIRO, Inc. "Planting for a Purpose has allowed ASPIRO, Green Bay Botanical Garden and Paul's Pantry to form a new partnership that not only benefits our clients, but also the entire Green Bay community through the growing and harvesting of fresh vegetables. Our clients are grateful for every opportunity."
The program this year will again include the Brown County Potato Project. All community members are invited to sign up to receive free seed potatoes, provided by Wisconsin Certified Seed Potatoes, with the understanding that they agree to donate half of their potato harvest to food pantries. Those wishing to participate in the Brown County Potato Project are encouraged to request a specific number of seed potatoes in advance at tinyurl.com/seedpotatoes2021
Interested gardeners can sign up and learn more at http://browncountycommunitygardens.org or can stop by the Planting for a Purpose booth at Titletown's Go Green event on Saturday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
About Green Bay Packers Give Back:
Packers Give Back is the Packers' all-encompassing community outreach initiative, which includes the Green Bay Packers Foundation, appearances made by players, alumni, coaches and staff, football outreach, cash and in-kind donations, Make-A-Wish visits, and community events.
About Brown County Community Gardens Program:
Since 1996, the Brown County Community Gardens Program has provided garden space and logistical assistance to county residents, empowering them to grow affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food. For more information, please visit http://browncountycommunitygardens.org.