The Church Out Serving Gathering Food Gardens in Simcoe have helped create 44,668 vegetable servings to date.
This is the fifth year of the program and organizers expect to have produced 12,000 meals by the end of the 2020 harvest.
“This year the gardens were a little more challenging in terms of working with volunteers and keeping our distance,” said Eric Haverkamp, board chair at Church Out Serving. “We had to manage and schedule our help intentionally.”
Church Out Serving also was creating food hampers for families as part of a COVID-19 relief program.
“We actually were able to use a lot of the food directly in our own programs this year,” said the chair. “We just sensed a higher demand for fresh vegetables right here locally by individuals and families who were struggling.”
The RONA Simcoe store donated $5,090.53 to the garden project.
The money raised will go towards expanding the program, which currently has 18 raised garden beds across three sites in Simcoe.
“The funds received from RONA will allow us to build more garden beds, and also add technology like drip irrigation and apps that will control the irrigation more precisely,” said Haverkamp. “All of this will increase our garden capacity further.’
The new beds will be going in downtown locations, including Riversyde 83, the newest project by Church Out Serving.
The garden project leadership group includes Haverkamp, Heather Rebuk, Bert Stam, Paul Lucas, Al Froese, and Tony Stam.
Families needing to access fresh vegetables are asked to go through food banks, hamper programs or teaching kitchens, which is where the vegetables are donated.