Local church grows over 2,500 pounds of produce to fight food insecurity

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:13 PM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - The people at Grace Ottumwa decided to start a garden once they bought their new property.

Richard Gaumer the chair of Grace Garden says the purpose of this project was to help those who are facing hunger with a tight wallet. The thought was, since they have the resources to help those who need it, why not? So, they decided to donate whatever food they could grow. “Well, it’s good fresh produce it’s nutritious, and it will relieve some of their need to spend money, to purchase things.”

Eileen Day, a volunteer, says the church surpassed the goal of 200 pounds and made it to over 2,500 pounds of food by harvest. Some of the food grown were green beans, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes.

Thankfully, the frost this year was late and the group was able to gather all of the produce before the weather turned cold. The work meant they worked long, hot days picking all the food and gathering it to donate. Day says, even after the early mornings and hot afternoons of picking, it was all worth it. “It was rewarding to work as a team and to be able to share it.”

Pastor Chris Childs says all of this work brought him a lot of joy, and he loved seeing his daughter get out and learn about nature.

This is the garden’s first year of growth and now, the group that is in charge of the garden has more resources for next year’s garden and a plan for when they plant the seeds.

Childs says, “We will have a better sense of where the food needs to go. In the beginning, we said, okay, we’re going to grow this for people who need it.”

Along with the new plans for the garden, the project will also be added with a cookbook the volunteers plan to put together so the people who receive the produce know how to cook with what they receive.

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