The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), the internationally recognized nonprofit focused on gardening for the greater good, announced the return of PHS Harvest, a collective action initiative focused on increasing food production and food security by mobilizing individual gardeners, community garden members, schools , and institutions to plant food crops to share with their community.
This growing season, Harvest aims to again engage thousands in the Greater Philadelphia region to help grow fresh produce and to share with those most in need. In collaboration with Whole Foods Market, PHS plans to engage with thousands in the Greater Philadelphia region to garden for the greater good.
“For decades, food insecurity has been an issue not only in the Greater Philadelphia region but across America,” said Nancy Boutté Finn, Chief Development Officer for PHS.
“Last year, we started Harvest as a response to the COVID-19 crisis and were able to support communities with the production of over 44,000 pounds of food. This year, we again ask our PHS community to join us in our efforts to learn to grow produce, and to share their harvest to make fresh and healthy food more accessible to our neighbors across the region.”
Findings from Feeding America found that about 16.4% of children in Pennsylvania were food insecure. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this number has been projected to increase to about 17%.
With this initiative, PHS will invite thousands of gardeners to grow (grow food for themselves and their family or community); to share (one who grows and commits to share food with a selected list of food relief organizations); or to donate (someone who supports Harvest efforts through a monetary donation).
Community gardens, gardening groups, institutions, and schools are also welcome to participate.
This year, anyone has the option to sign up as a Growing Team with family, friends, or neighbors to pool crops together, track their collective impact, and compete for prizes.
As part of this initiative, PHS will:
- Provide local gardeners, groups, and interested individuals with virtual resources on food growing and harvesting, including guides, checklists, and ongoing webinars
- Maintain a list of local retailers and nurseries to get supplies and tools
- Connect gardeners through social media channels and remote networking opportunities
- Partner with community-based nonprofits to provide gardening supplies to low-income gardeners
- Create and engage community growing spaces to encourage increased food production both now and long-term
- Maintain a network of distribution agencies and partners to collect and share produce with local food banks
“Working with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to support the important programs they lead in our community speaks to Whole Foods Market’s mission to care for our communities and nourish people and the planet,” said Michelle Payne, Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice President at Whole Foods Market. “We are passionate about the Harvest program and proud to support this community-driven initiative providing food to our neighbors in Philadelphia.”
Additional participating organizations in the Harvest initiative include: AmpleHarvest.org; Art-Reach; Bartram’s Garden; Chester County Food Bank; Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger; Cooperative Gardens Commission; Delaware Center for Horticulture; Food Bank of Delaware; Food Connect; The Food Trust; Mama-Tee Fridge; Neighborhood Gardens Trust; North Light Community Center; Philabundance; and Share Food Program.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization founded in 1827, plays an essential role in the vitality of the Philadelphia region by creating healthier living environments, increasing access to fresh food, growing economic opportunity, and building deeper social connections between people.