We Planted a Row for the Hungry! With a Little Help from our Friends.

If you’ve strolled by the Farm recently, you may have noticed some new raised garden beds lining the path that runs along the east side of the property. Maybe you noticed the cabbage that was growing there and the different types of lettuces. At least, we hope you noticed because we wanted these beds to be highly visible and for those wandering past to wonder, “My, where did these lovely beds come from, and who gets to eat this produce?”We wanted you to notice because we always want you to notice when delicious things are growing around you. But also because then we could tell you more about why these beds are here and about the great people who made this project happen.  First, the “why”: The veggies in our raised garden beds have been harvested for Plant a Row for the Hungry, a national program that encourages garden communities and individuals to donate fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs to people in need in our community. With support from Logan’s One Stop Garden Shop and distribution by the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, the program in Raleigh aims to provide 50,000 pounds of food to local, low-income families in 2017. All over this city, generous citizens are donating extra food from their gardens to those who lack convenient access to healthy, fresh foods. We wanted to get involved and we also needed a space where are volunteers and program participants could really "dig in" and give back. So we thought: why not convert a previously unused corner of our Farm for this dual purpose?And we did, with a little help from new friends.These new raised garden beds happened as a result of an exciting new collaboration between RCF and Mariah Hachmeister, a new volunteer who has taken a leadership role with the planning and coordination of the project along with the help of a group of volunteers who call themselves Triangle FUEL (Friends United for Engagement & Leadership).Triangle FUEL is the kind of thing you hear about and think, “Why didn’t I think to do that?” The organization was born when a couple of friends realized that the talent and creativity within their larger group of friends could be harnessed to do good work in their community. The group—created in early 2017 and now 100 strong—tackles a new project each quarter. These projects provide FUEL’s members—social activists with a commitment to service—with an opportunity to regularly give back to the Triangle community in fun and meaningful ways.This summer, RCF was lucky enough to become a beneficiary of this group’s hard work. Mariah and her team have been wonderful to collaborate with and the result of their effort was a bountiful harvest: on November 16, volunteers from a local school group showed up at our Farm and collected produce from the beds for immediate distribution to the kitchens of those who need it most.And because support for Farm projects often comes in many forms, in addition to Mariah and Triangle FUEL, we’d like to mention that many other folks also stepped up to get these raised garden beds off the ground and thriving, including: The Jandy Ammons Foundation, which provided the grant funding to purchase materials for the beds; our great friends at Piedmont Picnic Project, who located plans for the raised beds and led volunteers in construction; Good Dirt, which provided the Good Dirt Potting Mix in which all of the produce was grown, the Good Dirt Plant Food, an organic based plant food made from oil seed extract, and the Good Dirt Plant Probiotics, beneficial microbes for plants; Ball Seed and Sakata Seed, both of which donated the seeds for each bed; and Plantworks Nursery, who started the seeds for us in compostable pots for easy (eco-friendly) planting.Raleigh City Farm is a team effort. We’re endlessly proud of the work we do and feel privileged to meet people along the way who inspire us to do even more.