Having your own vegetable garden is great. Not only it produces fresh and healthy vegetables to feed your family, also it brings great joy to your life. For me gardening is not just a hobby, it is also a passion, a dream and now, I feel like, a mission. I enjoy every moment of it, sowing the seeds, watching them growing from baby plant, flowering, fruiting. It is great satisfaction to harvest the produce from the garden.
A productive garden is great. It can cause headache sometimes. Especially when it is transitioning season, you have to remove a lot of ready vegetables and grow new ones. Piles of vegetables are picked and have nowhere to go.
As a new resident here, I do not know many people in this area. Most of people I know are from work. At first, I took my vegetables to the company I worked for and gave them away to whoever would like to try. Although everybody was excited to take and try Asian vegetables, but the result was not always a happy ending. One of my colleague who took Celtuce came back and told me: the (lettuce) leaves were a little tough and he was the only one in the family who ate it…
To give away more vegetables, we set up a small stand in front of our house. Our little daughters were happy to earn money for their college by selling the vegetables to our neighbors. One dollar for a bunch or even for free. It was just an experience for them. It didn’t go well as we hoped because not a lot of traffic.
We changed our strategy to load the vegetables in a wagon and knocked on our neighbors’ door. Well, most of them would take the vegetables happily but it just took us too much time.
Then I found this website “Nextdoor” and a lot of our neighbors are very active there. I started to post on Nextdoor to give away seedlings and fresh vegetables. I attached the vegetables pictures in the garden and welcomed any one who might stop by and pick by themselves. I have received many “thanks” and some inquiries. I even got several appointments that somebody would stop by and pick up. Unfortunately, I only had one or two actually showed up. It was pretty frustrating.
I have been giving away vegetables to anyone I can reach: my husband’s colleagues, daycare teachers, friends or even strangers. But that is not enough to take all the vegetables especially when it is producing season.
So I did more research on internet to see “what is the best way to give away fresh vegetables”. “Food pantry” popped into my eyes where, as I understand from reading more, people who in need can get free food. It is a perfect place for my vegetables to go. What I want is just to get somebody to eat and appreciate the healthy and fresh vegetables I grow by myself. Without hesitating, I located a church nearby, 3 minutes’ drive, and called them to make an appointment for dropping off.
To make sure the vegetables are fresh when people get them, I waited until the day that the food pantry open to public. Early in the morning, it was still cold and wet outside, but I felt warm and happy inside, knowing that these fresh vegetables would have a place to go instead of ending up in composter. I packed bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi and lettuce.
The old gentleman who is working in the church was very nice. He showed me around the food pantry and explained what they do and how people get foods and clothes from them. I admire them for doing such nice things to help other people at the age that they could just retire and enjoy their time. At the same time I was so happy that my vegetables arrived at this warm and kind place and eventually serve somebody who need them. I have agreed to provide vegetables to them regularly which is a win-win solution for us.
For me the joy of sharing is not just vegetables. My dream is to share more knowledge, skills and experience with more people and help them to grow fresh and eat healthy. I will carry this dream as long as I can. Dear friends, if you like what we do, please give us more power! Thanks!