By Will Sulahian
Summer is here, which means PHS Harvest is now in high gear! The idea behind the PHS Harvest initiative is to inspire people to garden for the greater good. PHS encourages gardeners to learn to grow more produce at home or at a community garden and share your crops with the community. This helps fulfill our mission of providing access to healthy, fresh food for those who need it in the local community.
This year’s Harvest has gotten off to a great start! Just since April, more than 4,400 pounds of produce have been donated to food pantries, and more is being harvested each week. One location where you can see the results of PHS Harvest in action is the newly opened PHS Pop Up Garden in Manayunk. The garden features several raised garden beds that have been growing a variety of plants since early spring. PHS staff and volunteers harvest, weigh, and pack the produce on-site before sending it a local resource center. When you visit and enjoy the food and drinks of the Pop Up Garden, you too can witness and be inspired by PHS’s efforts to increase access to fresh, healthy food.
The organization that partners with PHS through Harvest and receives produce from the Manayunk Pop Up Garden is North Light Community Center in Manayunk. North Light’s main goal is to help those in need in the Roxborough and Manayunk area, with assistance reaching as far as Germantown and Mount Airy. The community center features a food pantry that is open to anyone who needs it. On Mondays and Fridays, clients can visit the pantry in a “Shopper’s Choice” setting, where they can browse and select the food items they want to take home. North Light is also able to deliver to people who need assistance or do not feel comfortable shopping in large crowds due to the pandemic.
The donation of fruits and vegetables to the food pantry have had a noticeable impact on those who regularly utilize North Light’s resources. “Some of our clients are overwhelmed and overjoyed by the amount of produce they are able to take home. A lot of people want to make recipes from scratch, and access to fresh produce makes this possible,” Says Shontell Moman, Social Supports Coordinator at North Light Community Center.
Donations to food pantries like this require the help of people who are willing to grow for those around them. By learning how to garden at home and sharing your harvests with the community, you can aid in reducing food insecurity.